It’s the middle of December, which can only mean one thing: this year’s Leaf Memories Autograph Buybacks are now appearing on eBay. Unlike last year’s offering, which included eight different Phillies on a total of twelve different cards, it appears that this year’s offering is much more like the 2012 Leaf Buybacks in that there’s only two Phillies to chase. It’s hard to be certain as Leaf did not issue checklist for these particular cards. As was also the case with the 2012 autographs, Roger McDowell is one of the two Phillies available; thus leaving Jason Grimsley as this year’s only recipient of his first Phillies autograph issue.
Depending on how you choose to look at it, the decision to issue another McDowell autograph card be either a positive or a negative. Because the cards are serial-numbered to the player’s uniform number, McDowell signed only 13 of each card in each year. Furthermore, this year’s Buyback is of his 1991 Leaf card and the 2012 Buyback was of his 1990 Leaf card, so completists such as myself can own two different autograph issues for McDowell. Given the limited pool, this gives a few more Phillies team collectors an extra chance to grab a certified autograph for him. However, there are plenty of Phillies who appeared on Leaf issues over the years who still haven’t appeared on a certified autograph issue, and it really would’ve been nice to see such a card for the likes of Bruce Ruffin, Pat Combs, Tommy Greene, Dave Hollins, Andy Ashby, Kim Batiste, Kyle Abbott, Mariano Duncan, or even Ruben Amaro, Jr (just to name players who appeared on the 1990-1992 sets, which is where Leaf concentrates its efforts with these particular cards.) I especially love the idea of an Amaro autograph given how much he’s now despised by the fan base for the current state of the franchise.
Nonetheless, I still love the cards — especially since Leaf seems to continue issuing autographs for players that Topps typically ignores, while eschewing stickers and having the players sign the cards directly. Along similar lines, I know Panini has announced plans to resurrect Recollection Collection autographs for next year’s Donruss offerring(s), but given the team’s playoff chances next season, I know I should expect few, if any, Phillies to appear. However, I can always hold out hope that Panini might just decide issue a Dick Ruthven, Marty Bystrom, Larry Christensen, Luis Aguayo, or Al Holland autographed buyback card. That would be awesome.