Archive for the Rookie Card Showcase Category

I recently paid $8 for a Barry Zito rookie card and it wasn’t autographed …

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

I must be crazy, right?  Who pays $8 for a Barry Zito rookie card, especially one that doesn’t bear his signature?

Well, when the serial number on the card matches his jersey number, sometimes collectors do funny things.


Barry Zito used to be a big deal.  He was a big-time pitcher for the Oakland A’s in the early part of the 2000s — even winning a Cy Young Award in 2002 — and then signed a massive contract with the San Francisco Giants who play just across the San Francisco Bay (or estuary for you science types) from the A’s.  He sucked for the most part, constantly ripped on sports talk radio and even relegated to a spectator in 2010 when the Giants won their first World Series.  And then he came back in 2011 and 2012, even becoming a key contributor for the Giants down the stretch as they won their second title in three years.

Alas Zito played again in 2013 and finished his mammoth contract with the Giants by posting the second-highest ERA of his career.  He hasn’t played in 2014 and it appears that his career may in fact be over.

Zito hasn’t been relevant in the hobby in almost a decade and prices on his cards plummeted over the years.  His key rookie is still the 200o SPX set, a card that features a serial number and autograph. His second best?  Quite possibly this 2000 SP Authentic, which is limited to 1,700 copies.  Believe me, this was a big deal in 2000. I located this one — in it’s glorious PRO graded case — at a local card shop in a bargain graded card bin.  Every card priced $8 each, all of them were graded by either PSA or BGS, except for this one.  This company — which has zero traction in the hobby — graded this card at 9.8 “N-Gem,” which I’ll have to believe means Near Gem Mint.  I’m not aware of any company who uses that lingo.  Go figure. I’ll leave it in here for now, but might send it eventually to BGS for continuity purposes.



Rookie Card Showcase: 1999 Bowman Chrome Adam Dunn

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , on September 4, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

This is part 24 of an ongoing series. To see the rest of this series, click here.

There are some cards you’ve always wanted to own, and for one reason or another, it takes several years to obtain them.

One example for me is this 1999 Bowman Chrome Adam Dunn rookie card.

Bowman Chrome was a huge success in 1999.  The two-series set featured dozens of rookie cards that were a huge deal at the time.  Arguably, none of them was bigger than Dunn’s.

Dunn has always been seen as a major power threat.  And now some 14 years after his first appearance on cardboard, Dunn is primed to eclipse the 40-homer mark again, and recently slugged his 400th career homer.

When he was considered a prospect, Dunn’s Chrome card was a routine seller in the neighborhood of $10-$12, with outliers of $15-$20 for this basic card.

What about these days?

You should be able to snag these for less than $5.

I got mine for mere pennies thanks to a lot of 20 cards I recently purchased on eBay for $1.98 from a seller in Canada.  The kicker?  The seller offered free shipping.

Rookie Card Showcase: 2005 Bowman Chrome Refractor Auto Matt Kemp /500

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , on September 1, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

This is part 23 of an ongoing series. To see the rest of this series, click here.

It’s all about timing.

In April and May, finding this card on eBay at a relatively decent price was damn near impossible.  In fact, a good comparison right now is the Mike Trout 2009 Bowman Chrome autograph and all of its variations.

Fast forward three months, after Kemp spent time on the Disabled List and interest in his cards receded, and suddenly Kemp autos can be found at reasonable levels.

I grabbed this off eBay a few weeks back for less than the price his basic Bowman Chrome auto was selling for earlier this year.

And what makes this sweeter, interest in this card is likely to pick up again with the Dodgers making big-name acquisitions in an attempt to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

The result of the roster moves not only gives the Dodgers a more potent lineup, but give Kemp lineup protection like he has never seen.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1949 Bowman Johnny Pesky

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

This is part 21 of an ongoing series. To see the rest of this series, click here.

Don’t ask why it took so long for me to own this card.

I’ve been a Red Sox fan since 1988, the year in which I basically had to decide which team I wanted to cheer for.

I knew who Johnny Pesky was.

I knew what he meant to the Red Sox organization.

I knew that I needed this card for my Rookie Card Collection.

Yet it was not until Pesky died on Aug. 13, 2012, that I decided I absolutely had to own the card immediately.

Say what you want about that buying strategy — I actually snapped it up before word of his passing was wide spread so that helped with the cost — but fact is I own it now.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Pesky.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1949 Bowman Satchel Paige

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , on August 29, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

This is part 21 of an ongoing series. To see the rest of this series, click here.

There are good pitchers.

There are great pitchers.

And then there are legendary pitchers

Satchel Paige fits into the latter category.

Paige is a historical figure in the sports world.  He cut his baseball teeth in the Negro Leagues during a time when sports — like the rest of the country — was segregated.  He did not join Major League Baseball until he was age 42.

He is a World Series Champion, two-time Major League All-Star and a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  In fact, he was the first Negro League player to be elected to The Hall.

One look at his Major League resume, which only spans six years, really does not do Paige justice.  This is where the legend kicks in.

He’s credited with hurling 64 straight shutout innings and 21 straight victories.  He also tallied 31 victories in 1933.

He’s revered as one of the bet pitchers of all time — Joe DiMaggio called him the best he’d ever faced.  One always has to wonder how well he could have fared in the Major Leagues during his entire career.

Anyhow, there are two things I learned recently about Paige.

1) According to, Paige has TWO Topps cards (during his playing days) — 1953 and a 1967 Topps Valenzuela — and only ONE Bowman card — his 1949 Bowman rookie featured hee.

2) He last pitched in MLB in 1965 as a member of the Kansas City Athletics.  He started at the age of 58 against the Boston Red Sox. He tossed 3 innings, faced 10 batters, struck out one and allowed one hit — a double to Carl Yastrzemski.