Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beardy here is your answer for the devaluation of cards. (A correction)

I made a mistake in my analysis of 2011 Bowman Platinum in my previous post. 2011 Bowman Platinum is not selling for $19.99 a pack but $19.99 a blaster. So that really screwed up my analysis.

I guess the best way to articulate what I wanted to say was this. In 1989, Upper Deck with the advent of the $1.00 (though they may have initially been .89 cents)pack, the value that collectors received from the cards was disproportionate to the price. Basically, (though collectors did not know it at the time) collectors were receiving probably 50 cents or less worth of cards for the 1 dollar they paid.

This was happening before 1989 (but collectors did not know it at the time) but the difference was more minute. In 1987, I recall buying 36 packs boxes (540 cards) of Topps Baseball for about 11 or 12 bucks. Wrigley Wax recent look at set prices for 1987 Topps had the average price on ebay going for $8.00. So in the long run collectors lost out a few bucks buying these cards (How I thought a Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco and Cory Snyder rookies were going to make me rich.).

In 1989, the gulf between the value of the cards and price just began to expand as Topps, Donruss, Fleer and Score started to push high cards in the early 1990s that are worth nothing compared to what you paid for. It has been that way ever since for probably every set made. Buying cards became more like a lottery trying to find the one big hit. Thus, the prices of packs of gone up but not the actual value of the cards you receive in the packs. It was probably in the mid 1980s when collectors were last receiving full value of cards for what they were paying for.

Since, card manufacturers were selling cards that were worth a lot less than people were paying for they decided to make more sets. They have also capitalized on the lottery obession (States do it), as most every one has those lottery winning fantasy. Thus, card manufacturers began advertising the BIG HITS you could get in a box.  Thus into the 2000s, card manufacturers were making 75 baseball sets a year hawking the big hits. This was making a lot of collectors who were left without a chair (a big hit) unhappy.

Two things have happen in the last two years I felt has helped the collector. The exclusive agreement with Topps and and the promotion of Steven Strasberg and Bryce Harper. I felt for the first time in years that the gap between what collectors paid for the cards and what they are worth had closed a little. When you buy a pack or blaster of 2010 Bowman and you got a Strasberg (an ordinary base card), you felt like you were getting real value for your money (still no where near the one to one value/price ratio from the mid 1980s). The same goes with Bryce Harper. If you buy a 2011 Bowman Platinum Blaster for $19.99 and pull a $8-10 base card of Bryce Harper at least it would make you feel a little bit better about what you paid for.   

Beardy here is your answer for the devaluation of cards.

Who is to BLAME.  Upper Deck, and the other card companies. I call it the illusion of value (as opposed devaluation). Since the late 1980s, card companies have excerpted the value of cards. They (card companies) have taken most of  the value of the card before it even reaches the collector. Remember in 1952 every Mickey Mantle card that was sold from a pack was sold for 1 cent. Now you pay $100 for a pack of cards and get 4-5 dollars worth cards (value).

Here is what is happening to 2011 Bowman Platinum.

It costs $19.99 retail per pack. On the average you get 6 base cards (out of a 7 card pack). In order to complete a 100 base set you would need to buy 17 packs with perfect collation (you would get 2 doubles). The 17 packs would cost you approx $340.

What is the 100 card base set selling for on ebay now, well you can get it for about $15. You can get a complete base set for less than the cost of a retail pack. Where is the rest of the money (value) going. The value is not being retained by the cards, the value is being retained by the card manufacturers.

The only way someone can retain the value of the cards is getting the lottery ticket big hit.  You have chances at autographs but with some of the names like these Brian Bogusevic, Corey Hart, Cristhian Martinez, Edwin Encarnacion, Evan Meek, John McDonald how much are those big hits really worth. You can get a Max Ramirez auto relic in the set. Max got his rookie logo card in 2008 and I don’t think he has been in the majors since then.

95 percent of the collectors that buy this product with get a fraction of their money. Now if you bought 2 boxes say for $300 and you got a Bryce Harper auto then you might make out. One 2011 Bowman Platinum Harper auto sold this week on ebay for $246.00. Thus for $300 bucks (2 boxes) you can get an almost complete $15 base set and a Harper auto (if you are lucky) worth $245.00 and only lose $40 of value to the card manufacturers.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Iconic Series: 1981 Topps in action Terry Bradshaw

This is an odd showing, but it captures a lot of emotion that was rarely seen in cards back in the 1970s and early 1980s. Terry is coming out onto the field at Three Rivers Stadium, his home, where he would be the first quarterback to deliver 4 Super Bowl Championships to Pittsburgh. It is the first card, that I know of that a player was giving the number 1 sign. Terry, of course earned it.

The Iconic Series: 1973 Topps Pete Rose

  I know Pete Rose’s rookie card is worth more but I always think of this card of Rose stands out more to me, maybe because I think it was his MVP year card. It is also an interesting action shot taken at Candlestick Park, as Pete appears to be following a foul ball he hit. It is a better card than his rookie card that he shared with other players.  In a less offensive time, Pete Rose was an major offensive force even though he did not hit home runs or drive in a lot of runs. He was at the top of his game in 1973.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Iconic Series: 1977 Topps Reggie Jackson

The origin of the definition of Iconic relates to memorial sculptures especially those depicting athletes of Greece. I will try to take that concept and apply it to sports cards.

The question that I ask, if there is one card that would represent a player (the iconic card) what card would that be. I refer to it as the sight test. This is how the test works: If someone mentions a players name what is the first card of that player that pops into your head.

I realize that some of the choices are obvious (as they relate to the players rookie card).
Obviously for Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr, Joe Montana, and Wayne Gretzky and some other players their iconic card would be their rookie card ( 1952 Topps, 1989 Upper Deck, 1981 Topps, 1979-80 Topps etc…). I have not included those players in this series. This series deals with players whose iconic card was not in my opinion not their rookie card.

Also most of the players I will deal with played prior to 1992. After 1992, I don’t think many iconic cards were made because of the mass proliferation of sets. Prior to 1992, at most players had somewhere of 1-5 cards made of them a year. After 1992, that number of sets just exploded.

I believe the 1977 Topps card is Reggie Jackson’s most iconic card more so than his 1969 Topps rookie card. This card captures Jackson first card in a Yankee uniform where he would become one of the most talked about athletes in the late 1970s. It also is a cool photo (yes photoshopped but they got him in a Yankee cap) because he is wearing some cool shades.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The 4 angels

I decided to do one post for these guys because how similar their cards look. They are all in the beginning of  or just in the aftermath of their pitching motion and they also happen to be Angels. You can see the ball in Frost and Zahn's hand. Renko has a ball in his hand but you can not see it on the card. Also, Frost, Zahn and Renko all appear to have one leg up in the air. Witt is the only pitcher standing on his own 2 feet. I think the Frost and Renko cards were taken at the same staduim and probably on the same day. There is a player in the background of Renko's card it could be Bobby Grich but from the positioning angle it is probably a shortstop. Renko also appears to have something between his cheek and gum. Another interesting aspect of these 4 Angels they all had 4 or 5 letters in their first and last name. Also, all  were big dudes except Zahn (who went 6'1), the other three were at least 6 feet 6 inches Tall.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Did you know? That Barney Rubble lived in Fern Rock before he moved to Bed Rock.

In this little known fact about Mr. Rubble, he did not grow up in Bedrock. He was actually born spent his child hood in Fern Rock. He left Fern Rock for the big city of Bed Rock so that he could have more of a yabba dabba doo good time in his life (with Betty of course). 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Breaking News: NFL and NFLPA agree to give Brett Keisel his first Score football card

Yes, after 4 long months of hammering out a deal, the NFL and NFLPA have decided to put Brett Keisel on a Score Football card. Brett who has not appeared on a regular issued football card since his 2002 Bowman rookie, was delighted. Brett stated that he hope they could fit his beard onto the card. Brett  also had cards in Steeler Super Bowl sets (made by Topps and Upper Deck). Brett who goes by the nickname Deisel (he stole it from John Riggins), hopes to be on a Super Bowl set after this season.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Before there was Bip there was Shooty Babbitt

Sounding like a character from Lord of the Rings, Shooty real name was Mack Neal Babitt (the back of his Donruss card had only 2 Bs in his last name). I don’t remember much about his career, I don’t think he did much after 1981. Again, the vibrant colors of the A’s uniform shines through on this card.

Back Facts: Father nicknamed him “Shooty” after hearing a local disc jockey use the name frequently.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Enrique Romo #59

We have a lot of We are Family Pirates late 70s uniform going on here. The Pirates were wearing there Yellow Tops and Black Bottoms combo.  The Pirates wore a variety of Black and Yellow tops and bottoms around this time. This is a great action photo with Enrique ready to unload his pitch. We have a guest appearance by the Hall of Famer Willie Stargell in the background. Not sure where this photo was taken but I am pretty sure it was not Three Rivers Stadium.

Back Facts: Can throw just about every pitch in the book, but screwball is his best

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2011 Score San Francisco 49ers team set. (Keeping up with the Smiths)

In what must be an all time sports card record - of the 9 players in the 2011 San Francisco 49ers Score team set, 4 of the  players are named Smith. (Aldon, Justin, Alex, Troy). That is about 45% of the players in the team set named Smith. I don’t know of any team set made by any card manufacturer in any team sport set that had 4 guys with the same last name.      

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stan Bahnsen #392 (Why 1982 Donruss set is more colorful than 2011 Topps set)

A nice shot of Bahnsen in the Expos red alternative jerseys. The photography from this set combined with the design truly make it one of the most colorful sets ever.

As to my question in the title I think there are a couple of reasons the Donruss set is more colorful than todays Topps set.

1. I noticed when comparing the sets more players were photograph in their Dark uniforms in 1982 Donruss than their white uniforms. 

2. The photographs were cropped tighter (more player on the card than other stuff) in the 1982 Donruss set giving you a clearer shot of the uniforms

3. The main reason, besides 1982 Donruss being a wonderful simple design, the uniforms back then were more colorful. With the advent of the 1970s, astroturf and everyone owning color television, MLB teams went wild on uniform schemes. The Oakland A's, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Montral Expos just had some 1970s far out uniforms. I think the early 1980s was the pinnacle of the these type of uniforms. By the late 1980s, the uniform schemes became more basic for most teams. In 1990, teams started to have throw back uniform games think of 1991 Topps Robin Ventura. The one team that is giving me that 1970s feeling are the Tampa Bay Rays there new dark uniforms have some pazazz.

I have not seen one baseball card yet from 2011 that shouts out to me like this card.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Breaking News: Score captures Calvin Johnson controversial non-touchdown on card board.

During the first game of the 2010 season, Detroit was losing to the Bears. A pass was thrown to Calvin Johnson in the front of the end zone. Johnson caught the ball stumbled forward and as he was falling down (just after the photo) he brought the ball down with his hand to the ground. A he brought it down, he either let it go or it appeared to come out beneath him. He literally had control of the ball in the end zone for 2 full seconds but because of an obscure rule, it was ruled a none touchdown because he appear to lose control of the ball as he landed. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bruce Bochte #505

I always remember Bochte as being the first  Mariner’s star. I know Ruppert Jones had a great year in 1977 but he could not sustain it. After the first 5 or 6 years of the Franchise, Bruce owned about every hitting record.

Back Facts: (Major Errors) Mariners most consistent hitter since coming from Cleveland as their 3rd round pick in the ’77 expansion draft.

This is wrong on the back, Bochte did not come to Seattle through the expansion draft. He came to Seattle in 1978 as a free agent.

Gary Wheelcock was the third pick in the expansion draft and the year was 1976. They actually drafted in November of 1976.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gene Garber #123

Gene is wearing his warmup jacket on what appears to be a cold spring training day. With the beard Gene Garber looks like the guy that co-starred on Tim Allen Show Home Improvment. I don't know what his name was. There is a nice shot of a scoreboard in the background - it states "West Palm" and and it looks like the last word would be Beach.

Back Facts: Struck out Pete Rose to end his 44-game hitting streak in '78.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lord Morpheus The Sandman vs. Roger Clemens (misremembering)

Three years ago Roger Clemens volunteered to testify in front of Congress. (Ha Ha First rule never volunteer for anything – 2nd rule don’t volunteer to testify in front of Congress.). He was testifying about his alleged drug/steroid use. He was asked questions concerning what Andy Petitte stated in a sworn deposition. When questioned about Pettite’s testimony Roger stated that Andy “misremembered” a conversation that they had in the past.

(I) and most people (the media) stated that they never heard of the word misremember. Well, I was wrong, there was a comic series called the Sandman comic which began  in the late 1980s. The first story arch was called Preludes and Nocturnes which I first read it in 2001. In Preludes and Nocturnes author Neil Gaiman had one of his characters use the word misremember in his dialogue. 

I never knew Roger Clemens read the Sandman.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rod Scurry #185 (giving us the finger)

A great looking baseball card but a serious personel tragedy. It is almost looking like Rod is giving us the finger on this card but I don't believe that is his middle finger as I think I can see his thumb next to it. (Maybe he is referencing that the Pirates are No 1. - shades of 1972 Martin) It is also cool that his name is on his written glove. The black and gold Pirate uniforms work well with the Donruss design. Plus a nice shot of trees in the background, a colorful card that holds up 30 years later.

Rod got caught up with the wrong crowd, he started dating a girl from the Garfield section of Pittsburgh, got involved in drugs (Cocaine Scandel of 1986) and I believed died some time in the 1990s of an overdose. Though he does look like one bad hombre here, someone you did not want to mess with.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pete Vukovich #458

Here is the baseball cardof the the 1982 American League Cy Young winner. I am assuming this is a spring training shot as the back ground is mostly blurred. It looks like there are some trees in the background.

Back Facts: Came over to Brewers 12/12/80 from Cardinals along with Rollie Fingers and Ted Simmons for P Larry Sorensen, OF Sixto Lezcano and Dave Green.

It was the above trade that would help put the Brewers in the 1982 World Series, Milwaukee got the best of the deal but they could not beat the Cardinals in the World Series.

Mike Ivie #396

I think Mike at one time was a big San Diego Padres Prospect but he never really panned out. He had one big year in 1979 with the Giants (27-89-.286), but that was about it. Mike gave a side look smile for this card. I am guessing that this was not taken in Spring Training as he was traded to the Astros on 4/20/81

Back Facts: Traded by Giants to Astros 4/20/81, but spent much of '81 season on the disbale list under medical care for exhaustion. (What???)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bruce Benedict #375

He was the Atlanta Braves catcher in 1982, which would later be known as America's team because of their cable broadcast through WTBS. WTBS brought over 140 games in other markets that summer of 1982 and with the Braves being really good with a budding Super Star in Dale Murphy the moniker of America's team stuck.

This is a nice spring training shot on a cloudy day as Bruce posed for this photo. Bruce would eventually replace Murphy who came up as a catcher. .

Back Facts: Attributes his improvement with the bat the past couple of seasons to an off season weight and strength program.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bill Virdon #144

A stern shot of the former Pirates centerfielder who was managing the Astros back in 1981. This is clearly a posed spring training shot.  Virdon who was about 50 years old in this shot and he recently turned 80. Again this is another great card from the set that gives you a nice shot of the team logo and that Florida blue sky.

Bill managed the 1972 Pirates and 1980 Astros probably the best 2 teams for those clubs between 1970-1981. Did you know that Bill's teams won 231 games and lost 231 games between 1975 and 1977 (he managed the Yankees and Astros). Bill was also managing the Yankees the year Derek Jeter was born (1974).

Frank Lacorte #270

This is kind of a really dark photo of Lacorte. I can't tell what is the background of the card but Dodger Stadium comes to mind. Could the photo been taken in the  Astrodome (I doubt it) given the darken background. The photo looks like a very tiny tad out of focus. Frank has a nice set of hair while warming up along the foul line.

Back Facts: Key to sucess is his breaking ball...Worked one inning of game two of the NL championship series with Phillies in '80 and picked up first ever Houston post-season victory.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Yao Ming Topps Rookie Card Drug Deal.

Back in the late fall of 2002, when I was still going to card shows (not so now after I discovered ebay), I went looking for a 2002-03 Topps Yao Ming rookie card. I had just seen Yao make something like 11 of 12 shots against Shawn Bradley and he was shooting something like .800 from the lane for the season.  I wanted his rookie card. I went to a card show.

I went to all of the booths at the card show but no one had his Topps rookie card. I just paid like 3 or 4 bucks for admission, drove about 20 miles and his card was not even here.

Then when I was at some dealer’s table I looked to my left and I saw some collector standing there and low and behold in his hand in a hard plastic sleeve was a 2002-03 Topps Yao Ming.

I did not know what to do next or react, so I just kind of listened to the conversation between the collector and dealer. I could not believe what I was hearing, the collector was trying to sell the dealer some of the cards that he had in his hand.

I waited until the conversation was over and then I pounced.  Just as the collector left the table, I approached him.  “Hey Buddy”, “You looking to sell that card” Me pointing to Ming.

At that time, I hoped that the collector did not notice the look in my eyes. The look that no I did not want to have that Ming rookie card, but the look that I HAD TO HAVE THAT MING ROOKIE CARD. The look that said I would have given my first born or a yacht for that card.

Luckily, He did not notice the look, so in the dark dusty corner of that large auditorium away from all other patrons and dealers, the deal went down. My few dollars for his Ming rookie card. Wow! It was they only time I ever bought cards from another collector at a card show. Somehow the whole thing felt dirty and until this day I get shivers down my back thinking about the transaction. (At least it made going to the card show worth it). 

Ralph Dave Engle #102

I never knew that Engle's real first name was Ralph. This is one of the more colorful cards and the Twins powder blue uni's clash well with the Donruss 1982 Design. Another great shot of the Twins red cap and the twins logo. The colors are just striking on this almost 30 year old card. A nice shot of some palm trees in background.

Back Stats: Another in the long time of twins farmhands to make good.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Baseball Card Price Guide History - 1993 SP Derek Jeter

I was blown away by some of these prices for this card. Obviously collectors liked to grade this card as about 75 percent sold last week on ebay were graded. Until I did this post I really had no idea what this card looked like. There was one sale($15000) on ebay for psa graded 10 that blows everything out of the water.
  Below is the source guide and prices over the years for this card.

10/1996 SportsCards                       $9.00
10/1998 SportsCards                       $25.00
2/2005 Beckett Baseball                   $25-60.00
10/2009 Beckett Baseball                 $50-100.00
Last week on Ebay (avg price)          $222(221 sales - high of $15000 - low $15)

I underestimated collectors love for this unattractive Upper Deck card. Take away the $15,000 sale and the average price for this card was still $155 on ebay last week. Not too shabby.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baseball Card Price Guide History - 1993 Score Derek Jeter

This is probably the best looking of all of his rookie cards. It is just a well presented card and a lot is going on here. You have large Yankee logo, a kind of cool draft pick logo, a slight 3-d effect on the card, it is non glossy (hooray), Jeter takes up the whole card. The only problem would be that there may be a little too much white on the card but the blue to fade background enhances the look.  Collectors must like this card because last week on ebay it outperformed Bowman, Topps, and Upper Deck. Below is how the card has been valued over time. Price Guide and Value

Baseball Cards 10/96                $1.50
Baseball Cards 10/98                $4.00
Beckett Baseball 2/05               $4-10
Beckett Baseball 3/09               $5-12
Last week on Ebay                   $19.11 (48 sales)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baseball Card Price Guide History - 1993 Upper Deck Derek Jeter

This is probably his second most available rookie card but it is also the Upper Deck step child to his 1993 SP rookie card. I did not buy this card when it came out and I did not have a minds eye of what this card looked like until I researched the prices. It seems very green to me now.  Below is the source guide and prices over the years for this card.

10/1996 SportsCards                       $1.75
10/1998 SportsCards                       $5.00
2/2005 Beckett Baseball                   $4-10.00
10/2009 Beckett Baseball                 $5-12.00
Last week on Ebay (avg price)          $6.50(272 sales - high of $114.50)

This card did not seem to be graded as much as the Topps card. Also, this card  was sold in lots of 10 to 30  as compared to the Topps card which was sold more on an individual basis. The $6.50 price in sales is almost 1/3 of the value of his Topps card.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Baseball Card Price Guide History - 1993 Topps Derek Jeter

I will continue to look at Jeter's rookie cards over the next few days as he approaches his 3000 hit. The 1993 Topps card is probably his most available rookie card.  In computing the sales on ebay last week, I have included his 1993 Topps Gold card, his Marlins and Rockies factory set card and his 1993 micro card.

10/1996 SportsCards                       $1.50
10/1998 SportsCards                       $3.00
2/2005 Beckett Baseball                   $4-10.00
10/2009 Beckett Baseball                 $5-12.00 (Gold card $10-25)
Last week on Ebay (avg price)          $16.21(473 sales)

Alot of his 1993 Topps cards were graded, I am guessing that the average price of his non graded cards were a lot less than $16.21.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hey Topps, I want a Derek Jeter Trenton Thunder baseball card

Wouldn't it great if Topps made a card of Jeter in his Trenton Thunder uniform. They could maybe add it to the update set as a variation  (of say his all star card or 3000 hit card) - or even better as a pro debut variation. But that being said this card needs to be made.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Baseball Card Price Guide History - 1993 Bowman Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter is going to be one of the last superstar baseball players whose rookie cards were defined under the old rules (i.e. non autographed rookies). A-Rod falls in this same boat. With the advent today of autograph rookie cards - non autograph rookie cards are usually worthless. Here is how his Bowman rookie card faired through the years.

10/1996 SportsCards                       $3.00
10/1998 SportsCards                       $10.00
2/2005 Beckett Baseball                   $6-15.00
10/2009 Beckett SCM                     $10-25.00
Last week on Ebay (avg price)          $28.61(62 sales with high sale of $152)

With Jeter closing in on 3000 hits his Bowman rookie cards are going for higher than they were listed 2 years ago 

Friday, July 1, 2011


Probably my favorite set year after year. Score Football is back. Score brought back the old Score logo for this set. I like the design as the front has alot going on though the photo probably could be a little bigger. More to follow.