Ohio attic yields millions of dollars in baseball cards

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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.

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Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.