The Year of Canseco

Oh, what a year it’s been!

After seemingly a decade of silence, Wax Heaven finally made its triumphant return to the card blogging scene in 2018. Unfortunately, in its long absence two things became perfectly clear almost immediately. The first was that the huge audience I built from the ground up from 2007 through 2009 is long gone. The second? Blogging as a format is pretty much dead as most collectors and former card bloggers have found a new home on Twitter and YouTube.

Despite Wax Heaven not being what it used to be (think Willie Mays with the Mets), I was still able to scratch out 148 blogs, which were read close to 50,000 times by nearly 18,000 unique visitors to the site. That is a far cry from Wax Heaven’s 1 million visits in 2009 alone, which was hit by September when the site shut down. To be perfectly honest, 50 thousand or a million “hits” means nothing to someone writing for the love of baseball cards and not monetary reasons.

This year also marked the death of the #1 Jose Canseco super collector, Tanman, as well as the demise of Canseco’s autograph value on the secondary market. In 2007, I had a total of 3 certified issues because for a Canseco autograph you’d have to dish out $60-$80 per non-numbered card back then and hundreds for anything featuring serial numbers and/or patches. I am now regularly buying numbered autos of Jose from $6-$12 dollars from the likes of Topps and Panini America.

My total run of Canseco cards also jumped by 147, thanks to eBay, SportsLots, and Check Out My Cards, as well as through trades and even friends on Twitter sending me cards for free. Talk about generous! As of 12/23, I now own 1,265 different cards of 1/2 of the Bash Brothers and former Most Valuable Player of 1988. My goal is to hit 1,500 by 2020, a feat which will be easy given Topps’ flooding of the Canseco market. Sucks for big spenders who have invested thousands on Jose but perfect for me.

As for my favorite purchase of 2018? It comes directly from Tanner’s collection and cost me just $40 bucks. It’s a 1/1 printing plate from WAY BACK in 1990, 7 years before plates were even introduced to the hobby! That means someone at Classic or with serious connections had the foresight to not only save these plates from destruction, which was common back in the day, but also held on to it long enough to sell it to Tanman.

This card is special to me because it comes from the year I began collecting baseball cards and Jose Canseco and because deep down inside, despite being a baseball card snob, I fucking love the “Saved by the Bell” design of these awful Classic cards and owning one of the four plates used to create them feels absolutely amazing. Listen, printing plates may be old news today but they sure as hell were not in 1990.

For those interested, Tanman wrote an awesome book for sale on Amazon.


As for Wax Heaven, I recently purchased a domain name and plan on continuing to write about baseball cards and Jose Canseco. It’s crazy to think I began this blog way back in 2007. For those keeping track, that makes me a collector for 29 years and a card blogger for 12. Unfortunately, we were only on top for a year and a half but for every Mantle there is a … well, a Brady Anderson.

-Mario A.


2 thoughts on “The Year of Canseco

  1. Congratulations on picking up that Classic printing plate. It was awesome to see you back at your keyboard this year. Hope to read more posts in 2019.

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