Thursday, March 12, 2015

Silky Smooth Hair(ston)

The inserts, manufactured relics, parallels, etc. of the modern collecting landscape are a divisive topic in the cardboard community.  Some absolutely loathe their existence with their overwhelming flooding of the market and silly premises, others love the variety and creativity that they bring to the table.

Me, I sit on the fence; I like them in moderation and when they have a purpose.  On the flip-side, things like manufactured relics and 342 different color parallels are pointless and gratuitous.

One of the sillier examples, in my non-expert opinion, in recent years, has been silk cards.  They're encased in plastic like a graded card (ugh, different rant) and while they are different, they have no real reason to exist.

So, if I feel this way, why the heck did I purchase one the other day, knowingly and purposely?

Because it is the only Cubs card of Scott Hairston produced to date and I can say, with 99.9% certainty, that it will be the only one ever made.  This Hairston brother spent just half a season on the North Side of Chicago way back in 2013.

Well, 2013 feels like a really long time ago anyway, with all the players the Cubs have shuffled through during this rebuild.

Scott was signed going into that season to serve as the first bat off of the bench and to provide some power.  Having hit 20 homers for the Mets the previous season, he seemed to be rather qualified.

It didn't go so well; in 52 games, he managed to put up 8 taters, but counteracted that production by staying well under the Mendoza line (.172 - yikes).  He was promptly flipped to the Nationals for Ivan Pineyro, who has actually been an interesting prospect for the Cubbies.

Unfortunately for Scott, things never really turned around for him in Washington and after a season and a half of meager production, he was was allowed to walk.  As of today, he remains unsigned.

Thanks COMC! I never did pull these cards

But back to the card.  As you can see above, Scott appeared as a Met in Series one that year and as a National in Update.  You might also notice that the picture on his Nationals card is exactly the same as his silk parallel, except for one key component: the jersey.

When the Cubs shipped him to the Capital, Topps moved quickly to keep their set up to date and sent their photoshoppers to work.  Magically, the shot they had earmarked from Cubs spring camp to represent Hairston was transformed.  All is well then, right?

Welllllllll, I imagine that these silk pieces take a little more effort and time to be whipped up than your traditional card; you can't just stick silk into an industrial printing press after all.  Thus, Scott's smoothy of a twin could not be corrected.

That's fine with me though, seeing as my goal is to acquire at least 1 Cubs card of every player that they've rostered.  Without this snafu, it'd be impossible for me to fulfill this goal for THIS Hairston family member.

Brother Jerry Jr. came to Chicago in the Sosa trade while uncle Johnny got a cuppacoffee with the '69 heartbreakers
(the Johnny is a custom that I created with the Rookies smartphone app, spotlighted here)

The Hairston family is among the most pervasive in baseball (and maybe professional sports) history.  Patriarch Sam was a Negro League star and saw some time with the White Sox in the 50's while his sons Johnny and Jerry both made the majors.  Jerry Sr. was a key piece of the Winning Ugly White Sox and then spawned two more major leaguers himself, Jerry Jr. and today's subject Scott.

Fun fact - every single one of the Hairstons played in at least one game for one of the Chicago ball clubs.  They must be genetically drawn to the Windy City!

Jerry Sr. and his sons early in their careers

So, in summation, though I'm not a huge fan of the silk parallels and what they represent in the current sports card industry, I was very happy to add this one to my collection.  Besides the Cubs duds, it also came for the right price, just $2 bucks including shipping.  Perhaps it's because it's serial-numbered out of just 50, but after many months of seeing it listed between $8-$15, I had to pounce.

Also, this card is definitely very silky smooth and looks pretty good nestled in my binder.  Damnit, I think this concept could grow on me.

Does that make me a hypocrite?  I guess so.  Does that mean I care?  Not so much!

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