Sunday, March 2, 2014

COMC/JustCommons/Sportlots 2013 roundup part 12: Heath Murray

(Note:  view all posts in this series with this link)

I've been sitting on a bunch of purchases from late 2013 that needed to be recorded, scanned, and posted, and I'm finally getting around to those.  In many cases I may just mash up purchases by player instead of online store to make things easier.  We'll see just how many posts I get out of this series, which I'm going to abbreviate COMC-JC-SL 2013.

This will be the second-to-last post in this series, and the last featuring a baseball PC.  Today's subject is pitcher Heath Murray, who you might remember from such posts as the second in my Many More Michigan Men series.  Before these purchases Murray's PC sat at a paltry three cards.  Let's see how much I added to it late last year:
Heath Murray 1994 Signature Rookies Draft Picks Signatures auto (#7/7750)
First up is an "other" card--an autograph from the EXTREMELY LIMITED unlicensed Signature Rookies set from 1994.  This card likely depicts Heath in Ann Arbor, but since it's airbrushed it doesn't get the "Michigan Uniform" tag.  Still, I'm pretty sure I snagged it for under a buck, and it IS an autograph, so not a bad way to start!

Heath Murray 1994 Stadium Club Draft Picks XRC
Although it's not a "true" RC, but an XRC, this is still Murray's first mainstream card, so that's cool.  As it's Stadium Club, it also gets First Day Issue and Member's Only parallels, though I have yet to find either.  One cool feature I haven't seen in a set before:  the back note's he was a third-round pick (1994) and then updates fans on the status of the team's previous five picks in that round.  The '89-'92 players were uninteresting, but the Padres' 1993 third-rounder was Matt Clement, who went on to a decent nine-year career (and was in Class A at the time).

Heath Murray 1996 Bowman RC
Heath Murray 1996 Bowman Foil
Up next is Heath's only true RC from '96 Bowman, along with the Foil parallel (yep, it existed all the way back then!).  But wait, it doesn't have the RC logo on it, how am I to know that's what this is?!  In all seriousness, this is a nice portrait shot, and the pair represents the sum of Heath's 1996 cards--but far from the only Bowman issues we'll see today.

Heath Murray 1997 Bowman
Heath Murray 1997 Bowman Chrome
Heath Murray 1997 Bowman Chrome International Refractor
Heath Murray 1997 Bowman Chrome Refractor
Heath Murray 1997 Bowman International
I wasn't lying!  These five come from the six-card '97 Bowman/Chrome "rainbow" (which I put in quotes since there's not much to get.  I'm just missing the non-Refractor Chrome International card, which I don't think I've seen for sale so far.  The inaugural release of Chrome proved to be a very popular one, and it became a fan-favorite that's highly-regarded to this day, though it's become much more complicated.  For my part I think the design came out very well when Chrome-ified, and I love the Refractors, as usual.

Heath Murray 1998 Bowman Chrome
Heath Murray 1998 Bowman International
1998 Bowman/Chrome increases slightly to a nine-card rainbow thanks to a couple more parallels, but I don't currently have any to show here.  The Chrome set again looks nice, so I look forward to scoring those Refractors.  Meanwhile, the International parallel is a bit of a step up thanks to the map-like background instead of the previous year's flag (although they again improved in subsequent years).  Besides these two, I already have the base Bowman card by virtue of owning the complete set, so I'm 1/3 of the way done here.

Heath Murray 1998 Fleer
This is Heath's other 1998 card, and it signals we're done with Bowman for the day.  I've said a few times I like how Fleer went the highlight stamp route instead of making separate cards, which too often feel like filler.  I'm also a fan of the borderless design, even if the manufacturer went away from the awesome matte finish from the previous years.

Heath Murray 2000 E-X Genuine Coverage jersey
Heath Murray 2000 Fleer Mystique Fresh Ink auto
Heath Murray 2000 SkyBox Autographics auto
Heath Murray 2000 Ultra Fresh Ink auto (#838/925)
After a one-year hiatus, Murray appeared on four cards in 2000:  these four, all of which are hits, which I guess isn't a major surprise since the turn of the century coincided with the relic/autograph explosion in the hobby.  They also happen to be the final four cards for his career, so he certainly when out with a bang.  Once I pick up the '97 Bowman Black, Blue, and Gold Ink autos I'll own 100% of his hits, which seems attainable.

The Reds cards make me laugh a bit because he never appeared in the Majors with the team; Cincy grabbed him off waivers after the '99 season but released him the following spring.  The Dodgers signed him, but Murray never made it back with them either, leading to a 2001 season with Detroit, then a few games in 2002 with Cleveland before he retired.  This isn't the first example of that in my collection, as this Rich Hill Cardinals auto will attest.

Anyway, I do like the various designs Fleer used with the three autograph sets, especially the Mystique and Ultra versions, the latter of which has an interesting sticker design that kind of adds to the card.

These hits make Heath the 21st member of my Michigan Baseball PC, and also put that collection over a pretty major milestone of 250 hits--254 exactly as of today.  So woohoo to that!

I'm also very happy to have added 15 new Murrays to the checklist (and 16 to his collection overall) for a new total of 18/30, which is exactly 60%!

Stay tuned for the final post in the series, which will be all football, plus trade packages and more.

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