What would you do if you pulled the big hit?



By Susan Lulgjuraj | Contributing Editor | Commentary

Opening packs of baseball cards is a gamble. We all say it. We all know it. But we continue to do it in hopes we beat the odds and get that beautiful big hit.

On Wednesday, I bought two boxes of 2012 Topps Archives. Just the packs alone filled me nostalgia with its design. Yep, these cards had that 1980s feel all the way. It was great seeing current players on former designs, many of the designs that were around when we first got into collecting.

There was one pack I opened that more special than the rest. I slowly scanned the cards and saw one with Rangers written across the top in block letters. I realized the card was signed and then it hit me. This wasn’t a Fan Favorite auto, but Texas Rangers rookie Yu Darvish.

I actually yelled and threw both hands in the air as though I just hit a perfect landing.

Immediately, I tweeted my great news. I received responses about my massive hit and how much money I was going to make off the card.

Guess what? I’m not selling it.

There are several reasons and the first is my boyfriend is a Texas Rangers fan. If I am going to get rid of this card, it’s going to go to someone I care about and not a faceless person from eBay. For the record, I did offer him the card, but he turned it down until he could trade it to me for something of similar value. He wouldn’t take it from me.

Secondly, I don’t feel it necessary to sell my big hits. I’m a baseball card collector. Not a baseball card seller. While it may not seem prudent to many to hold on to a card that’s commanding about $500 at the moment, I didn’t get into this hobby to wonder how much money can I make if the reels spin the right way.

I like baseball cards. I like having them. I like having a card that many people want to own. And if Darvish turns out to be a bust and I didn’t capitalize when I had the chance that’s not going to bother me.

I don’t treat card collecting like it’s the stock market. That’s not my personal interest. But I do know there are many who do – and I have no problem with that.

In fact, I like those people because I do buy cards and if not for them, cards would sit in collections around the world.

I have bought boxes – even cases of cards – and have sold off cards that don’t have personal value to me. I pulled a Daisuke Matsuzaka Rookie Card with no autograph out of 2007 Topps Moments and Milestones and sold it for about $200 (the card has a Beckett value of about $20). I didn’t care about that card because he was part of the Boston Red Sox.

But I do regret selling a Ken Griffey Jr. autograph I pulled out of 2007 Upper Deck Artifacts. I am sure I can get that card and five others like it if I sold the Darvish auto, but I am keeping the one I pulled.

Susan Lulgjuraj is a contributing editor for Beckett Media. You can email Susan here. Follow her on Twitter here.


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  1. Michael Chase 23 May, 2012 at 19:51

    That’s awesome!! Congratulations and it will be a great addition to your collection. I don’t blame you for not selling it.

  2. Anthony D'Amalio 23 May, 2012 at 19:59

    I agree whole-heartedly, but Darvish doesn’t do anything for me, so I’d have to sell that sucker. I DID pull a Joe DiMaggio Legends Mementos from 2011 Topps Marquee. #d to 25, three well centered pinstriped jersey swatches and a bat relic. That sucker is going nowhere, so I get it. I’d like to think we all have our limits, that one player, that one team that we just won’t sell. That’s what collecting is. I keep my Yankees…everything else is sold off to get MORE Yankees.

  3. Tom Waldron 23 May, 2012 at 20:12

    WOW is all I can say very nice Hoepfully I can buy A box and have a great hit not unlike yours.
    This is why I collect to buy a product you just like and be rewarded for the effort.Since I hav bills to pay it would be hard to keep it. I would hope I could keep it. I have only 1 regret that I sold a WHITEY FORD GOLDEN AUTO 01 TOPPS. It was my son’s first auto he hit from a 711 now I hav to find it and repace it. Now I seek the Cal Ripken hand print that’s what I WANT and no I will not sell that.

  4. bill johnson 23 May, 2012 at 20:46

    thats an aweome pull. i bet chris olds was jealous. lol. your words, “baseball card collector, not a baseball card seller” is something a lot of people these days miss. that big pull. it seems more and more people put their big pulls on ebay to strike it rich. not that im dogging sellers of ebay in any way. ive sold things as well. ive been away from the hobby for a few years, but i never stopped collecting my fav player, the big hurt, frank thomas. ive never pulled a thomas auto, but if i did, i would never sell it. likewise the other pulls i pulled back in the day, randy johnson, jason giambi, andre dawson and dwight gooden auto’s pulled from packs. those mean so much more to me then buying an auto of ebay.

  5. Richard 23 May, 2012 at 21:31

    I’d sell it simply because I can get another auto* RC of him later on for less and
    use the excess to get something else I want more.

    There are just too many HOF’ers out there who have proven themselves that
    sell for a fraction of the cost. Yu Darvish might end up being a great player.
    But will he be better than Koufax? How about Whitey Ford? Nolan Ryan?
    Or even Randy Johnson?
    At $100 or so I might keep him. But at a $1000+ its sold.

  6. Baseball Dad 23 May, 2012 at 21:56

    I’m not an investor at all, but I would sell cards that were of no interest to me. Griffey would stay, Darvish would go. Jeters would go to this blogger I know ! ;)

  7. Paul 23 May, 2012 at 22:47

    Unless we’re talking about a card I could sell for enough money to make a down payment on a car, I would definitely hang onto it. I buy baseball cards because I enjoy collecting them, not to take a chance at playing the lottery.

  8. Charlie 23 May, 2012 at 22:49

    That’s a great pull! Personally, I’d sell it, but that doesn’t mean I’m trying to profit off of the “spinning the wheels”. It’s a means thing – I’d rather sell the Darvish and get 15 other autos in Archives from guys like John Kruk, George Foster, etc. To me that’s what the product is really about.

  9. Ryan A. 23 May, 2012 at 23:02

    I can certainly understand wanting to keep it as there certainly is emotional and personal value of pulling a big time card. I similarly went through this from hitting a 2011 Bowman Platinum Bryce Harper autograph. But I sold it for $203 and won’t be looking back and here is why. I personally do not care much for Bryce Harper. I have players, sets, a team (Astros) that I collect. For $200 I could afford roughly 10-20 1/1 cards of my Player collections, entirley knock out my set needs, pick up a variety of other high end autographs, etc. I told myself going into listing it on eBay that it was going to be like I was trading with the perfect trader that had all of my needs

  10. Josh 23 May, 2012 at 23:15

    Love the sentiment and normally I’d agree, but this guy is WAY overpriced right now. EVERYTHING of his is overpriced right now. You could sell it now and probably buy 2 of 3 of the same card down the line – then hand ’em out to all the Rangers fans you know. Or not. The point is, usually I’d agree with you, keep the card as a collector. But in this case, you hit the lottery and there’s no reason to hold onto a lottery ticket.

  11. Josh 23 May, 2012 at 23:19

    One more note. I like Yu and I really hope he does well. But I’m selling every card of his I pull. And I never sell players I like (’til now).

  12. kris reed 24 May, 2012 at 00:01

    i pulled an adam lambert auto* out of 2009 american idol last week. the card didn’t do much for me so i am selling it

  13. JonathanI 24 May, 2012 at 09:04

    Beautiful comments, and you sound like you are in a wonderful relationship, Susan. You are an asset to our fun hobby.


  14. XstreamINsanity 24 May, 2012 at 12:01

    I commend you for holding onto it and thinking of your boyfriend, that’s what card collecting should be about. However, I do agree with some that selling it is probably what I would do so I could pick up stuff for my PC. Now, that’s where I think there’s a huge difference in the sellers in the hobby. When you see someone selling stuff on eBay and they’ve been doing it for years but only have 500 feedback, more than likely they sell to get money to feed their PCs. But when you see people with 50,000+ sales on eBay in a few years, they’re more likely in it for the investment rather than the hobby itself. They may enjoy opening the product and they may keep some, but some sellers you can tell that they have put the entire box break on eBay. If that’s what they wish, I guess that’s fine, but I’d rather them let someone who enjoys opening the product more could do it. Congratulations on your hit, hope you have more like it.

  15. Patrick Barttels 24 May, 2012 at 13:55

    I was in a Target the other day, and there was one rack pack of Bowman hanging there, so I took a dare. I pulled a Bryce Harper AU, which I thought I would never see. I couldn’t believe my luck. I started contemplating what I could make, but with harper’s upside, I figure I will keep it. If he has a Griffey-like career, it might be worth a lot more, plus knowing you have one is cool by itself.

  16. David Johnson 24 May, 2012 at 14:27

    When I hit a Brett Lawrie autograph orange refractor from 2011 Bowman Chrome I went through the same dilemma. I am actually glad I waited to sell it as when I pulled it the card was selling for around $400-$500, and when I finally sold it I made $1,800. The only reason I sold was because they started selling for over $1,000 and I didn’t want to miss out on that much money if the card dropped in value. I am still using the money from that sale to continue to buy card several months later, so I am pretty happy about having sold it.

  17. Cthomashowell 24 May, 2012 at 14:46

    I agree 100% JohnathanI. Thanks to Susan I feel a he’ll of a lot better about my hobby. So many people try to hit the jackpot on eBay. True words when you reference the baseball card collectors Vs baseball card sellers and the stock market analogy.
    This is the contagious terminal disease that our hobby is playing host to; pulling a popular card, big hit out of a “hot pack” purchased on eBay and or pack searching. In short, gambling! The demise of our hobby. People buying cards on the basis of just buy low and sell high.
    Susan, it is very refreshing to read an article like yours today! Really nice to see that someone at Beckett who appreciates and values the hobby with the same zealous attitude of baseball card collecting. All I tend to hear about from people now days is the” secondary” market for cards. Not, “this card is going to fulfill my set.” What happen to true baseball card collectors? Seems everyone wants to sell cards to collectors.
    Our hobby will never die Susan, thanks to collectors who share the same passion for collecting cards not just collecting paypal receipts. Again, thank you Susan for your article, so refreshing!

    Long beach, Ca

  18. Alex Giles 24 May, 2012 at 14:51

    Wow!!! I would keep it as well as you. I would put it in a magnetic and never take it out. I have a few cards from 1986, and they can easily be damaged, so I would imagine that that card would feel like an original 1986 card (haven’t got my hands on archives yet!) I have went through the same thing… well… sorta. I pulled a Lou Gehrig 1/1 plate and have got multiple offers, but I’ll be hangin on to it for a while. I would do exactly what you did 100%. Have a great day!
    – Alex G.

  19. Susan Lulgjuraj 24 May, 2012 at 19:01

    Wow. Thanks for the feedback everyone. I really appreciate that.


  20. RJ 24 May, 2012 at 19:25

    I am happy that a collector who can appreciate the card as a collector pulled it. Much like the guy who pulled the Panini Golden Ticket, I was happy for him as well. It is moments like these, and all the support that you have gotten, that shows this hobby is far, far, from dead. This hobby is just experiencing some retweaking, and your emmotion is why this hobby will succeed. I think it is also awesome that your boyfriend is looking to trade you cards. How cool is that! :) Personally, I would have done what you did, put my hands in the air, scream, run around the house, and scream some more.

  21. Mike Moynihan 24 May, 2012 at 21:00

    That was the best article I have read on this site in a long time. I feel the same way you do about collecting!! Too many people view this hobby as a potential profit center. I only buy cards to keep them for my collection, not the lure of a monster hit or buying a card to try and flip it some time down the road. Good for you!!

  22. Justin G 25 May, 2012 at 19:48

    First off, being a die hard Rangers fan I am completely jealous of your pull. Congrats on it though. I pulled the 2011 Allen & GInter Geronimo DNA card and a Sandy Koufax jersey auto booklet #’ed to 10. I am sure that I can get a pretty penny for both of them but I doubt I will part with them anytime soon. There are just some cards that you can’t part with when they are the pull of a lifetime. For every great pull story there is a story of regret for trading or selling that great pull.

  23. Andrew Kaufman 26 May, 2012 at 14:18

    JUST PULLED THE SAME CARD! I was driving home with my son today from his Little League game, when we decided to stop at our local card store. He had a great game and bit of reward was in order. We bought a hobby box of 2012 Topps Archives and a box of 2012 Gypsy Queen.

    After already pulling our auto quota for the Archives box (Doug DeCinces and Bill Madlock), we weren’t expecting any other surprises. Guess again. As we continued to pull nice card after card (there are some really nice designs in this line), my 8 year old daughter pulled out a card, held it up and said, “Is this a good one, Dad?” Sure enough, it’s the Darvish auto rookie card. As soon as I picked my jaw off the floor, it went right into a sleeve and top loader. Now we are just sitting here staring at it. It’s not leaving this house except to be graded and slabbed. A good start to Memorial Day weekend!

  24. afff 27 May, 2012 at 18:19

    very sweet card, i’m a set builder so i probably would sell/trade it to finish off some of my higher end set that i need to get done.
    congrats again, and great story

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