Featured Cards: 2001 Topps Gallery Autographs #GA-PB, Pat Burrell; 1999 Fleer Mystique #134, Pat Burrell
I certainly never intended to go well over two weeks between posts, but a number of factors (mostly really good, but some inertia was involved) dramatically decreased my online presence over the past couple weeks. There’s lot I’d like to write about, but I already possessed an extremely lengthy list of items to post here before neglecting this and other sites. So, I figured I’d just pick the most recent Phillies-related news and then just work my way through all the other items in whatever order strikes my fancy.
Running with that plan (and based on the card above), clearly that item foremost on my mind is the impending retirement of Pat Burrell. It seems a little ridiculous to me that he’ll almost certainly retire before Scott Rolen, but there it is. His career didn’t pan out the way anyone would have hoped when the Phillies made him the #1 overall pick in the 1998 draft, but not every first overall pick will turn into Reggie Jackson. Hell, sometimes they’ll turn into Brien Taylor. So, despite some of the angst that occurred during his Phillies career, we can all be grateful for the 251 home runs (4th in franchise history) and the base hit that ultimately led to the Phillies winning their second World Series title. If that wasn’t enough, his farewell to the Philly fans should have erased any remaining hard feelings that remained following the 2008 season.
As a collector, I think thing that I’ll remember most about his Phillies tenure is that he was the first Phillie whose rookie cards were truly affected by investment hype. I was reminded by this when I very recently repurchased his 1999 Fleer Mystique card. I originally purchased it back when it was released, but it become one of the casualties in my collection in 2003-2004 when financial matters required that I sell significant parts of it. Anyway, last month I won it on eBay for just $10. When I received it in the mail, the seller included a note about how it once booked for roughly $100 and that he hoped for my sake that it would someday approach that value again. It was a nice sentiment, but I didn’t think it was likely when I read the note, and I especially don’t view it as likely now. Besides, investing in any post-1960s baseball card issue is about as stupid a financial maneuver as you can make these days. You do this either for the love of collecting or because you’ve developed an OCD.
Given the size of my collection, I can’t really say for certain whether it’s love or OCD. Regardless, I appreciate the contribution Burrell made to Philadelphia baseball, and I look forward to his eventual enshrinement in the Phillies Wall of Fame.
Edit to add, 8:54 PM: I was unaware of the Wigginton trade until after completing this post. Hence, the Burrell news was in my mind the most recent Phillies-related news when hitting the “Publish” button.