I was stationed in Omaha when Mark Prior was working his way up through the minors. When he was called up to AA I took the day off from work just to drive to Des Moines to see him pitch. The buzz around him was insane, and people were already penciling him in for a Hall of Fame career.
I did not go to many baseball games growing up, and never any minor league games. And in 2002 I was just getting into autographs. So Prior’s ascent to stardom was a personal thing for me. I had seen him pitch in the College World Series, I had seen him pitch in the minors, and even got his autograph! At the time I thought it was only logical that I would try to start collecting his cards.
But, In 2002, his card prices reflected the same optimism and excitement I did. And thus, I could not afford them.
His 2001 Upper Deck Ultimate collection seemed like the best card at the time, and I remember thinking there was no way that I was ever going to be able to afford it. They actually had one for a little while at a local cards shop, and I seriously thought about buying it, but at the end of the day could not drop the $100+ that he wanted.
Well, things did not really work on for Prior. And now…I can finally afford his cards.
Most of his rookie cards are pretty easy to find, but the 2001 UD Ultimate was one that I have not seen in years of on and off looking. Finally one popped up on Ebay. I am not sure what the going rate is for Mark Prior rookie cards…but…there was no Best Offer option and I was tired of waiting…so I just hit it. I think it set me back like $50.
I think I overpaid. But I know I am happy to have it in my collection finally.