Archive for Rookie Card Showcase

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.

A 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle for $5? Whaaaat

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

For weeks, I’d been itching to get back to one of my local card shops to dig through their vintage bargain bins. The Topps Million Giveaway promotion has rejuvenated my love for the old, smelly cards. So instead of paying inflated prices for a cardboard lottery ticket hoping to get something made before 1970, I decided to call the shots — I was going to chose what I wanted. And so I did. In the end I came away with five cards for $14.

The first  is a 1954 Bowman rookie of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Memo Luna. Luna is a Mexican Baseball Hall of Famer. Born Guillermo Romero Luna, the lefty played in all of one game in his major league career. On April 20, 1954, Memo pitched just two-thirds of an inning, giving up six hits and two earned runs. And then poof, it was over; his Major League Dreams snuffed out. While his MLB numbers aren’t anything to gawk at, Luna actually played professional ball for 20 years What I have not figured out is how he got the nickname “Memo.”

I actually wish that I had gone to this card shop a week earlier. Nine days ago I paid $1 for a 1955 Topps Harvey Haddix card just to say I owned one of the guy who threw 12 perfect innings in a losing effort. And then lo and behold I found this 1961 Topps card yesterday commemorating that occasion. It still boggles my mind that Haddix tossed the equivalent of 1 1/4 of a perfect game and still came out on the losing end. This card is awesome, by the way. Very timely considering it is a “Baseball Thrills” subset, just like the ones that are in the 2010 Topps Heritage set.

I thought I bought a Milt Pappas rookie before, but a quick check of my blog via my cell phone was showing no signs of it. I would have posted it in my Rookie Card Showcase.  Anyhow, for $2 I was not going to pass on this 1958 Topps card. Pappas tossed a no-hitter (almost a perfect game) with the Cubs late in his career. And although he was not a HOFer, he remains one of the best pitchers of his era, tallying more than 200 wins and 1,700-plus strikeouts. Solid career.

And from one Oriole to another who had a slightly more decorated career. OK,  who am I kidding, this guy had a much more accomplished career. Brooks Robinson is one of the best third basemen to ever play the game and there was no way I was going to pass on a third-year card of a guy like that for $5. Yes, the card has some issues. There is a crease down the middle, but it’s really not as bad as it looks. And for the price, there was nothing to quibble about.

And lastly, the 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle card to which the headline alludes. Yes, this is a Yankee team checklist card, but it does feature some of legendary names: Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, Whitey Ford, Sal Maglie, Tony Kubek, Elston Howard, Hank Bauer and more. Want to guess where Mantle is? He’s the shortest guy on the top row. Awesome, right? Oh, and don’t harass me about the card’s condition. If it looked any better than this, I wouldn’t own it because it would have cost me more than the $5 I paid.

Shameless Plug: Don’t miss your chance to win a 1958 Topps Mickey Mantle / Hank Aaron card.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on December 18, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

This is part 17 of an ongoing series. To see the rest of this series, click here.

Before there was Albert Pujols, there was the Big Hurt Frank Thomas. Laugh all you want, but when Thomas was healthy, there was no better first baseman in the game. He was the game’s premier power hitter, and arguably the greatest hitter (in terms of average) of the early and mid 1990s. Every time he stepped to the plate, he was fixin’ to put a hurtin’ on the other team. His on-field success lead to extreme hobby status and this 1990 Leaf card was THE card to have. In an era where card were produced in the millions (or close to that anyway) the Leaf product of 1990 was considered the elite brand due to its “limited” nature. The Thomas card rivaled the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. as the best active player rookie card to own at the time; each was being sold in excess of $75 at the time. To put that into perspective, boxes of basic cards like Topps and Donruss were still being sold for about $18 per. Thomas’ career was marred by injury starting in the late 1990s and his hobby status began declining as a result. (it should be noted that Thomas still has plenty of hardcore collectors willing to pay a pretty penny for the extremely rare cards) His Leaf rookie began showing up for discount prices; Gem Mint copies like the one shown here can be had for a little more than $20. That’s a hell of a collectible at a great price if you ask me.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1951 Bowman Nellie Fox

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

This is part 16 of an ongoing series. To see the rest of this series, click here.

It takes a lot to make a vintage baseball card unappealing to me. Not even this Nellie Fox, displaying its 58 years of age with rounded corners and evidence of having been pasted to a sheet of paper, and possibly involved in a fire, could keep me away.

This card isn’t your prototypical personal collection card, but that’s OK — Fox wasn’t your prototypical Hall of Fame player. He was not an offensive powerhouse. His career batting average was only .288, and his CAREER home run total was less than the single season average for most of today’s sluggers. Fox was better known as a singles hitter, and a fine defensive player who garnered three Gold Gloves. He also has an MVP to his credit, and a World Series title, both of which he earned in 1959.

Fox was not elected into the Hall by the Baseball Writers of America, having missed in his final year of eligibility by one measly vote. Rather he was elected by the veteran’s committee in 1997, some 22 years after he died.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1966 Topps Jim Palmer

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , on December 4, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

It was tough starting a baseball card collection in the late 1980s. This was the time when everyone was investing in baseball cards. These little pieces of cardboard were going to put little Johnny and Suzie through college one day. As a kid I scraped together every penny, nickel and dime I could just to buy a pack of the latest product, which more times than not it ended up being what we now consider to be junk wax. But as many wax packs as I opened, I was never satisfied. Why? Because everyone was talking about the legends of baseball, many of whom were no longer featured on cards.

One such player was Jim Palmer. Palmer was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990 — three years after I started this cardboard addiction — and like Nolan Ryan, his cards were blazing hot. At the top of the Palmer wantlist was without a doubt this 1966 Topps rookie. There was no way I was going to own this card as a kid, and as I started filling out my collection with countless other iconic rookie cards many years later, the Palmer card was always one that alluded me, which is somewhat comical considering they are not that hard to find.

A couple of weeks ago I found a poorly titled auction on eBay, one that held another object of my desire: 1966 Topps Willie Mays, a card I needed for my Topps Number Ones collection. This Palmer is in pretty bad shape. It’s got some water damage, which pretty much kills any monetary value the card had, but it will serve as a nice filler for my rookie card collection until I can find a better condition one at a decent price. Not exactly a prized collectible, but certainly a nice card considering that I feel like I got it for free.

This is the part 14 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1961 Topps Matty Alou

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , , on December 3, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

Before there was the Catching Molina Brothers, there was the Alou family, Felipe, Matty and Jesus — and later nephew Moises. The middle brother of the trio, Matty was signed by the New York Giants in 1957 and debuted with the team three years later when it was in San Francisco. He was never really a superstar, but his career was far from ordinary. He is a two-time all-star who made two World Series appearances (won a title with Oakland in 1972) and has a National League Batting Crown (.342, 1966) to his credit. He also paced the senior league in base hits in 1968 with 231, and amassed 1,700 hits during his 15-year career.

No one will ever mistake this particular card for being mint, but for the $1 bounty I paid, it works fine in the Rookie Card Collection.

This is the part 13 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.

Rookie Card Showcase: 1999 Ultimate Victory Rick Ankiel

Posted in Rookie Card Showcase with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

1999UltVictoryRickAnkielIt took me a decade, but I have finally obtained a copy of the 1999 Ultimate Victory Rick Ankiel rookie and it is a beauty.

Back in 1999, this Ultimate Victory product was a huge hit, primarily because of this Ankiel card, which was one of the most coveted cards in The Hobby. Ankiel at the time was a budding pitching prospect who looked like he was ready to jump right from the minor leagues into the Hall of Fame. This led to a massive following for his rookie cards, particularly this one. This set is highly condition sensitive, and for 1999, it is considered one of the premium releases. It’s almost like an Upper Deck chrome version of the basic Victory set, but highly condition sensitive — the overlay tended to be off center, and the edges were prone to chipping.

We all know the story of Rick Ankiel by now. He was an awesome pitcher during his rookie year until he sputtered in the playoffs and he was never the same. Within a season his pitching career was over. But Ankiel is a hell of an athlete, hence he was able to make the transition into a power hitting outfielder.

Now a decade after it’s release, these Ankiel cards are a little easier to come by, but hardly a common. The Ultimate Victory set was peppered with solid rookie cards such as Josh Beckett, Alfonso Soriano and Tim Hudson, but this Ankiel is probably still the most sought after card, if not second right behind Beckett — whose popularity has increased with his move to Boston. You can still expect to pay about $10 for this card.

This is the part 12 of an ongoing series. To see other parts in this series, click here.