20 members of a family in Ohio are thrilled Aunt Jean was a packrat. Among the many boxes uncovered in an attic in an old Defiance home was 700 century-old baseball cards worth about $3 million, at least in the opinion of one expert.
The manufacturer and the exact date of the cards is unclear, but the cards are members of the E98 series from around 1910, according to PSA. The authenticators had dealt with fewer than 700 E98s previously in all of their years of grading cards. Now one find has yielded more more than that total, including a PSA 10 Honus Wagner and 16 PSA 9 Ty Cobb’s.
“Every future find will ultimately be compared to this,” said Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator.
Karl Kissner has control of the cards now. He believes they belonged to his grandfather, Carl Hench, who ran a meat market in Defiance and could have gotten them as promotional items. The plan is for the cards to go to auction, with 20 cousins in the Hench family splitting the proceeds.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.