Every year each collector needs to be rewarded with at least one really fun and unexpected card. Here's mine for the year.
Card: 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Buyback 1909-1911 T206 Claude Rossman Piedmont Back
From: Hobby Box
When I opened my annual box of TU&H, I was getting down to the last few packs when this came tumbling out. It's always nice to get something you weren't even looking for. The wrapper lists the odds of getting a Baseball Card History Buyback as 1:1,384. Not the highest odds in this set, but probably the coolest thing you could pull. I'm always up for pulling a card that's almost a hundred years old.
This particular card has some very rounded corners, but the color is great and the back seems fairly clean and free of creases. I was able to cull some interesting information about Claude Rossman, who played for the Cleveland Naps, St. Louis Browns, and Detroit Tigers. While playing aside Ty Cobb, Rossman was involved in an interesting incident: "With the Tigers and Athletics in a pennant race in 1907, the Tigers and As played in a 14-inning game with the score tied 8-8. When Sam Crawford misplayed a fly ball in the 14th inning, the Tigers claimed that a Philadelphia policeman had interfered with Crawford. Cobb tried to provoke things further by telling Rossman that Monte Cross of the A's had called Rossman "a Jew bastard." Rossman punched Cross and was both ejected from the game and arrested by the Philadelphia police. As the situation escalated into a near-riot, plate umpire Silk Loughlin ruled that Crawford had been interfered with. Cobb later called this game his "most thrilling," and his anti-Semitic baiting of Rossman played a key role in the incident."
Rossman also caught a bit of the Chuck Knoblauch disease, albeit a slightly different strain. "Rossman had a peculiar emotional quirk where he sometimes froze and could not throw the ball when he became excited. Runners would lead off first to draw a throw from the pitcher, then run to second when Rossman froze. Rossman had excellent range as a first baseman. His career Range factor of 11.06 at first base was almost 2.00 full points above the average for first baseman of his era. But his propensity to freeze with the ball in his throwing hand is said to have greatly shortened his career. He was 28 when he played his last major league game." I believe he was at the end of his career when this Piedmont card was created. Awesome stuff all around.