30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, January 13, 2022

The Twenty-Two Year Set Build

When you open up enough packs, you're bound to pull a nice card every now and then.

Today's post features one of my all-time greatest pulls.  The kind of pull which led me to build the entire set.  Little did I know... it would take me twenty-two years to finish.

This story begins back in 1999.  My parents had sold their home in San Jose and decided to retire in Las Vegas the year before, so I was officially on my own for the first time in my life.  As a second year teacher... money was tight.  That's why I supplemented my income by working at the card shop across the street from my school.

Sadly... at this point in my life I had really racked up some serious credit card debt due to some excessive spending the previous year.  Between buying curriculum books, school supplies, and tons of basketball packs, boxes, and singles... lets just say that I wasn't living within my means.

So by the time 1999 rolled around, most of my card related purchases were Pokemon singles and packs for my students.  But every now and then, I'd treat myself to some packs.  One day I ripped open a few packs of 1999 Upper Deck Retro football (remember the cards that came in lunch pails?) when I pulled this card:

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #WP (Inducted into Canton in 1993)

At that time, Walter Payton had been retired for over a decade and was regarded as one of the greatest running backs in the history of the game, so you can imagine how excited I was when I pulled this card.

This card held the title of being the most valuable card in my collection for a year or so... until I sold it to a friend who is a huge Chicago Bears fan.  That was right around the same time that I dumped the bulk of my collection to help pay off my debt and buy a place.

Fast forward six or seven years to 2007 or 2008... when I returned to the hobby.  Within the first or second year, I had purchased the Payton back from my friend.

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #SL (Inducted into Canton in 1995)

It paired nicely with the Steve Largent I held onto the entire time.

Eventually I started targeting other big names in the set and within a few years, I had acquired most of the hall of famers (or future hall of famers) from the set:

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #CC (Inducted into Canton in 2013)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #TD (Inducted into Canton in 2017)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #DF (Inducted into Canton in 1993)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #JM (Inducted into Canton in 2000)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #RM (Inducted into Canton in 2018)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #JN (Inducted into Canton in 1985)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #OZ (Inducted into Canton in 1999)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #TO (Inducted into Canton in 2017)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #RG (Inducted into Canton in 1985)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #OZ (Inducted into Canton in 1986)

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #PW (Inducted into Canton in 1983)

Along the way, I would pick up cheap semi-stars, rookies, and commons in the set whenever they fell into my lap...

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #AM
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #AS

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #DL
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #GH

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #JK
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #RS

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #BH
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #DB

And before I knew it... I was closing in on the entire set.  It took me a few years to land the key rookies in the set:

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #AS
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #CM

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #DC
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #DM

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #SK
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #TC

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #TH

I also refused to overpay for the Wayne Chrebet... so this card also eluded me for awhile:

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #WC

But in April of 2019, I managed to pick up this single on COMC for $4.25... which meant I was down to final card in the set, Ricky "Weed" Williams:

1999 UD Retro Inkredible #RW

Now I'm not sure if this card is a short print of if there's a Williams collector out there hoarding copies... but this card was one tough cookie to track down.  I've never seen it on COMC and it rarely shows its face on eBay.

So when it finally did show up in an auction on eBay... I went all in to win it.  It took a bid of $66.34 to add this card to my collection and finish the set.  It looks like I had a $10 coupon or gift card which helped cover the shipping and taxes, but according to my records this is the second most expensive card in the set build.  Only the Staubach set me back more.

Well there you have it.  My twenty-two year set build.  It feels really good to have this one wrapped up.  I will eventually free the Couch and Culpepper from of their plastic prisons, but I'm not sure if I've mentioned how busy life has been as of late.  This doesn't rank very high on the priority list.

What does rank high is recognizing the care packages that have been stacking up in my office.  And since we're on the subject of autographs, I figured it's the perfect time to show off some signatures that Bob (The Best Bubble) sent me back in October.  Since this was primarily a football post, let's kick things off with the only football card in Bob's PWE.

Roger Craig is a Bay Area legend and possibly a future hall of famer.  Although I do own a certified pack pulled autograph of his, this is very first TTM/IP autograph of Craig.

Next up are a trio of familiar names who played in Oakland:

Canha was never considered a star, but he had some key hits for Oakland and was well liked by fans.  I wish him nothing but success with the Mets.

On the other hand, Giambi was one of the biggest names and a bonafide superstar during his tenure in Oakland.  Shame he left to play for the New York Yankees.

Rounding out the trio is a very popular player among bloggers.  The sad thing is I don't remember him with the A's.  But thanks to this card, I won't be forgetting this piece of trivia anytime soon.

Bob also sent me a trio of Athletics I wasn't familiar with:

Minetto played for the A's from 1978 to 1981.  There's a slight chance I watched him play at the ColiseumJones never made it to the Bigs, but he played in the A's farm system from 1986 to 1989.  I'm guessing Tony Phillips was blocking his path to the MLB.  As for Robertson, he's currently a free agent.  But he has had stints with the Rays, Giants, and Brewers at the MLB level.

The last autograph in the envelope is this old-timer:

I wasn't familiar with Mr. Scheib, but thanks to the internet here are a few interesting facts about his career:

A.  He made his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Athletics on September 6th, 1943.  He was 16 years old.

B.  In 1951, he went 21 for 53 at the plate.  No DH needed for this guy.

C.  He lived to be 91 years old until he passed away in 2018.

I'll wrap up this post with one more card from Bob:

1995 Score Rules #SR23

I am always surprised and delighted when I discover a new card for my Tony Gwynn PC.  When I pulled this card from Bob's care package, I figured I'd find a copy already sitting in the binder.  It happens all of the time.  I have received hundreds of Gwynns over the years and only a small fraction are new to the collection.  But every now and then... a card like this arrives and I get to slide it into a 9-pocket page like this:

It's a very satisfying feeling... just like completing a set after twenty-two years.

Thank you Bob for the very thoughtful PWE... and thank you to everyone who took the time to read this "primarily football" post.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. Wow, 22 years to complete the set. And I just posted about 'giving up' on some set builds! I can't decide whether I want the Payton or the Montana Auto more. What a great set!

  2. Congrats on the set build. Some big names in there - Payton, Staubach, Montana, McNabb.

  3. Love the auto set build! I put together the two UD Retro baseball sets (but not the autos, unfortunately). I still have a couple of the lunch pails sitting on top of one of my card binder bookshelves. Congrats on the set!

  4. Wow, congrats on finishing that set. I can imagine how exciting it must have been to have pulled that Payton back in 1999, funny how half a lifetime later you find yourself finally completing the set of them (did you think back in 1999 that was something you would accomplish someday?)

  5. That's quite a collection of NFL autographs. I think Upper Deck did really well on the design, too. The signatures really stand out.

    Also, wait a minute. 1999 was 22 years ago? What the heck, man?

  6. Congratulations to you on completing that auto set--very impressive!

  7. Sweet autograph set! As much as I like the Ozzie and Couch autos, the Fouts and Warfield ones jumped out at me as well.

  8. Scheib would also paint any car for $99 or something.

  9. Awesome dedication and finally landing that last card. Great looking set. I like that a "sticker" autograph wasn't a thing yet!

  10. Congrats Fuji! Patience and perseverance definitely pays off! Great set!

  11. Now that is perseverance! Congrats on completing a great set!

  12. That is an impressive set to complete - congrats!

  13. That's some big boy collecting right there. Way out of my league.

  14. No Giants in the set? Boo!

    Wayne Chrebet had the best career out of anyone who played at Hofstra and was a big local hero for Jets fans, that's probably why his cards are more than you think.

    After a rough start Yankee fans ended up loving Giambi. He hit the only walkoff HR I've seen in person.

  15. What an awesome set to have completed. There are simple junk wax sets that took me almost 20 years to complete!

  16. those are some great cards. Congrats

  17. That set was definitely well worth the wait. Amazing!

  18. That set is incredible! I am glad that you were able to finally complete it. Love the Torry Holt autograph. I see him from time to time at women's basketball games at NC State. He and his brother (Terrance - played for the Lions) run an architecture and construction company that does a lot of modernization projects with older buildings in the area. The on-campus basketball arena at NC State is the sister building to Cameron Indoor. They remodeled the building a few years back. It's incredible, cool to see him show up for the games and enjoy his work.

  19. Nice set to have completed! It's interesting that only Walter Payton eclipsed the border for his auto. Also three Vikes, so that's pretty sweet.

  20. Not a football guy but that's a great design for autograph cards. Congrats on finishing the set too.

  21. the diamond king - if i had to choose, i keep the payton... because i pulled it. but both autos are treasured pieces in my collection

    elliptical man - mcnabb would be proud that you included him with those three hall of famers

    johnnys trading spot - thanks. it's nice to finally cross this set off the list

    nachos grande - i wish i would have kept my jordan lunch pail. actually... the pail i'd love to one day own is the kobe

    sean - i was pretty stoked when i pulled it. i knew it was a pretty cool pull. and i had no idea i'd complete the set.

    gregory - i agree. i'm a big fan of this set's design. time sure flies.

    sumomenkoman - thanks buddy!

    bbcardz - thanks. one of my favorite autographs sets in the pc

    angus - kinda surprised they didn't add kevin johnson to the checklist. then again that would be a lot of cleveland browns on the checklist

    anonymous - i could use someone like schieb right now. one of my cars needs to be painted

    the lost collector - those were the days. makes me wonder, what was the very first "sticker" auto

    reds card collector - thanks! yeah... i'll treasure this for the next 22 years (assuming i'm around still)

    crocodile - thanks. it's not every day i complete a set like this.

    matt - thank you matt. i just found out that ultra pro makes top loader binder pages. i might end up putting this set into a binder for easy viewing

    night owl - dude. you finished the 1956 topps set. that's out of my league.

    bo - i remember chrebet was a solid receiver, so it doesn't surprise me that he was a fan favorite in new york. glad to hear giambi was too.

    trevor p - i'm working on the 1992 leaf set (from the junk wax era), but i only started last year. i sure hope it doesn't take me another two decades to finish

    runforekelloggs - thanks. i'm a big fan of the card's design. although the checklist is questionable.

    matt (cards over coffee) - thanks. sorry there weren't any ny giants on the checklist. it would have been cool to see lt on this card design

    the snorting bull - thanks. cool to hear torry is still being a productive member in our society. even cooler that he's teamed up with his brother. i used to be big on his cards. let me know if you collect holt, i can send some your way

    grant - yeah. guess he got a little too close to the edge. looks like the niners and seahawks tied the vikings with three guys each on this checklist.

    nick vossbrink - not as good looking as your custom set. that design is awesome!

  22. Happy completed set! I can't believe how much that Williams went for though, it's hard for me to imagine that many people being that interested in his autograph.

  23. Belated congratulations on the awesome set completion!