Sunday, May 26, 2019

eBay wins instead of a card show

I mentioned a few posts back how I was all set to go to the May card show, but then the evening before I ended up winning a bunch of auctions for more than I was expecting to pay thanks to one sonofabitch guy out there who also had interest in the cards and pushed my set snipe bids nearly to their max. And so I couldn't in good conscious turn around and spend even more on cards so soon, so I had to cool it for a little while. I'm conflicted and still not sure if I'm glad I came out on top, or if I could do it again, I'd have put a lower bid and let the other guy walk away with 'em. On one hand, it turned out to be way more than I wanted to pay for some no-name autos, but on the other hand, my psycho quest for a black refractor parallel set of 2004 Topps Chrome made major strides with this haul.

The cards in question were a dozen autographs from the aforementioned set. 2004 Topps Chrome black refractor parallels are weird in that the autographs (all "first year" rookie/prospect guys) are numbered in with the set yet they are serial-numbered to only 25. (The other [non-auto] black refractors are not numbered, but are thought to have a print run probably somewhere between 100 and 300.)

All things aside, I sure do love these 2004 black refractors! While my first true loves are the 2004 Topps Retired refractor autos, that love also spills over to the 2004 Topps Chrome black refractors, too, though the players in the Chrome autograph subset are obviously less impressive than the HOFers and fan favorites in Retired.

Blake Hawksworth made the majors with the Cardinals in 2009, and was terrific in his debut year, with an steller 203 ERA+ over 30 games, helping St. Louis win the NL Central that year. Stuck around for a couple more seasons and got traded to the Dodgers, but a shoulder injury ended his career not long after. These days he's an assistant high school basketball coach.

Craig Ansman put up some monster numbers in the low minors but fizzled in AAA and never made The Show, getting released in 2005.

Jon Knott led the Pacific Coast League in homers and RBI in 2006, but couldn't put it together up top, though at least he got into 19 games with the Padres (2004, 2006) and Orioles (2007).

Matt Creighton never made the majors despite hitting .394 in limited action in AAA in 2004.

Mike Gosling got into 58 MLB games from 2004 thru 2009 with Arizona, Cincinnati, and Cleveland. On May 17, 2010, Gosling officially announced his retirement before a Columbus Clippers game for Cleveland's AAA affiliate, finishing his career that night by pitching 6.1 scoreless innings in a spot start against the Durham Bulls. In 2012, he returned to his alma mater, Stanford, enrolling at Stanford Law School.

Despite being a 1st round draft pick (25th overall in 2003), Bradley Sullivan never made it out of A-ball.

Conor Jackson had a respectable 7-year MLB career. Hit .300 in 2008, his career-best year for games played (144).

Wait a minute-- check that lower right corner!

Seems the person or machine responsible for putting on the authentication hologram stickers got a little sloppy with this one!

Jeffery Allison is another 1st rounder (16th overall in 2003) who never cracked the majors, topping out at AA. Them's pitching prospects for ya!

But hey, it might be my favorite card here thanks to being the only Christmas Card in the bunch! I wasn't intending to do it, but I've now featured a 12/25 card in 3 consecutive posts.

Matthew Moses was the 21st overall draft pick in 2003, but he couldn't part the minor league sea to rise above AAA. (Moses ref.)

Hey, here's a name I know! Tim Stauffer pitched in over 200 games from 2005 thru 2015, mostly with the Padres, and a handful with the Twins and Mets. Drafted 4th overall by San Diego in 2003.

Unfortunately this card features a shitty autograph, thanks to the tiny signature on the dark glove, making it hard to see. You'd think he could have signed a little higher up, above the glove. Oh well.

Brad Snyder paid his dues in the minors but eventually played in 30 MLB games with the Cubs (2010-11) and Rangers (2014).

Last one in the lot, Jason Hirsh was 2005 Texas League Pitcher of the Year and 2006 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year. Those accolades didn't lead to success in the majors, but he pitched in a few games with the Astros (2006) and Rockies (2007-08).

So there you have it. This lot has gotten me passed the 1/3 complete mark for my set quest of 2004 Topps Chrome black refractors. (169/487, 34.7% complete.) And as far as the autos, I've now got 17 of the 26 (65.4% complete). Not bad. (Link to my needs spreadsheet.)

Although I'm over a third of the way there, this set won't be an easy one to complete. I've even considered giving up, but I'm just a sucker for these black rainbow beauties, and I think I'll have to keep at it. But at some point I'll finish picking off commons and will have to go after the stars. Griffey? Jeter? Yadier Molina RC? These will be expensive. But yeah.. maybe someday, years from now, I'll wrap this one up. Here's hoping.

Thanks for popping by.


  1. Black Refractor autos look amazing! I can't believe you've made that much progress on both parts of the parallel, that's great.

  2. That authentication sticker would drive me nuts

  3. I actually like when Topps used to include the authentication sticker!

  4. Beautiful set. I feel the same way about my 1999 Century Legends Epic Signatures set. I doubt I'll ever finish it, but I still pick up singles here and there when they're affordable. Best of luck buddy... and congratulations on crossing the 33% mark.

  5. Not sure how long it would have taken me to find that Tim Stauffer autograph if you hadn't pointed it out. Great progress on your set of autographed cards, though. Nice work!

  6. This is quite a lofty collecting goal, but it makes me happy to know that there are people out there trying to complete such sets :)