A Lost Friendship & Massive Oversight

During this blog’s infancy, a friendship was forged through the love of Jose Canseco. As far as Super Collectors of Jose go, most aren’t overly friendly. If anything, they take on certain characteristics of Jose which aren’t the greatest. Most are arrogant, desperate for the hobby limelight, and love to throw around money like it’s going out of style. This fella, however, was different. His name was Bryan and for a long time, he was “THE MAN” when it came to Canseco collections.

For a year or so, we spent countless hours talking by phone or email about Jose and his various baseball cards, which I know without doubt, Bryan had them all. I never got into talking money or even making a trade with Bryan because at the time, I was unemployed and lacked funds and there was nothing I had in my collection worth trading for. I was just happy to be a friend and to have an opportunity to check out the scans of his collection he’d occasionally send me.

One day, out of the blue, Bryan called me to tell me he was getting a divorce and was going to sell off his collection. I was devastated because I knew our friendship would likely take a hit but also because I knew if I could somehow come up with $5,000-$7,000, I could probably get the greatest discount on part or all of the most amazing collection of Jose Canseco cards known to man (at the time). Unfortunately, due to my financial situation, it wasn’t even an option and I never even brought it up.

As expected, Bryan and I lost touch and it was around that same time that my own marriage fell apart and I was forced to shut down the blog at the height of its popularity to pack my things and move (minus my computer). It was a hard time but on my last day at home, a package from Bryan came in the mail, which contained over 500 Jose Canseco cards. I was shook. I called to thank him but he didn’t pick up. Over the next few weeks I made several attempts to reach out but ultimately, I never spoke to Bryan again.

That brings us to today. One of those cards Bryan sent was a 2008 Newark Bears Jose Canseco. There’s nothing special about the card, really. It’s a bad photograph on a colorless, independent league issue. Quite honestly, considering Jose’s career status when he played with Newark, it’s actually a bit depressing. Thanks to it’s incredibly limited run, however, it’s easily a $100 card today. It’s actually so rare that a copy of the card has not hit eBay in all of 2022. That’s actually quite impressive.

Having spoken about the card previously, a reader and fellow collector sent an email asking if by chance I had the 2002 Newark Bears Lance Johnson. Unfortunately, I did not but it got me thinking … when was the last time I saw a Lance Johnson pack-inserted, certified autograph. Turns out, I did not remember because believe it or not, one does not exist! Today, there are hundreds of autographs of players who will never make the Big League in every Topps & Panini product, but not a single Lance Johnson.

Hell, Santa Claus, Topps’ creepy ‘Rip Master’, and even this ridiculous Bowman Scout has an autograph but not Lance Johnson. Okay, Johnson was no Rickey Henderson but the man led the league in Triples five times and in back to back seasons led the league in hits. How is it that this forgotten star has not been included at the very least, in Topps Archives Signature Series Retired Player Edition? Dan Uggla has over 500 certified autographs and Lance Johnson has none?!?

So I began to do some research and even asked Hobby Twitter who was the best modern era player to never have an autograph released by Topps/Panini & Leaf/Upper Deck. Shockingly, no one could come up with a bigger name than Lance Johnson. Is this the biggest oversight in baseball cards ever? Can anyone name a more established, well-rounded, and flat out better player to have never signed? Does anyone know why? One Dog, as he was known, has no social media. Is he a recluse? The collecting world wants to know …

2 thoughts on “A Lost Friendship & Massive Oversight

  1. Interesting. He would be the exact kind of player to be featured in Archives or Fan Favorites or those weird buy back autographs that Topps makes into 1 of 1s. He would have been a fun subject on Topps Project 2021 or whatever last year’s was.

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