Friday, February 2, 2024


Well, it finally happened: I got scammed on a baseball card.

Earlier this week, I thought I had a deal in place on Twitter to secure my '53 Topps Satchel(l) Paige dream card. But after a little back and forth with payments and such, things seemed a bit fishy, and I ultimately declined. Then another user stepped forward and said that he had a Paige for the same price. Things looked to be a bit more kosher this time, and we agreed on a deal. Or so I believed.

To put it shortly, there was a chain of events (including said user blocking me) that made it clearly obvious I'd been taken. Admittedly, I wasn't the smartest buyer here - the way I paid left little recourse for getting my money back, and the alarm bells should've been clanging in my head. So now I'm out what is (or would have been) the most I've ever spent on a card by a good margin.

Losing the money obviously sucks (and it was no small amount), but I think I'm just as frustrated by the humanity of it all. Call me naïve, but I always had it in my head that this world of scammers operated in a cardboard underbelly that would never affect me. I've dealt with so many sellers that have been nothing but excellent, so I suppose I took that trust into other darker places where I should've been more careful.

I suppose everyone gets scammed at some point in their life, and lo and behold, here came my turn.

Still, I truly believe one of the joys of writing is being able to take a shitty situation and make something at least a little joyous out of it.

I've been trying to come up with a way to showcase some odds and ends I've picked up lately on the blog - granted, I wish it didn't take me getting fleeced to do it, but if nothing else it gives me a chance to honor those great sellers who had the decency to send me the cards I bought.

I've been using Sportlots at a record pace these days, so much so that I'm left to wonder why I hadn't made this place a bigger part of my card life a long time ago - it's gone a long way in fueling my recent kick of minor league issues of treasured binder guys.

I think part of why I never used Sportlots much before was that you buy from individual sellers rather than one central website - which can cause shipping prices to skyrocket.

But lately I've taken that as more of a fun challenge - it's been a blast sifting through the inventories of certain sellers and seeing what I can find (while paying just the one shipping cost). It's the closest to a the thrill of a good card show discount box as you're gonna find on the internet.

I've been after the Gulf Coast Dodgers Tiant for a while now, and by some miracle I found a seller who had one for 20 cents(!) - and as a bonus, he also had Tiant's 1993 ProCards issue that I didn't even know about (also for 20 cents!). 

One Sportlots seller had a wild inventory of oddballs I'd never seen before and/or wasn't likely to see again.

A couple good mid-aughts food issues with the Stieb (Sunkist) and Konerko (Frito-Lay), and the Vlad appears to be from some kind of board game that never took off - plus, dig Jim Abbott signing autographs!

Another recent kick of mine is cards from the slew of short-lived early '90s card magazines like RBI Baseball.

I've never seen a copy of the magazine itself - has anyone? - but I knew I needed that Tartabull the minute I laid eyes on it.

I personally think Topps Holiday has ran its course - I haven't sought these out in years & am content to land handfuls a dime box way later.

However, Topps always manages to sneak in a few cards that differ from the standard Flagship issues, which I of course desperately need - didn't think Lucas Giolito's dubious six-game tenure with the Angels would get documented on cardboard.

I don't often use eBay for card purchases, but lately I've been forced to make a few exceptions to that rule.

Yes, I'm one of the suckers who bought the Topps Now Ohtani - I couldn't let the first Dodgers card of one of my favorite baseball dudes slip by! I also finally pulled the trigger on a different Topps Now card that's been torturing me for a while with that Brandon Phillips.

That's the one and only card of Phillips's nine-game sunset stint with the Red Sox, and I'm glad I decided the time was nigh to buy it.

I'm pretty sure I discovered these "Little Big Leaguers" cards through Fuji's blog a while back - apparently they were issued with a book in the early '90s.

I found a generic listing for said book with the common "inserts may not be included" caveat - but either way it was cheap enough that I decided to give it a shot. And it's my pleasure to report that when the book arrived a few days later...the cards were in there!

I spent the better part of that evening separating each card from its perforated sheet, which was a blast since there's nothing quite like discovering a new oddball set.

A couple more random eBay gets - the Fisk was one of the last handful of '78 SSPCs I needed (mostly down to the bigger names at this point).

I overpaid for the Jenkins, but the seller kinda had me over a barrel since it was (at least at the time) the only copy of it I could find for sale on the whole wide internet - still, no price is too steep for a rare Phillies Fergie!

Might as well close with another dream card - one that I actually received upon purchase this time - with this treasured minor league John Smoltz.

It's been a glaring hole in my zero-year collection for a while now. Smoltz pitched in the Tigers' system for two years and was famously dealt to the Braves before ever reaching the bigs with Detroit. This is one of only two cards documenting the future HOFer's zero-year stint, and I can't tell you how satisfying it is to finally cross it off the list.

But I'm still cursed with the mind of a collector, because even after getting scammed - and even with all the fantastic stuff I've shown here - I'm left wanting a '53 Paige even more now!


Mike said...

Find that guys address and leave the rest to me...what the hell!?

Jeff B - Wax Pack Wonders said...

Ugh sorry to hear!

Johnnys Trading Spot said...

Sorry you got jipped. Glad you're making lemonade though. Hopefully Karma will locate the guy fast. I'm human so maybe he'll take his ill-gotten funds and buy bad drugs laced with fentanyl. Okay, maybe not that drastic just take his money and run. I still have a hundred or so cards to find for that box I'm sending you. It shouldn't be long now. I was hoping to have it done last week.

Nachos Grande said...

Yep, scammers suck and I wish bad things for all of them. I was taken badly by a scammer over on TCDB awhile back and it hurts. Cards should be fun.

sg488 said...

Sorry you got scammed,concerning Smoltz he did have a few minor league cards for the 1988 Richmond Braves in addition to the 2 in the Tigers minors.

night owl said...

Twitter's been good for card shopping but as the site has gone downhill I'm not surprised that it happened and wouldn't be surprised if it's happening more often on there. Sorry about that.

I featured that Tiant Dodger card last spring and you commented on the post so you must've known about it. Maybe it's "old age"!

Elliptical Man said...

Well, that sucks. Hope you reported it anyway, so there's a record of his behavior in case he keeps doing it.

Voting for Fergie.

Jafronius said...

Yes, hope there was a way to report him!

Mark Zentkovich said...

I like the sspc card

Fuji said...

Super sorry to hear about the Paige. It's truly frustrating to hear stories like this, because it shows that there are people out there who go out of their way to rip off others. What's worse is that our card community is so generous and free cards are passed around like candy on Halloween... yet a story like this can ruin your day.

madding said...

I'm not on Twitter anymore for... reasons... but there are some fairly prominent card accounts that are probably still active that might be interested in "boosting" your story if you want to get it out there.

I mostly trade on TCDB now, but I'm always up for a swap.

Derek said...

Sorry to hear that you got scammed. I like to think that scammers always get what's coming to them. I remember the first time I got taken, I hassled them so much (by email and also posted a "don't trade with" notice to the newsgroup) that they felt badly and sent my money back.

Mostly trading on Tcdb these days, have been lucky there so far. A few people have fallen off the planet for a while (life happened) but have always made good afterwards

GTT said...

Really sorry to hear you got scammed! Horrible thing to happen.

Also - the Vlad is an APBA card, and while that particular line of cards with actual pictures was short-lived, APBA has been around for a long time.

Bo said...

Sorry to hear about your getting scammed.

Never seen that RBI Baseball set before - very cool.

Uncle Charlie's Shoebox said...

Sorry to hear you were scammed. As a CPA, I am highly skeptical of any deals made through the interwebs. I'll stick to small trades with well established bloggers but any big purchases will always deal with my local card shop.

I really do not trust Venmo or Paypal for transactions because there is just no protection from scammers.

Michael D said...

That sucks getting scammed. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth and definitely makes you a lot more guarded. It can sap the fun out of cards.

Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Seems like the best thing that could come out of this is for you to name the scammer, so that the rest of us can steer clear of him.

For some reason, you have chosen not to reveal his name, providing a cover of anonymity for him, so that he can continue to scam others.

CardBoredom said...

Hate seeing you get scammed by someone. Hopefully we'll get a follow up post where you get your money back, the bad guy gets disgraced, and you unveil an even better Paige card.

Crocodile said...

That sucks! Some day karma will get that scammer.

Matt said...

Sorry you got scammed. That sucks. Love those Tiant cards though!

gcrl said...

Glad your experience hasn’t turned you away from collecting but it’s terrible that it happened. Some people suck.

Seeing Smoltz in a tiger uni is odd. Then again, he looks odd in Red Sox and cardinals gear, too.

GCA said...

Real jealous on the ProCards Tiant. I just found a site with several of my player collection guys' minor league cards for a buck or two. They only go back so far, though. (
Also jealous of the SSPC Fisk. I gotta go over the smaller SSPC sets for my PC guys too.

Jon said...

If you used a credit card you should have options. It sucks that this happened to you of all people, as you're never one to cause any problems for anyone else (aka the sort deserves to have bad things happen to them from time to time). I noticed that you didn't share their name here, but I would hope that you did so on the Twitter.