30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blog Bat Around: Once Upon A Time

There's nothing like a timely Blog Bat Around.  More often than not, I'm digging and sifting through scans in hopes of coming up with something to write about.  I mean... there's only a finite number of flea markets I can attend while maintaining my summer job.

But Blog Bat Arounds save the day.  I mean seriously... why don't we do these more often?  Now for those of you who may not be familiar with one of these, it's actually pretty simple.  A blogger posts a question and other bloggers write responses on their blogs.

They're a lot of fun, because you get to see different perspectives around our blogosphere.  Last Friday, GCRL posed the question...

What cards have you owned that you regret are no longer in your collection?

You can read his response... HERE.  Wanna read Spastik's?  Click... HERE.  Night Owl's?  Right HERE.

As for mine... it ended up being a little more difficult than I thought, because I don't usually sell or trade any of the cards I consider to be PC.  Except for back in 2002... when I sold off the bulk of my collection.

The problem?  I kept most... if not all... of the cards that had sentimental value to me, like my 1983 Topps Tony Gwynn or my 1975 Topps Mini Robin Yount.  And the ones that I didn't keep, I have acquired since I re-entered the hobby back in 2008.

Then it hit me.  Once upon a time... way before I dove head first into the hobby... my aunty from Hawaii took me to store that had a small display of sports cards.  She told me to pick out any card that I wanted, but I didn't recognize any of the players.  That's because they were all guys from the 50's and earlier.

She asked the owner if he had a suggestion and he mentioned the 1952 Topps Andy Pafko.  He explained the significance behind the 1952 Topps baseball card set and taught us about how the first and last cards were often damaged by rubber bands.  The car salesman... I mean card salesmen did his job and the Pafko had a new owner.

A few years down the road, I ended up trading it to a dealer at a card show for... wait for it... a 1987 Fleer factory tin set and a bunch of 1986 and 1987 rookie cards that included guys like Wally Joyner, Will Clark, and Jose Canseco.

I actually think my mind blocked out that trade, because it took me a few minutes to remember my Pafko.  I can't remember how much it went for back in the late 80's, but it was one of the most valuable cards in my collection back then.  At one point, I remember seeing it for over $100 in Beckett.  In the early 90's, it soared even higher than that.

Over the years, it seems to have held its value.  Low grade copies like the PSA 1 shown above sell for around $100.  I know my copy wasn't perfect, but I'm pretty sure it would have graded higher than that.

One day, I'll pick up another copy if it's available at the right price.  At the moment, there are way too many cards that are higher on my wantlist.  However... if and when I finally grab another Pafko... part of the credit will go to GCRL for motivating me to remember this long lost card.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Is Pafko famous for anything else besides being card number 1 in the first topps set? I'd personally like that card for that reason too but have yet to acquire one.

  2. Pafko was famous where I grew up because he was a Wisconsin boy who, as a 36-year-old in the twilight of his career, was a reserve outfielder on the only Milwaukee team to win the World Series in 1957. And, to be fair, he was a four-time All-Star and finished fourth in the MVP race in 1945.

    Great story, Fuji. That is truly something I would have probably blocked out entirely of my brain.

  3. I get it. Thanks for explaining the bat around. I already messed up and posted mine as a reply on NO blog.

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  5. Great story! Have read about Pafko but have never owned one.

  6. Any intentions of getting that card back? Always found it fascinating that he is most famous for being in that set even after having a pretty good career.

  7. I've always heard that since the Pafko card was card #1 in the set that collectors would put their cards in rubber bands and that since many people sorted their cards by numbers that the Pafko card always ended up on top, thereby making it more prone to damage, and making mint copies of the card worth more.

  8. Brad & Tony - It's pretty crazy. I haven't really thought about this trade in decades. The human psyche really knows how to protect itself.

    P.S. Thanks for providing information for Brad. I didn't really know anything about Mr. Pafko outside of his significance in the 1952 Topps set.

    Matthew - Maybe one day, but it's definitely on the back burner.

    Jeremya1um - Yeah... the guy who sold me the card told me the same thing.