Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classic Cubs Cardboard

I remember when the 2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premiers set first released in the fall of 2001.  There were so many good autographed cards in the set at the time of its release, but one stood out head and shoulders above the rest.  The autograph of one Chicago Cubs pitching phenom: Mark Prior.  At a print of 1000 (go ahead and laugh) it was a hot and expensive commodity on the card market.  

Prior was viewed as a "can't miss prospect" and for awhile looked like he was going to live up to the billing.  In 2003 Prior helped the Cubs to a near World Series appearance before an infamous incident was a certain fan and Moises Alou.  I bet you are expecting a video of Bartman?  No, but I do like the word infamous.  Love it.  

Eventually Prior got hurt, bounced around the minors, and has appeared here and there in a few independent leagues over the past half a decade or so.  Ever spring it seems that there is a rumbling about Prior catching on with a minor league team, or something to that effect, but the man has not appeared in a Major League Baseball game since 2006.  During that time he has signed with the Padres twice, Reds, Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers.  He also pitched in the Golden Baseball League too.  Despite all the bouncing around the 2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premiers card of Mark Prior still remains a pretty popular card.

2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premiers 

I have owned several copies of this card over the years and always seem to walk into new copies every few years.  Surprisingly it's a pretty difficult card to find at times and outpaces the other autographed Prior rookie cards from 2001.  His Leaf Limited and SPx autograph are both easy to find for less than $5, but for whatever reason the Prospect Premier card seems to break the mold.  The card often drifts north of $20, and for high graded versions, can go as high as $50.  Shocking for a player who not only did not live up to his career hype and expectations, but cannot even be described as very memorable.  Maybe I am being hard on Mr. Prior.  Nice player, great card.  

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