Monday, May 15, 2017

Day Twenty One - 1991 Leaf Juan Gonzalez #119

Day 21: A Card of a Rookie You Thought You Were "Investing" In

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the twenty-first of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.

Here's my pick - first things first, I realize this is not a rookie card. When I was 9, I was given the 1991 Leaf set as a gift. I studied the backs of all the cards and Juan Gonzalez stuck out to me. Whenever I went to a card shop (I grew up with one shop two blocks from my house, and another one at the mall a ten minute bus ride away) after that, I was asking if they had any Juan Gonazlez cards. I did get his 1990 cards from Score and Upper Deck and Fleer - but I still credit this card as the one that got me started on collecting his cards.

Since these are basically one card posts, why not show the backs, too? It was Juan Gone's 89 and 90 minor league stats that really popped out at me. I think I would still be impressed today with a similar player's statline. Of course, I wouldn't really call my childhood collection of Gonzalez cards an example of prospecting - I wasn't collecting them with the intention of selling them later for big bucks, it was more about trying to get in on the ground floor. I missed out on Rickey Henderson rookies and Kirby Puckett rookies as a kid by virtue of not being old enough to read or form sentences... by the time I could do either, those cards were commanding premium prices. So Juan Gonzalez would be different! I went all in right away.

How about some honorable mentions:
Last year after the World Series, I went onto Baseball Reference and browsed the minor league leaderboards and randomly picked a few AA and A affiliates and looked for some new player collection candidates. The criteria were mostly arbitrary - I wanted to find players that were outperforming their peers, but also players that I would find interesting even if they ended being a bust. Again, I wasn't looking for gold in them thar Bowman hills, but just trying to get in on the ground floor. The Twin I selected was Fernando Romero - and I was disappointed to find that he didn't have any cards yet. 2017 Bowman is the first card released for him, so I snapped up one base card and one chrome base card at the last card show.

There was also a dealer with an autographed card of Romero, but was asking 12 bucks for it. So, I went on eBay and won auctions for these two for about 10 - and both of these are serial numbered! Getting in on the ground floor!

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