Bobby Witt Jr. and Corbin Carroll ruined their baseball cards by secretly “wearing” them during MLB games

In the second game of the 2024 season, Bobby Witt Jr. went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles. But no one watching would know (well, almost Anyone), Werther was fiddling with something unusual in his uniform pocket.

His baseball card.

I've been collecting cards growing up,” Witt said. Competitor.

A day earlier, reigning National League Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll did the same thing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He carried his baseball card in his pocket during the team's 7-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

This makes Witt and Carroll the first two athletes to experiment with “game cards,” according to Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA), a trading card grading and autograph/memorabilia authentication company.

Game-used jerseys, balls, and other gear have long been highly sought-after items in the sports memorabilia market (most recently, Topps' “Debut Patch” feature has been a hit), and scraps of these items have found their way into trading cards Manufacturer over the years.But flip it over and put the card away Enter game? This is a little different.

“It's good to keep secrets,” Witt said of his secret poker activities. “I don't think they [my teammates] Know that I did this. I don’t want to be a distraction.

The idea was a collaboration between the two players and PSA's marketing team. Witt said he rekindled his love for card collecting during the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown and began talking to PSA more and building a relationship with them.

“We're looking at how we can do something unique for the players,” PSA President Ryan Hoge said. “They have a choice [of cards] They have a choice. We were represented at the game and witnessed the game, so we were there every step of the way.

Witt selected the 2022 Topps Update 35th Anniversary Card and the 2022 Topps Heritage Card among his selections. Carroll picked a 2023 Topps Heritage card and a 2019 Bowman draft card.

a card Rated 10 Defined as an “almost perfect card”. This means four sharp corners, centered image, and flawless front and back. PSA Grade 1, on the other hand, means “the card's visual appeal has almost completely disappeared.”

Not surprisingly, neither Witt nor Carroll carried cards to MLB games that earned PSA 10 points. . For example, a card from 1965 that was taped to a wall and when removed had some parts of the front torn off, had thumbtack holes, and was probably smudged by some markers – that card would get a PSA 1. Say, if someone gets a PSA 3, any card made in the last 20 years – you have to really work hard to make it that bad.For example, Witt slid to second base on a double play, lowering his Cards grade and A stolen base attempt.

But it could be worse.

“I put them in my left back pocket and slid them over to the right side. So they weren't hurting like they should have been,” Witt explained, adding that he didn't check on them during the game.

Increase damage?

“I knew they had sweat stains on them, so they weren't going to do well.”

But even with the wear and tear, Witt's cards still graded higher than Carroll's cards.

Final statistical results:

  • Corbin Carroll 2019 Bowman picks: 1
  • Corbin Carroll 2023 Topps Legacy: 3
  • Bobby Witt, Jr. 2022 Topps Legacy: 4
  • Bobby Witt Jr. 2022 Topps Updates: 2

Witt added that he and Carroll talked about the cards, but they had not yet discussed the outcome of the game. Game worn cards However.

“If one of them has a scuffed or bent corner because Corbin slipped to second, I think that has extra appeal to it,” Hogg said. “Collectors will look at the use or impact it has had in terms of game wear.”

As if the elements used in the game weren't unique enough, the cards also feature player autographs and inscriptions – some are addressed specifically to an individual.

Witt wrote on his Topps update card: “To: Longo! You are the man!

“Longo” is former Rookie of the Year and three-time All-Star Evan Longoria, who played alongside Carroll in Arizona last season.longoria is One of the largest card collectors among major league players.

Carroll started collecting again last year, thanks to Longoria, who started Carroll looking for a one-for-one rookie card of his own. But the collection of major league players is clearly a tight-knit community, so Witt has his own connection with Longoria, even though they were never teammates.

“I just wanted to change it up and do a lot of little things that weren't on the cards,” Witt said of his inscription. “I've talked to Longo a lot about the Cards. Him, Mike Trout and a few other guys. It's been cool to see a lot of different players get into it.

While the concept of gaming cards is new and unique right now, does it have staying power?

“I think so, yeah. I think it's cool,” Witt said. “I think it's something more people will do, and you see the bats and jersey cards being used in games, so why not?”

Hoge said other athletes are regulars at PSA, including Trout, Josh Jung and Peyton Manning.he Has a wish list of athletes he would like to work with but would not say who they are. “There's a lot of appeal for athletes to create these things themselves,” Hogg said. “From 2018 to now, the status and growth of the collection has reached a whole new level, we've seen exponential growth and a new floor.”

Would Witt, a big collector of Patrick Mahomes, recommend this to athletes in other sports?

“I collected a lot of football and basketball stuff,” Witt said. [But] I don't know because they don't have pockets.

(Photos and card scans provided via PSA)

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