Hey Big Spender

Fuji's working us like dogs for this contest, and now wants to know: What's the most you have ever spent on a single sports related item?

I bet I'm not the only one to use this post title.

I'm sure my biggest single purchase is well below the price of some others', but given that I was about 13 and had no job when I bought it, I feel like there should be some sort of multiplier in play.

1979 Topps #116 Ozzie Smith RC
The thick plastic sort of caused a washed out look when I scanned it, but it's actually quite bright. The back has a little fading damage, perhaps from gum. If I remember correctly I bought this around 1995 or 1996, when Ozzie's career was ending. In retrospect I should have waited, but I saved for a long time to get this card. I'm pretty sure it was booking for $80 or so at the time, and that's about what I paid for it. I really don't know how I got to that much money, because I remember checking it out at my LCS for a long time before buying it. I probably saved everything I got, allowance, birthday money, showing the grandparents my good report card money, and who knows what else.

I figured that wasn't a bad price given the good condition and the fact that I was buying it in the St. Louis market. I'd guess the value has taken a bit of a dive in recent years, because little did I know Tony La Russa and Ozzie would not get along. La Russa decided Royce Clayton would be the starting shortstop in 1996, prompting Ozzie to immediately declare it his last year. They were both a bit bull-headed about the whole thing, teaching me an important lesson about not idolizing and emulating every trait of professional athletes. He then refused to have much to do with the Cardinals while La Russa was around, which of course lasted until the end of 2011.

If I wanted this card today, I don't think I'd pay $90 for it. I'd probably go $50 just because he's a hometown hero, but I'd have to really talk myself into it. Of course, it's quite liberating to look at it and think what I would pay, and not worry about what the book says I should pay.


  1. One of the things about this contest is I keep finding cards that I want. I can't believe I've never owned this card. Ozzie was one of my favorite players growing up... mainly because of his insane defensive plays and that crazy flip he did.

    Awesome card... I'm truly envious.