Sometime around 2012 or 2013 I began dabbling with baseball cards after a few years away from the hobby. A friend of mine, Kyle, who I worked with at Western Illinois University was a big Minnesota Vikings fan and football card and memorabilia collector. My baseball card hiatus was over and we would talk cards and open blasters.
It was the summer of 2013 and I had really started liking the Allen & Ginter releases. We took a trip to Moline, Illinois to a card shop there and I picked up an A&G hobby box. I cracked that box open and pulled a Willie Mays rip card. I was hooked.
In 2014 and 2015 I bought some A&G blasters, but no hobby boxes. I bought a few loose boxes in 2016, and that’s where this story really begins.
In January 2016 my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I spent a few weekends each month driving back home to spend time with him, and would bring baseball cards with me.
I had recently bought a collection of cards and was sorting them to list on Sportlots. At my parents house I would spread out on the living room floor and sort cards with my dad in his recliner and probably something on the TV that I tuned out (Bob Villa, McLaughlin Group, and NASCAR were among those programs). It was a throwback to my childhood when I would spread my cards on the floor and sort them by team or by year or even the cards that were my favorite photographs. Never thought 10 years ago I would say I’d miss watching This Old House.
I had preordered three boxes of 2016 Allen & Ginter and took them home the following weekend to open while my dad watched Motorweek. I remember pulling some great cards in the two boxes I opened there and definitely worth the $80 per box I paid.
The third box waited until I returned home in Madison. What a pull in that third box! It was a dual auto/relic numbered to 10 of Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza. Wow! To that point it was by far the best hit I had ever pulled, and probably still ranks in the top five today and I’ve opened a lot of boxes (and cases) in the past two years.
Little did I know that would be one of the last weekends I would spend with my dad. He passed away just one month later on August 26, 2016. My wife and I had stayed at a hotel the few days my dad was in the hospital before he passed and returned home on the 27th, a Saturday. It was a long four days and when we got back to town I went to my local card shop and bought a box of Allen & Ginter. I don’t remember what I pulled, but it doesn’t matter. It was therapy, and something I needed at that moment.
And then came 2017, and a lighter story of Allen & Ginter. I had started buying cases of products for the 2017 releases and preordered two cases of A&G. When buying cases and to get a return on your investment it’s important to rip and list quickly because the market will die down within a week. So, I had a bit of a problem. Release day was three days before my wedding.
I had taken Thursday and Friday off, so I had some time to bust open my cases. Obviously there were other things going on, so my time was a bit limited. Also, only one case was delivered on release day. The second case came on Friday.
So let’s talk about that first case on release day. It required a signature, and I was at work upon delivery. I even strategically planned my lunch break around the estimated delivery time on the UPS app. Of course, that window of delivery is five hours. My plan did not work and I missed the delivery.
I called to request pickup and they said it could be picked up between 6 p.m and 8 p.m. that night. One problem: we had reservations for a family dinner for my now wife’s grandma’s 99th birthday. There was no way I was making it back to the UPS pickup point by 8 p.m.
We took two cars as my wife’s other grandma and grandpa rode with us. We had dinner and as we were finishing the skies became dark. And then our phone alerts began to ring out. Tornado warning for Dane County. We skipped dessert and rushed to our vehicles as fast as you can with three grandparents on the cusp of reaching a century of life.
We dropped grandma and grandpa off at their condo and as we pulled out of the parking lot I started some mental math. It was 7:50 p.m. and UPS was only a mile away. In the pouring rain in the middle of a tornado warning I convinced my wife-to-be in three days to make a detour to UPS. I made it in time and I had my case of Allen & Ginter!
Wednesday marks the release of Allen & Ginter, and I’m hoping the 2018 product only offers up drama in the form of a nice hit inside the box (like a Kris Bryant Auto!).