Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Le Grand Baseball Card

At one point I had a want list on this blog.  I was terrible at keeping it up to date, so I scrapped it.  I  still have the small list of cards, but it is now on a miniature yellow legal pad that sits on top of some of the boxes in my baseball card closet.  The list is usually almost all Durham Bulls or Cardinals related cards.

Several of the cards on my list are out there, but beyond reach in terms of what I am willing to pay.  Others are not there, rarely pop up, and are hard to nail down when they show up.  Every once in awhile, I am able to wait it out and find what I want at a price that I am willing to pay.  My most recent success on my want list was a Frank McCormick autograph, which I picked up last month.

This card took me almost a year to land.

I recently had a deep regret with my want list.  If I made a list of the top ten to fifteen greatest Durham Bulls players of all-time, I can go into my card closet right now and show you several nice cards of each of those players, along with some sort of certified autograph.  All except one of those players.

I have several nice Rusty Staub cards.  One of my most recent card of the player Expos fans nicknamed "Le Grand Orange" is out of the 1982 O Pee Chee set.

Not expensive, not flashy, not glossy, no foil, no fancy fonts or lettering, not short printed, not serial numbered, just a nice 1980s baseball card.  It's nice to have some players to collect who played before the card boom in the early 1990s.  Love that the card is half English and half French.  

So, here was my regret.  

For years I have watched different Rusty Staub autographs.  Sometimes I lost out on auctions.  Sometimes the list price on eBay Buy It Now cards, or singles on COMC were high.  I found one or two on Facebook trade groups, but could not match up with my trading partners.  Eventually I just ran out of time.  

Staub had been in poor health for awhile and passed away this past Spring.  If you are reading this, and do not know much about Staub, it's worth your time to take a few minutes to watch the video MLB put out to remember him after he died.  He played a bunch of different places in his career and seems to be a fan favorite with each of those fan bases.  

I always thought of Rusty as an old guy on the 1980s Mets teams who came off the bench to pinch hit.  As a young Cardinals fan in the 1980s, I equated him with Steve Braun.  I learned better later in life.  

Anyway, as card collectors we all know what happens after a player passes away.  The prices of their cards are hyper inflated.  Twenty dollar cards magically become fifty dollar cards within half an hour of the news hitting the internet.  Thirty dollar cards become hundred dollar cards.  It shakes out over time, but sometimes it takes awhile.  Someone still has a Staub autograph up right now listed for more than $100.  

That's just sad.  My hopes of finding a Staub autograph have been low over the past four or five months.  Have not even tried to track one down, watched one on Ebay, check to see if there are any on COMC.  Nothing.  I quit and I walked away.

Anyway, I was trying to unload a pretty nice Cubs card that I pulled out of a pack of cards a few weeks pack and found a trading partner on Facebook.  They floated out a few Cardinals cards, but I had them all, or they were Randal Grichuk and Luke Weaver.  I ended up looking through an online photo album and ran across a copy of a Staub autograph.

I asked.  The Cubs card, a Javy Baez autograph, I was trading was roughly a $20 card.  While I was not watching Rusty Staub autographs apparently one sold for a little less than $20 on Ebay.  I missed that one since I was not even watching, but it helped land one in a trade.

and here is my Rusty Staub autograph....

I was actually leaning towards this one over the Greats of the Game card.  While that card is an Expos card, it is also a sticker autograph, and the goldish framing on the edges of those cards gets a little chippy in my experience.  While I was not a huge fan of the 1980s Mets teams, this is the best autographed card of Rusty out there.

Back of the card.

The standard Upper Deck Richard McWilliam letter here.  

Overall, a great card and one that should have been crossed off my want list long ago.  Better late than never.  


  1. Congratulations on getting your much desired autograph! I love how folks always try to cash in on death, people never fail to disappoint in that regard.

  2. Congratulations on landing that Staub! It's even better that you didn't have to pay the inflated prices. I understand the whole supply and demand issue... and in the case of Staub... maybe he doesn't have hundreds of different autographs out there and there obviously won't be anymore in the future. But I've never been a fan of cashing in on someone else's death. Maybe I'd think differently if selling cards was my primary source of income. Who knows.