Saturday, April 6, 2013

Baseball card stories from Jacob Shumate

Jacob Shumate pitched eight years of professional baseball, mostly in the Braves organization, winning 14 games and striking out 323 batters in 313 innings. Now a math teacher at Marlboro County High School in South Carolina, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

- Do you have any stories about cards of yourself or of other players? 
I remember being a young kid playing baseball in little league and dreaming of having my very own baseball card. Suddenly, I was 18, graduating high school and being a first round draft pick in the same day. Not long after that the baseball card deals started coming in. I can remember how excited I was to have actual REAL baseball cards of myself. It was so surreal for me and I have each of the cards of me that I am aware of in a case at my parents house.
  I remember taking the pictures for my Topps cards during my first ever road trip in professional baseball. We were in Bluefield, West Virginia. The photographer picked me up at the hotel and we went to the stadium to take the shots. That was a great experience, made me feel like some kind of star at 18. Great feeling.
  I signed a deal with Signature Rookies to autograph some of their cards of me for $1 each. Joke was on me, they sent me 10,000 cards. Talk about overwhelming, my hand stayed cramped all of the time. In one of the boxes, they accidentally sent 2 cards of another player. I can't remember the name, Paul something, but my roommate and I had some fun with those cards. We autographed them for him, so to speak,  and it was a riot. I doubt those cards ever made it into circulation, but if they did i would love to know what their worth is!

My students absolutely have a field day when they run across my cards, usually on the internet. They come in the next day make me pull up their discovery on the lcd projector for the class to see. They stare in amazement that their teacher actually has baseball cards. Some of them have parents that have cards of mine that I have signed and bring it to school like its show and tell day. The looks on their faces in both situations is classic!
The first question they ask me when they find out I played professional baseball is "Hey do you have any cards?"

- Do you have a favorite card of yourself or of another player?
 I really don't collect cards so I really don't have a particular favorite of another player. I do remember when I was young that Billy Ripken's card with the message on the knob of the bat was a deal to me and my friends. We couldn't believe that made it onto an actual baseball card. As far as my cards go, my favorites are probably the Topps cards because they were the first ones I took pictures for and it was such a good experience. I will always cherish those.

- Do you collect baseball cards?
  As I mentioned, I really don't collect baseball cards. Some of my students do, and they love to come across my cards in shops or on the internet. They just cant believe that i actually did what I did before I started teaching high school. It amazes them!

Thanks! There were three Pauls in the Signature Rookie Set - Paul Konerko, Paul Wilson, and Paul Failla, who played in the Angels system, the NFL, the AFL and the XFL.