Glimmer


MLB popularity continues to wane. In fact, I think it is the number 4 professional sport in the US behind, NFL Football, NBA, NCAA College Football, — but it is still ahead of NHL, NCAA Basketball and PGA Golf. But for one brief moment I became absorbed in MLB’s last game of 2014 with a nail biter game that was won by the San Francisco Giants. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Alex Gordon took an outside pitch and lined it to left center that got by the Giants center fielder. He got to third and stopped there — but was really hoping initially to take a chance and go home and beat an errant throw or have the next batter drive him in and send it to extra innings. The game had the potential to be reminiscent of the 1986 World Series when the Mets down to their last out and to their last strike, put a rally together with three consecutive weakly hit singles and Bill Buckner’s gaffaw to end the game and send it to game 7, where the Mets came from behind again to take that World Series.

But just for a second the fire was still lit. There was excitement and buzz for MLB Baseball and hope that baseball will take some of this energy and transfer it to an interesting 2015.

The Glimmer of the game which traces it origins in the US back to the Civil War needs work. I have one suggestion, actually two: 1) Scale back the season to 158 games to allow the Wildcards to have a best of three series instead of a one game playoff, 2)Start game one of the World Series on a Saturday night instead of a Tuesday night; this will allow kids and families to watch it instead of starting on a Tuesday night where ratings will tend to be lower. I’m not an MLB executive but that is my opinion. I respect the MLB for trying to improve the game and I know that there is a lot of work and marketing involved in the process.

Congratulations again to the Giants and the Royals for another great World Series.

The Strasburg Superfractor 1/1 Raffle that wasn’t – A look back


ball4baseballcardreport:

Go Royals. George Brett hasn’t changed a bit. Still has the same vibrant look he had on his 1975 Topps Rookie Card. A great card I bought for $12.50 as a kid and resold for the same amount over 30 years later. I wouldn’t call it breaking even, but I’ll take it.

Originally posted on ball4baseballcardreport:

A major part of my blog is to draw attention to the iconic Stephen Strasburg 2010 SuperFractor 1/1 — the card that many will remember as one of the most highly sought out cards in recent years. Well, it has now been just about four years since the last recorded owner of the card Devin Grant was trying to raise money with a raffle to benefit the Bryan Stow Fund — the Giants fan beaten after a Dodgers opening day game in 2010. In addition, the raffle collection was going to be raised for two Little League organizations and softball leagues in his area. (Source, Beckett.com, California Man Finds Stephen Strasburg Superfractor in Pack, Plans Raffle to Benefit Charity and Leagues).

The raffle was to be held before game two of the Giants vs. Rangers World Series. Unfortunately, due to tax filing issues with the organization that was going to…

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The Strasburg Superfractor 1/1 Raffle that wasn’t – A look back


A major part of my blog is to draw attention to the iconic Stephen Strasburg 2010 SuperFractor 1/1 — the card that many will remember as one of the most highly sought out cards in recent years. Well, it has now been just about four years since the last recorded owner of the card Devin Grant was trying to raise money with a raffle to benefit the Bryan Stow Fund — the Giants fan beaten after a Dodgers opening day game in 2010. In addition, the raffle collection was going to be raised for two Little League organizations and softball leagues in his area. (Source, Beckett.com, California Man Finds Stephen Strasburg Superfractor in Pack, Plans Raffle to Benefit Charity and Leagues).

The raffle was to be held before game two of the Giants vs. Rangers World Series. Unfortunately, due to tax filing issues with the organization that was going to host it was canceled. According to Devin Grant, a few hundred dollars in tickets were sold — not even close to the $21,403 price paid for by Leaf’s Brain Gray, who repacked the card in his Razor Rookie cards that was pulled by Mr Grant in 2011.

The card still has my attention and I hope I am able to get the story out about this “iconic” card.

Good luck Royals. I cannot help to root for them after the incredible post season they have had. I wish the World Series began on Saturday night instead of Tuesdsy. It would attract a bigger audience in my opinion.

Pulling for the New Strikeout King


Looking at Stephen Strasburg’s overall performance this year it was above par: 14-11 3.14 ERA you would think the year was OK. However, look at the K’s: 242 in 215 innings beating out Clayton Kershaw at the end of the year.  He only walked 43 batters, too. While the W-L and ERA stats were average, I would think that despite his torn ACL a few years back it can be argued that this young right-hand hurler may be finally catching up to the hype that eluded him in 2010 before his injuries derailed it to become an All-Star pitcher.It will be interesting to watch how well he pitches during this postseason. If the Nationals advance and he pitches well perhaps he may reach innings pitched, which used to be the norm before the specialty relief pitchers made their splash. If he does it will be a monumental achievement for him and probably build his confidence when he enters his 2015 season.

I’ll be rooting for Strasburg. The mystique and mania of collecting his cards pulled me briefly to an industry that is trying to hold onto its popularity with kids and collectors. I still hope Devin Grant has the new holy grail of cards: The 2010 Bowman Strasburg 1/1 Superfractor.

My book: “Chasing Stephen: The story of how the chase for one card shocked the industry” should be released in 2015, five years after the brief hysteria in 2010.

Good luck Stephen. Fans and collectors will be watching.

Strasburg Superfractor 2010 1/1 – Four Years Later


To think it has now been four years since the excitement and controversy regarding the iconic Stephen Strasburg 1/1 Superfractor. From the initial pulling of the card being offered on ebay for $16,403 to where it is now hopefully — still in the possession of Devin Grant – who was unable to raffle off the card as a fundraiser due to tax issues. It’s okay; the story is still fascinating and lit a spark in an industry that has taken it on the chin for the past twenty years. I have been working on a book for the past four years – although at a snail’s pace, regarding the card which will be titled: Chasing Stephen – How one card helped revive baseball card collecting. Despite losing its luster the hobby still exists — the card store has moved from the brick and mortar store to an online shop.

If you have any questions regarding the card let me know by sending me an email to robsdugout@gmail.com.

I will keep you posted when the book will be published. Have fun busting packs and chasing cards.

Robert – b4bcr

2010 Topps Bowman Strasburg Superfractor 1/1 iconic card still with Devin Grant


I recently heard from Devin Grant who informed me that he still is holding the iconic 2010 Bowman Stephen Strasburg 1/1 Superfractor. One of the most discussed baseball cards in the last two years is still being held with Mr. Grant who resides in California. He mentioned that he is not yet sure what he is going to do with the card. We will wait and see to see in whose hands if any will have the card passed onto.

It has now been over two years since the card was auctioned on on eBay. On May 29th of 2009 Robert Power, an accountant in Michigan won the auction watched by over 10,000 on eBay for a whopping $16,403, which he later sold to Brian Gray, President of Leaf Trading Cards, in July 2009 for $21,403. Gray eventually repacked the card in the Razor Retro packs which was eventually pulled by Grant and his godson at Peninsula Sports Cards in Northern California.

I have been closely following this story over the last two years and am putting together a book which discusses the history of the card as well as focusing on the state of baseball card collecting in terms of how collecting has changed from a kids endeavor to one that is, in my opinion, part collecting, part investing and part creating a small number of micro entrepreneurs in terms of making a couple of bucks via eBay, Amazon.com or Craigslist as a means of trading, collecting, set building and making some money to pay a bill or two.

I am well aware that the bricks and mortar card shops are suffering right now because of different types of collecting and hobbies for both the young an old. I am also aware that card show attendance has been diminishing year after year and the business of card collecting is dying and left for middle-aged white men. Rather it is very much alive and has moved from traditional convention centers and perhaps Knights of Columbus halls to the Internet. “The card show has moved to eBay,” Brian Gray told me in a phone interview earlier this year. And so it has. In fact, at any given time on eBay alone there are over two million cards up for sale or for auction on eBay. The industry has changed and yes I have seen fathers and sons buy cards together, even if it as Target rather than a candy store.

As I complete the book I am still hoping to speak with Leo Kim about the card and see if has any reflections about it now two years later since he auctioned the card in May 2009. I also hope to find and interview serious collectors and get their take as to what motivates them to passionately collect cards. Stay tuned for book details soon. Take card Robert @ b4bcr

 

 

Mantle, Mays, Gooden,…Harper?


Well it happened. The Washington Nationals brought up their 2010 Number One Pick — Bryce Harper. Harper was not scheduled to arrive to the big leagues this soon, but due to injuries to key players like Ryan Zimmerman the front office decided it was time to call him from their Triple AAA affiliate in Syracuse,

Harper is young. At nineteen years old he is the number one Pre-rated prospect according to Baseball America. He’s a big guy too. At 6 foot 3 and 215 pounds he looked impressive crushing a double against the center field wall in his first game at Dodger Stadium as well as making a great catch colliding against the center field wall.

Despite his age, I’m sure there are some saying that he’s too young; his teammates told him not too press and judging from his first few games he is is just playing ball.

Like Harper, Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays arrived to the big leagues at the age of nineteen. Though success did not come instantly baseball fans young and old know the mark they both left on America’s Pastime. Dwight Gooden also came up at the age of nineteen and did not have the success of Mays and Mantle however he had a pretty darn good career. He was part of a great 1986 Mets team that won the World Series and also pitched a no-hitter as a New York Yankee against a tough Seattle Mariners team in Yankee Stadium.

I hope Harper does well and rises above any criticism he may encounter because he is young. With Strasburg, Harper and perhaps another future star at first base Tyler Moore coming up the Nats look ready to be contend for the NL East title for many years.

Checking out the Harper and Strasburg cards on eBay. They are selling quite well. Their serial numbered and autographed cards are off the charts in terms of their demand.

Baseball card collecting is very alive and well in my opinion. Like many industries the activity has shifted from a bricks and mortar facility to the Internet. As Brian Gray, the President of Leaf Cards, told me in an interview about the Stephen Strasburg Superfractor card a couple of weeks ago that “the card shows are now on eBay.” Think about it at any given time on the Auction website that there are more than two million “baseball” cards to buy at any given time on eBay. Thus, it makes sense to transfer the card shops to the internet and online auction/retailer sites like eBay.

My book about the story of the 2010 Bowman Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor 1/1 card is coming along well. I talk about the industry and the iconic card as well as about the history of baseball card and collecting. What I’m looking for now are a few hardcore card collectors who would like to talk about their “mancaves” or “womancaves”. If your interested please send me an email at robsdugout@gmail.com. 

I apologize for the lapse in blog posts. Between my job, family life and my book research things got busy. But I hope to post more frequent blog posts as I near the completion of the book. I am projecting the have it done by the end of the year. 

Thanks again to those who have checked out my site. Happy Harper and Strasburg or whatever cards you collect.

Robert at b4bcr