Don't say I didn't warn you.
Today is Tuesday, December 27, 2005. Here are the top five Mike LaCoss baseball cards on eBay today.
In America, we had Topps and Donruss. In Canada, they had O-Pee-Chee and Leaf. Ooh-la-la! How exotic! I remember a trip to Vancouver in the '80s, where my parents spent hours of their vacation trying to track down Leaf baseball cards with me. There were none to be found. Vancouver didn't even have a baseball card store listed in the phone book. A nine-year old from California couldn't even begin to fathom that. If Canadians had forsaken toilet paper, and instead trained little finches to live in toilet bowls, cleaning up human backsides "Flintstone"-style, that wouldn't have been as bizarre as a major city not having a baseball card store. Maybe they were there, but they weren't listed in the phone book they gave to Americans.
As it turns out, the Canadian varieties of Topps and Donruss were actually worth less than their American counterparts. Oh, how that ticked me off. Worth less? Are you kidding? These cards are from a different country, you freaks! Not only does it say, "Mike LaCoss, Pitcher", but it also adds his status as a "Lanceur". Mike LaCoss, Lanceur. Now that's a title. Only in the mind of the shifty Beckett price-fixing cabal does that lower the value of a card.
eBay Value: $0.29
Prison value: Half-pack of smokes
You could get a Mike LaCoss Upper Deck baseball card. Or you could pay for a 2500% markup, and be sure what you are receiving is quality LaCoss. Remember, you'll have to live with your choice for the rest of your life.
Prison value: Bunk wine made from moldy bread (one glass)
This is where Buffymania started. I always loved the cards with two or three prospects on them, though I can't think of one where all of the players ended up being good. My favorite as a kid was a Fleer featuring John Burkett and Kirt Manwaring. It was always funny that cards like Cal Ripken Jr.'s rookie card were devalued a tick because the mugs of Bob Bonner and Jeff Schnieder were on the same piece of cardboard.
eBay Value: $0.50
Prison value: Carton of smokes
If, after you heard about the LaCoss trade, you couldn't wait for a baseball card with LaCoss in a Giants uniform, Topps had your back. The Traded series were for the players who were traded midseason, or for prospects called to the majors during the year. When Topps occasionally tried to airbrush a new uniform on a player, it wasn't exactly Lucas-worthy, but it was pretty cool.
eBay Value: $0.49
Prison value: As many dirty magazines as you could hide from the guards
Ah, Mother's Cookies card day. One of the true annual highlights of my youth. Eventually, the Giants stopped giving the full sets out, instead giving you part of the set and forty-two identical scrub cards. The idea was you were supposed to trade with your neighbors to complete the set, but it never worked out, and you'd just end up with forty-two Dante Powells. Plus, this new method came as I was an adult, and there was nothing more undignified than watching a bunch of adult weirdos trying to haggle a toddler out of his Jeff Kent card. I'm sure a few of those weirdos are reading this right now, so just know I wasn't referring to you at all, but rather the other guy.
This auction comes with a attention-grabbing word in the subject line: Rare. They certainly aren't common, but rare? That had me interested. Sure enough, this is the super, super, ultra-rare error card, where Mike LaCoss' name was replaced with Rick Reuschel's, and the pictures were switched as well. The average collector would figure it was actually a completely different card, but those in the know aren't fooled. Super, super, ultra-rare is more like it.
eBay Value: $1.00
Prison value: Freedom. Sweet, sweet freedom (corrupt former Soviet republics only)