An auto a day … #1

So, a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the National Sports Collector’s Convention in Cleveland.  It was my second such event.  During my multiple days in Cleveland I happened upon a dealer who had dozens — literally dozens — of three-row boxes in which every card was priced at $1.  And among these cards was a ton of autographs.

Well, as I alluded to in an earlier post, I bought about 100 signed cards, some duplicates.  And my intent was to show them off in one Thrift Treasures post, but I changed my mind because I love these cards and what they represent.  Instead I’ll show them off individually along with some interesting facts about the player.  The goal is to post one a day.

We’ll start with a 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs Jeff Nelson.


I’m a sucker for successful relief pitchers, the underdogs of all major league rosters. And I have a fascination with the 1996-1998 Donruss/Leaf Signature series cards as I find that they were important series in our hobby’s history.

When these cards were produced, he Donruss Trading Card Company was doing something that no other company was doing at the time — offering certified autographs of Major League players.  We’d been seeing prospect signatures for nearly half a decade by 1996 thanks to Classic/Score Board, but no sets with established major leaguers in their MLB uniforms. And while by today’s standards the player selection in these large signature series would be considered watered down due to the abundance of middle relievers and mid-level players, I think it’s actually a fascinating as these continue to be some of the only certified card for many of these guys.

Today I showcase Jeff Nelson, the large right-handed reliever who spent much the majority of his career with two teams, the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees.

Nelson broke into the majors in 1992 as a member of the Mariners and spent four years in Seattle before heading to New York and becoming an integral part of their multiple titles. In fact, Nelson has four — yeah, FOUR — World Series rings (1996. 1998. 1999, and 2000), all as a member of the Yankees, and had a career strikeout ratio of 9.5 per 9 innings pitched.Like it or not, he was an important part of the Yankees Dynasty and a member of 1998 team, which is considered to b the best — or second best — team in the history of the game.  Nelson ended his career in 2006 after 15 seasons in the Bigs.

Nelson has two rookie cards — 1992 Donruss and 1992 Fleer Update — and just one certified autograph, the one shown above.

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