“One who sets the entire army in motion to chase an advantage will not attain it.”
That was my mistake in 2009. Well, one of them anyway. By the end of my journey in collecting I had obtained every single parallel of my then local team favorite, Andrew Miller. His main rookie card, arguably, came from 2007 Finest in the form of a certified autograph. Miller had joined the Florida Marlins after a trade from the Detroit Tigers, who had drafted him as a first overall selection in 2006. Standing six-foot seven and being a lefty naturally earned him comparisons to Randy Johnson but an entire career of struggling for control had cemented him a permanent spot in the baseball prospects scrapyard.
My reason for even liking Andrew Miller was highly dubious to begin with. The only reason I chose to collect him was because he was the first certified autograph I pulled that held any type of “book value” in the hobby. At the time, his Finest base autograph sold regularly for $40-$50 for a good length of time. It was natural that I would want to chase all versions of this card, which Topps clearly made one too many of. To go with the base Refractor, there were also blue, green, black, and gold versions, along with an X-fractor, and finally the 1/1 Superfractor. Before all was said and done, I had every single parallel, minus printing plates (4 colors) and the Super.
Funny thing is that despite how many countless hours I spent online, at work and home, ignoring my family for months and months, I never even got a glimpse of the 2007 Finest Andrew Miller Superfractor. For all I know, it didn’t even exist. Topps Company, in some kind of act of vengeance must have never printed the card or maybe they did and they let it walk out the back door so that it would never have even the slimmest of chances of entering my collection. Maybe that was for the best because in 2011, I lost my entire collection of Andrew Miller cards, including the 7 Finest autographs which cost me a small fortune to obtain.
Well, a crazy thing happened this morning as I was creating an eBay account, of which I have already placed my first bid on a card for. I began searching out Andrew Miller, specifically cards from 2007 Finest. As you can imagine, there are almost none online. Then I started searching Google and out of nowhere I was struck by the most beautiful sight known to collectors. My “white whale” had appeared in front of my eyes. There was a front and back scan of the 1 of 1 Superfractor from some unknown online eBay wanna-be. I traced the card to a hobby shop from New York, who sold it in 2007 but sadly they are no longer in business.
I’ve lost a lot in the past five years, some things that I miss, others not so much. What kills me is the fact that this card is still out there and not with me. I now have the task of bringing back all of its parallel brothers home again, despite zero hobby interest in Miller. It won’t be easy but this time it’s not lack of funds that will stop me. However, the Superfractor is out there and it belongs in my collection and there’s no way to track its current location. What’s really scary is that the card, much like my own collection of Miller cards, could have easily been discarded or destroyed and may never come home where it belongs. So for now, all I have is this image of my white whale.
If you spot it, find me and I will do whatever it takes to make it mine.