|1/3 of the way to 300 at age 28 = success.|
I generally don't like selling cards. I think the market is soft and I don't like putting a dollar value on a piece of cardboard. Cards for me have some meaning, that's why I began writing SIGnificant Cards in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I love money and you can pay me lots for my opinion, creativity, skills, and knowledge. But when it comes to cards there are just some you know you've gotta keep and some you can just get rid of.
In 2005 Justin Verlander was the talk of the town. The Tigers drafted him #1 and at 22 he was closing in on tossing the ball at 100 MPH. He won Rookie of the Year Honors in 2006, I thought that was the first real sign that I was a smart guy for keeping his card. In 2007 he pitched the first of two career no-hitters and went 18-6, another good sign. So 2008 rolls around and I am thinking is now a good time to part with his card. I thought maybe I could trade it for something else, but I didn't, I held on. My gut instinct pushed me to keep it awhile longer.
Verlander finished with a dismal 11-17 record in 2008. Was my instinct wrong? I had to suck it up and hope for a return to form in 2009. I am very glad I did. He won 19 in 2009, 18 in 2010 and a whopping 24 in 2011 proving he is a cut above many others. With 107 career wins at only age 28 he is well on his way to the 300 club if he remains healthy. Today's game is so different and the longevity for pitchers is nowhere near what it used to be, but Verlander seems to be in a league of his own.
Just before Verlander pitched his second no hitter, my Cardboard Connection co-host Rob said to me, "Man you missed the boat on that one." I told him that boat didn't even leave the dock yet, he's got a lot more to accomplish, he's a keeper. I am glad my big ole' gut told me so.
Card #242 from the 2005 Topps Chrome set is hard signed and limited to a run of about 500, but Verlander sports a weak signature, it's sort of sloppy and not recognizable, but at least it is legit.