Do you remember what you were doing in 2014? I remember I was contemplating supercollecting my childhood hero Jose Canseco. Players like Jose Abreu and Yasiel Puig were dominating baseball. Obama was our president, my son 11 years old, a foot shorter than me and his voice was about 3 octaves higher than it is now.
Another thing that I was doing was waiting for a redemption. A 2014 Topps Strata jersey / auto #/25 of Jose Canseco, to be exact. A collector from Sweden reached out to tell me he had the redemption card for sale. Rather than spend a small fortune for him to send it to me, I decided to pay him to just give me the code. Hastily, I logged into the Topps website to redeem, and then waited.
For 1,622 days.
Within a year of my first redemption, I also entered in another for a 1992 Stadium Club buyback #/5. While more rare, I was looking much more forward to the Strata. I had seen some of the insane jumbo patches that Topps was putting behind the acetate that the players had signed. This card had all the makings to be a cornerstone piece for my budding collection!
As months turned into years, I had often wondered why Topps wasn’t sending me my cards. I paid good money for these and though they suggested a replacement, let’s face it. I didn’t want one. I wouldn’t have wanted anything else they could give me of other players, be it Trout, Jeter, Ohtani, Judge. The more I paid attention to the cards Topps was putting out of Canseco, the more I realized that perhaps they simply didn’t have any high quality patch material for him. Perhaps they used it all up in their Trajectory and Dynasty offerings? I don’t know, but I noticed many of his high end cards featured plain jersey or bat pieces. It still didn’t make sense to me why they couldn’t have him sign a buyback card, though. Jose has signed hundreds of things for Topps since then. What gives?
Look, I don’t want to come across as sounding like I’m bashing Topps. Yeah, it would have been great if they could have made the cards, but who knows what it would have taken for them to make them. On the plus side, the replacements were sent out very quickly.
After a few years of frustration, I went ahead and created my own Strata card. I wanted it to be something truly special. Something that would satisfy everything that I would want in the card I had hoped for, so I came up with this.
I was quite happy with how it came out – Jose’s transparent picture on the left is printed on acetate and is overlaid on top of a jumbo player-worn patch. Mike Tracy of Pop Culture Authentix in Halifax notified me of him being up north for a signing and was kind enough to offer me to send some of my cards to him to have him sign at his cost. I took him up on the offer and paid him, then shipped this along with several other cards.
The signing date was delayed and then ultimately came and went. After a while, Mike became unresponsive. After doing some internet sleuthing, I saw that he had an account on Rackrs.com so I reached out to chat via there. Interestingly enough, he was very responsive when he didn’t realize it was me, and thought he could sell something to me! When he found out who I was, he stopped responding there as well.
When it became apparent that “Mike” had decided to steal all my items I sent to him, I reached out to the police department in Halifax. Lucky for me, the address I had on file for him was about 10 minutes away from the police department in Halifax. Unfortunately, the police officer I spoke to over there had no desire whatsoever to help, in spite of having all kinds of records to back everything up and his receiving address being just up the road.
Based upon what I’ve heard from others, it appears as though Mike Tracy is not his name, but he used email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and popcultureauthentix on eBay. As it turns out, this person has scammed several people out of money and items. His name on Facebook is Racker Mike. If you dig further, you will find other aliases.
In any event, I went ahead and created another, along with a McGwire and created this booklet:
It is always fun to create things, in spite of the reason being that I was ripped off, but I was happy with how this booklet turned out. Had I gotten the redemption, I would have never considered making it in the first place. If I ever get my hands on a jumbo patch from McGwire, I just might redo it as a dual jumbo patch / dual sig booklet 🙂
Coincidentally, another card he swiped was a plain card of a 1951 Topps Red Back inspired Canseco. Because he stole it, I had the idea to make something cooler, so I made this wood booklet and had Jose sign it.
So I guess there was a silver lining to all of this after all 🙂
Since I’m selling out of all things Canseco, I did the unthinkable. I logged into the Topps website, and I clicked the frightening button next to both of my redemptions I’ve been waiting on for years:
Never in a million years would I have thought I would have ever done that. I kid you not – had I been collecting Canseco for ten more years, I wouldn’t have dreamed of requesting a replacement, but since I’m “out of the game”, I went ahead and did it, and today the replacements arrived.
So, here are the cards that were the replacements:
2018 Bowman Chrome Refractor Hunter Greene Autograph #/499
2018 Topps Finest Hour Pedro Martinez refractor autograph
Based upon the horror stories I’ve heard about redemption replacements, I think I could have done a lot worse!