By Don Sturm aka stewart20rulz

I have spent the last twenty three years collecting, trading, buying and every now and then, selling baseball cards. Growing up in rural Southeast Missouri, I naturally collected any St. Louis Cardinals cards I could get my hands on. I’ve never really owned any high end cards until after I started collecting Alex Rodriguez cards and memorabilia in 1996. I watched him play in Seattle against the Orioles and Cal Ripken in 1996 when Eddie Murray was attempting to hit his 500th home run. Murray didn’t reach his milestone that day, but I still had the pleasure of watching three of the greats of the game at that time (Ken Griffey Jr., Ripken, and Murray) and a new baseball star in Rodriguez. I continued to trade and collect as my military career led me to be stationed in Germany. While in Germany, I became a racing fan and started collecting Tony Stewart cards as well. It wasn’t easy to find trading partners who’d ship overseas, but thanks to some great trading card websites, I managed to keep my hobby going. I have since continued to expand my Cardinal collection and my Alex Rodriguez collection now consists of just shy of 4,000 different cards and countless duplicates. Most of the cards in my personal collection have been obtained strictly through trading online over the years. I have to credit Sportscardforum.com for being my primary trading site the past two years.

If I had to describe my collecting habits overall, I guess I would be considered a low-end collector. Rarely do I buy any high end products and mostly purchase the basic and mid-end Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, Press Pass, and Donruss products. I have rarely pulled any “major mojo”, but over the years, I have pulled some decent mid-end cards worth over fifty dollars and every once in a blue moon will pull a great card worth over a hundred dollars. Those “major mojo” cards usually don’t last long as they are usually traded immediately for an A-Rod or Cardinals card I don’t have.

Although online trading and purchasing has substantially helped me enlarge my collection and has numerous benefits by allowing me to reach more traders and find lower prices, I don’t feel that online shopping and trading can top the fun of going into a shop. I like visiting a local card shop and being able to sift through stacks and counters full of cards and getting the packs or cards I want right then and there without having to wait on Mr. Mailman. Since being stationed at Charleston AFB, SC in 2005, I’ve been able to enjoy the experience of hanging out at a brick and mortar sports card shop again. Hooked on Cards in North Charleston has filled a void for me that I’ve missed since I was stationed at Hurlburt Field in Florida. James and Dave provide great customer service there and a wide variety of products to fill just about anyone’s hobby needs so I visit as much as I can when time and my budget allows.

I don’t believe in destiny or karma, but after a long, rough day of work on the flight line at Charleston Air Force Base, I kept getting the urge to rip some packs and decided to stop at Hooked on Cards on the way home to see what I could find and maybe brighten my day up a bit. I had already blown my card budget and knew my wife probably wouldn’t be too happy if I spent more money again, but I figured I could spend a little on a box or maybe some packs. I would deal with the repercussions later. When I walked in, I headed straight for the clearance rack at the front of the store. I noticed quite a few affordable boxes I liked to include 2008 Bowman Chrome, 2006 Flair Showcase, and 2006 Upper Deck Ovation. I nearly grabbed the Bowman Chrome box, but then noticed a box of 2007 SP Legendary Cuts on the top shelf. Something kept drawing me to the box. Like I said, I don’t believe in karma or destiny, but the box was calling out to me. I sat the Bowman Chrome box back on the shelf and grabbed the Legendary Cuts box. It cost twenty five dollars more than the Bowman Chrome, but again, I thought I’d deal with the repercussions of explaining to my wife about the money I spent afterwards. Besides, it was on sale and the only one on the shelf. Plus, I’ve never bought any boxes or packs of SP Legendary Cuts ever from any year and was excited to try something new.

After purchasing the box, I headed out to the car and felt like a kid who just got a new XBOX 360 and was getting ready to play it. As usual, I didn’t leave the parking lot before cracking the seal on the box. My first five packs yielded a Jim Rice game used jersey card and base cards. As I opened and sorted thru the sixth pack, it blew my mind! After 23 years of collecting, I finally pulled a super hit, something that I could never imagine pulling in my entire life. I actually had to take a second look as I sifted thru the cards in the pack just to confirm what I just saw. In the middle of the pack was a Legendary Signature dual cut autographed card of Hall of Famers Max Carey and Honus Wagner numbered one of one. I started shaking from the excitement and had butterflies in my stomach like you wouldn’t believe.

I left the other opened and unopened packs in the car and headed back into the shop with the card to share my excitement with James, one of the owners who sold me the box. I was scared that the excessive shaking in my hands would cause me to drop the card so I immediately placed the card down on the counter and just stared at it. James provided me a thick hard card holder to protect it, thankfully. A few minutes later a few customers came in and of course I had to share my good fortune with them as well. It really started sinking in then as to what I had pulled as we briefly discussed what the value of the card could be. I personally was clueless on what a card of this magnitude could sell for.

After I calmed down and the shaking subsided some, it was finally time to leave the card shop and head home. I might have been able to head home sooner, but I really didn’t think I could drive immediately after pulling that card. I couldn’t feel my legs for a short time and was feeling weak. I finally made it home and did a little dance as I walked in the door. My wife was very curious as to what was wrong with me. I never dance after getting off work. Needless to say, after explaining my good luck to her, she wasn’t so mad about me going over my budget by buying the box.

After showing the card and asking around on the Sportscardforum.com and TuffStuff.com message boards, I still don’t have a firm value for the card, but have a better idea of what price range I could expect if I sold it. Currently, I have no plans to sell it anytime soon and might not ever sell it unless circumstances require me to. Besides, the odds of ever pulling another super hit one of one dual signature cut card like this one with the signatures of Honus Wagner and one of the greatest stolen base leaders of all-time in Max Carey would be substantially low, if not impossible. A piece of history like that just doesn’t come around but once every 23 years if ever.