Friday, January 23, 2009

From your comment to Stadium Club's ears

You don't think there are baseball card gods? You doubt that there are baseball card fairies or gremlins or pixies?

OK, then how do you explain this? In the last post, I wrote about the slow deterioration of baseball players' penmanship skills. One MMayes of the 1972 Topps Baseball blog ended his comment on the post by saying:

"For a fun current autograph, check out Johnny Cueto's card. Looks like a kindergartner printing."

About nine hours later, I found myself in Kmart with the family. I was determined to buy something from the store's notoriously poor card selection (don't worry, it didn't cut into the card show budget). The only thing that whispered in my ear was a blaster of Stadium Club (yeah, yeah, I know, I vowed never to buy another SC blaster. Shut up). So I ponied up, and pulled this:

Looks like I get to find out how much Cueto's signature resembles those of the 5-year-olds on my block.

I've seen Cueto's signature before, so I know what MMayes is talking about. But what I have never seen before in person is a redemption card. I am still relatively new to the modern card scene, and I don't spend nearly as much cash on cards as a lot of bloggers, so I lag behind in areas like this.

What I do know is people have had various experiences with redemption cards. Some plain hate them. But I'm operating off a clean slate, so I have faithfully followed the instructions on the back of the card, will allow 12 to 15 weeks for processing, and be aware that substitutions of equal or greater value will be made if the insert is unavailable for any reason.

But also please know, Topps, that I will be keeping track of how many days it takes to get my Cueto autograph in the sidebar at right, so I expect to see the card in 84 to 105 days. And if I get a substitution, I expect it to be truly of equal or greater (ha! to that second part) value. When the card comes everyone will know about it.

Meanwhile, the rest of the blaster was just as I expected -- one card of every five was one I needed. Most were of the rookies, cards 101 to 150. The rest were the divisible-by-three cards, all with the first-day issue stamp on the front.

Carlos Quentin, whose season ended prematurely after he broke his wrist punching out his bat.

Justin Verlander, who has Tigers fans wondering after last season's performance.

And Babe Ruth, whose '76 Topps card I hope to grab at the card show this weekend.

Meanwhile, reader Steve was nice enough to send me several Stadium Club cards that I needed, including Jorge Posada, Chris Young, Justin Masterson and a few others, including two versions of two rookies I was lacking:

I've done a pretty good job of ignoring the fact that there is more than one version of the rookie cards, because I've found my brain hates me when I do start thinking about it. So I simply look at the number on the back, and if it's one I don't have, then I check it off and don't worry about it anymore. If I get a variation, cool. But I'm not chasing.

I'm beginning to think all of us Stadium Club collectors are crazy anyway. Or at least I am. That is until I complete the set. Then I'm at least as sane as the guy who thought up redemption cards.


  1. I love how the Perez and Boggs pictures have them wearing different uniform numbers (the higher numbers being spring training numbers, of course.)

    My only experience with redemptions was getting a Shaquille O'Neal redemption card from Upper Deck in 1992. They sent me my card after a couple of months, but if I recall correctly the card was sent in a letter-sized white envelope and not in pristine condition.

  2. Good luck with Johnny C. I'm glad I didn't mention the autograph I got in the mail of Sammy Khalifa (mid-80's Pirates) that looked for all the world like he had his 3rd grader sign in perfect cursive. Cueto is probably better than the Big Sammy Machine.