Tony Clark was My Aaron Judge

I’ve never been a prospector and not because I didn’t want to be. What collector wouldn’t want to buy low and sell off your stash for a small fortune? The problem was that I simply sucked at predicting what player would turn out be great.

Below is a sample of some of my investments:

Jose Cruz, Jr.

After his ’97 Bowman Chrome caught fire, I stocked up on all his ’97 and ’98 cards only to see him fall in Toronto and never get back up again. I was certain that Jose was destined to be the next Ken Griffey, Jr. Check out the time he Tweeted me!

Ben Grieve

This kid reminded me of a mix between Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire when he came up with the A’s. Unfortunately, he turned out to be more like Walt Weiss with a little more pop in his bat, occasionally.

Orlando Hernandez / Hideki Irabu / Kerry Wood

I blame Beckett Media and the New York press for my very expensive investments in “El Duque” and the “Fat Toad”, as George Steinbrenner once labeled him. Wood, perhaps was the most frustrating with his 20 K performance forever in the rear view mirror.

Andrew Miller 

At 6 feet, 7 inches tall and throwing heat from the left side … how could Andrew not be the new, prettier version of Randy Johnson? I spent thousands on a small number of the most rare cards of Miller only to see him struggle for most of his career.

— — —

As you can see, one big fail by me after another. Of course, Tony Clark was going to change all that. The man was a monster lefty with power that put Jose Canseco to shame and without all the baggage. The man was a saint.

In his first, semi-full season he hit 27 home runs in just 100 games. My take was that over 162 games he would be pushing 45 HRs so now was the time to invest. I quickly scooped up all his big cards and waited.

When Tony finally got around to playing a full year (159 games in ’97), he hit just 32 home runs. In his 15 seasons, he hit the 30-mark four times but never put up monster numbers. He was a great player but not exactly what I was hoping for.

That’s why I am worried about the collectors investing in Aaron Judge, a kid with less than 200 games under his belt. Sure, Aaron’s 2017 numbers are legendary but I also remember the thousands that were being dropped on Joba Chamberlain cards.

To put things into perspective, the most I’ve ever spent on a prospect was $40 for a 1998 Bowman Chrome Orlando Hernandez card. This price tag was due to purchasing it in a card shop and not eBay and because of his recent media hype.

Now, there is currently a 2013 Bowman Gold Refractor auto, graded a 10 by BGS on eBay with a $175,000 price tag. Go ahead and let that sink in for a moment. There is also a same year Chrome, 1/1 printing plate for $161,000. Those are just some of them.

I’m not saying Aaron Judge is going to wind up like Tony Clark. Hell, in one full season he has already done way more than Tony ever could. All I’m saying is that there is a collector out there who spent $5,000 on a Joba Chamberlain card.

I’m still upset about the $40 I dropped on “El Duque”.


One comment

  1. I’m in your camp. I have a handful of Judge cards including a nice patch, but they were acquired before the 2017 season and before the hype. I also pulled a few of his rookie cards from a few blasters I grabbed during the season. Finally I purchased a 2017 Topps Archives set which has a Judge card, but it wasn’t for Judge per se. But bottom line… I refuse to go out and pay a premium for his nice stuff.

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