30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Legends Never Die

I've been a subscriber of Baseball Digest off and on since the early 80's.  That's about as long as I've been collecting cards.  And over the years, I've made a bunch of card purchases based on articles or facts I've read in their issues.  But back in 2013, I took things to the next level after reading an article about Al Kaline in their November/December issue.

After reading about him becoming the youngest player ever to win a batting title, I knew I wanted at least one autograph of his.  Then I discovered that he signed a contract with the Tigers the day after graduating from high school and gave his parents all of it, so they could buy a home.  The article went on to talk about his career accomplishments and his contributions to the Detroit Tigers on and off the field.

One autograph purchase led to another... which led to another and then another.  I got swept up in the fact that so many of his autographs could be purchased for under $20.  I thought about stopping at six autographs, because that's the jersey number he wore the majority of his playing career.  But the deals kept popping up on my eBay search list.

During a five year stretch, I picked up eighteen of his autographs... which is the sixth highest total among baseball players in my collection behind only Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, Kurt Suzuki, Frank Thomas, and Jose Altuve.

But my favorite Al Kaline card in my collection is the oldest Al Kaline card in my collection.  The one that comes from my favorite Topps baseball set and the one I led this post off with.

Here it is again... with the heart of my Al Kaline collection (in chronological order):

1956 Topps #20

1964 Topps Giants #12

1968 Atlantic Oil #2

1968 Topps #2

1974 Topps #215

1975 Topps #4

1998 Donruss Significant Signatures #NNO

2002 Team Topps Legends Autographs #TT-AK

2002 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #S-AK

2003 Donruss DK Recollection Autographs #40

2004 Donruss Leather and Lumber Cuts #LC-2

2005 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #AK

2007 SP Legendary Cuts Legendary Signatures #LS-AK1

2007 Sweet Spot Classic Memorabilia #CM-AK

2007 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #SPS-AK

2009 Sweet Spot Classic Signatures (Green Ink) #SC-AK

2009 UD Goudey Sport Royalty Autograph #AK

2011 Topps Tier One Crowd Pleaser Autographs #CP-AK

2012 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSA-AK

2013 Topps Five Star Autographs #FSBA-AK

2014 Topps Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AA-AKA

2014 Topps Tier One Acclaimed Autographs #AA-AKL

2016 Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-AK

2017 Archives 1959 Bazooka Autographs #59B-AK

2018 Topps Diamond Icons Autographs #AC-AK

2019 Stadium Club #278

Rest in peace Mr. Tiger.  My heart goes out to your family, friends, teammates, and fans.  You will be missed, but thanks to memories, magazine articles, blog posts, and baseball cards, you will be remembered.  Like the Babe said to Benny in The Sandlot... "legends never die".

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!

Extra Innings

COVID-19 has impacted many of our lives... and for the most part... not in a positive way.  But every now and then we can find that shiny speck in the sand.  If you're bored at home and are looking for something to do, Baseball Digest has unlocked their archive and opened them up to everyone for the time being to help baseball fans cope with this ordeal.

Shoutout to Wrigley Wax for sharing this information on his blog this morning.


  1. Fantastic collection! I love that Heritage Real One auto in particular.

  2. I've always had a soft spot for Kaline , this is a great tribute to a great man.

  3. Man o man that's a lot of Kaline autos!. Make my zero look really bad. Be safe, be well.

  4. Wow. That 2011 tier one is amazing. I'm happy to have just his 2001 fleer gotg auto. By all accounts he was a good man and will be missed.

  5. I saw that about Baseball Digest. Always a great read. I plan to check some of those out, especially from 1994 to 2004 when I wasn't watching after the strike.

  6. That's a hell of a collection! My favorite is probably the Significant Signatures.

  7. Great collection-- especially the Heritage Real One autograph.

  8. Those Sweet Spots look good as new!

  9. Really cool Kaline cards. I've always felt some pride in his having been a fellow Baltimore native. When I think of him I remember working at the now defunct Houston Post. One of my many jobs there had been reading and sorting newswire stories for the night sports desk. I was working the night Kaline got his 3000th hit, in Baltimore no less. Still recall reading that on the teletype machine and then going to look for pictures of it to come over the wire. RIP

  10. Well I now get my sports news from The Chronicles. This was the first I heard of it. I’m most impressed by players who are good people. It’s too easy to get fame and fortune and be a jerk. Kaline was quite the opposite from what I’ve read.

  11. R I P...great collection of autos! Quite the collection for sure!

  12. So many great cards. O started a blog post as soon as I learned of Kaline's passing, yet I can't seem to find a way to finish.

    Many thanks to all the great bloggers who posted about Mr.Tiger, it's appreciated.

  13. That 56 is so great, I love that set. And wow, that is a really impressive collection of Kaline autographs!

  14. That's a great collection! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Those 2013 Five Stars are a thing of beauty. Nice cards Fuji!

  16. That's one helluva Kaline collection! RIP, Mr. Tiger.

  17. This Kaline collection is amazing, Mark. Wow. And a wonderful post, to boot!

  18. chris - yeah, my friend actually pulled it from a pack and sold it to me.

    the angels in order - thanks

    brian - i'm kinda bummed that it took me so long to end up appreciating him for his feats on and off the diamond. he was truly a baseball legend

    johnnys trading spot - the good news is the majority of these were $25 or less. heck... i think a few of these were between $15 and $20. kaline signed a lot for topps the past few years, so there are a lot of options for collectors.

    gcrl - the 2011 tier one was actually part of a set build... that i ended up falling short on

    runforekelloggs - it's been my morning read. just skimmed my birthday month issue today

    the lost collector - i love the significant signatures set. finished it a few years ago. now just looking for some of the variations

    base card hero - the heritage real one is one of my favorites. my buddy pulled it and sold it to me (at the flea market)

    adam kaningher - thank goodness they aren't fading (yet).

    commishbob - that's a pretty cool personal memory. you worked for the houston post too? you're a jack of all trades

    steve at 1975baseballcard.com - one of the things i admired about kaline was how he gave his parents his signing bonus. in an era where a lot of teenagers feel entitle to certain things from their parents, it's cool knowing that there was a time when teenagers felt entitled to take care of and give thanks to their parents. kaline was one of those teens.

    sumomenkoman - thank you kind sir!

    john sharp - glad you were able to finish your tribute post. great job. and hope you're feeling better

    sean - me too. i've been lagging on adding another hall of famer to the collection. need to get back into the hunt.

    matt - thank you. it was one of those things where it kind of got out of hand, but i'm happy to own it

    reds card collector - i love that set too. there was a time when i considered building it

    nick - thanks nick! i could see that stadium club kaline being part of one of your frankensets

    sg488 - thank you!

    peter k steinberg - thanks. i'm very happy with it.

  19. Wow. What to say about all those beautiful cards that hasn't been mentioned here? Kaline had nice penmanship. Over the last couple of years, you could see a slight decline but likely unnoticeable to anyone unfamiliar with his signature. I do have a few autos but one that stands out is the Goudey. I'd like to add that to my collection one day. Nice post Fuji!