Jokes aside, while the card collecting world has entered it's annual fit of Ginter love, I'm not partaking because I've always been a bit underwhelmed by the brand. Most likely, it's due to my collecting habits; but, the graphic designer in me is a bit bored by the repetitive designs necessitated by the source material.
Thus, instead of posting my latest finds from Topps' millionth different "throwback set" (Heritage, Archives, Ginter, etc.), I'm showing off the latest autograph that I added to my CATRC on the cheap:
Roberto Machado is far from a big-name (and actually named Robert) and since the card comes from an unlicensed set, I was able to add this signature to my binder for a whopping 65 cents. Sorry Roberto - your card collecting stock is worth ten cents less than a Milky Way at my local corner store.
This despite being hand-numbered 317 out of a scant 6,995. So exclusive,
I'm being overly sarcastic again though; I do like this card. Royal Rookies is one of many oddball sets that I've always been attracted to - life is boring in a Topps-only world. Even if their design looks like it was created in Microsoft Word circa 1998 - it's kitsch-y
I've seen this set of prospects dated as both 2000 and 2001 and since I did not really collect much at that time, I have no idea which is correct. But apparently each pack came with an on-card auto like this one; so, that's cool. Even if it ended up being an obscure no-namer.
No Google Images, not THAT Machado...
Image courtesy of blacksportsonline.com
It's too bad that Machado didn't live up to his prospect status. In fact, "Macho Machado" wasn't a prospect at all when this set came out, having played in the minors since 1993 and making MLB cameos every year since 1996.
He still carved out a longish career as a defensively-minded back up catcher, lasting in the Bigs through 2004. His Cubs tenure started in 2001 as part of the squad that choked away an almost certain playoff spot and ended when he was traded to Milwaukee the next June.
Machado had already been represented in my CATRC collection in the proper attire, though he doesn't have many Cubs cards at all. In fact, the one that I already had is the only other one that I'm even aware of:
Well, it's a parallel - so, technically there's a separate base card out there too, but that's splitting hairs. It's a beaut of a parallel though, that rainbow foil looks surprisingly good under the lens of a camera. this one is even numbered too; however, it's a slightly more rare /40 than my new Royal Rookie.
I was a bit conflicted in replacing this card in my binder; but, a Cubs autograph trumps a Cubs parallel every time.
Sidenote - here is where I'm going to go on my semi-regular rant about wanting sets like UD 40-Man and Topps Total to make a reappearance. What other set would include a guy like Machado and I would love to see backup catchers, middle relievers and utility infielders get their share of the spotlight for once.
It would make my goal of collecting one card for every Cubs player much, much easier.
So, in summation, Topps produces several sets focused on looking back in time. It's a market steeped in nostalgia and tradition, I get that, but can we maybe drop one of them and add a set that actually fleshes out the present day? Am I asking too much?
Backup catchers need love too!