Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Befuddled by actual baseball cards featuring guys who don't quite make it in professional baseball

As an in-person autograph collector, I put together cards for the 30 MLB teams on a year-to-year basis with a 'block' of cards for anyone with the big league team and another 'block' of cards [USA, draft pick, first year prospect, minor league] - for players/coaches in the minors, along with any extra cards for the Major Leaguers.

As I'm slaving away when it's about 90 degrees in a room where most of my baseball cards are, trying to do some sorting, to keep things in order - besides top prospects and players I assume will get an MLB shot, I always find myself looking at some minor leaguer's card, wondering if he could still possibly with the big league team I've sorted his card in.

There are always minor league players I have to Google to see if they've likely been released by a particular MLB team - when I look at a player's profile on MILB.com and find his status as 'released,' there is some closure and I can remove those players' cards from whichever team set I'd organized them into the first place.

Sometimes I might have to go digging around through blog / twitter posts or peruse a posted transactions list on Baseball America] when a cut player's profile was never updated on MILB.com - it's kind of funny when I have cards of players who have been cut a year or so ago.

A baseball card collector gripe I've occasionally heard since Bowman brand was re-introduced 25 years [!] ago - was a collector would likely be stuck with cards of players who ends up not making the Major Leagues instead of cards featuring proven players at the MLB level.

Maybe it's because Topps is too eager to add unproven players to the checklist of various products like Bowman / Topps Pro Debut / Topps Minor League Heritage in search of the next big league star - even if it's really just to fill out the base set.

As an autograph collector, I don't mind pulling cards of players still in the minor leagues - since I'm hoping I can get to see the particular players and get cards I've hoarded signed at some point.

However, for players who end up basically being non prospects, there is a 'here and now' aspect with any draft pick / first-year prospect / USA cards - just because a guy in the minors or a draft pick gets a Bowman card, doesn’t mean he is any sort of prospect at all.

I run into my fair share of cards featuring guys who are basically fillers in Bowman [or any other brands like Panini Elite Extra Edition] products - if I have access to get the cards signed when they first come out, then it's doesn't hurt as much, but it basically sucks to be stuck with cards of 'never has been' types who are at times cut before I see them in-person.

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