Sixteen years is a mighty long time to some. That’s how long this blog has been in existence. For some context, this blog I created about baseball cards is one year younger than Twitter and pre-dates smart phones, TikTok, and Kanye West being bat-shit crazy. Hell, at the time of this blog’s creation, there was no “online card community”, at least not like there is today. Sure, there were a couple of message boards for people to argue but for the most part, most of us were still stuck getting card related information from monthly Beckett price guides at card shops.
As a baseball card collector of thirty-three years, I’d love to spout about how our beloved hobby is dead, but it’s not. Cards are still selling for astronomical prices every single day of the week thanks to social media and of course, eBay. Are prices of unopened product too high? Absolutely. Have card manufacturers set their focus on all flash and no substance? Obviously. Is our hobby full of paid shills and “influencers”? Of course, but hasn’t it always been this way? Nothing stays the same forever and either you buckle up and accept that life and everything you love will change, or be prepared to be left behind.
In early 2019, I came home from a long day of work to see a package from eBay had arrived. It was a very special card, to be specific, it was a 1998 Donruss Crusade, only the greatest baseball card insert of the decade of the 90s. I carefully took it out of the package, this dream card I’ve chased for over 20 years and took a long hard look at it and my life. I had spent hundreds of dollars on this card alone and next to me was my 8-year old daughter sitting on the couch with ratty sneakers. The Crusade went into a box full of thousands of other unappreciated and very expensive baseball cards and quietly, I gave up a hobby I began in 1990.
It took a friendly package from Twitter with a Jose Canseco autograph from 2022 for me to start collecting again and boy, have I been busy. Since that day, I’ve acquired over 50 new, different Jose Canseco cards to add to my collection but unlike the past, I have been very happy to lose out on auctions. My new rule is to not spend over $10 on any single, non-autographed card and no more than $25 on any certified autograph. Truth be told, Topps has completely devalued Jose’s autograph so there’s truly nothing I “need” but the cards I’ve been picking up have made me happy to be a collector, something I haven’t felt in a long time.
Below is one of my acquisitions, something the old collecting snob in me would have passed up on pre-2019. It’s a Topps online exclusive set with DJ Steve Aoki’s name on it, which is baffling to me but Topps loves including celebrities in their products so it comes as no surprise. Jose was featured in another Aoki set in 2020 and I grabbed that one as well for pennies on the dollar. The 2022 Aoki card is simply breathtaking. It is a serial numbered parallel with a green wave refractor finish and features Jose in his prime form from a photograph clearly taken in 1991. This one here cost me $8, plus shipping and it’s almost perfect.
What’s neat about this card is that it is from a very famous Jose photograph that has been used and overused by Topps since 2014. It’s the same exact game and likely the same swing but features a photo from a second after the original and also has more of Jose’s body in the frame, which is a neat update from the heavily recycled 2014 shot. I also love that the green wave refractor matches Jose’s otherwise ugly Oakland A’s team colors and it’s the main reason I went after it, along with the base card and the other Steve Aoki card from 2020.
Doing something, let alone the same thing for over three decades can get tedious, if not downright boring but these latest Canseco cards I’ve added to my collection have me feeling excited for what’s to come, for my Canseco collection and even for this old, washed-up, 16-year old blogger.