Sunday, March 9, 2014

The line up card: A game used view into history

In the early days of building my collection, I was always seeking out unique items.  I usually wanted something more than a ball, hat or jersey.  10-12 years ago, bobblehead dolls, enlarged baseballs and limited edition novelty items (trucks, bullpen cars, piggy banks) were always fun to find and purchase.  That was until one day after a baseball game when I noticed another fan carrying around a dugout line up card.  After inquiring about how she got it I was determined to get some for myself.  In those days you could ask a manager or coach and almost always get one.  Although I had my own scorebook and a record of who played in games I attended, that by no means was considered game used or unique.
Therefore, before games I would seek out a coach/manager/player and ask for the line up cards following the game. Until the leagues started to take ownership of them and in turn charge for these cards, I was able to acquire at least 5 of these dugout lineup cards.  In most cases, I had them autographed following the game by someone who actually played. 
Nowadays you can purchase a line up card for regular season games (assuming nothing historical happened) for about $50.  Still not a bad value for an item that is considered game used.  It's also a great gift idea for to commemorate a fan's first visit to an MLB game.  Most team stores as well as sell these lineup cards on their websites or on their auction pages.
So if you want a unique piece of game used history consider finding and acquiring one of these cards.

July 2009 line card I purchased for $50.

Line card from spring training March 2004, Signed by Jason Varitek

August 2, 2003 Line up card given to me by bench coach Jerry Narron