30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sports Card Bust #27: JaMarcus Russell

I'm not going to lie to you... I have no idea what the NFL lockout is all about. It's not that I don't care... but I just have too much on my plate to pay attention.

However on the bus ride to Six Flags last Friday, I overhead two students talking about the lockout. I was too busy managing and entertaining my own students to concentrate on what they had to say... but then I heard the name "JaMarcus Russell" and it stirred my curiosity.

I wasn't able to focus on them long enough to hear their full conversation... but I can assume that it had something to do with Russell and the 30 something million dollars he made with the Oakland Raiders.

I'm not a Raiders fan... in fact when they're doing well... I actually can't stand them. But as we all know... the Raiders have struggled for much of the past eight seasons... and so I've actually started to feel sorry for them and their fans... mainly because of their owner. Let's face it... Al Davis is a joke. He may be a football mastermind... but unfortunately he also has a tremendous ego too.

His ego blinded him from seeing the true JaMarcus Russell, until it was too late. Thirty-nine million dollars too late.

It may be too premature to call him one of the biggest draft busts in the history of the game... but I'm sure you won't hear too many Raider fans argue with me.

So let's just see what Mr. Davis, the Raiders organization, and their fans got out of Mr. Russell & his nice, little paycheck...

Drafted: #1 overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 NFL Draft
Seasons Played: 3 (2007-2009)
Games Played: 31
Games Started: 25 (7 wins/18 losses)
Completion %: 52.1 (354 completions/680 pass attempts)
Touchdowns: 19 (18 passing/1 rushing)
Interceptions: 23
Fumbles Lost: 25
Quarterback Rating: 65.2

But even after Mr. Davis finally saw the light and released Russell... there was a part of me that thought that we'd see JaMarcus again one day in an NFL uniform. I figured that the former LSU standout who won the Manning Award in 2006 (given to the best collegiate quarterback) had too much talent to be finished.

I have recently rethought my position on this topic after reading an article about former NBA player/coach, John Lucas and his failed effort to help Russell get back into the NFL. It stated that Lucas (Russell's former "life coach") became frustrated with his lack of effort and has decided to cease assistance to the NFL bust. I mean... if a life coach doesn't have faith in you... who will?

My guess is that it's over for JaMarcus... which is sad since a lot of collectors spent a fair amount of money picking up his rookie autographs and memorabilia cards. Thankfully,I picked up the beauty of a bust you see above... his 2007 Donruss Gridiron Gear "autographed rookie" card for $5... the same price as a bargain priced footlong at Subway.

Okay... so most of you are probably thinking to yourself... five bucks? Why the heck would you waste $5 on a bust like JaMarcus? Well it's simple... I've been looking for a cheap autograph of his for a while now... and this was about as good as I was going to get. I'm sure in 10 years, I'll be able to find one cheaper... but my Sports Bust PC feels a little more complete with this card in it... so you'll find no regrets here.

Today's question of the day:

Have you ever invested a bunch of money on a bust? If so who? Where are the cards now?

JaMarcus is officially the 27th addition to this foolish collection, I've chosen to pursue. And sadly... out of all of those busts... I've purchased more than half of them. But... I'm pretty sure this is only the second time I've spent $5 or more for the signature of a draft bust (David Carr was the other).

By the way... I'm currently looking to pick up autographs of these other busts:

Tony Mandarich (#2 pick in 1989 NFL draft)
Bruce Pickens (#3 in 1991 NFL draft)
Andre Wadsworth (#3 pick in 1998 NFL draft)
Courtney Brown (#1 pick in 2000 NFL draft)
Charles Rogers (#2 pick in 2003 NFL draft)

So... if you have any certified autographs of these players and are interested in trading or selling... let me know. I might just be able to rid you of your bust.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Sayonara!

Oh... one more thing... A huge shout out to Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Christie Rampone, Alex Morgan (who scored the first goal for the US and assisted on the second), and the rest of Team USA for their courageous effort. Some will choose to focus on the negative... but that's not my style. In my mind, they represented our country as best as they could and will be remembered for their amazing victory over Brazil... which should be made into a movie.

And of course... congratulations to Nadeshiko Japan on their miraculous win over Team USA. Someone said that it reminded them of a Japanese version of The Miracle on Ice... and I have to admit, that's a pretty good call. I mentioned before the game that I didn't think I'd be too disappointed if Japan won... and I was right. It's hard to explain... sure, I was bummed that Team USA didn't win... but at the same time I was happy to see the underdogs never quit... even though they were outplayed by Wambach and Co. for most of the game. It truly was an event to remember... and I wouldn't be surprised if someone made this into a movie too.


  1. it was very early 1990, and I spent $50 on 25 perfect Ben McDonald rookie cards. $2 a card back then was a tonne of cash, let alone 25 times over.

    I still have them if you'd like to swap for one. Or ten.

  2. Being a team autograph collector I have a lot of busts in my collection. Plenty of guys that have only played a handful of games in the majors. Not your customeary busts, but I feel even more difficult to track down.

  3. Considering the current state of my former NFL team's status in my mind (and me not being much of a football fan anyway) I consider every damned dime I ever spent on Eagles merchandise to be a bust the second they hired Vick!! I have not quite convinced myself to totally give up on them, hoping they'll come to their senses (or totally lose them, "Buress is available I hear!!"), so for now my Eagles merchandise is buried deep in my closet...

  4. I haven't been back in the collecting game long enough to invest a lot in a bust. But I'm sure it'll happen one of these days.

  5. I think anybody who bought and kept cards issued in the 1980s on as an investment lost big. I didn't collect to invest, but all my cards from the mid-'90s are pretty much worthless now. I remember Topps D3 being advertised as the next big thing, and it was supposed to be like Finest. Nobody wanted it, and it was a big bust. I had preordered a box like everything else I do and I ended up with two boxes (the store owner got twice what he ordered). Even still, it was a waste of money, because the prices dropped pretty fast.

  6. In general, I’m a set builder so I tend not to run into the kind of problems of overspending that PC collectors encounter. If I can’t pull a card and it is way overpriced, I just wait. Overtime I’m usually able to find a deal or the heat comes off the card and I can pick it up for a reasonable price. If anything, I tend to give more in a trade over a purchase, especially if it helps another collector with something specific. I’ve been collecting for a long time so I’ve seen how cards fluctuate in value and meaning, which keeps me away from overextending for one card. I used to hold my Jack Clark cards in high esteem and never looked twice at my Bert Blyleven cards. Funny how things change.

    But I do have my alternative collection. Each card in it has meaning that transcends the card. Whether it’s a moment in history or a life lesson. I often show these cards to visitors after bringing out the instantly recognizable player cards. It gives me a chance to tell a story with the card as a visual and hopefully provides a little incite about collecting.

    For instance, one of my most recent acquisitions is a 2004 Bowman’s Best Autograph Rookie Card of Adam Greenberg. Greenberg was a promising multi-sport athlete with honors. The Chicago Cubs drafted him in 2002. He did well in the Minors, working his way through the system. In 2005 he was called up to the show by the Chicago Cubs from Double AA ball and got his first at bat as a pinch hitter in the 9th inning of a game against the Florida Marlins. On the first pitch, Greenberg was hit in the back of the head by a 92 MPH fastball. He had to leave the game and never made it back onto a Major League field. He is only one of two players in all of Baseball history to have an on base percentage of 1.000 with zero at bats and no chances on defense. To this day he is still playing minor league ball and battles with positional vertigo because of the force of the blow to his head. He is determined to get another chance to play in the majors. Parts of this story are tragic, but the drive and determination of Greenberg is inspiring.

  7. I'd have to say it was a product, not a player. With my father's help, I bought an entire case of 1988 Score Baseball. It was new and I thought ir would be great. Ir fizzled quickly and the real tragedy was I felt so burned that I didn't buy ANY 1989 Upper Deck for fear of getting burned again. Live and learn I guess.

  8. Not been collecting that long, so no busts yet for me. Think I may pick an NFL & MLB prospect up next year so watch this space!

    The USA were awesome to beast Germany is tough enough!

    It's just the two goals they conceeded were defensive howlers, I think they needed Englands Faye White in the center!

    But congrats to Japan, and womens Soccer surely is the beautiful game!

  9. Busts I collected, hmmmmm..... I am a Mets, Jets, and Saints (they sucked until only a few years ago) fan/collector. I say I have a few busts in there that ate up way too much of my cash.

  10. Two that come to the top of my head are Napoleon Kaufman, a former Husky and Bruce Bochte of the Mariners. Another would be Curt Warner of Seahawk fame.

  11. Two that come to the top of my head are Napoleon Kaufman, a former Husky and Bruce Bochte of the Mariners. Another would be Curt Warner of Seahawk fame.

  12. There are few for me. Napoleon Kaufman, a former Husky. Also Bruce Bochte of the Mariners, Curt Warner of the Seahawks. I'm sure there are more, but those are the first ones I can think of.

  13. captain - I remember paying good money for his 1990 Leaf rookies... probably more than $2 each. Along with Olerud, Baerga, Deshields, and Maas.

    ryan - Lol... I just busted a box of Topps D3. They're pretty cool... remind me of Sportflics.

    baseball nut - cool story... you are rewarded with an extra credit point. never heard of mr. greenberg, but i might have to go out and pick up an autograph of his.

    play at the plate - i love 1988 score. i enjoyed the bright colors of the set and the plastic wrappers. i busted 2 or 3 boxes of this stuff too.

    martyn - the brazil vs. usa & usa vs. japan games definitely made me appreciate soccer on a higher level. can't wait to watch the summer olympics next year

    mariner 1 - thanks for reminding me. i have a few rare kaufmans myself... plus a bunch of his rookies. btw... curt warner is my 2nd favorite seahawk (largent is first).

    markz - ;-) shuler was the 22nd addition to my sports bust pc.

  14. I invested a lot of money in Jim Jackson when he was a rookie with the Mavs. Not a complete bust but he never lived up to the hype. Also put a lot of cash in two Braves "phenoms" that never panned out. David Nied and Terrell "Hiawatha" Wade.