30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Friday, February 23, 2018

Pennies and Pride

This weekend is our last opportunity to get our Olympic fix.  Then the two year wait begins for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.  I have to admit that outside of the first four snowboarding events and a few of the daily highlights, I really haven't paid attention to what's going on in Pyeongchang.

Even though I personally prefer cold weather over warm weather, I'm actually more of a Summer Olympics kind of guy.  In the past, I've enjoyed watching basketball, swimming, and the track events.  However in 2020, I'll probably be focusing on soccer, skateboarding, and baseball.

Yup.  Baseball will be back at the Olympics after a 12 year hiatus.

I can still remember opening packs of Topps back in 1985, pulling the Team USA subset cards, and thinking... damn these cards are cool.  Things became much, much cooler when Big Mac started launching bombs in route to winning the 1987 AL Rookie of the Year Award, because his card would eventually become one of the most recognizable cards from the era.

But we'll discuss that card in another post on a another day.  Today, I wanted to share a different Topps Team USA subset card.  It's not nearly as iconic or valuable, but in my humble opinion, it's just as cool.

See for yourself:

1989 Topps Big #322

Jim Abbott is one of those players who has a cult-like following in our hobby which is 100% understandable.  The guy pitched ten seasons at the Major League level and threw a no-hitter against a Cleveland Indian's lineup that featured Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome.  And he accomplished these feats with only one hand.

But that's not what drew my attention to this card.  I've been trying to track one of these down for a few years, because its aesthetically pleasing.  I love the portrait shot of him wearing his Team USA gear superimposed onto the shot of him and his teammates celebrating their gold medal win over Japan in the 1988 Olympics.

The back of the card is pretty cool too.  It features his 1988 collegiate and Olympic statistics, as well as two colorful cartoons that highlights his 1987 Golden Spikes (top amateur player) and 1988 Sullivan (outstanding amateur athlete) awards.

And although it's not considered to be his rookie card, it was a pack issued card from his rookie season.  This was kind of the icing on the cake for me.

So why did it take me so long to acquire a copy?  Well... it's comes down to pennies and pride.

Over the years, I've found a fair share of his rookie cards sitting in quarter bins and probably even dime boxes, so I just couldn't or wouldn't spend more than a couple quarters for it.

COMC has two copies available, but the $2.75 is almost laughable.

I considered grabbing a copy on Sportlots for 18¢ (+ shipping), but kept waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of combined shipping.

Then I stumbled across an eBay auction:

Do I actually need 113 of these?  Probably not.  But the price was right.

113 for $1.25 (+ $4 shipping) equates to less than per card which is a much more realistic price per card.

Plus they look so cool scattered about...

This isn't my first venture into purchasing multiple copies of a single card.  Back in the 80's, I loved buying and putting together rookie card lots of guys like Mike Greenwell, Will Clark, and Sam Horn.

And it didn't stop there.  In the 90's, I purchased enough 1995 Classic 5 Sport Ben Grieve autographs to almost fill a 9-Pocket page.

Sadly, I paid much more than each or the 92¢ asking price currently on COMC.  Maybe that's why I've slowed down my need for multiple copies of cards.

Slowed Down Stopped.  Last week, Peter over at Baseball Every Night sent me a generous PWE that included this note:

Let's see if there are any dupes in Peter's PWE.  First up...

2018 Topps MLB Opening Day #OD-24

This happens to be my very first taste of 2018 Topps baseball, so this Davis is definitely not a dupe.

Next up...

In addition to my first insert card of 2018, Peter hooked me up with my first four 2018 base cards.  Ironically... one of them was a dupe.  Don't worry Peter.  If you haven't noticed, duplicates aren't a problem.

The final card in the PWE was a card of Eck's set up man:

1989 Bowman #185

Is it a dupe?  Well... I have do have a 1989 Bowman factory set laying around somewhere.  Plus there's a good chance I have at least one of these sitting in my Oakland A's oversized box as well.  But it's much appreciated.  Worst case scenario is I buy another 98 copies and create a 100 card lot.

It's time to hear from all of you...

What's your stance on duplicates?

Do you have 100+ copies of any singles in your collection?

Happy Friday and sayonara!


  1. People send me NY Giants doubles all of the time. I usually toss them in a doubles box that I use for trade. It's that way for any cards I collect that are doubles with the exception of hits. Those numbered or not I will keep. I can have 10 or so David Wilson Jersey Cards and I will.be happy.

  2. Oh man 1988 and 1989 Topps Big with their late-80s update of the 1956 design are some of my favorite things and I need to make a series run at both of those sets.

    Regarding duplicates, I like them when I have collections which intersect. So having one in a set, one in a team binder, and one in a PC is always great. That said I don't go searching for them and am happy to just have one card in the PC.

    If I have more duplicates than that this is were having kids is great since they're always happy to get free cards (though the only problem here is that I need enough to make things equitable so the two of them don't fight)

  3. I'd bet that even Jim Abbott doesn't have 113 of that Jim Abbott card.

  4. Ha! I was looking for that other Semien card. Guess I know where it is now my apologies for the dupe. Hopefully you can pass it on to a friend.

    I don't mind dupes. Like Nick said, if it's a collecting interest that's ok. And sometimes a new dupe is in better shape than an existing card. Win win..

  5. My doubles go to my son. He loves them. He sorts them by teams then declares a winner by which team he has the most.

    I also have been buying Brewer case breaks, that way I get more than enough cards to share with all my kids of players they see and hear about regularly.

  6. That Jim Abbott card brings back memories. (so does the idea of 100-card lots of players like Abbott and Sam Horn!) If I had any way to store oversized cards I'd probably be more interested in them.

    I almost never buy more than 2 copies of a card intentionally, but I do have 8-10 Kris Bryant Bowman 'paper' prospect cards.

  7. For me (and I'm sure most other collectors), dupes = trade bait. Hopefully some of those Abbott cards will help you trade for other needed cards.

  8. In about 10 years from now I hope to have 100 Luis Torrens BoChro autographs.

  9. Yeah, my dupes generally get traded away.

    The one card where I'm making it a project to get dupes of is 1990 Upper Deck Marquis Grissom.. trying to get 1000 copies and think I'm probably within just 100 left to go now.

  10. I have exactly one duplicate in my binders: both my washer-used and standard '75 Brett rookies sit side-by-side in a nine-pocket page. Apart from that, my dupes go into trade stacks or spare boxes.

  11. You may recall that someone sent me over 200 copies of Eric Karros' 1992 Upper Deck card. ... Yes, I have a few doubles around.

  12. I don’t count dupes in my collection normally unless there is a difference. I have a couple of cards where one is the base version and then I have error cards and then I do have a couple of dupes of relic cards for Griffey and Ryan Bader where the relic is different color.

  13. Curling, Curling, Curling. Only reason to watch for me.Watcha ya going to do with the other 112?

  14. I guess it's a personal preference, but I'm not the type of collector who buys multiples of one card. One is enough for me as I'd rather spend funds on different cards rather than hoarding the same card. If I do end up with duplicates I typically sell them on Ebay.

  15. I have very few duplicates. I try to pass them on and get cards I don’t have. Great post!

  16. Dupes are trade bait. Problem is, my dupes and tradeables are growing bigger than a lot of people's collections!

    I do always get dupes of cards that overlap my set builds and team or player collections. Back in the day I just wrote them off as being part of a set, but now I have to get one for each collection. I will put the first one in the specialty collection and then fill the set. That way, I can list it on my regular baseball wants page where more people will see it. Many of my set listings there are just the player collection guys from that set.

    My biggest annoyance with eBay is all those auctions for 50 copies of one card. And they have 100 different cards like that from the same set. Put them in one-of-each lots and sell them as starter sets. Nobody hoards 50 copies to sell later any more. That went out with the junk wax era!

  17. Sport Card Collectors - 10 of the same jersey card. That'd be pretty cool to see displayed in a 9-pocket page.

    Nick Vossbrink - I'm pretty much the same way... except my card will go to my students or other bloggers.

    Commishbob - That's b/c he's not an obsessive collector with weird a weird fetish.

    Peter K. Steinberg - Do you need it? If not, I'm sure one of my students will claim it. Thanks again for the package.

    Andy L. - Your son sounds like me when I was a kid. I loved sorting my card by teams.

    Chris - I wish they made 100ct. boxes for those Topps Big cards. Right now I have them sitting in a 150ct. plastic slider box I picked up at the flea market a few weeks ago.

    bbcardz - 100 cards will stay with me. The rest I'll throw into care packages of Abbott and Angels fans.

    Zippy Zappy - I'm pulling for you buddy.

    defgav - I thought of you when I was writing this post.

    Nick - If you only keep one dupe in your collection... a Brett rookie card is a nice choice.

    night owl - Had to go back and refresh my memory. mind = blown

    Corky - glad to know that i'm not the only collector who counts different colored swatches as different cards

    B Man - Gonna keep 100. Maybe put them in an extra Ultra Pro binder I have laying around. The other 13 are available. Let me know if you want one, I'll add it to your stack.

    Chris P - I really need to start supplementing my income by selling dupes. I keep telling myself... one day.

    SumoMenkoMan - Thanks buddy. I really need to pass them on, but I keep hoarding and hoarding. Although I do send some dupes off to fellow bloggers and give some to students.

    GCA - I'm the opposite. I usually fill my set, then my team/player pc. And oh how I miss the days of building those player lots.