April 11, 2015

Tales from FDR Sportscards Vol. 1 - The Surprise El Duque

A little over 15 years ago, I stumbled upon a small, local card shop that was literally right next door to where I worked. Once I discovered this, I ended up spending WAY too much time(and money) there. No matter if it was a lunch break, before work if I had a later shift, or after work if I was scheduled for an early half day, the odds were you'd find me there. I really miss this shop(though my wallet is happier that they have since closed). I have a ton of stories to eventually share about the random experiences there, so today I introduce the first in a series: Tales from FDR Sportscards.

On an August day, way back in 1998, I happened to be in the shop and saw that Bowman's Best had just arrived. At this time in m collecting career, I loved any and all things Bowman. I remember being sooo excited when I saw this box.

One of the things I loved about this shop was that Fran, the owner, always kept the product info sheets that the card companies sent out and put them in the boxes that were open for pack sales. It was always nice to have them to use as a reference. I would almost always read this over, in detail, before buying packs or boxes. I especially loved looking over the checklists to see which players I could pull if I cracked some packs. Though I liked the design, I didn't really remember seeing much on the checklist that made me overly excited, but I knew I was going to rip some open. So, I started with a few packs and began chatting baseball. Orlando Hernandez was in the midst of an exciting rookie season, so he quickly became the topic of our conversation. I remarked that I was disappointed that he wasn't on the Bowman's Best checklist(according to the product info sheet from Topps). Right about that time, I opened a pack and this was tucked away in the middle.

My jaw dropped and I stared at the 'El Duque' RC in disbelief. It was obvious that I had missed his name on the checklist somehow. I didn't say out loud that I had just pulled this card, but did ask to see the checklist again. Fran handed it to me and asked what was in the pack I just opened. I scanned the list down to card #183 and I swear that there was some other player's name there. I even asked Fran to look and she confirmed that Orlando Hernandez was not on the checklist that she had. I was so thrilled!!!

In years since, I've searched for any articles that talk about him being a late addition/substitution in that checklist and I can't find anything to that effect. To this day, I really love this card. At some point, I'm going to track down both the refractor and atomic refractor parallels without breaking the bank, but until then, I still have this: a card that I didn't think was supposed to exist, the surprise 'El Duque'! 

Does anyone else remember anything about this being a late substitution to the checklist? Thanks for reading and come back soon for more Tales from FDR Sportscards!


  1. Great story! I look forward to reading more Tales from FDR Sportcards in the future.

    1. Thanks Nick! Like I said, I spent a lot of time in there so I have plenty of stories to share.