It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long it’s been, you probably still remember the day you pulled your first autograph from a pack of baseball cards. Having been away from the hobby of collecting pictures of men on cardboard for exactly ten years, that day didn’t come for me until 2007. Out of curiosity and thanks in part to a Beckett magazine I found inside of a Barnes and Noble, I wanted badly to bust a box of Co-Signers. I never knew that it was possible to pull an autograph from a pack. I didn’t even know what a game-used relic was!
Are you wondering what my first pack-pulled auto was? Well, it ain’t much to brag about, actually. It’s some guy named Mitch Maier from the Kansas City Royals who hasn’t played in a Major League game since 2006. Yeah, I don’t have the magic “MOJO” touch when it comes to busting wax but that’s another blog, at another time. What I am somewhat disturbed by is the fact that right under my nose there was a product that included autographed baseball cards in packs way before 1997’s historic Donruss Signature Series. If you don’t remember, it was 1991 Upper Deck.
Of course, I missed out on the debut of autographs in packs because the odds of pulling one of these were about as rare as finding a Golden Ticket to Mr. Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Or better yet, about as rare as Kerry Wood pitching an entire season without visiting the disabled list. Still, there were two-thousand, five hundred of them. By today’s standards that’s almost a million autographs. You could have pulled hundreds of them in a single year alone if you bust enough wax. After all, in six months of busting a small number of hobby boxes in 2007 I pulled three different 1 of 1’s and even more with serial numbers so low I could count them on both hands.
I know in these days of collecting having an autograph numbered to more than 100 is like a Scarlet Letter to many but I’d pick this Ted Williams autograph over any 1 of 1, dual, game-used, refractor, printing plate any day of the week!