It’s bad enough I have to somehow try to compete with high-rollers on eBay for cards like these. I rarely have any illusions those monster cards will ever enter my collection. I love this hobby but there will never come a time when I will spend more than $100 dollars on a single card. It’s just not like me.
So while those big time cards generally avoid joining my collection, I never had any problems adding great-looking 90′s inserts, low-budget certified autos and relics, and unique oddballs to my ever-growing collection of Jose Canseco cards. Unfortunately, something has happened as of late … a boom in Independent League sets.
Late in my run with Wax Heaven, a reader and fellow blogger sent me a package containing two cards from the 2008 Newark Bears Team Set. The two cards were of Jose Canseco and his twin brother, Ozzie. The cards were very cool and I was extremely thankful and even wrote a post about it. As it turns out, during my absence the set exploded on the secondary market.
Thanks to crazy player collectors, everyone is now getting in on the fun. Check out this card of Jose with the Charlotte Knights from a team set released in 2002. Do I want the card? YES. Does it have a lower than usual print run? Possibly. Is it worth $400 freakin’ dollars? Depends on what drugs you are on.
Look, as cool as I think these cards are … they are also no-frills. They are printed on thin card stock, feature below-average photography, and lack all of today’s “Joe Collector” goodies like serial numbering, parallels, and relics. At best, they offer a sad glimpse of your favorite old-timer once Topps, Upper Deck and other brands have abandoned them.
Long after ESPN stops raving and fans stop asking for autographs, these Independent League sets provide a look into a player’s final attempt back to the Majors. Yes, some will be lucky to find their way into tribute sets but for others, it is their final appearance on card board and one last glimpse into their greatness for those who collect.