30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, August 12, 2016

Enough Blame to Go Around

For years I always gave Todd Van Poppel credit for ruining my interest in prospecting and investing in rookie cards.  However after I received this 1996 Best Minor League autograph of Benjamin Grieve from AJ (The Lost Collector), I realized it wasn't entirely Todd's fault.

Back in the 1994 the Oakland Athletics drafted Grieve with the second pick in the amateur draft.  He spent a few seasons down in the minors and was considered one of the top prospects in baseball.  It was during this period of time that minor league products featuring autographs were exploding on the hobby scene... and I dove in head first.

My number one target... Mr. Grieve:

This is only part of my Ben Grieve PC.  I've actually given away some of his signatures over the years... and probably have a few more hidden away in my A's collection.  There was a time when his minor league autographs were a hot commodity and fetched upwards of twenty dollars.

In 1998, the twenty-two year old outfielder made his first and only MLB All-Star appearance and took home the AL Rookie of the Year Award.  He continued to be a contributing player for a young and developing Oakland A's team.  And his cards continued to hold their value.

Then on January 8th, 2001... Grieve was shipped off to Tampa Bay in a three team trade.  That's right about the time when I was getting out of the hobby and focusing on my career and paying off my debt.

I decided to only keep a couple boxes worth of cards.  Inside of those boxes were some of my most treasured cards, like my 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn and 1985 Donruss Kirby Puckett rookie cards.  Wanna know what else I kept?

I held onto a bunch of Ben Grieve autographs.  Sadly... Grieve's numbers were never the same after that trade and today those cards are worth about a tenth of what they were worth fifteen years ago.

But we learn from our mistakes, right?  These days I refuse to pay top dollar for signatures of minor leaguers and I owe it all to guys like Van Poppel and Grieve.

In addition to the Grieve, AJ also sent me this Rick Harden jersey card:

And a bunch of other cards for my Oakland A's collection:

I was surprised and saddened to see Mike Norris in a wheel chair when he came back to the Oakland Coliseum for Turn Back the Clock Day last weekend.  

Last season, Tommy Milone threw a ball into the bleachers during batting practice... and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Thank you AJ for the nice addition to my Ben Grieve PC... as well as all of the other A's cards featured in this post.

Happy Friday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

I was originally going to write a sayonara salute for Prince Fielder, but after reading Tony's amazing tribute, I figured I'd just send you guys over to check out his post.  If interested... click here.

The exact same thing can be said for AJ's tribute to Alex Rodriguez right here.

Enjoy your retirement Alex and Prince!


  1. Glad you enjoyed. I was collecting a lot at the time of Ben Grieve. He was a big name for me as a middle schooler collecting. Too bad his career wasn't a little different.

  2. I always think of Ben's father Tom Grieve every time I hear his name. His cards were some of my earliest memories from collecting

  3. I'm with Mark, but for a different reason. Ben's father Tom (a.k.a. "TAG") is the Rangers TV color commentator. He spent his entire playing career (minus one season) with the Senators/Rangers, then moved into a front office role (eventually becoming GM) before settling into his current role. He was inducted into the Rangers' HOF a few years back and many know him affectionately as "Mr. Ranger."

    With all of that being said, I do remember wishing the Rangers were able to draft Ben, and even a little bummed they didn't trade for him when Tampa Bay got him. He's not a HOFer, but he had a pretty decent career. But expectations are often very hard to live up to. (If I'm not mistaken, I believe that Tom and Ben are the only father/son duo taken in the first round of their respective drafts. I could be wrong, but I am too lazy to look it up tonight.)

  4. When I got back in to collecting I tried to take educated guesses on who the new Redbirds hot rookie would be so I would pick up autos even at elevated prices. But alas, I quickly learned better when these can't miss guys were being traded off-most recently Charle Tilson for Zach Duke. Now I get when I get 'em for the lowest price.

  5. Thanks for the praise and the link, Fuji!

  6. the lost collector - thanks again. it was nice to take a stroll down memory lane and remember a guy who actually had several solid years for the athletics. i'm actually considering picking up a few more of his autographs for my collection.

    mark hoyle and j. meeks - i didn't realize mr. ranger was ben's father until last year... when i wrote my post on the whole "mister" nickname. to be honest... before then, i hadn't even heard of tom grieve.

    brady - i'm with you on waiting for the lowest price. the only flaw with that philosophy is sometimes we never add autographs of guys like kris bryant or bryce harper to our collections.

    tony - no problem. thanks for writing such an awesome tribute.