Starlin Castro Collection – Suspended Without Pay

I have a morals clause in my collecting.

Since I only collect players, I’ve tried to be selective about which guys I focus my attention and money chasing.  The reasoning I use may only make sense to me sometimes, but in general I’m looking to collect players I can root for.

That means I do my best to avoid people who cheat or treat others with disrespect.  So, hopefully I’ve been able to avoid steroid users, domestic abusers, drunk drivers, bigots, and similar types of people I can’t support monetarily or emotionally.

So, considering the news that hit over the summer about Starlin Castro, I’ve decided to postpone spending money on his cards until the end of the 2015 season (with the small exception of cards I deem too rare to pass up, usually the ones #/50).

For those of you that are unaware, during the off-season, Castro found himself in close proximity to two club shootings in just a week’s time.  When I saw the second story, I thought it was more news about the first, but…nope.

Now, I don’t know many details but apparently Starlin spoke to the authorities in his home country and was cleared of wrong doing.  The Cubs asked him to return to the US, and he’s been trouble free ever since.

What gives me pause is that he’s been accused of wrong doing in the past, in the form of sexual assault.  There’s a part of me that thinks that he was cleared because he plays for the Cubs and it wouldn’t be too hard to have anyone else take the fall or a bribe.

On the other hand, it could be that the person carrying the gun was trying to take advantage of Castro and his wealth/celebrity.  We have heard of players and relatives getting kidnapped and murdered in previous off-seasons.

To put it simply, I don’t know, but hoping for the best.  For the time being, I will still collect and accept Starlin Castro cards in trades, but I’m not going to spend money on his cards for the time being, with small exceptions. Anything numbered /50 is on the table as they are the rarest ones I seek out.

The good news is I have quite a lot of past ebay wins hoarded away that I can show off instead.  In the past, I’ve been so focused on trades that I haven’t shown auction wins from nearly 3 years back.  How about we catch up and see what could be some of the last Castro purchases I make.

Been in the league for 5 years, but could still qualify for this title accurately.

This GQ card was part of a small binge from a single seller with free shipping on additional cards.  It also came with a couple free gold framed Cubs from that set – Dawson & Banks.

Just because it’s a color that exists, does not mean it should be made into a parallel

Fun fact: I currently have 13 cards in my Castro collection numbered to #/99.  This one was a 99 cent win back in late 2012 (yup, that’s how far behind I have fallen in showing non-trade cards)

Even without the license, these Prime Cuts cards look pretty sharp

Here’s another #/99 card.  I don’t remember how much this was, but I’d assume the same price.  Even when I was “regularly” spending money on Starlin, I stayed cheap.

2010 Obak Black mini version 1 of 2

This may be one of my biggest steals.  This is from February 2013, and the auction wasn’t properly labeled.  I just happened to stumble on this mini #/50 and got it for less than $5.  I haven’t seen another one offered for less than $20 ever since (until recently).  I also don’t see many sell at that asking price.

Blinded by the sparkles

I actually kind of regret this one.  I pulled the trigger before I realized how prevalent they were. I’m sure with some patience, I can/could find this in a cheap-o box at a card show or shop.


One way that Topps tries to “add value” to the normally dreary series 2 box sales is by making a gold parallel to the relics.  It doesn’t really work as I can pick these up for the minimum most times. Under $5 shipped for sure.

Even more golden

The Heritage golds are a little more touted and mega-master collectors could get in the bidding mix. But, stick to your guns, and your price point, and things go your way.

Worth it?

Here’s another semi-regret.  It came with a dinged corner, and while I believe these National Convention lava flow parallels have a print run of 99, I’m not completely sure about that.  I also thought at the time it would be tougher to find due to it not being in packs.  Oh well.

Gold refractors are the best

I got this in a lot of 4 chrome refractors – probably a guy’s box haul – in one auction.  The others were Adrian Gonzalez and Ian Kinsler blue refractors and a Matt Holliday black refractor – all for one really surprising low price (maybe $5 or 6 shipped). I think they didn’t mention that the Castro was /50, or other bidders didn’t care.

Blue borders are also pretty good

Normally I wouldn’t buy something like this through ebay, but it was paired with this next card.

First ink shown in the post

So, sure, I’ll take a Walmart parallel I need as a throw-in with an on-card auto I wanted more.  If and when I buy Castro cards again, I’ll probably focus on more autos because they aren’t too expensive.

Thick and unpeeled. Draw your own conclusions

I love these online giveaway die-cuts.  It would have been nice if this black diamond version was a little different (foil pattern, carry the black sparkle theme through, etc), but I’ll gladly take it as they don’t circulate much.

Slim pickin

You may notice a trend in my purchases. I go for the tougher to find stuff at low prices to help pad the collection.  Stuff like this sepia mini #/99 is easy to pick off

Hey, this image looks familiar

Is it wrong to say that I don’t like the camo parallel?  It would be one thing if any proceeds went to the troops, but I don’t think it’s happening.  Maybe I’m too cynical, but I also think they’re hideous.

Yeah, you should be smiling

Okay, this is a big one.  This Heritage non-SP is all that was mentioned in the title, but it was a lot.  A good lot.  A good lot that I grabbed for only about $10.  I’m not showing a couple duplicates that were in there, but check this out.

Is that a crotch grab in the background?

We start with the mini version of this GQ insert that’s only found in hobby boxloader packs.

More gold

Next is a non-sepia framed card, which I think was only in the rack packs.  So, hobby and retail exclusives are covered.

Not totally sure what this is from

Hit #1 of the lot is yet another GQ card with a great red swatch.

I like that the blue stripe was oriented diagonally to match the window

The second and final hit, but not final card of the lot, is a Heritage relic with a pinstripe.  Not too shabby.

Still missing the other variation

Here’s a duplicate that I am showing.  I bought this B&W swap separately before getting it in this lot, so it’s up for trade.

Steal of the year.

The last card in the lot was this beauty.  When I saw the hope diamond card in the picture (along with the rest), I naturally assumed that these were to be separate auctions, but after some research, it turns out it was all one lot with terrible labeling.  This offsets those earlier regrets by a long shot.

Usually my first stop in the rainbow quest

A different year, a different purchase, another All-Star parallel.

Only difference: card number.

Okay, this wasn’t an ebay win, but I did purchase the team set at a card show

Back in black

Here’s what the front of that previous card looks like.  Except you know, with a different border.

More tolerable than camo in design

The pink border cards are surprisingly tough to find, and even tougher to land in my price range.  They’re numbered out of 50, but they surface a lot less frequently than the slightly less rare black borders.

I’ve had this card for months and just now noticed that the gold isn’t the foil, but the circles around the jersey

Oh hey, we’re back to the old version of the relics thanks to series 2 shenanigans.  There’s also a jumbo swatch, I believe.

The fake sig is quite different

I’m ending this post (yes, you’ll be free soon), with another lot.  This one cost about double the Heritage one, but I still got several cards for what I would have paid for one key card.  I consider that a win.  This wasn’t the key card.

Shine on

Neither was this, but it’s great to have some of these earlier Bowman cards finally.  Most were not in great condition, but since they were essentially extras, I don’t care much.

Easier to see shine

Same year, but instead of prospect cards, it’s a rookie card.  That’s what happens when you have a meteoric rise, and card companies produce convoluted sets.

You can see the fray on the lower left

One of the 100 best prospects.  Who else was on the list and how many are still prospects 5 years later? I call “not it” on that research.

Love that blue shine

Again, this isn’t the key card, but one I’m very happy to have.  I’ve watched the blue refractor auto pass by countless times and never monitored the non-auto version.  Great to have it fall into my lap.

A different kind of blue shine

I like the Bowman platinum parallels.  It’s a little sad that the set’s going away, but understandable.  Again, you can see the damage on the lower right.

old school shine

Another great bonus item was this low numbered sepia refractor.  I don’t like this addition to chrome, but if it’s on my want list, even better to get it for virtually nothing.

No jersey number inscription this time, but that’s okay

This was the key card in the lot, but not the lowest numbered.  Castro autos are kind of cheap, like I said earlier, and it’s not hard to find nice looking on card signatures like this for a good price.

Dang, that’s a low number.  Too low for my blood

The lot also came with this and a Tier One relic that I’m not showing because I bought it independently in a different lot I’ll show another time.  This Triple Threads relic doesn’t fit my collecting goals, so it too is up for trade or sale.

Hey, who knows, if things go further south for Castro, maybe all of these will be up for trade or sale.  I hope not, because I have a great budding collection and he’s the only active Cubs player I collect.  We’ll see how the rest of the year shakes out, but for now the suspension is in effect.

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