Featured Cards:2008 UD Premier Postseason Premier Autographs #PLA-CS, Curt Schilling; 2004 E-X Clearly Authentics Signature Jersey Black #CAS-JT, Jim Thome
Yesterday, I asserted that there haven’t been enough Schilling and Thome Phillies autograph cards over the years and that I’d love to see more of them in the coming year. I understand that the chances of this happening this year and in any subsequent year are quite slim for a simple reason: Topps and Panini have plenty of valid reasons in predominantly issuing autograph cards for them as members of the Red Sox and Indians respectively, so any Phillies autograph cards are going to be few and far between. (Which really isn’t fair in the case of Schilling, who started more games with the Phillies than with the Red Sox and Diamondbacks combined, but I understand the rationale behind why he is more associated with the Sox.)
I feel that I need to make a slight qualification when I say that there haven’t been enough Phillies autograph cards over the years. Both players have appeared on a large number of Phillies autograph cards over the past 10 years. However, the overwhelming percentage of those cards are incredibly short-printed (that is, less than 25 of each). The overall situation isn’t quite so bad in regards to Schilling, who before his trade to the Diamondbacks signed a large number of cards — albeit only seven of those sets were in excess of 100 cards, but some of them he signed well over 1,000, counting the parallels. The Thome situation, however, is a much more dire. Only five of his fully-licensed Phillies autograph cards were printed in quantities greater than 100, and quite frankly, I find two of them hideous. The 2003 Donruss Signature Series Signature Cuts was created with cut autographs from various ’90s Signature Series cards he signed while with the Indians, and although his is the only autograph on it, he shares his 2003 Fleer Box Score All-Star Line-Up Autographs card with Roberto Alomar, Alex Rodriguez, & Nomar Garciaparra. If you want to be generous, you can add his partially-licensed 2012 SP Signature Edition card to the list, bringing the total to six, but even with that card, getting a Thome Phillies autograph card at a relatively affordable price takes a great deal of patience and perseverance.*
So, even though both players have each appeared on over 50 autograph sets as a Phillie, the total of relatively attainable autographs for your average collector is a small fraction of that number. Between these two players, I have a grand total of 12 autograph cards in my collection. By way of comparison, I have 11 Darin Ruf autograph cards.** This is why I included Schilling and Thome in my wish list yesterday.
*By the way, pulling together the data regarding number of sets and print runs was made much easier by having the Phillies Baseball Card Database in the state that it’s finally in — albeit still far from complete. I just feel the need to state just how much I love being able to pull such information so quickly and easily now.
** I know, not a fair comparison, but it does provide amusing perspective on the matter. I hope to write a bit more on the Ruf autograph card issue in a future post.