I remember meeting my first Jose Canseco “super collector” back in 1991. His name was Arthur and we became best friends in the 4th grade. Naturally, we both adored Jose Canseco and even changed the words to the morning pledge as a tribute to Jose. I came from a broken home with not much money as my mom did her best to raise me all by herself, Arthur had two very successful parents. My first Canseco came home in 1990 and by the time I met Arthur, I had accumulated about 25 different cards. The Beckett book value on the ’86 Donruss Rated Rookie at the time was $125 and $60 for the Topps Traded. Both these cards were out of reach so my collection was full of Donruss, Fleer, and an Upper Deck, if I was lucky, along with some oddballs. Arthur, had all the main Canseco cards with over 100 total cards and even a game-used bat. I was in shock but not jealous because Arthur was still my best friend. As he was flipping through page after page I stopped to look at a card (Donruss Elite #’d to 10,000) when he slapped my hand away and told me not to touch. It was the beginning of the end of our friendship and the start of a 25-year dislike of fellow Canseco collectors.
Over the years, I’ve finally found financial freedom but still have never spent much on my Canseco collection. This year upon my return to collecting and blogging, I spent $200 on a CheckOutMyCards order for 91 Jose cards and since 1990, that’s the very most I ever spent on cards. Since then, I’ve picked up 2-3 cards per month with no card costing over $20. What can I say? I am a thrifty super collector. That Canseco Rated Rookie? I waited 8 years to add it to my collection (1998) at which point it bottomed out for $8 in Beckett back when book value still meant something. By the time I started Wax Heaven in 2007, I flat out hated all other Canseco collectors not out of spite but simply because they were all arrogant bastards. That all changed when Bryan Fitzgerald came in to my life (#NOHOMO). Not only was he really open to sharing his collection and love of Jose and his cards, he was also extremely friendly. One day out of the blue, he sent me a box of 700 Jose Canseco cards, for free, just because. Inside were 10-15 autographs, 10+ jerseys, and hundreds of cards I never owned. I was nearly in tears as he single handedly took me from 700+ cards to over 1,000 just because he wanted to help my collection. I will never forget that day (or Bryan, pictured below). I was sad to hear he sold off his collection, unfortunately, when I was away from the hobby because I would have loved to purchase even 5% of it.
That brings me to 2015 and the two current top dogs in Canseco cards. Tanman, who basically owns an amazing collection but an even more amazing blog and custom card skills and Razor, who recently showed the entire world just how amazing his collection is on Blowout Card Forums. While seeing those cards I didn’t have an ounce of hatred or jealousy in my body despite there being a great chance I will never own 1% of cards like that for two reasons: I’m happy with my collection as is and because Razor is a great guy.
Okay, maybe there is just a little jealousy. As for Arthur, he sold off his Canseco collection in high school, probably for less than 1/3 what his parents paid for it. Today, he doesn’t remember our love for Canseco despite being on my Facebook friends list. At least I can say I’ve aged a million times better and that is something my hero would approve of much more than silly baseball cards. Yes, even after all these embarrassing years, Jose Canseco is still my hero, which is why even 25 years later, I still chase after his baseball cards. Here’s to another 25 years!