The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Ungraded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Ungraded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Graded cards

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five Graded cards

I received my latest cards from COMC and eBay today (shown above). With these cards I finished the wall of all the cards from 2016-2014. I still need a few graded cards for storage, but for the wall it’s all done. The five cards I added to the wall to complete 2016-2014 are:

  1. 1987 Donruss Greg Maddux RC #36
  2. 1988 Score Tom Glavine RC #638
  3. 1990 Bowman Frank Thomas RC #320
  4. 1990 Topps Frank Thomas RC #414
  5. 1962 Topps Joe Torre RC #218

With the completion of 2016-2014 I can now move on to the next three years (2013-2011). Here are the inductees and the cards I will pursue:


Hank O’Day

Hank O’Day was a Pitcher / Umpire / Manager back in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. He was voted in by the Veterans Committee as an umpire. As he was a pitcher originally he does have cards in the a few of the early pre-1900 sets (1887 N172 Old Judge and the 1889 Hartley Studio Cabinet set (see below)):

Pre-1900 Hank O'Day Cards

These cards rarely are seen for purchase and when they have shown up at various auction sites they usually command over $1000.00. As triple digit priced cards are above my pay grade, I will have to search elsewhere of an O’Day card. In 1994, the Conlon Collection pictured Hank O’Day so it will be that card I will pursue.

  1. 1994 Conlon Collection Hank O’Day #1201

Jacob Ruppert

Ruppert was the owner of the New York Yankees from 1915 until his death in 1939. He was voted in by the Veterans Committee as an Executive. He was never a ballplayer so he didn’t have any cards for that purpose. Once he entered the Hall the card companies began producing cards of the man. I personally liked his 2013 Panini Golden Age card (you gotta love the top hat) so I chose it as the card to add.

  1. 2013 Panini Golden Age Jacob Ruppert #29

Deacon White

Mr. White was a catcher from the pre-1900s who also played third base. Like Hank O’Day, he has cards back in the pre-1900 days that are out of reach for most collectors both for rarity and price.

Since these cards are out of my price range I decided to look for an alternative. The one that caught my eye was in the 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions set. The image on the card copied the one on the 1888-89 Old Judge card which I liked so I chose it to add.

  1. 2012 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions Deacon White #182


Barry Larkin

Larkin’s first cards came out in 1987. Donruss, Fleer and Topps all had a card for the Red’s shortstop.

  1. 1987 Donruss Barry Larkin RC #492
  2. 1987 Fleer Barry Larkin RC #204
  3. 1987 Topps Barry Larkin RC #648

Ron Santo

Santo did not gain enough votes from the Writers so he had to wait until the Veterans Committee voted him in. He has only one first card from Topps back in 1961.

  1. 1961 Topps Ron Santo RC #35


Roberto Alomar

Alomar’s first cards came out in 1988 but everyone except Donruss waited until their year-end Rookie/Traded sets to include him. Therefore he has only two first cards, the Donruss card, and Donruss’ Canadian counterpart Leaf.

  1. 1988 Donruss Roberto Alomar RC #34
  2. 1988 Leaf Roberto Alomar RC #34

Bert Blyleven

Blyleven reached the hall after being on the ballot since 1998 (14 years). His first cards came out in 1971 in Topps and O-Pee-Chee.

  1. 1971 O-Pee-Chee Bert Blyleven RC #26
  2. 1971 Topps Bert Blyleven RC #26

Pat Gillick

Gillick went in as an executive for his work on bringing the Blue Jays two World Series titles back in the 90s.  He never played major league baseball so it wasn’t until his induction that baseball cards started to appear of him. One of the more attractive cards put out of the man was in the 2014 Panini Hall of Fame Signatures set so I decided on that one to be added to the wall.

  1. 2014 Panini Hall of Fame Signatures Pat Gillick #47

In total that is twelve cards for the years 2013-2011 that will be collected and added to the wall. I purchased the Gillick, White, and Ruppert cards which came in the latest deliveries from COMC and eBay. I bought the Topps Blyleven card a few months ago, the Donruss Alomar card and the Topps Larkin card I’ve had for over a decade. That leaves six remaining to find and purchase. Once that is done I can move on to 2010 and beyond.

Here is the latest picture of the wall:

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five the Wall

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Five the Wall

If you would like to see all the cards I have collected, both graded and ungraded, and the price I paid for each just go to the menu at the top left of each page (The Hall of Fame Table) or click here.

The Hall of Fame Challenge, Post Four

The Rookie Card, Obliterated

At some point after World War II, The rookie card became important in baseball card collecting. It no longer is so. It’s hey day (1948 to 1993) is long gone and collectors no longer find this designation as anything important. This may be a bold assertion, and many may disagree, but read on and you can voice your opinion below.

The main reason why the rookie card had such an important role in the history of baseball card collecting was because it became synonymous with a player’s first major league card. Let me explain…

To put it another way, it wasn’t that a card was a player’s rookie card that made it most desirable, but it was because it was the player’s first major league card. There is a difference. But because, for the most part, a player’s first major league card was his rookie card, the two terms became practically synonymous.

If we realize that it’s the player’s first card, not his rookie card, which is the most desired by a majority of collectors, then we can see that all the fuss over the last decade on what defines a rookie card, is all just smoke and mirrors and mostly unimportant to the experienced collector. It may be something a new, or novice collector might like as it would be easier for him to identify a player’s important cards, but for the experienced collector it matters little as he knows it’s the player’s earliest major league card which is most important.

We must also factor in scarcity when we speak of first cards, if the card was mass produced like cards back in the 80s, then alternatives will be looked for. If they are so rare that no one looks for or sometimes even knows about them, then collectors will pass them over as the most desired of the first cards.

Lets look at some examples that show my point.

The most famous first card/rookie card difference was concerning Mickey Mantle. Mantle’s rookie card comes in the 1951 Bowman set. It is quite a desirable card selling in the $4000.00 range in VG condition. But it is not Mantle’s most desirable card. That belongs to Topps 1952 card which sells in the $20.000 range in VG condition. Here is an example where a rookie card is less wanted than a first card. Topps has become the most desired brand name over the post war years and when Bowman was beat out by Topps in the cardboard wars of the 50s, the Mantle Topps card was seen to be a better card than the Bowman issue.

Mickey Mantle Cards

Mickey Mantle Cards

If we move forward to the 80s a few more examples come to mind…

There are cards from the 80s that easily spring to mind that shows that first cards are more important than rookie cards. And here is where the definition between what is or is not a rookie card first started.

The first card pertains to Darryl Strawberry and his 1983 Topps Traded #108T vs. his regular issues from the next year (Topps #182, Fleer #599, Donruss #68). Most argue that a true rookie card of a player is the player’s card which is first issued by a major baseball card manufacturer in a regular nationwide set. If you agree, as Beckett and others did at the time, it would mean that Strawberry’s Topps Traded card is not his rookie card since the traded set was not issued as a regular set but distributed to hobby dealers in limited areas. But as a experienced collector, we all know that if we chose to buy a Darryl Strawberry card it would be the Traded version we would be looking for. If you compare pricing the Traded card sells for around $100.00 (PSA 10) and the regular issues sell in the $20.00 to $60.00 (PSA 10) which further proves the point that it is the first card not the rookie card which is most important to collectors.

Darryl Strawberry Cards

Darryl Strawberry Cards

Other important examples include: Roger Clemens and Kirby Puckett’s 1984 Fleer Update cards and Barry Bond’s 1986 Topps Traded card.

Extended and Update XRC cards

Extended and Update XRC cards

The second card pertains to Mark McGwire and his 1985 Topps #401 Team USA card vs. his 1987 cards from Topps and Donruss (Topps #366. Donruss #46). Fleer missed McGwire in their regular set issuing their first card of his in their Update set later in the year. Since McGwire never entered major league baseball until 1987, some argued that his Team USA card from two years earlier was not his true rookie card. Others disagreed since the Team USA set was part of Topps regular issue and not an insert. To experienced collectors the issue was pointless as the Team USA card would always be the more desired card because it was McGwire’s first card. If we look at pricing for the cards we draw the same conclusion ($500.00 compared to 20.00 in PSA 10).

Mark McGwire Cards

Mark McGwire Cards

Before we move forward I must also note that if I was to be perfectly precise the most sought after and desirable cards from this era of baseball are the Topps Tiffany cards (and to a lesser degree Fleer Glossy). Many experienced collectors forego the regular sets of cards from 1984 to 1991 (with some individual exceptions) to avoid buying cards that were produced in the millions. They believe the cards in the Tiffany sets are the cards that are most collectible from the era. A Tiffany card sells for much more than its regular set counterpart. For example the Team USA McGwire card in the Tiffany parallel sells for 2500.00 rather than 500.00 in PSA 10 condition. The regular sets would technically hold the rookie cards as the Tiffany cards are a parallel but again this rookie card designation is unimportant to the experienced collector.

If we move up to the 2000s there are two more cards that can be looked upon. They can be found in the 2006 Bowman Chrome release, that is, 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Evan Longoria #66 Autograph, and 2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Clayton Kershaw #84 Autograph. Both are examples of cards that are more desirable that the player’s true rookie cards which didn’t come out until 2008.

2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks

2006 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks

Lastly, as there are exceptions to everything, there is one card that balks the rookie/first card comparison. That would be the cards of Barry Larkin. Larkin’s first issued major league card was Sportflic’s 1986 Rookies #34. At first this was argued to be his rookie card, but as time passed and Sportflics cards were looked on as a novelty item rather than a regular issued set (3D multiple image plastic cards did not catch on with collectors) Larkin’s 1987 regular issues from Topps, Fleer, and Donruss became his official rookie cards. Larkin’s Sportsflics card, now considered his first card, sells for less than his 1987 cards.

Barry Larkin Cards

Barry Larkin Cards

There are probably more examples that readers can come up with on both sides of this argument but it is not too much of a stretch to say that in truth experienced collectors prefer a player’s first card over a player’s official rookie card, when the two cards are not one in the same.