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Monday, August 13, 2007

Card of the Week 8/13

One joy of being a card addict is getting The Big Pull. Opening up that pack and getting a card that really knocks your socks off. Back in the olden days a Big Pull was much more simple than it is today. If you were a kid in the 50's and your favorite player was the Brooklyn Dodgers' third baseman, Billy Cox would certainly count as The Big Pull. In the 60's it could be that one lousy Joe Pepitone card you needed to complete your set that your ex-best friend refused to trade you even though he had four of them. Once 'hobby' turned into 'industry' Big Pulls morphed into rookie cards, chase cards, autographs, jersey swatches, 1 of 1s, and all sorts of manufactured nonsense designed to keep us junkies opening those packs. This has resulted in somewhat of a glut of Big Pulls and now to keep people interested companies are inserting Really Big Pulls, which practically have to be a cut signature card of Secretariat's hoof print over William Shakespeare's autograph on Jesus' birth certificate with Plutonium foil stamping. This doesn't mean the artificial Big Pulls have gone away though, there needs to be a consolation prize for all the suckers collectors who didn't hit the jackpot and get their picture in the latest Beckett.

The problem with this is that now not all Big Pulls are all that good anymore when you really think about it. Yeah, getting a press plate is fine, but what if it's of J.C. Romero? What's so special about pulling an autograph rookie card if the guy never makes it past double-A? Sure, a card may be technically more scarce than a T206 Wagner, but that doesn't mean Wayne Gretzky will pay you 451 thousand dollars for it.

I've opened enough packs to get my share of Big Pulls. Some of them were good, some of them were meh at best. A recent Not So Big Pull was from '06 Updates and Highlights. A dealer I know had a box of Jumbo update packs that he decided had collected dust for too long so he discounted them to 2 bucks a pack to get rid of them. I still needed a good chunk of cards from that set, so I bought up his last five packs and started opening. I got the usual assortment of Mantles, Bonds and Rookie Debut inserts when I stumbled across a parallel card that didn't quite look right. Woohoo! A Black parallel! I hadn't gotten one of those before. I check to see who it is... It's a Bobby Jenks All star card. With a dinged corner and a weird yellow scuff on the back that I had to wet down with spit and rub it with my shirt before it would come off the card. Oh well, it's numbered out of 55 at least. Nothing against Bobby Jenks, he's a good closer for a championship team, but closers aren't exactly sought after hobby-wise. I stuffed it in a top loader, put it in with the rest of the set and put it away. Maybe my great-great-grandkids will find it valuable, maybe as fuel for the fire in the post-apocalyptic hell they are forced to live in because twenty-first century idiots were far more interested in the pull ratio for Allen & Ginter Emperor cards than they were in climate change, antibiotic resistant bacteria strains and nuclear proliferation.

So yesterday I'm surfing around the sports sites looking for a good subject for Card of the Week. I could always fall back on Bonds. I was able to dig up a Mike Bacsik Bowman rookie card, but he's getting too much publicity as it is. The A&G Torii Hunter would be a good choice, but I think this blog has overdone that set for the time being. Jim Thome just got his 2000th strikeout, that's pretty damn cool... Then I saw it. On Sunday, Bobby Jenks got his 41st straight batter out in a game against the Mariners to tie Jim Barr's Major league record. He needs just one more out to not only break the record, but have the equivalent of two perfect games, assuming one of them was rained out right after the fifth inning to make it an official game. Now that's a feat worthy of an honor. Problem is, I have stacks of Jim Thome cards, not a whole lot of Bobby Jenks. I was trying to think were I should even start looking for a Jenks card when I remembered that lousy pull from those Updates and Highlights packs. Not so lousy anymore, eh!

So here we go, this week's Card of the Week is the 2006 Topps Updates and Highlights Bobby Jenks All-Star Black parallel, complete with dinged corner and weird yellow scuff remnants. Good Luck Bobby, get that record in Oakland this week.

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