Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Collecting The Durham Bulls: Vince Belnome

I am a little partial towards Vince Belnome.  He's one of my favorite Bulls players and I was happy to see him back on the Bulls again this year.  Belnome was on the Rays, for a day.  Belnome is not a real prime prospect at this point, but he's one of those older players who can offer a good veteran presence for a minor league team.  Belnome started off in the Padres organization and had a pretty good run in their minor league system.  He posted a .963 OPS in 2009, .832 in 2010, 1.035 in 2011, and .834 in 2012.  After the 2012 season, the Rays picked up Belnome in a minor trade.  In his first season in Durham Belnome posted a .300 average, drove in 67 runs, all while carrying an .854 OPS.  Belnome is struggling a little bit to start off the 2014 season, but he's picking up the pace over the past few weeks. 

Card wise Belnome has one primary baseball card which was released in the 2010 Bowman set.  You can also find Vince Belnome cards in several minor league team issues such as the San Antonio Missions and the Durham Bulls.  All nice cards.  Really his Bowman card is a pretty cool card to track down and is my preferred card of choice with Belnome.  Like all recent Bowman sets, the market for Belnome Bowman cards hinges greatly on the colored parallels.  Most of the time a career minor league player would be an after thought to collectors, but Belnome happens to be a popular fan favorite and that popularity pushes the price of his cards at times. 

For example, I have been able to track down a good chunk of his colored parallels over the past year.  Many of them surface on Ebay, but the bidding is frequently competitive.  Sure, some of the cards are listed by sellers for just a few bucks.  However, short-printed cards with low serial numbers left up to the bidding process can escalate quickly.  I recently picked up the hardest part of a rainbow....

I had saved up my Ebay Bucks, so I was willing to spend a little bit more than I normally would have for a printing plate of a minor league player.  It was a good thing that I had a few extra bucks in the fight because the card drifted north of $20.  While I was a little bit disappointed to see the card go that high, I am excited to finish off my rainbow of this popular Durham Bulls player.  It also goes to show that collecting a player with only a single card can be both fun and challenging. 

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