Sunday, June 9, 2013

Darren Fenster on baseball cards

Infielder Darren Fenster played five seasons in the Royals organization, hitting .267 with 5 HR and 179 RBI in 458 games. Now the manager of the Gulf Coast Red Sox and writer of the youth baseball instruction blog Coaching Your Kids, he kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.

"Back in the day, shortly after my cousin gave me my first set, a 1987 Topps collection in a binder, divided up team by team, I became an avid card collector.  Initially for those first couple years, my older brother and I would buy wax boxes of different brands, and put them together in a binder just as our cousin had done previously.  When the 1989 Upper Deck set came out, we became enamored with card value, and went from organizing them into a sleeve for a binder, to keeping them in their original box to keep them in the best condition.  We'd go to card shows every couple months along the Jersey Shore, and loved getting what we thought was a great deal on a rare series of cards (like Donruss Studio or Topps Stadium).  Our collection died down as soon as we got into high school (right around 1993-94), but for a solid six years, we were really into the baseball card "scene".  What's neat now, while currently working for the Red Sox and  having played and coached in the game for the past 13 years, is coming across guys as colleagues and opposing coaches/instructors whose cards I still have to this day.

A couple individual cards that still stick out in my mind are the 1984 Topps Mark McGwire Olympic card, and the Bo Jackson 1989 Score card with the bat over his shoulders in football pads. The McGwire card was a big deal because it was so rare. The Jackson card was just cool, and unlike any other- I think the back of it only said "BO" in big letters. 

Personally, I absolutely love the first card ever made for me, which from 2000 with the Spokane Indians.  I am not sure if it's my favorite because it was my first card, or because it's a picture I really like or what... but it was taken prior to my very first professional AB.  I know this because it was the only game I wore eye black, and I hit a triple in my first at bat, and slid into third which obviously made my uniform dirty.  Having such a huge moment caught on a card was and still is a pretty big deal to me.
My other favorite personal card is a Topps Heritage card from 2005.  I really like the throwback design, not to mention the card having two photos on it.  Being that I did collect cards as a kid, it was very surreal to learn that Topps made a card of me- a friend emailed me the day they went on sale in the winter of 2005.  I'm not sure if they still do this, but soon after signing with the Royals, Topps offered every professional player a $5.00 contact which basically allowed them permission to use your likeness in a card or promotion.  No one ever cashed the check, because it was for five bucks, and more a novelty coming from the original card company in Topps.  Once they did actually make a card of me, I had a check for $1500 waiting for me in the clubhouse... apparently that was part of the deal.  Needless to say that was a pretty cool surprise."

Thanks! Here is a card of him from my collection.


  1. How very cool! I find it amazing that he remembered specifics about his two favorite cards.

  2. Great post. Fenster and I are alike... the McGwire and the Bo are two of my favorites too. Although... I wouldn't say the McGwire is exactly rare.

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