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!
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!