2008 Cardboard World Series

When I was younger, I would create my own baseball diamond on poster board and then affix cards of my favorite players. From time to time, I would switch up the cards to create two fantasy all-star lineups and pit them against each other, cardboard style.

In honor of the World Series starting today, I’ve decided to put a twist on that old diagram. Instead of actually drawing one — or stealing someone’s digital version and making it my own — I decided to pit the two MLB World Series teams against each other here using cards from my collection just like the old days.

A couple of notes before starting: 1) I’ve chose the best rookie-year card (or as close to it) I own of each player at the starting positions. 2) The “advantage” is based upon the better pictured card. 3) This is purely for entertainment value.

Catcher: Carlos Ruiz v. Dioner Navarro

Newspaperman Collection: 2007 Topps Update Carlos Ruiz / 2004 Upper Deck Dioner Navarro.

Analysis: In a head-to-head situation, the Navarro card wins hands down due to the fact that it really is his rookie, albeit no where near his best. Navarro has a 2004 Bowman Chrome signed rookie I should have purchased earlier in the year.  This Ruiz, sadly, is the earliest card I have of him. He has a few signed rookie cards in certain 2003 Donruss/Leaf products that I really have no desire to pay for. Like Navarro, his auto rookie can be had for about $10, but I can think of better things to buy.

Advantage: Tampa Bay

First Base: Ryan Howard v. Carlos Pena

Newspaperman Collection: 2003 Bowman’s Best Ryan Howard / 1999 Bowman Chrome Carlos Pena

Analysis: Both of these cards are considered to be the best base rookie of each player, so in a sense this is a push. But it’s impossible not to give the upper hand to the Howard, seeing as how it once held a value of $600; the Pena topped out at $15, and that was five years ago. The value of the Pena has been all over the map. It, too, once was regarded as one of the hobby’s hottest cards — this was several years ago — but it’s remained in the $5 neighborhood recently. The value of Carlos Pena’s rookie is interesting to note because it’s worth about half as much as the Wily Mo Pena rookie card from the same set … and Wily Mo doesn’t even have a starting gig. The Howard resides in the $250 neighborhood.

Advantage: Philadelphia

Second Base: Chase Utley v. Akinori Iwamura

Newspaperman Collection: 2001 Bowman Heritage Chase Utley / 2007 Bowman Heritage foil Akinori Iwamura SP

Analysis: In 2001, I purchased three boxes of Bowman Heritage with the hopes of pulling short printed rookies of Ichiro and Albert Pujols, and what I ended up with was a pair of Chase Utley rookies and a bunch of guys who never really panned out. As it turned out, I’d pulled one of only two true rookies that Utley has. Personally, I like this one better — because it was issued in packs and is short printed — than his 2001 Bowman Draft, which was issued only in factory sets. Both can be had for about $20. As for Iwamura, he has a few signed rookie cards — which should be available for less than $25 — but I’ve never really had the urge to buy one. I’m content with this Bowman Heritage parallel short print which is worth less than $10.

Advantage: Philadelphia

Shortstop: Jimmy Rollins v. Jason Bartlett

Newspaperman Collection: 1998 Bowman Chrome Jimmy Rollins / 2004 Donruss Elite Jason Bartlett auto Analysis: Again, both are true rookie cards worth about the same, about $10 to $15. The Rollins rookie — his best — hails from the 1998 Bowman Chrome product, a year that never really stuck with collectors despite the abundance of solid MLBers whose first cards populate the set. As for the Bartlett, I don’t think it’s going to gain much value. He’s not much of an offensive threat — a huge component in driving up value in this hobby — and most of the card’s existing value is due to the fact that it is signed. This is believed to be Bartlett’s best card, though.

Advantage: Philadelphia

Third Base: Pedro Feliz v. Evan Longoria

Newspaperman Collection: 2000* Donruss Pedro Feliz / 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Evan Longoria auto

Analysis: I’m pretty sure I actually have a Pedro Feliz 2000 Bowman Draft rookie card sitting in a box somewhere, but I could not find it quickly. I mean, it’s not like it would have made much of a difference. Feliz sucks. I still can’t believe that one Bay Area columnist once called David Wright a rich man’s Pedro Feliz. Gah! Longoria’s signed Bowman Chrome rookie is the hottest card in the hobby right now. It’s nearly doubled in cash value over the last week and a half, and should he go bananas in the World Series, it’ll probably eclipse the $300 mark. Although I would caution collectors that now is NOT the time to buy. Odds are that this card, which sells in the $200 neighborhood right now, can be had for about $125 by Spring Training. The Feliz is an interesting card because it was not actually produced until 2001, a year after his real rookie. The card states 2000, but Donruss did not produced baseball cards in 1999 and 2000. This card is serial numbered to 2000, and is part of a retail-exclusive set created to backfill the “lost” years.

Advantage: Tampa Bay

Left Field: Pat Burrell v. Carl Crawford

Newspaperman Collection: 1999 Bowman Chrome Int’l Pat Burrell / 1999 Topps Traded autograph Carl Crawford

Analysis: I was fortunate enough to add this Crawford rookie-year autograph to my collection this summer for less than $20. The main reason is because the top right corner is dinged. I’m not really one for going overboard trying to obtain rookie-year autographs, so I feel this was a great addition, especially since good condition ones can’t be had for less than three times what I paid for this. This is widely considered Crawford’s best card, by the way. In the case of the Burrell, this is a Chrome rookie that evaded me for seven years even though it never really sold for more than $10. And although it is a parallel of his best rookie, it works just fine in my collection, especially since I obtained it for almost nothing. I’m not a huge fan of Burrell, even though he has ties to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Advantage: Tampa Bay

Center Field: Shane Victorino v. B.J. Upton

Newspaperman Collection: 2003 Bowman Chrome Draft Shane Victorino / 2002 Bowman Draft BJ Upton Analysis: This is a pretty decent match up of cardboard rookies. The Victorino, which I believe is his best non-autographed rookie, is of the chrome variation. Meanwhile, the Upton is regular Bowman Draft, which seems to carry less weight with collectors. I’d be interested to hear which one of these two cards collectors would rather own. Both cards are worth less than $5. The Chrome version of BJ’s rookie, which is worth about $10, can easily be had for less than that. Great bargain if you ask me. His best card though is the 2002 Upper Deck Premier Prospects XRC, which is signed. It’s been a good seller recently in the $50-$75 range.

Advantage: Push

Right Field: Jayson Werth v.Rocco Baldelli

Newspaperman Collection: 1997 Bowman Jayson Werth / 2000 Topps Traded Rocco Baldelli

Analysis: This is a very interesting tale of two guys whose cards were left for dead not long after their careers began. Werth figured to be a promising CATCHER for the Orioles, while Baldelli was supposed to be the next big thing in the pros as an outfielder. Werth kind of wasted away in the minors for about a decade before becoming a decent bat man with Los Angeles and now Philly. Baldelli was a stud before he got hurt, and subsequently diagnosed with an illness. Now both are in the World Series. Great story. As for the cardboard, both can be had for almost nothing. Neither is worth more than a buck.

Advantage: Push

Deisgnated Hitters: Matt Stairs v. Cliff Floyd

Newspaperman Collection: 1992 Bowman Matt Stairs / 1992 Bowman Cliff Floyd

Analysis: What a great matchup of rookie cards from a landmark set. Both players were with the Expos at the time of the release of these cards, and both currently can be had for about a buck. But the Floyd is just solid. Being from Chicago, Floyd appears to be immitating Michael Jordan in his image, while Stairs has the standard fake swing follow through. There is little doubt that Floyd gets the nod here because of the photo. Advantage: Tampa Bay

Starting Pitchers: PHI- Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jaime Moyer, Joe Blanton

Newspaperman Collection: Philly: 2007 Bowman Heritage Foil Cole Hamels foil / 2000 Finest Refractor Brett Myers / 1987 Donruss Jaime Moyer / 2002 Bowman Draft Joe Blanton

TB – Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza, Andy Sonnanstine

Newspaperman Collection:TB: 2004 Upper Deck Scott Kazmir / 2006 Bowman Gold James Shields / 2005 Bowman Chrome Draft Blue Refractor auto Matt Garza / 2007 Bowman Chrome Draft Andy Sonnanstine

Analysis: If we were to take out the Myers and Garza refractors, we’d be looking at a pretty ho-hum lot of cards. The Hamels card was produced five years after his 2002 Bowman Chrome Draft rookies, and the Moyer and Blanton are pretty bland. All of those can be had for less than a $1 in most cases; the Hamels 02 Chrome is a good seller in the $20 neighborhood. On the Tampa Bay side, the Kazmir, Shields and Sonnanstine are also pretty Vanilla. The Kazmir might garner a few bucks, but the other two will go for less than a buck each. The real highlight of this cardboard showdown would be the refractors. The Myers refractor, serial numbered to 500, used to be a hot seller in the $25 range, but can be had for about 20 percent of that these days. Meanwhile, this is probably the best Garza card on the market, sans the rarer refractotrs. This Garza book at $150, but is sure to increase by the time the next price guide hits the shelf.

Advantage: Tampa Bay

Closers: Brad Lidge v. Troy Percival

Newspaperman Collection: 1999 Topps Chrome Brad Lidge / 1992 Bowman Troy Percival

Analysis: Hmm, 1999 Topps Chrome dual card v. a standard 1992 Bowman rookie. Not a ton to discuss here. Closers rarely garner much attention in the hobby, except for those guys who pitch in Boston and New York. Both should be available for about $1.

Advantage: Push

WINNER: Tampa Bay, 5-3-3

2 Responses to “2008 Cardboard World Series”

  1. […] in the midst of preparing for the 2009 Cardboard World Series,  and felt it appropriate to show off perhaps the most intriguing card you’ll see in the […]

  2. Trisha Renji Says:

    Hello, Wondering if you have a 2008 World Series Jamie Moyer autographed card? If so, what is your asking price. If not, would you be able to advise me as to where I might find one?

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