Thursday, January 5, 2012

Interview with Jason Hirsh

Jason Hirsh has pitched professionally since 2003 in the Astros, Rockies and Yankees organizations, including three years in the major leagues. A member of a baseball family, I interviewed his brother Matt in 2009. He missed the 2011 season due to injury, and is currently playing in the Australian Baseball Winter League. You can follow his comeback on his blog, On My Way Back Up Down Under. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"I collected baseball cards all through my childhood. I use to go to my local card shop (After The Anthem) and hang out there for hours talking with the owner and the workers. I collected everything from Topps to Upper Deck to OpeeChee to Donruss. One my favorite things to do was collect the Diamond Kings from the Donruss packs. One story in particular that I always tell to people is the story of my 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. It was my birthday and I had money burning a hole in my pocket so naturally I headed to the card shop. I saw the Griffey rookie packaged tightly in a big glass protector sitting on the top shelf of the display case and it was only $20. I thought it was a great price and I was a fan of Griffey so what a perfect match. I bought the card and treasured it as my prized possession in my collection. I still have the card and its still tightly sealed in the case it came in. I know the value of the card has probably peaked for now but its always nice to look at the investment of $20 has now gone as high at $120 bucks or more. That was definitely the crowning achievement of my card collecting days. I also have an UpperDeck SP hologram card of ARod that I think is pretty valuable. Baseball wasn't the end all of my card collecting however. I also have some football, basketball and hockey cards. I possess a Shaq rookie card that I think I traded for or picked up real cheap. I didn't really know much about hockey but I definitely have a bunch of cards including an Eric Lindros card that I thought at the time was like the best card ever for hockey. Needless to say I've spent quite a fortune on cards in my time and as I grew older the prices of packs got too expensive to collect anymore so I stopped and moved on. But I have countless white organizing boxes in my closet at my parents house with what I'm sure will one day be cardboard gold.

Once I got into pro baseball it was kind of surreal to finally see myself immortalized on a baseball card. I have a bunch of cards from my time in the bigs and I've tried to collect every one of them but there are so many subsets and colors and other BS now its almost impossible. Its definitely pretty cool to think that some kid can open a pack of cards and pull out my picture. Whether he values it or not is not for me decide, but nonetheless pretty cool. I dont collect cards anymore because the hobby has gotten way out of hand. The prices for a pack of cards are ridiculous. I remember being able to buy a pack for 50 cents and the most expensive pack was 5 bucks. Today you cant even sniff a pack for 5 bucks. Plus the number of cards in each pack has shrunk as well. We use to get anywhere between 8-12 cards a pack and that always made it fun to open packs and see what you got. Its just not the same today. Sports memorabilia has such value today that baseball cards are almost an afterthought to baseballs, bats, jerseys, hats etc... Oh well maybe one day my kids will learn what true baseball card collecting is all about and I'll pass along to them my cards and hope they appreciate them like I did."


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