I also never expected to find a card that could top the first candidate for "Worst Card," the Topps Ryan Braun card. But I do believe we have a very appropriate contender here. And you might be surprised to know that this card also is connected to Ryan Braun.
What we have here is an official 2009 Bowman scout card, autographed by the scout in question, Larry Pardo. As the esteemed motherscratcher would say, "I crap you negative."
The first time I saw one of these cards was during a Bowman break on Crackin' Wax. My comment on that post was the following:
"Scout? Auto? Mind. Just. Blown. To. Smithereens."
Seriously, what bowling ball thought inserting autographed cards of scouts was a smashing idea?
But surprisingly, after reading that post and a similar one on Wax Heaven, I forgot about the whole sordid affair. A week or two later I stood in front of the bountiful card aisle at Target and decided to cherry-pick a pack here and a pack there. I like to sample everything. I love salad bars, buffets, all that stuff. I should be 400 pounds. Anyway. I grabbed a pack of Bowman because it was new.
Then shuffling through the pack, I caught something shiny-silvery about the third or fourth card in. I knew immediately what it was -- a sticker autograph. I couldn't believe it. I have found autographed cards in retail purchases several times in rack packs, and a few times in blasters. But I have never found an autographed card in a loose pack. Never. This was going to be one for the blog.
Turns out it was, but not in the way I had handicapped. If I had not seen the Crackin' Wax post, I probably would have stared at it for a good 5 minutes before my brain could comprehend what it was. But I knew immediately. And it bothered me that I was even holding the card.
What on earth did the scouts say when Topps asked them to autograph a stack of stickers? I hope some of them refused to do it. I'm sure there's some kid out there who wants to be a scout some day. Well, 2009 is his lucky year. For the rest of us? We've got another card we can throw in the compost pile with the cards of political figures and animals and other non-baseball-playing-people-who-are-the-sole-reason-why-I-spend-money-on-this-stuff (Allen & Ginter is the exception. But you can't duplicate A&G. So stop it).
You know what this means now, don't you? We are going to get autographed cards of anyone who has anything to do with a major league team or player. Autographed cards of agents, accountants, bat boys, ball girls, cotton candy salesmen, groundskeepers, trainers, parking attendants, massage therapists, ticket scalpers, assistants to the traveling secretary, groupies in the hotel lobby. There could even be autographed cards of (*gasp*) sportswriters. You could have an autographed card of ME. Oh, this is madness. Madness! Make it stop!
The thing that I noticed about this card, other than that Larry signs his last name on top of his first name, is that nowhere on this card does it say that this guy is a scout. If you didn't know that Bowman was inserting "scout cards" in its set, you'd be even more befuddled than you should be.
Here is what it says on the back:
Braun that I mentioned at the beginning of this post.
Also note that it says for the title "Worked With Ryan Braun." You can pretty much gather from the copy that he scouted the player and said he was someone the Brewers should draft. But why couldn't they mention this guy is a scout? I mean "worked with Ryan Braun" could mean anything. If Braun ever worked at a McDonald's as a teenager, some pimply-faced kid could say, "Hey, I worked with Ryan Braun. Where's my card?"
Don't worry, kid. Your time is coming. Soon.