Sunday, August 10, 2014

Throwback Month: 1996 Leaf Signature

I know a lot of people who hate this set.  This was the first autograph per pack set and it flooded the secondary card market with thousands and thousands of autographs.  I am still not sure the flood has ended.  Somedays I type in the search word "auto" into Ebay and filter the searches to show me the cards that are ending soonest.  It's actually a really good way to snag a few good autographs at the last second for some great prices.  About once a week my screen is loaded with someone's long list of 1996 Leaf Signature cards.  You know, these things....

Does anyone actually buy these things?  Are there actually any good cards in this set?  The answer to both of those questions is yes, and in fact you should go ahead and probably pick up a bunch of the cards in this set.  Here are three types of cards that I look for from this set:

1. Hard To Find Signers 

Up until Pedro started signing for Topps the past two years, he had very few certified autographs out on the secondary market.  The Leaf Signature set is very comprehensive and they managed to snag quite a few players who were not the best signers over their careers.  Sammy Sosa, Derek Jeter, Randy Johnson, and Rafael Palmiero are a few others who have tough autographs in this set and can be tough to find away from this set.  Mariano Rivera also has an autograph in this set, which looks spectacular, but be prepared to take out a second mortgage on your house.  

2.  Mark Gubicza, Mike Hampton, Shawon Dunston, Why Not?  

You guys remember Shawon Dunston?  Played for 18 years, first overall draft pick by the Cubs in 1982, two time All-Star, played on four division winners in Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, and San Francsico.  Solid player.  

Doug Drabek played 13 years, won a Cy Young Aaward, and was the ace of the early 1990s Pittsburgh Pirates teams.  Later played for the Astros, White Sox, and Red Sox winning 155 games in his career.  

Mike Hampton played 16 years, was injured for at least another 4 or 5, and still won almost 150 games during his career.  Had a great year pitching for the Astros in 1999, a pretty good year with the Mets in 2000, and then learned your change-up doesn't change plain, nor speed in Denver.  He could hit too....

Mark Gubicza was won of the better pitchers in the late 80s.  Won double digit games in his first six years in the bigs, including a 22 win season, two All-Star appearances, and a ton of Van Halen t-shirts.  

All these players were pretty good.  All of them played when this set was released.  Do you know another card set with a Mark Gubicza autograph?  There are a ton of solid players in this set, who are not Hall of Famers, but had good years and should be worthy of a place in your card collection.  Most of these cards a just a few bucks at most.  Really good deal for an autograph of a pretty good player.  

3.  This Guy Played For My Team!

Who remembers Allen Battle?  He played 61 games for the Cardinals in 1995 and was then traded for Todd Stottlemyre.  I buy Cardinals autographs.  For 50 cents would you buy an autograph of a guy who played part of a season for your favorite team?  I vote yes.  


  1. There is actually a Julian Taveras Indians 1996 Leaf Signature on the bay now for $1.75 opening bid

    1. Love Julian Taveras, as a Cardinal. I already picked that card up. Favorite Julian Taveras moment as a Cardinals was when he got caught with pine tar on his hat and threw into the stands so the umpires could not have it.

  2. Great post. I picked up a pair of Pedro's (bronze & silver) for my Expos PC in the past couple of months.

  3. Love this set. Picked up a nice gold Trevor Hoffman a couple months back. Bid on a couple Pedros, but haven't won one yet.