California man finds Stephen Strasburg SuperFractor in pack, plans raffle to benefit charity and leagues
By Chris Olds | Baseball Editor
A 43-year-old California man has found the Stephen Strasburg 2010 Bowman Chrome SuperFractor in a pack of Razor Rookie Retro and has big plans in store for the $21,000 baseball card.
Devin Grant will be launching a raffle next week to benefit the Bryan Stow Fund — the Giants fan who was beaten by two men after a Dodgers game on Opening Day — two Little League organizations and two softball leagues in his area. He found the card in a pack at Peninsula Sports Cards in Belmont, Calif.
“It took about two days to know that this was something bigger than me,” Grant said. “I mean the act of pulling the card was phenomenal, but a card like this has some firepower and I felt that it could be used in a more powerful way.”
The card has, indeed, been a powerful force in the hobby initially selling for $16,403 before the Washington Nationals pitcher made his debut last summer and then re-selling for $21,403. It was sold the second time after its owner, Robert J. Power, received several negative and harassing messages after the publicity about his buying the card. The card was purchased by Leaf’s Brian Gray, who placed it into packs of his repackaged product that launched last year — but the card had never been found until now.
“It’s great to see something come full circle and benefit those in need — even if it is ‘just a baseball card,'” said Power after hearing the news. “Hopefully a large amount of money can be made for the charities. I also just read that Strasburg is now slow-throwing from a mound — so it seems as though his rehab is on track. I greatly look forward to the first Nationals game where Strasburg strikes out 12 to get the win via a walk-off Bryce Harper home run in the ninth.”
Grant said making baseball part of his plans was a no-brainer.
“I love sports, I love kids sports, I love baseball,” he said. “I went to the World Series in Texas last year and felt a connection with Bryan Stow as a traveling Giants fan. So rather than give it all to one group it seemed that we could raise a lot more money and benefit five groups. I am a restaurant owner (Wicked West Pizza & BBQ and Flavor Restaurant) and I am incredibly lucky to be in the position I am.
“So because of that, it really was an easy decision,” he said. “I am going to add a couple cards from my own collection and will certainly try to add a few more prizes to the list. I am hoping to get some autographed balls from Strasburg himself to use as runner-up prizes.”
Grant said 30 percent of the money raised will go to the Stow Fund, 30 percent to the Half Moon Bay Little League, 30 percent to the West Sacramento Little League and five percent each to the Half Moon Bay Softball League and the West Sacramento Softball League. A website for the raffle will be set up as soon as Tuesday, Grant said, with tickets costing $10 with all of the proceeds going to the charities. In addition, area Little League teams will be able to sell a different type of ticket to help raise money directly for them as well. [Editor's note: We'll have a follow-up story when the site is live.]
As a collector, Grant focuses on low-grade vintage cards of Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron when he’s not chasing singles to complete his 2007 Exquisite baseball set. As a former card shop owner, he knew he had something — and the dream of that pull was why he was buying.
“This is once-in-a-lifetime pull and that is the real exciting thing about that Retro product,” he said.
He hadn’t purchased a ton of the boxes to land the Strasburg, either.
“I believe that was my fourth pack that I opened,” he said. “I bought a few other packs a couple of months before, but I had heard the Strasburg had not been pulled so I went to see if Peninsula Sports Cards had any more. It turned out that they had a case. It had been in the shop for at least a week and had gone untouched. I told [the owner] I would take the case and on the second pack … ”
So, what was his reaction when he found the card? It wasn’t what you might think …
“When I first saw it I was excited that it was a Strasburg but I just assumed that it was some other version. I showed [the shop owner] and he said ‘You got it! … I think.’ I turned the card over and saw the 1/1 and then I knew that I had found the Holy Grail. I am still in a bit of disbelief but ‘I cant believe it’ has been the overwhelming thought running through my head even to this day.”
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.