The Story of My Best Pull to Date

It was Black Friday 2010 and I was searching for some sports card deals online. There are always huge deals to be had by the big sports card sellers and I knew that I could find something for my collection as I hadn’t broken any boxes in awhile. Blowout Cards’ site was running too slow for me with all their added traffic so I went over to Dave & Adam’s Card World for a split second and saw a case of 2009 Upper Deck Exquisite Football on sale for super cheap.

I broke out the credit card and bought the case. I knew I couldn’t afford it myself so I wanted to run a group break with some friends or somewhere online. The case arrived and I worked on filling up a group break. No one wanted to join my group break as the site I was currently trying to run the break on I wasn’t a big member at so they weren’t sure I could be trusted.

After a month, the break didn’t fill so I decided to have some fun and open it myself and just sell everything. The first tin I opened unveiled the greatest hit of my life. It wasn’t a thousand dollar card, but it was about half of that and I was super excited, even though it was a redemption.

This is the card I pulled – a 2009 Upper Deck Exquisite Quad Autograph of Roger Staubach, Dan Marino, John Elway, and Steve Young numbered to just 10 copies made. I was in awe of this card. My fiance was in the bathroom next to me while I opened the tin on our bed and I screamed out to her “Oh my God!” and I grabbed my computer to put the redemption in.

I was about to leave for a cruise the next day so I brought the two other tins with me on the cruise. While neither of the two other tins provided anything huge, I did enter a contest with Upper Deck for the best box break and opened up one of the tins on the cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean/Caribbean Sea on video.

The best part of that box break video? It won the contest with Upper Deck. The best part about winning that contest? Those two box breaks were the first reviews and a couple of the first posts here on Sports Card Blog.

Not only did 2009 Upper Deck Exquisite football yield my best hit to date, it also helped establish this blog site.

Oh, and I did sell almost every card from that break and made my money back plus the cards I didn’t sell yet.

Brushes With Greatness: Meeting Mo Vaughn

From time to time, I want to start writing posts about my brushes with professional sports players. From all of the major sports, I have come across professional sports players at signings, events, games, and even just walking around the city. I will feature an item I had autographed or just a card of that player along with my experience.

The first professional sports player I ever met was Mo Vaughn of the Boston Red Sox.

Mo Vaughn was my favorite baseball player growing up. I grew up a huge Red Sox fan thanks to my mother and my grandfather. There were two things I loved growing up in the 90s, playing baseball and watching the Red Sox. It was only fitting that I wanted to play first base my first year in Little League because I watched Mo Vaughn play there. Oddly enough, I never moved from that bag from age 8 to 17 when I finished playing baseball in high school.

My favorite player was always Mo Vaughn. Just watching him at the plate was something I looked forward to during every Sox game. Watching him crowd and hangover the plate with his elbow before crushing a ball anywhere in the park with his trademark swing will be something ingrained into my brain for my entire life.

When I was around 9 years old, my parents found out that Mo Vaughn was making an appearance and signing autographs at a car show in Hartford. I had never been so excited. I didn’t even care about the cars when I got there, all I cared about was seeing Mo Vaughn.

As I was waiting in line, I was overcome with fear. Just standing there watching him sign baseballs and pictures was just too much of an overload for a 9 year old kid. By the time I got up to the table, all I could do was say barely say an inaudible “hi” and hand him my baseball. I had other stuff there too I wanted him to sign but couldn’t give it to him. He smiled and ask how I was doing and I just stood there in awe. I don’t even remember which of my parents was up there with me but they answered for me as I watched him sign my baseball and give it back to me. He smiled and asked if I wanted anything else signed as I had a few things with me. I just smiled and handed him my baseball card and poster of him and he smiled and signed them. (I even had more in the bag but felt bad about having him sign everything.) I was so happy to have all these autographs and before we leave he asks if I wanted a picture with him. I didn’t even know what to say. He stood up and brought me around the table and put his big arm around me as a picture was taken by one of my parents. He then shook my hand and all I could see were these huge gold rings. He said thanks for coming out and seeing him and I muttered out a little thank you.

When one of my parents learned I didn’t ask for everything to be signed, they sent my sister up to him and got everything else signed too and he was just as nice to her as well.

Needless to say, my first face to face experience with a professional athlete was nothing short of amazing. The only real issue I had was that the autographed baseball faded a few years later either from the pen he used or the baseball I had. That is an item that I still wish I had in my possession, as well as the picture of Mr. Vaughn and myself. But the memories of meeting my favorite baseball player as a kid will always be a memory of mine.

Epic Cards: 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols Rookie Autograph

First, this was a big night in Game 3 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. Albert Pujols decided to go yard 3 times which tied a record for most homers in a game with Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth. His 6 RBIs also tied a record with Hideki Matsui and someone else…I can’t remember off the top of my head. And his 14 total bases is a new World Series record.

What is the most expensive card of “The Machine” or as I now dub him, “Senor Octubre”? That’s easy, the 2001 Bowman Chrome rookie autograph of his. There are only 500 copies of this autographed rookie card which means whenever one hits the market, there are some serious looks at it. These things can sell up for up to 5 figures, especially on a night where he put on a show like last night.

Now don’t go out there buying boxes and boxes of 2001 Bowman Chrome baseball. These were only available as redemption cards which have expired long ago. No one really knows how many of these are out on the market, but I’m guessing that number is less then the 500 made.

I know that I would much rather put my money towards one of these cards then a Bryce Harper rookie autograph which is coming out on the 10 year anniversary of the release of this great modern day card.

 

Cardboard Connection Radio Interview of Wax Heaven Got Me Thinking…

Yeah, that’s a really long title.

I’m going to warn you, this is most likely going to be one of my tired posts. This is due to my lack of sleep and staying up late after work to work on the website since my fiancee is busy at work. It’s either going to be completely profound or completely useless. I’ll even sit here and debate posting this for 10 minutes most likely.

Anyway, tonight I was bored at work. The company I work for decided to take the internet out of my shack. Well, not exactly take it out…but make it so I can’t use it. This doesn’t make any sense to me. What’s the difference between sitting there staring at a computer screen and watching the security cameras while browsing the internet and sticking your nose in a magazine or book off to the side?

Anyway, this leads me to remember that Cardboard Connection Radio has their weekly show on Fridays. I was able to stream it through my iPhone so all was good in the world for 90 minutes while I got to listen to people talk sports cards. This was probably one of my favorite shows I’ve heard. I was able to listen to Brian Wallos of Benchwarmer talk about his product and his passion. I knew Brian was a great guy beforehand and just listening to him talk about his product gave me that much more respect for him and what he does.

But after that interview was a short interview and chat with Mario Alejandro of the former Wax Heaven and now, Wax Morgue. It truly was an interesting conversation that really got deep into the personal life of Mario as well as what went on behind the scenes of his blog.

I wasn’t around the blogosphere while his blog was popular. By popular I mean the people he reached far outweighs anything that this blog could probably ever do. Daily readers that I could only dream of. But all of that came at a price.

He was living the bloggers dream. A large readership, boxes upon boxes of cards for review purposes, calls from some of the big names in the companies and the hobby…basically the start of something huge in the hobby. And then, it just all crashed down. It took a toll on his personal life and trajectory of where he was going in life. With relationships broken and emotions drained, he was forced to close up shop at Wax Heaven.

The hobby and everything he put behind his blog and site were just gone like that. His collection became next to non-existent. His personal life went into shambles. He admitted that he thought about suicide.

It just makes me think where am I going with all of this? What does all of this mean to me and what am I getting out of this?

I’ve always liked writing about what I feel. I used to write poetry and songs as an outlet for my previous bouts with depression. Now, I sit here daily and write about something that I have a passion for – trading cards. Honestly, I don’t even know why I have this passion. I casually collected in the most over produced period of trading cards when I was a young kid. I got back into it during college and haven’t looked back since. Is it my love of sports? Is it me trying to look back on my childhood? Or is it me trying to relish in other people’s successes as professional sports players, something I desired growing up while playing pretty much every sport that was available? I don’t know.

I do know that I love collecting sports cards and opening packs and boxes and seeing what’s inside. I love finding cards from my favorite teams of my favorite players. I was excited when I pulled a Julius Thomas rookie card from my recent box review of 2011 Panini Threads since I’ve met the guy several times. I love finding a Red Sox card, just like I did when I was little. I also love seeing that big name autograph come out and just the surprise and adrenaline you get.

But the one thing I will never let it effect is my personal life. I will not run myself into debt by just buying a ton of product just to open it. I will not let it effect my personal relationship with my fiancee and have it cause problems in our future marriage. It will not take precedence when I have children one day. It will continue to be just a hobby. Cards and writing about cards will stay a hobby.

I say these things because I’m scared that it may do those things to me. I’ve been through enough rough times to go through something like that. You learn from your own experiences and the experiences of others. The interview tonight with Mario really made me think of the possible roads that I could choose to go down one day…the road of self-destruction (which I’ve done before) or the road of self-realization and stability.

Mario’s story isn’t the first of card collectors getting themselves into trouble with their personal lives and it definitely will not be the last. I just don’t want to be in that situation one day. If you yourself are heading in that direction, just remember that there are more important things out there than trading cards.

Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. But if the time comes where I need to leave, I’ll let my jersey hang in the rafters.

Ah, I enjoy a therapeutic post like this every now and then. Sorry for the rant, but I hope that maybe this post will save others from themselves one day, including myself. Thanks Mario.

A Sweet Birthday Present

I like surprises that show up for my sports card or sports memorabilia collection. This time is no different and I always thank my awesome fiancee for coming up with great things for me. While sometimes it seems she may not care for my collecting or understand why I do it, she always finds a way to add something great to my collection.

The last awesome thing she added was from last Christmas. She bought me a Jon Lester autographed photo from him celebrating after his no-hitter in 2008. It’s a beautiful picture and autograph that sit right against the wall I look at while sitting at my desk. This time, it’s something different.

How awesome is that? It has his autograph and an inscription of what appears to be his favorite verse.

The best part is that my fiancee told me how she utilized the information I have taught her over the years on how to determine whether an autograph is authentic or not, COAs, and legitimate online retailers of authentic memorabilia.

Maybe she does care for my collection but won’t admit it!

Happy Birthday to me!