2014 TOPPS JUAN LAGARES FIRST EDITION
My distant progeny will no doubt be thoroughly confused by aspects of my card collection.
Sure, they’ll probably understand all the Old Judge and T206 cards, although they might scratch their collective heads and wonder why each and every last card features a player from Brooklyn, be they Bridegrooms, Superbas, or Tip Tops.
(Dear Distant Progeny: It’s a long and complicated story, but it starts with my baseball-crazy dad being raised in the county of Kings…)
They might eventually come across this 2014 Topps Juan Lagares and ponder why it sits protected in a penny sleeve and top loader.
“Sure, Lagares won a couple of Gold Gloves,” they’ll say. “Hell, he got to more balls than a Georgia debutante. But he could never really hit, and after that trade to the Royals he pretty much disappeared.”
Plus, they will surely know that 2014 Topps cards are common, and that boxes of the stuff lined the shelves of Targets and Wal-Marts from coast to coast back in the magical days of Balloon Bonanza garden-hose attachments and Sir Harry Styles.
But the eagle-eyed among them will notice that small holographic tattoo right underneath the ball that Lagares is about to snag: “1st Edition.”
They’ll do a little research and discover that Topps ran a contest in 2014, placing ten coupons in random boxes that gave the recipients a chance to win a trip to Spring Training in 2015. In addition, each collector who pulled a Wonkaesque “access pass” was awarded a complete 2014 set, with each card featuring this little silver stamp on front.
They’ll discover that these redemptions expired at the end of 2014, and they’ll extrapolate that at least three or four coupons either still sit undiscovered in unopened boxes or were found long after the expiration date. They’ll then make the assumption that a couple of the winners decided to keep their sets intact, and not break them up to sell individual cards (the temptation of $300 or $400 for a Jeter or a Trout notwithstanding).
My descendents will walk away from this experience with an understanding that there was often a method to their dear forebear’s madness, and will marvel at all the bitcoins this Lagares brings them in an auction on Oculus eBay…