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I’ve Obtained My Holy Grail of Baseball Cards

January 11, 2012 7 comments

I still haven’t posted my collecting priorities for 2012, but if I had, the following card would have been #1 on the list. My holy grail of baseball cards is the 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie card and I now own one. Sure, it’s only a PSA 1, but that doesn’t bother me at all. The card is complete and the colors are great. Most importantly, there aren’t any stains anywhere on the card.

My dad was raised just outside out of Pittsburgh, PA and grew up a Pirates fan. He raised me to be a Pirates fan and told me stories of the teams of his childhood. More often than not, the stories focused on the 1960 team. Their improbable victory over the New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series is something that any baseball fan from that era would remember, not just Pirates fans. When my dad wasn’t talking about that team, he was telling me about Roberto Clemente. A man that I had never seen play quickly became my favorite player and a mythical character that I only knew through baseball cards.

I had a chance as a kid in the 80’s to purchase this card from a local card shop for $100. I was going to buy it for my dad (and me) as a birthday present. The most I had ever spent on a single card at that point was $10 on a 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco rookie. When my dad caught wind of my plan, he quickly put an end to it. $100 was far too much to pay for any baseball card.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to purchase this card. I’ve surely spent more for other single cards than I spent for this one. I think I jut had it in my mind that this card was somehow unattainable. If anyone out there has a “holy grail” that’s affordable, I would urge you to purchase it. I cannot tell you how cool it is to finally own this card.

2011 Bowman Baseball Sell Sheet and Checklist Released

January 6, 2011 2 comments

This is always an exciting one to look over. I’m pumped because Pedro Alvarez will finally have a Pirates card. To date, Topps has only made an eTopps card of him in his Pirates uniform and a Pro Debut card of him in his Lynchburg Hillcats uniform (A ball).

It looks like there will all sorts of fun stuff in this product. Last year’s product went through the roof because of Strasburg’s rookie. I don’t think we’ll see 2011 go as high as 2010, but it will still be pricey because of the Bryce Harper cards. There’s also a lot of chatter already about the Brandon Belt autograph.

Head on over to the Blowout Cards forums to check out the 2011 Bowman Chrome Sell Sheet & Checklist.

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 2

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment


I know, here we go again with the Pirates. I told you when this all started that it would be obvious who my favorite team is by the end of this countdown. I can also reveal that Andrew McCutchen is my favorite Pirate. He plays the game hard and with a smile on his face. There’s nothing to not like about this guy.

The Pirates selected McCutchen with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft. McCutchen finally joined the Bucs in 2009 and immediately made a huge impact. He finished fourth in the ROY voting, too low if you ask me. He’s batted .286 each of his two seasons. Last year he eclipsed 30 stolen bases (33) and continued to be one of the best centerfielders in baseball.

The card pictured is his 2005 Bowman Sterling Autographed Jersey rookie graded BGS 9.5 gem mint. This card will the void in my McCutchen collection until I get one of his 2005 Topps Chrome Update Autographs.

The nice thing about collecting Pirates prospects is that their cards are always cheap. If McCutchen played for the Yankees or Red Sox you’d never be able to pick up his cards at their current levels. The bad thing about being a Pirates fan is that McCutchen could end up on the Yankees or Red Sox when he becomes a free agent. Such is life.

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 3

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment

This card may look familiar to those of you that read the blog regularly as I just picked this card up within the last two weeks. As I’ve already stated, I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. I started my Jameson Taillon collection the minute the Pirates drafted him #2 overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. The Pirates haven’t had a pitcher with this kind of talent in their system in a long time.

The card pictured is his 2009 Upper Deck USA Red Autograph numbered to 25. I try to pick one of these up for every prospect that I’m investing in. I know a lot of collectors/prospectors stop buying Upper Deck USA cards as soon as a Bowman card is produced of the player their collecting/prospecting. I continue to buy the USA because the prices on the base autographs drop significantly. Give me an autographed USA card over a chrome refractor any day of the week. The fact is, if the player becomes a star, the USA cards are going to rocket back up in value.

Baseball America doesn’t release their Pirates Top 10 Prospects until January 12th. I’m guessing that Taillon will top the list. From all indications the sky is the limit for this kid and I can’t wait to track his progress in 2011.

My 10 Favorite Card Purchases of 2010: Number 6

December 30, 2010 Leave a comment


When I saw this card on eBay I just knew it had to be mine. This is where I’ll give away the MLB team that I’m a fan of, that’s right, the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s been a tough 18 years, but things are looking up because of recent draft picks like Stetson Allie.

The Pirates took Allie in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft and Jameson Taillon in the first round. They were the two hardest throwing right handed pitchers available in the draft. The Bucs thought so much of Allie that they gave him a 2.25 million dollar signing bonus. Amounts like that are typically reserved for first round draft picks.

This card is Allie’s 2010 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Status Autograph. Only 50 copies were made and this one is graded BGS 9.5 gem mint.

Investing in high school draft picks can take a long time to pan out, especially if it takes the player a long time to adjust to the rigors of a full minor league season. In this case, Allie plays for my favorite team so I’m not worried about this one sitting on the shelf for a few years.

Update – 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates TTM Project

June 6, 2009 1 comment

Date sent 5/22/09
Date received: 6/6/09

Dick Groat is my fifteenth TTM return from the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. Groat played fourteen seasons in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants. He also played one season in the NBA for the Fort Wayne Pistons. Groat was a two sport star at Duke University, playing basketball and baseball. He went straight to the Pirates out of college, never playing in the minor leagues.

Groat was a career .286 hitter, finishing with 2,138 hits. He was a five time All-Star and won the league MVP in 1960. Groat was also part of one of the best double play combinations of all time with Bill Mazeroski.

Well, this was really the last realistic request I had out there. I’m going to consider this project completed. The others that I’m missing will have to come from in-person signings or off of eBay. It seems like I’ve been doing this forever but the first request went out only 41 days ago on April 27th.

The autographs I received during that span are R.C. Stevens, Roman Mejias, Roy Face, Hal Smith, Gino Cimoli, Bennie Daniels, Dick Schofield, Bob Skinner, Danny Kravitz, Dick Groat, Bob Oldis, Bob Friend, Vern Law, Bill Virdon and Joe Gibbon. I also purchased a Rocky Nelson signed ’60 Topps card on eBay.

I don’t know what my next TTM project will be. I’m open to ideas if anyone wants to leave one in the comments. I’m ready for a new challenge.

Update – 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates TTM Project

Date sent: 4/27/09
Date returned: 6/5/09

Roman Mejias is one of the requests I had out there that I was beginning to wonder if I’d get it back or not. I’m very happy to get this one back.

I’ve also had my George Witt and Don Gross requests out there for about the same amount of time. I don’t really expect to get those back as the reported successes for those two are very low on sportscollectors.net. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick those up in some other fashion.

Roman Mejias played six seasons for the Pirates, never getting more than 276 at-bats in any of those. He went to Houston in 1962 and finally got a chance to play full time. He batted a respectable .286 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI. He was the first Latin American player in Houston franchise history. In 1963 he left to play for Boston and retired after the 1964 season.

I found an incredible stat while researching Mejias’ career. He’s one of 336 major league players to hit 3 home runs in one game. No, that’s not the incredible part. The incredible part is that he did it in 1958 when he only had 5 home runs the entire season. That has to be the lowest amount of home runs in a season for a player that had a 3 home run game.