|Baseball Card Writing
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Be sure to check out our previous baseball card essay contest
entries. These essays are full of great ideas and useful information about
This writing contest was an easy one. Participants just had
to write something positive about the
sports card hobby that they love to participate in.
Baseball card collections come in many different shapes and sizes. Read about
the various sizes, storage, and display methods of some
passionate baseball card
collectors. What's so fun about collecting baseball cards?
Our members share their baseball cards stories with you!
This is a great group of essays about collecting
card sets. There are so many reasons why collectors decide to
build the sets that they do.
Innovative and creative ideas for
Upper Decks new line of baseball cards.
The Sports Card
Collectors Guide to Trading on the Internet
cards on Baseball Tonight
Baseball card show or a
good baseball card shop?
I'm going to save the baseball
card industry and here's how I'm going to do it.
Why Should a kid
start collecting baseball cards?
Card of The Week
The Sports Card of the Week (or sports card story) is provided by our members. The Sports Card of the
Week is not selected based on cash value or rarity. Rather, it's simply a card
or story that has some sort of personal value to the person who owns it. We hope to show
you the wide variety of reasons that people collect or find certain cards
appealing. It's just our way of providing a way for collectors to share some of their
passionate for this awesome hobby.
This sports card of the week is provided by Tim
Deane (aka tdeane22) from, Daphne AL:
The 2009 SP #55 is what did it...this single card brought together a father and
2 wonderful sons into the world of card collecting.
I had collected from 1975 through 1994 and stopped when it was time to start a
family and focus on my military career. From time to time I would pick up a pack
or two and that was it. My first son was a baseball fan but didnt seem
interested at the time to start collecting. Then my second son came along and it
was the same, no real interest.
One Saturday morning in a few years ago we were out and about and noticed a new
card shop in our area and decided to look around. They though the cards were
nice, and I felt like a kid in a candy store. We saw that the store was doing a
"trade night" and decided to come back later that evening. When we returned the
boys saw all kinds of folks ripping packs and trading, and saw that there was a
contest for a card...a 2009 SP Authentic #55 Tim Lincecum. This made the boys
curious and they both wanted to join in. They started ripping packs and about
the third pack into it they scored the card. And picked up a box of Topps for
getting the winning card. At the same time they discovered that they were
getting cards of the players they liked watching and copied on the baseball
fields. "Look dad! Albert Pujols!" or "Wow dad, Stan Musial...you always said
you liked him!", "Dad!!! Dizzy Dean!!!". You get the point.
That card started the collection craze for my sons. That card is responsible
for many hours of pleasure watching my sons rip packs, collect their stars,
trade with each other or friends. It started their interest in card shows,
finding cards at yard sales or flea markets, visits to other card shops, ebay
and our favorite Sportscardfun page (where they have been trading for their
fav's, and so has dad).
I spend a lot of time away from home due to my military status and when I am
home we talk cards and collections and what they have scored. We go out and buy
blaster boxes and packs and rip together. That one card brought a father and two
sons closer together and gave us all something we enjoy doing together. Their
younger sister is now involved too...see what one card has done?
This is why the 2009 SP Authentic #55 is one of my all time favorite cards. In
fact, we now have 3: one each for the boys, and one for dad. Traders
beware...I'll be looking to add a fourth for sister...
Read more cool stories about baseball cards, football cards, basketball cards
and hockey cards in our
previous sports cards of the week.
All cards and stories were submitted by our members!
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An Innovative Baseball Card Promotion
By Rob Harris
In 2012, the Chicago Cubs went someplace that no Major League team had gone
before. For each of the 81 home dates on their schedule, the team reproduced a
Topps baseball card having something to do with the day or the opponent.
For example, October 2’s ticket bore the image of Rick Sutcliffe’s 1985 Topps
card, his first in a Cubs uniform. On that date in 1984, Sutcliffe won the first
game of the National League playoffs against the San Diego Padres, and hit a
home run in the process.
Likewise, June 15’s game against the Boston Red Sox featured an image of a 1984
Bill Buckner card, since Buckner was traded to the Red Sox that year. It didn’t
go so well for him, as you may have heard.
This year, in apparent recognition of what the Cubs did last year, Topps and the
Chicago Cubs have teamed up for a very exciting and unique sales promotion.
There are four dates on this season’s schedule—all of them Fridays—where fans
will receive what is being referred to as the Topps Exclusive Limited Baseball
The set contains 82 cards in all, and appears to follow the lead of the Topps
Archives set, in which players are set in classic Topps designs from years where
they did not play. For example, Anthony Rizzo--the Cubs’ rising star at first
base--is depicted in a design from the 1956 Topps set.
From a sneak peek at the set tweeted out by @briangarza1, it appears that, among
others, there will be Kerry Wood and Ernie Banks in the 1977 Topps baseball
design, Ken Holtzman, Jeff Samardzija, and Ryne Sandberg in the 1965 Topps
baseball design, Greg Maddux, Jose Cardenal, Rick Reuschel (although he went by
“Ricky” his first few seasons in the majors), and Mark Grace in the 1972 Topps
baseball design, and dozens more. And, unlike a traditional pack where a buyer
like me would get one Cubs baseball card, if I was lucky, this set will have
nothing but Cubs players. It’s hard to beat that!
The four games are being packaged as part of a “Topps Six-Pack” of tickets, with
two non-baseball cards games also included in the package. There are no details
about how many sets of these cards will be made available to fans at Wrigley
Field on the day of the game, but you can be sure that similar promotions are in
the works for other teams, as well.
This is a brilliant way to leverage Topps’ “exclusive” licensing deal with MLB
and its member teams. Team collectors will be able to expand their horizons, and
even casual fans won’t have any problem selling these things to collectors on
eBay. The first of the promotional set giveaways is Friday, May 3 against the
Cincinnati Reds. Hope to see you there!
By Rob Harris
Just as in the 1970s—when some of us were collecting baseball cards for the
first time—Topps baseball cards are the only game in town. Since they are the
only brand with licensing rights to MLB and the names and logos of its teams,
Topps is now the “exclusive” card for the baseball hobby. It says as much on the
front of every pack and box that they sell.
But just as you could once get baseball cards inside boxes of Kellogg’s cereal,
or on the bottom of Hostess snack cake boxes in the 1970s, somebody has found a
way around Topps and their exclusivity deals.
Panini America, which has been producing basketball cards, football cards, and
hockey cards for several years now, recently released its Cooperstown series,
through a licensing agreement with the Baseball Hall of Fame. Panini recognizes,
correctly, that the name “Cooperstown” is synonymous not only with excellence on
the diamond, but with the game of baseball itself.
There are certain realities that Panini had to live with as it assembled this
set. The first is that no logos appear anywhere on the cards. This means lots of
strategic cropping, or shots where a player is following through on a swing,
with only their number visible in the shot.
Another reality is that “Pittsburgh” can be used for describing where players
like Willie Stargell or Roberto Clemente played, but “Pirates” cannot. It’s a
minor issue, though, since if you’re a fan enough to purchase these cards, you
know which teams play in which cities, anyway.
The Cooperstown set has some engaging text on the back of each card, describing
the career of the player or manager shown on the card. If I want to know how
many homers Johnny Mize hit in 1947, that’s why the internet was created. (He
hit 51 that year, if you’re curious). But the precious space on the back of
these cards is devoted to telling us something about the players. It’s a
revolutionary concept, although it really shouldn’t be.
There are many insert cards devoted to induction ceremonies, where the inductees
are seen in non-baseball attire. Other inserts include images from the village
of Cooperstown itself, which anyone who has been there knows is part of what
make the Baseball Hall of Fame such a unique setting. And, of course, there are
autograph cards. A Hall of Famer’s autograph is a special thing for a baseball
card collector, and for any true fan of the game itself. But in this set, that’s
all you can get. Pretty nice, huh?
The nature of this set is such that some—and maybe even most—of the cards won’t
have much personal meaning to today’s fan. Johnny Mize appears to have been a
great player, but he retired several years before I was even born. He was voted
in by the Veterans’ Committee in 1981, when guys like Reggie Jackson and Pete
Rose and Jim Palmer were the ones that I was looking for. Still, he’s a Hall of
Famer, and his contribution to the game is honored in a way it probably hasn’t
been since 1981. And that’s definitely worth noting.
Hats off to Panini America for getting around the Topps monopoly, and giving us
a beautiful set of baseball cards that encompasses the history of baseball in a
way that no other set could.
Baseball Hall Of Fame
By Rob Harris
The votes are in, and despite a
star-studded Hall of Fame ballot this year, nobody was elected into the Baseball
Hall of Fame. This year’s Induction Weekend in Cooperstown will have a different
feeling than in years gone by.
The BBWAA voters’ refusal to enshrine Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa,
and Rafael Palmeiro will have a negative impact on all memorabilia relating to
these players for the foreseeable future. Collectors of signed items, jerseys,
balls, and baseball cards of all types will have to keep waiting for the day
when “Hall of Famer” can be attached to their names.
Leaving aside the players tainted by admissions or suspicions of steroid use,
there were some other possible Hall of Famers to be considered. Dale Murphy once
seemed like a lock for the Hall of Fame, and Dale Murphy baseball cards once
seemed to be a good investment play. But now that he has run out of years of
eligibility, he will have to wait for validation from the Veterans’ Committee,
Surviving for 15 years on baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot is not an easy thing,
and there are over 100 Hall of Fame voters who consider Dale Murphy’s
achievements to be Hall-worthy. But unlike Jim Rice--who got in on his 15th and
final time on the ballot--Dale Murphy fell well short of the 75% threshold.
Collectors of Dale Murphy baseball cards and other memorabilia saw a potential
windfall fail to materialize.
Another 15th year of Hall of Fame eligibility will come next year, when Jack
Morris appears on the ballot for the final time. With 67.7% of the vote in his
favor for the 2012 Hall of Fame voting, Morris fell just short of induction this
year. Maybe we’ll see Hall of Famer Jack Morris this time next year.
But the value of Jack Morris baseball cards, and other memorabilia, still has
some potential upside. Collectors could begin acquiring Jack Morris items in the
coming months, with the expectation that the Hall of Fame will vote him in next
year. Call it a final round of Jack Morris speculation. We’ll know what the
answer will be in one year’s time.
A Celebration of the
By Rob Harris
It has to be the most underappreciated card in the collecting universe. It has
no star players on the front, unless you're willing to get out your magnifying
glass and look for some in the team photo. Or, to make matters even worse,
sometimes it has a picture of the manager on the front. The manager! Sure, maybe
if the manager is a Hall of Famer like Frank Robinson, or Ryne Sandberg soon
will be, that's one thing. But who really wants a manager's card?
Like gum stains on the back of a card, checklists are a window into what
baseball card collecting used to be. There's a number of cards in each set, but
since the internet hasn't been invented yet, how do you know who you have, and
who you still need? That's where the checklists come in, and that's why the
checklist should always be a part of every collectable set.
Today I came across a Cubs checklist from the 1987 Topps team set, with manager
Gene Michael on the front. It was Andre Dawson's first season in Chicago, but he
hadn't yet signed his famed $500,000 deal with the team yet, so no Dawson card
is to be found on the card. Greg Maddux was little more than an unproven rookie
in 1987, and so he has no card on this checklist either. Dennis Eckersley is on
here, but he was still a starting pitcher, and had not yet made the switch into
the dominant closer he would become two years later in Oakland. There is also a
T. Francona listed, whose card in that year's set called him Terry, but who
everyone now knows as Tito.
Most people wouldn't give a team checklist a second look. The act of using a
checklist for its intended purpose is a no-no if the card is ever going to be
traded for anything. But then again, who trades for a checklist?
Marking on a checklist, as the Cubs checklist I found was marked up (and all the
way filled in, I might add), makes that baseball card yours. You have X card and
Y card and Z card, but you may still need to get A card or B card or C card.
Nobody can use your checklist after you do that. But that's OK, since it's your
card meant for keeping track of your other cards in the first place.
May the Forsch be with you
By Rob Harris
Two of the main ways of collecting sports cards are by player or by team. In
these days of player moment from one team to another, it can sometimes be
difficult to keep track of who's on what team. If you're a Kenny Lofton
collector, for instance, there are eleven different teams that might be in your
collection. But if you're a collector of the Mets, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, or a
few other teams, Kenny Lofton will not appear in your collection.
Some players spend their whole careers with the same team (Derek Jeter comes
immediately to mind), but they're becoming an increasingly odd duck. Players
just chase a paycheck, which is completely understandable, as we all do the same
thing in our lives, and it doesn't matter to them who they play for. Red Sox
fans probably never wanted to see Johnny Damon play for the hated Yankees, but
Mr. Steinbrenner's money sure changed that. And I doubt any of Damon's Yankees
baseball cards made it into Red Sox fans collections.
I'm the same way with my team, the Chicago Cubs. Andre Dawson was my favorite
player ever, as long as his jersey read 'Cubs' on the front. I certainly wished
him no ill will upon leaving to go play in Boston, and finally with the Florida
Marlins, and I was even in the bleachers when the Cubs held an Andre Dawson day
in his last season in the big leagues. But would I collect the baseball cards of
him in these uniforms, or with the Montreal Expos, where he played more seasons
than anywhere else? No thanks, I'll look for another Chuck McElroy or Paul
Kilgus card instead.
When a longtime player for one team changes uniforms, confusion can sometimes
ensue. A 2007 Upper Deck card of Jason Marquis, in full Cardinals regalia, made
its way into my Cubs collection because he had been signed by the Cubs in the
off-season. And a 1981 Kellogg's cereal card of Bruce Sutter, wearing Cubs gear
but traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in the off-season, still went in because,
well, he was Bruce Sutter. I was willing to be flexible with his cards.
But the funniest example of this confusion came with the status of pitcher Bob
Forsch. Forsch pitched for the Cardinals from the mid-seventies until the middle
of the 1988 season, when he was traded to Houston. Forsch would have had full
no-trade rights under the five-and-ten rules today, but this was in a different
labor environment (pre-1994 strike, that is). Two baseball card companies
handled this trade in different ways.
The Score set for the 1989 season identified Forsch as a Cardinal on the front
and the back of his card (#525). The only evidence that he was no longer a
Cardinal came on the back of the card, where the text that sometimes fills up
space under the players statistics indicates that Forsch had been traded to the
Astros on August 31 of the previous year. Cardinal collectors, who probably have
many Forsch cards in their collections, thus received an unexpected bonus card
in 1989. I'm certain that they added it anyway. I would have done the same
The Topps company handled Forsch differently in 1989. He is identified as an
Astro on the front and back of his card (#163), but the hat and jersey he's
wearing appear to be colored over with magic markers. These were the pre-photoshop
days, and Topps did what they had to do in order to make Forsch into an Astro.
Astros collectors got to add a Forsch card before he retired after the 1989
season, while Bob Forsch collectors added a new color to their large supply of
Cardinals red. Variety is the spice of life, after all
A parting of the ways is
By Rob Harris
In baseball card collecting, there are two gold standard players at the moment:
Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols. Both are sure-fire hall of famers, and anything
with their picture and career stats on it will be in demand for years to come.
But their paths are likely to diverge from each other in the years ahead.
The Yankees had a decision to make last Spring. Derek Jeter, the captain of the
Yankee's team and the heart of their franchise, was due to become a free agent.
He's clearly not what he once was as a player, but he is a symbol of the team's
success over the past fifteen years, and he is allowing himself to be paid as
such. But this won't be the case with Albert Pujols.
Albert Pujols is in the prime of his career, and will be for five more years, at
least. And those who think he'll return to St. Louis after this season--World
Series title or not--are overlooking the fact that the Cardinals haven't once
paid him what he's worth. They can afford Chris Carpenter, or Berkman and
Molina, because Albert plays for less. And do any of the other Cardinals'
players cards or memorabilia have even a fraction of the value that Albert's do?
I can't imagine that they do.
Yankees fans and Jeter collectors have and always will coincide with each other
quite nicely. But Cardinals fans and Pujols collectors are probably not going to
share in this, once this season is over. Whoever wins the bidding derby for his
services will trot him out at a press conference, and his jersey will become an
immediate best seller in whatever city that might be.
There's no question that the novelty of seeing him in another team's jersey whether
it's on baseball cards or on the field will be hard to ignore.
But Cardinals fans will have to make a decision very soon: Do they follow Albert
to his new team, or do they stay home and learn to love whoever comes in to take
his place? At least there will be a few days to think it over, and admire him in
Cardinal's red for the remainder of the Series.
You Can't Make This Up
By Rob Harris
Last Wednesday evening I dropped
my daughter off at an ice skating lesson. These lessons last about an hour and a
half, so I had some time to go and run an errand. I decided to drive to the
nearby Target store, to pick up a few items to put in my kids' lunches.
There was a ballgame on the radio, so I turned it on to
listen. The announcers for ESPN were calling the Tigers-Rangers game, and one of
them pointed out that Rick Porcello, the Tigers' starting pitcher, already had
several strikeouts in the game's early going. I made a mental note of the
pitcher's name as I continued on my way to the store.
After picking up the items I needed, I made my way toward the
checkout lines, and passed their display of baseball cards in the process. I
debated whether to buy any, and then decided to feed the habit that I've had
since I was about 7 years old. There were a couple of boxes of different sets,
and I randomly decided to pull a pack from one of the Topps Series 2 Baseball
I've always, from the time I was a young kid, been a pack
buyer. There are some obvious drawbacks to this, the most obvious of which is
that you invariably wind up with cards you already have, or what I think of as
doubles. It doesn't matter if I have two or twenty copies of the same card,
every last one of them is a double to me. But, at the same time, it's the
cheapest of the options available. When I was a kid, a dime and a nickel (and a
penny for the tax) was all I needed to buy a single pack of baseball cards.
Going to the store and exchanging coins for cards and bills for cards, in
today's world is the cheapest possible rush you can get.
Some sports card collectors choose to buy cards a box at a
time, which has the economic benefit of being cheaper per unit (since sometimes
bonus packs are included in the box). And sometimes there are special cards,
like relic cards or serial-numbered cards, that aren't available to the single
pack buyer. It requires a greater monetary outlay than single packs do, and you
can still end up with doubles.
The third option--which I've never done but I can see the
advantage of--is to buy an entire set at the same time. This way, you will be
certain to get all the cards in a set particularly the rookie cards that will
appreciate in value the most without any of those pesky doubles. This requires
the greatest monetary expense of all, but it also gives the best price per card
value. In the end, it all depends on what you want.
Whenever I buy a single pack of baseball cards, I pick
something from close to the bottom of the box. Not the very bottom, but two or
three packs removed from it. In this case, I grabbed one of the packs and
proceeded to the checkout.
After loading everything into the car, I turned the radio on
and opened up the pack. The first card I came to was Rick Porcello, which was
odd because he was pitching in the game that was on the radio. I continued
sorting through the cards, and noticed there were several pitchers contained in
the pack. I even saw a Rangers pitcher, Matt Harrison, who I wasn't familiar
A flip to the back of his card revealed a player who bounced
around all over the minor leagues, and who really only had significant action in
the majors in 2010. With 37 games pitched, 78 1/3 innings, and 2 saves, I
realized that he's probably a middle reliever. I thought it would be funny if he
pitched in tonight's game, and listened to hear if his name was called.
It didn't take long to hear his name. I put the car in
reverse and started to back out of my spot when I heard one of the announcers
say the name "Matt Harrison." I then realized that I had randomly bought a pack
of baseball cards with both sides of that evening's pitching matchup contained
Had I bought this pack of cards a week earlier, the matchup
would not have been set yet. If I had bought it the day after the game was
played, I likely wouldn't have recalled who pitched against who on a previous
day. The only reason I noticed it at all is that I was listening to the game
they were matched up in at the time. It was as if fate had decided to set these
two cards--along with a few others--free as the game was going on.
What are the odds of this happening? They're astronomical,
I'm sure. It's the kind of thing that some people would use as an omen to go buy
a lottery ticket right away. And those lottery odds would pale in comparison to
ever buying and opening another pack of cards in a similar situation.
The names Harrison and Porcello have now become linked in my
mind, not for anything they did on the field, but for the sheer randomness of
how I came into possession of their baseball cards. Every card--no matter how
it's acquired--has the potential of becoming a story. As these stories present
themselves, we can tell them to others who share our interest in the game.
A piece about why I collect cards
By Rob Harris
Today I went to a "one day only" rummage
sale in a church. I wasn't looking to find it, either. I was trying to find a
parking space, noticed the sign in front of the church, and so I parked my car
and went inside. And I found some clarity as a result.
It was the final hour of the sale, and to clear out the merchandise they were
offering anything you could fit inside a shopping bag for $3.00. I paid for a
bag and went exploring.
As always, I made my way to the book section. Baseball books are always on the
top of my list, and I found a couple that look pretty interesting. I wasn't
expecting to find any sports memorabilia, but at the end of a book shelf I found
two oversize baseball cards that Topps produced in 1980. If I had to guess, I'd
say they were 4 by 6 inch cards, or considerably bigger than regular trading
cards. So I put them in my bag and moved on.
The cards themselves are basically just headshots of the players (of Don Baylor
and Amos Otis, if you're curious) with their simulated signatures in what looks
like a light blue color (I had only seen these in black on regular Topps cards).
The back side of the baseball cards have no statistics, but simply give the
players' names, teams, positions, and a card number. Apparently there were 60
cards in this set.*
But what really struck me was what was printed in the center of the card. There
is a Topps logo, which I had seen before on one of their 1970s sets. The logo
says Topps, with the "T" being lowercased and dropping underneath the other
letters. I had never noticed this before, but the curve in the "T" was actually
forming a smile. And underneath this smile, following the shape of the line,
were the words "For the fun of it" in all capital letters.
Those few words were like the Gettysburg Address of baseball card collecting. I
could go on and on (as I have on several occasions) about why I collect cards,
but those five words get right to the heart of the matter. Following baseball
is, and always has been, fun for me. The fun of following baseball is then
extended to the fun I have with collecting baseball cards, and telling whatever
stories I can about the players and the game itself.
So much about the game has changed since these cards were made in 1980. There
have been two player's strikes, expansion into new cities, interleague play,
instant replay, the Steroid era, the evolution of the bullpen into set-up men
and closers, fantasy baseball, sabermetrics....the list goes much further than
that. But through all of it, the game has remained fun for me.
I've changed as dramatically as the game itself since 1980. Puberty, high
school, relationships with girls, college, working at a "real job," marriage,
graduate school, home ownership, children, middle age...basically passing from
an adolescent to a young man to a middle aged man. And through all of it,
baseball has marked the time, as Terrence Mann said in "Field of Dreams."
I'm glad I found these baseball cards, and if anybody reading this wants to
acquire them, let me know and we can work something out. But I've already
learned quite a bit from them, meaning this was $3.oo very well spent.
Nyjer Morgan's Baseball Cards
By Rob Harris
When the Brewers beat the Diamondbacks to
advance to the NLCS, Nyjer Morgan played the hero by driving home the winning
run. His popularity with Brewers fans certainly rose as well, although you'll
never see too many of his jerseys at Miller Park. The other team members who
have been around for several seasons Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, and
others-- will see that before Nyjer Morgan does.
One easy and inexpensive way that Brewers fans can celebrate Morgan's
achievements is by acquiring his baseball cards through eBay and other online
vendors. But true Brewer's fans may be disappointed with what they find.
Morgan's career began with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he also played for the
Washington Nationals before being traded to the Brewers in March of this year.
As a result, there is only one basic Nyjer Morgan card--in a Brewers
uniform--that I have been able to find online. It's
Topps Series 2 baseball card #573, which shows him in a full layout to catch
a fly ball. The ball's just above his glove, and it's a great action shot of
However, it just looks a little fake, in the sense that there is a rather
generic blue outfield wall behind him, but no warning track is visible on the
card. If he did make that catch, it certainly saved a run if there were runners
on base. But if you want him in a Brewer's jersey, that's what you have
available to you.
There are variations on this basic theme, though. There are a Diamond
Anniversary sparkle baseball card and a gold-bordered serial numbered insert
card also available, but they are essentially the same pose as the Topps Series
2 base card. But any other Nyger Morgan cards, even from recent sets like the
Topps Gypsy Queen series, have him pictured as either a National or a Pirate.
But if you can get beyond that, there certainly are baseball cards to be had of
this momentary hero.
A similar, but even more extreme variation of this theme involves Dave Roberts
and the Boston Red Sox. In 2004, Roberts was acquired from the Dodgers at the
trading deadline. It was too late in the season for him to be included on any
update cards for that season. His steal of second base in Game four of the ALCS
made him a hero in Boston, but he was then traded away by the Red Sox in
November of that year. As a result, he does not appear on a single baseball card
in a Red Sox uniform, that I've ever been able to find. Completist-minded Red
Sox collectors for the 2004 team either have to use his Dodgers' card from that
year, or do without any reminders of his presence on their championship team.
If Morgan comes back to the Brewers after this season, I'm certain that he will
have a Topps baseball card in the base set like everyone else. He may even
appear on a playoffs-related insert card in next year's sets. As for right now,
his role on the team is largely, but not entirely, absent from this year's
baseball cards. And if you're a Brewers fan, you have at least another week to
keep rooting for him and the rest of the team.
An appreciation of
Jewish Big Leaguers
by Rob Harris
Yom Kippur is this week, and it's been forty-six years since Sandy Koufax
refused to pitch in Game One of the 1965 World Series because it fell on the Day
of Atonement. What happened the year after that is less well-known, but an
interesting story just the same.
Since Yom Kippur is based on the Jewish calendar, it falls on different dates
every year. Koufax's decision may not have received as much attention today, due
to the absence of a playoffs--the way we now envision it--in 1965. Teams won
their league's pennant during the regular season, and the World Series started
right away in early October. With the addition of divisional play in the late
1960s, and the expansion into a second round of playoffs in the 1990s, a World
Series game is not likely to be played on Yom Kippur ever again.
But the next season, Yom Kippur was during the late stages of the regular
season. Koufax again refused to pitch that day, although he did take the mound
the following day, against the Cubs in Chicago. His opponent that day, Ken
Holtzman, was also a Jewish pitcher, and the two engaged in a classic
nine-inning pitcher's duel. Both pitchers went the distance, but Holtzman and
the Cubs handed Koufax his final regular season loss.
Koufax retired at the end of the 1966 season, and his 165 wins made him the
winningest Jewish pitcher in major league history. But Holtzman was no slouch,
either. He went on to pitch two no-hitters for the Cubs (which gave him the
nickname of "No-hit" Holtzman) and win three World Series rings with the Oakland
The 1980 Topps baseball card shown above was the final one of his career, which
had actually ended in September of 1979, thirteen years after his matchup
against Koufax. His 174 career wins surpassed Koufax' mark, making him the
winningest Jewish pitcher in history, at least for now. Weâ€™ll have to see how
Jason Marquis finishes up his career.
There are several other Jewish players in the majors today, with Ryan Braun, Ian
Kinsler, Sam Fuld, and Kevin Youkilis among them. According to the website
jewishmajorleaguers.org, the history of Jewish players in professional baseball
goes back to 1871, when Lipman Pike played in the National Association, which
was the forerunner to the National League. Other Jewish big leaguers from the
past include Hank Greenberg, Lou Boudreau, and Steve Yeager.
The contributions of Jewish players have enriched the game of baseball for more
than a century, and baseball cards of these players can serve as a reminder of
their continued success at the major league level.
Building Your Sports Card Trading Reputation
by Jennifer Shook
Online sports card trading is a fun way to connect with a HUGE audience of
people. You can find people who can teach you, answer questions for you, and (of
course) swap cards with you! Online trading can also be beneficial because some
companies pack their products for specific regions. If you live on the East
Coast but you love a West Coast team, you can find someone out west to trade
with you for cards of their favorite East Coast team.
When you start as an online sports card trader it can be hard to find people to
trade with you because you are a "rookie". No one wants to take a chance on
mailing you some really great cards and never getting cards back from you. They
are afraid of being ripped off. Although their concerns may be valid, what is
a new trader to do? You must establish your online reputation. You can do this
in many ways. Here are a few suggestions:
First you must acknowledge your rookie status. Some veteran traders will gladly
make a small trade with a rookie to help them build their reputation. It may
only be a few cards, or it may be commons for commons. These types of trades may
not be what you were looking for, but you must complete some trades before you
earn the right to swap the big cards!
Secondly, your communication with traders will go a long way to building your
reputation. Make sure you are courteous, clear with your wants, and honest about
the condition and description of the cards you offer in trade. If you will only
trade autographs for autographs, say so. If you use a particular source for
pricing, say so. If you like even dollar amounts on your trades say so! By
being clear (and doing it early) you leave little opportunity for
miscommunication. Speaking of miscommunication, it is important to remember the
old adage: The early bird catches the worm! The sooner you respond to a sports
card trade proposal, the better your chances of getting cards you want. If you
wait to reply, you may find the trader already made a deal with someone else.
Another helpful hint is to be sure to reply to all trade proposals you receive.
If you don't want to trade, you don't have to. Just give the other person the
courtesy of a response. "Thanks for the offer, but I've already traded that
baseball card. Sorry! Maybe next time". A few seconds of your time can make the
difference between people being willing to work with you versus people who see
your email address or online name and don't want to bother with you.
Lastly, most online trading sites have an opportunity to leave feedback about
your experience with a trader. Be sure to leave feedback. And if someone does
not do the same for you, ask why. If there was a problem, it gives you a chance
to fix it. Otherwise they may have just needed a reminder. Your feedback will go
a long way for establishing your online credibility!
Will the Real Ryan
Braun please stand up?
By Rob Harris
Strange things can happen when you have two people with the same name. I've been
in situations before when I've received emails destined for someone else named
Robert Harris within a company I've worked for, and we would exchange emails
signed with "the other Robert Harris." There's a Robert Harris who runs a chain
of coffee houses in New Zealand*, and I'd like to go to one sometime before I
And so it is with Ryan Braun. When you mention that name to baseball fans today,
they immediately think of the Milwaukee Brewers star who will get some serious
MVP consideration this year, if he doesn't win the award himself. And his future
looks even brighter after this year, if Prince Fielder leaves Milwaukee via free
agency. If Braun stays healthy and produces at his current level for another
decade or so, he has a real shot at becoming a Hall of Famer. As a result, any
and all cards of him are now in great demand by collectors.
But there's also another Ryan Braun out there. "Ryan Braun" doesn't seem like
the most common name you'll find, but it was common enough to belong to two big
leaguers in 2007. The aforementioned Braun was an outfielder for Milwaukee,
while the "other" Ryan Braun was a pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. And it
turns out that even Topps wasn't able to keep the two straight.
For the 2007 Topps base set, Pitcher Braun's rookie card appeared as #262 of the
set. He was on the Royals' 40 man roster and appeared in nine games with the
Royals in 2006, thus earning him the "Rookie Card" distinction, by virtue of the
players' union rules established in 2006. Outfielder Braun was on the Brewers' 40 man roster and made his major league debut in May of 2007, which allowed him
to have his rookie card in the 2007 Topps update set as card #UH150. Since
Pitcher Braun did not appear in a big league game after 2007, while Outfielder
Braun is now one of the biggest stars in the game, these two cards will have
dramatically different values in the years ahead.
But look closely at the simulated
autographs on the front of each card. Pitcher Braun's is over the top button of
his Royals' jersey, while Outfielder Braun's is just below his belt. Notice
anything interesting? The Topps Company apparently never bothered to tell the
two players apart, since the exact same autograph appears on both cards. No
two people sign their names exactly the same way, and yet Topps apparently
assumed that nobody would ever know the difference.
A simulated autograph on any player's card does not add any actual value to the
card. Nobody would seriously suggest otherwise. However, this snafu does show a
lack of respect for one of the two Brauns, since his card carries the others Ryan
Braun's fake autograph. I don't know which card is correct, and which one
is mistaken. The players themselves may not know, or even care, about the
difference. But Topps clearly deserves an "E" for this one.
Packaging Your Sports Cards To Mail
by Jennifer Shook
When shipping baseball cards you have sold or traded, two questions come to
mind: 1) How should I package the cards to make sure they arrive safely in good
condition? 2) What is the most cost effective way to ship? These can be tough
questions especially if you are new to collecting. Although I don't have all the
answers, I can share with you some tips I've discovered in my 30 years of
collecting and nearly 13 years of online trading.
First, I always package sports cards in the way that I expect others to package
mine. I think about the type of cards I'm sending. If the card is a chrome card
or a thicker cardboard card (like Heritage), I usually put only one card in each
penny sleeve. Thin base cards I usually put two in a sleeve. If a thin card is
an expensive insert or a rookie card though, it will go in its own sleeve. My
reasoning: if the value of the card is dependent on condition, I want to keep
the card especially safe.
After putting cards in penny sleeves, I determine what I need for top loaders.
When sending just a few cards in sleeves, I place them in one thick (GU) loader.
If they are GU, auto, RC, high end inserts, etc. they each need their own
loader. When dealing with a few loaders or one thick one, I place the loader(s)
in a team bag and seal it with a small piece of tape. If I don't have any team
bags available, I use a small piece of tape to seal the top of the loader so the
card can't slide out in transit.
If I have a trade that involves many sports cards, I put them in sleeves and put
them in a team bag directly. When I do this, I use "fill cards" or "dummies" on
the top and bottom of the stack. Then, when I fold the team bag, the pressure
won't be against the corners of the good cards. Once the team bag is sealed, I
sandwich the team bag between two top loaders. Using small pieces of tape, I
secure all four sides of both top loaders making a neat package.
Another option is using plastic cases to ship sports cards. If you choose cases,
try to still use "dummy" cards at the top and bottom of the stack for
protection. Most plastic cases have rounded corners and they can damage cards.
If the case holds 25 cards, don't stuff in 30 and try to tape it shut like an
over-loaded suit case! Likewise, if you only put 5 cards in the case they will
move in transit and may become damaged. Use filler cards or a soft piece of
packing material to keep the cards secure. Remember to use small pieces of tape
to seal the case when you're done.
Once the baseball cards are packaged, it is time to consider outside mailing
wrappers. If I have a small stack like the ones described above, I use padded
mailing envelopes. Always be sure to use the right size padded envelope to
prevent damage. When making a large shipment, I put all the cards in a 200 (or
larger) count box (with packing fill to keep them safe). I put a plain paper
wrapper around the box like a birthday package. After writing the proper
addresses, I seal the package on all sides with clear packing tape. I don't
recommend putting cards in a plain letter envelope with a stamp as a shipping
Shipping Costs Down
by Jennifer Shook
Now that we
have covered proper packaging techniques for baseball cards, let's talk about
cost. One of the reasons we sell or trade cards is to try to get some money back
on our investment. So, how can we save some money when it comes to packaging and
shipping cards? First... RECYCLE! I reuse penny sleeves, team bags, and top
loaders. I also reuse padded mailing envelopes and plastic cases. I try to send
cards in a recycle-friendly way, so the recipient can carefully unpack the cards
and reuse the items themselves. I have access to a secretarial/ clerical staff
that receives manila envelopes in the mail. I noticed these envelopes were
opened, contents removed, and thrown away. I thought the envelopes were similar
in color to the padded envelopes I use, so I started to cut out portions of the
plain envelopes (with no writing on them) to cover the previous address on the
padded envelopes that I recycle.
it comes to shipping baseball cards (in my opinion) the U.S. Postal Service has
the cheapest rates. (Unless you are shipping full boxes or cases because the
weight of these items makes the prices of other companies more competitive.)
When it comes to postage, I never make guesses. Too many times I have received
packages from traders (and sellers) that were postage due. Then I have to waste
my gas to drive to the post office and pay to receive my package! Argh!
office has a never ending and always changing set of rules for sizes, weights,
and postage. You are better off to pick two or three days a week that you ship
cards and tell your traders/ buyers that up front. Then you can go to the post
office, pay for only the postage you need (saves you money), and you don't
short-change anyone by not using proper postage. By limiting your trips, you
save on gas and time.
get to the post office, ask yourself: Am I mailing First Class? Do I want
Delivery Confirmation or Insurance? Are my addresses complete including zip
codes? Do I need a Customs Form? If I'm buying insurance, how much do I need?
There are so many forms now and while some are done by computer, some still need
to be done by you. Ask the clerk about your options. You may find that buying
insurance is not worth the actual replacement cost of the common cards you are
baseball cards, use common sense. Package your cards properly. Use the services
that offer efficiency and good value. Not every package will need every service.
If you plan to insure the cards you are sending, be sure that the other party
knows and has the option of insuring the cards they send to you or the option of
paying for insurance directly (if they are buying) so you don't have to assume
that cost. The key is to try to save money where you can, but don't be so cheap
that your online reputation suffers because cards get lost or damaged.
Topps has announced that it has made some significant additions to its 2011
Bowman autograph list. Bowman Chrome, which hits store shelves shortly, will now
feature autographs of standout pitching prospect Matt More of the Rays and top
rookies Dustin Ackley and Eric Hosmer. Every hobby box of Bowman Chrome
guarantees 1 on-card Chrome Autograph!
* Baseball card tidbit - Results of a completed Ebay auction we found: 2011 Legendary Cuts Babe Ruth CUT AUTO EXQUISITE #1/3
baseball card sold for $5,200.00 on September 14th 2011.
* Baseball card tidbit - Results of a completed Ebay auction we found: Lou Gehrig 1/1 Cut Autograph 3 Pinstrip Jersey MINT 9 baseball
card sold for $5,035.00 on August 31st 2011.
* Baseball card tidbit - Results of a completed Ebay auction we found: 1933 GOUDEY # 53 BABE RUTH GRADED NM-MT 8 BY GAI baseball
card sold for $9,800.00 on August 30th 2011.
More news about baseball
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