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.
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 #DF (Inducted into Canton in 1993)
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #JM (Inducted into Canton in 2000)
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #JN (Inducted into Canton in 1985)
1999 UD Retro Inkredible #OZ (Inducted into Canton in 1999)
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 #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 Coliseum. Jones 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!