Comments: I believe Chipper Jones
belongs and will be a first ballot inductee in a few years. Always
liked him. I was at a game once sitting in the first row and yelled
'hey' as he was coming off the field. He looked at me, went into
the dugout, I got distracted, and his batting gloves hit me in
the shoulder, fell to the ground, and I watched the kid next to
me pick them up - still in shock. Those should have been mine.
Initially I picked up a 2001 Bowman Heritage card for him and
had it graded an '8' in May, 2007. But, eventually I settled on
Jim Thome to represent that issue. So, after looking through hundreds
of Chipper cards I settled on the 1999 Topps Gallery card and
picked up a graded '9' on eBay in November, 2009. It's my understanding,
these cards were inserted at a rate of 1:12 packs. With 20 cards
in the '53 Heritage subset, the true odds of pulling a Chipper
card were 1:240 packs or 1:10 boxes! Anyway, I've been trying
to upgrade to a GEM ever since but no slabbed tens have come up
on eBay. Raw cards really don't surface that frequently and it's
just too hard to tell if the card is worthy from an online scan.
They sell for about $5-$10. In January, 2013 a "Proof" version
of the card popped up on eBay and it looked really clean. The
odds on these are 1:48 packs; or finding a Chipper at 1:960 or
1: 40 boxes. I picked it up for $5.35. It was shipped off to PSA
UPDATE: In late May, 2013 I sent PSA a group of 175 raw cards
that I had purchased at shows and on eBay over the course of several
years for grading/authentication. I waited two plus months for
the submission and during that time decided to have a little fun.
Normally, I get the email from PSA indicating grades are available
and I go online to review the results. When I receive the package
I open it up look through the cards and start the scanning process.
The entertainment ends there. This time I decided to do things
a little differently but it would take extreme discipline. I didn't
go online to look at the grades and the package arrived for pickup
on August 23, 2013. I asked my wife to open the box and randomly
distribute the contents into a large storage bin. The bin went
into the closet and each day for the next 6 months my kids would
take turns pulling out a card for me. One card at a time, it was
like Christmas every day. I'm involved in a private chatroom of
sportscard collectors where I would post a picture of "The Card
of the Day" for the guys to follow along. The kids loved it too!
It was so fun I tagged on two more submissions (one for 15 cards
received back in early Dec, 2013 and another 53 card submission
returned in Feb, 2014) and lumped them in with the other cards
as they came back from PSA. The original 175-day quest has now
turned into almost a year-long adventure.
This Proof card was Day #140.
UPDATE: On January 17th, 2014 my son handed me a 1999 Topps Gallery
Jones card in a MINT 9 holder from the submission described above.
It was Day #149. Still searching for a 10...
UPDATE: It's August 30th, 2015 and earlier today my snipe won an eBay auction for a raw proof card - looks cherry; $3.80 +$3 S&H. No luck. In September, the card arrived mint but centering is off left to right just enough to make it a stretch for a '10'. Bummer.
UPDATE: Purchased a base card for $4.50 inc. S&H in late September, 2015 and received it a few days later. Another NM-MT/MINT card. No chance for a 10 on this one either.
UPDATE: I had a chance to buy a PSA 10 Proof card in Feb, 2017 but couldn't pull the trigger at $200: