26 September 2013

Contested Shots 1: Thorzul Will Rule's $5.00 Challenge

A while back, Thorzul Will Rule held a $5.00 Challenge. The premise of the contest was that you went to eBay, chose a random page in the baseball cards section of the site, and purchased the first thing you saw that 1) you didn't already own and 2) could be had for $5.00 or less shipped. Once you had the item, you had to mail it in to Thorzul so he could scan all of the entries and put up polls asking who had gotten the best and worst cards for their money. The winner of each poll would get half of the cards in the contest, with the collector who won the Best Entry poll picking a lot first.

I went off to eBay, selected my random page, and began to scroll down. The first 15-20 cards were all vintage cards from the same seller and the same set, priced well above the limit for the contest. Then a card came into view, a 1992 Leaf Don Mattingly base card. The asking price for this piece of art was $2.48 with free shipping. I have to admit the picture is amazing. There is a mullet, a mustache, and an amazing man-crotch-exposing stretch pose that all scream, "Look at me!"

I looked at the price and briefly struggled with the idea of pretending I hadn't gone to this page and seen this card. Maybe I could just call a restart on the whole thing. No one should pay $2.48 for a junk wax base card. But I decided to stick it out and follow the spirit of the game.

I got the card, shipped it off, and waited for the voting to begin. It wasn't even close. My overpriced junk wax card obliterated everyone else in the Worst Card poll. I got 13 votes. The closest challenger had 5 votes. I got to participate in a draft with the winner of the Best Card poll to divvy up the lots. The first card I made sure to get back was my Don Mattingly. To be honest, I kind of like the card. I laughed so hard when I saw it posted up among the other entrants. I have definitely got my $2.48 out of this card in pure joy.

And here are the other cards I won in the contest. First up, a 1973 Topps Bill North card, on which Thorzul helpfully pointed out that the airbrush operator forgot to cover up the Chicago jersey. Oops.

2013 Topps Cut to the Chase Derek Jeter. Well, here it is. He's a Yankee, and I don't much go for them. But it's a decent enough card from this year's Topps set.

2008 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Sweet Swatch B.J. Upton jersey relic card. Upton killed several of my fantasy baseball teams this year. I kept thinking he had to heat up eventually, but he didn't, and he cost me a decent draft spot that I could never really recover from.

2011 Gypsy Queen Copper Frame Bob Gibson. This card is numbered #342 / 999 for added collectible value.

Baseball Immortals Bob Gibson. I don't know anything at all about this set.

So there it is. I am much prouder than I should be about winning the loser's bracket of the contest. It was one of the more fun contests I've participated in. It is interesting to see the variety of cards that people got for their money. You can visit this link to see all of the other entries in the contest.

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