Memories have a funny way of messing with us. I began collecting baseball cards, totally by accident, in 1990. My mother confused a pack of ’90 Topps Ames All-Stars with a pack of playing cards and from that point on, I became a lifelong baseball card collector. Never mind the fact that I never watched or even played baseball, let alone knew who any of the players were. Whatever the case, my mom is the reason why I fell in love with these tiny pieces of sometimes shiny card board and a goofy, forgotten outcast named Jose Canseco so many years ago.
The reason I say memories can mess with us is because I was almost positive that I gave up collecting in 1997, as I neared my 18th birthday. By that point, I was becoming a “man” and didn’t want to be caught dead buying baseball cards or spending unnecessary money from my hard job at a Brandsmart warehouse. As it turns out, baseball cards made a brief return for me in 1998 when I randomly purchased a very fun box of ’98 Fleer Ultra.
A year later, as a 19-year-old, I came back one final time to buy a box of 1999 Upper Deck Retro, a product that was completely forgettable except for one little thing: I found my first ever, pack-inserted autograph inside of it. I was shocked because even though it was 1999 and autographs from packs had made their debut in 1990, autos were still a somewhat rare pull. My LCS even gave me a free screw down holder and offered me $60 dollars for the card. #ThanksButNoThanks
I didn’t know who Pat Burrell was but in Beckett Baseball at that time, his cards were on fire. Unfortunately, despite four, 30-HR seasons, Pat never truly lived up to his early Hobby hype and ended his career pre-maturely with 5 teams and less than 300 career home runs during the very “lively” Steroid Era of baseball. Still, two World Series titles and over $70 million earned in his short playing time probably helps him sleep at night.
I can honestly say that the box of ’99 Retro would be my very final box of baseball cards for almost a full decade. Fast forward to 2006, when by chance I discovered Ben Henry’s brilliant, Baseball Card Blog. That night I spent 4 hours dying from laughter reading one post after another and was slowly sucked back into this crazy hobby we invest so much time, energy, and money on. However, Ben’s posts were only about old cards, nothing modern. What was new in the world of baseball cards? I had to find out for myself.
By early 2007, I was pushing 30 years of age and had a girlfriend with a son (not mine). I was working full-time and was a pretty busy man but Ben’s writing pushed me to go into a bookstore to find a recent issue of Beckett Baseball, like I did some many times in my youth back in the 90s. I was floored by all the new products and what seemed, even back then, a glut of game-used relics and autographs. Little did I know what would be coming in the next 10-12 years …
That’s when “IT” happened. It was love at first sight, I got hit with the Thunderbolt. That’s a Godfather quote, you uncultured swine. The card, advertised in Beckett and produced by Topps, featured two amazing autographs on some shiny material. Yes, it was 2007 and I had been gone long enough to not know what sticker autographs were. No need to poke fun. The product was the now long-deceased, Co-Signers and all I knew at that point is that I had to buy a box and pull that unbelieable card.
A week later, on my girlfriend and I’s anniversary, I plopped down $120 dollars for a Hobby box of 2007 Co-Signers. She was not happy. In another week’s time, I was shelling out money for a second box, this time, Topps Turkey. The next month, I created Wax Heaven. As you can imagine, the relationship was doomed from that point on but more importantly than “love”, I reconnected with baseball cards once more.
Today, I am a 38-year-old card blogger with a kid of my own and I still collect and write about this wonderful hobby. In my lifetime I have pulled valuable autographs, more “one of one” cards than I can recall, and even a “DNA” card featuring a small hair off a first lady’s head (at least I hope it was her head). One card I have never pulled or have ever seen in person is that one Moonshot card that brought back all those feelings of nostalgia for collecting.
You would think due to Arod’s disgraced career that this card would have dropped in value. After all, Co-Signers had solo Buzz Aldrin autographs in their product but NO SUCH LUCK. I’ve seen this gaudy card sell for close to $400 half a decade ago and today, there is currently one on eBay for close to $900, Buy It Now. With frequent health scares by the now 89-year-old astronaut, I can easily see this card someday hitting the four figure mark on the secondary market.
I may never own this very special card but thankfully, I can re-watch Buzz punch a conspiracy theorist in the face for the rest of my life and that to me is just as good. Oh, I guess I should thank Topps for continually, despite my bitching, making awesome baseball cards and of course, the OG of card blogging, Ben Henry. With 11 years in the hole, hopefully I can inspire someone to start collecting again someday.
P.S. – I have, many times. Just trying to be modest.
P.S.S. – I suck at being modest.