Once upon a time, I was a player collector first and a team collector second. My progression of player collections has pretty exclusively featured light hitting middle infielders: Warren Morris, Lou Collier, and then a super-collection of Jack Wilson.
As my collecting interests grew, I thought it would be fun to take on a new player collection. What better way than to dig deep into the minors and catch a guy as he started his pro career. Coming out of the 2005 draft, I didn't have the pockets to pursue first rounder Andrew McCutchen. But slugging second round pick Brad Corley seemed like the perfect fit - a power hitting college bat with only a few cards, it would be the perfect start to a super collection.
I probably don't need to say much about the McCutchen guy. Corley on the other hand...he put up nice power numbers, slugging 16 homers and 100 rbi's in his first full pro season in 2006. But that line was capped off with an unsettling 109 K's and a hollow .438 slugging percentage. As he rose through the minors, the K's got worse, batting average slumped, and the power never went from above average to exceptional.
By 2009, Corley was out of baseball at age 25, topping out at AA.
I built up a nice collection, including all colors of refractors, a few press plates, and some newfound player collecting wisdom.
Browsing ebay last week, I noticed an auto of Corley from 2006, when his promise still seemed strong. I always enjoy minor league cards, even if the players don't quite make it all the way. For $1 and free shipping,I got myself a nice reminder of why I have 8 Blue Refractors of a guy who never made it above AA.