Simply Baseball Notebook: Collector's Corner

Collecting Dave Justice

"COLLECTOR'S CORNER": December 2003 - January 2004

Enough "Justice" For All


With a collection of over 2,000 Dave Justice cards, Stu Thomas is often mistaken for a passionate fan of the former Braves slugger.  But, despite the size of his collection, the veteran hobbyist has never been a devoted follower.
"I've never been a big Justice fan....There's nothing wrong with rooting for the player you collect.  Many single player collectors do. But it just hasn't happened that way for me," he says.
The impetus for the Oakville, Ontario native's collection was his son's interest in the all-star outfielder.  And while his son has since stopped collecting, Thomas still regularly scours the Internet and card shows for additional items.
"The lure of an activity like this is partly the excitement of the hunt and partly the sense of satisfaction I get when I finally find an item I've been looking for," he explains.
Through determination and persistence, the longtime collector has tracked down some of Justice's rarest cards.
"In the beginning, the focus was on getting every single Justice card," he says. "For the last seven years, my focus has been on masterpieces (one-of-a-kind cards)....as well as errors such as wrong backs."
Thomas's Web site has also garnered him a reputation as a premier collector.  His online shrine showcases his collection and is updated three or four times a week.
"It's a useful site for single player collectors.  Sometimes they will see a rare Justice card, which will alert them to the existence of a similar card of the player they collect," he says.
The Justice enthusiast more or less restricts his collection to cards, but he has obtained some oddball items over the years.
"I do have some off-the-wall stuff, like a Justice watch and a set of wooden Russian nesting dolls where Justice is the player on the outside," he says.
One item that has eluded Thomas is a 1996 Pinnacle Aficionado First Pitch Previews card.
"Most of these cards (Preview cards) were obtained through Pinnacle's Web site by answering a trivia question," he says.  "First Pitch Previews for some players are in plentiful supply, while for others - like Justice - it seems as though there were very few made."
It's quests like these, however, that make collecting worthwhile, says Thomas. And he plans to continue to search for rare cards of the retired slugger.
"My goal is to track down more masterpieces and serial-numbered cards and try to complete the 1998 Topps Tek Diffractor 90-card set," he says.
His commitment is admirable for someone who is not a Justice fan and has never attempted to contact the object of his collection.
"Many years ago, I watched my son chat with him briefly and get an autograph.  I'm sure it would be interesting if I ever ran into him, but I've never considered trying to get in touch," he says.
-Kevin Glew

Kevin Glew is a freelance writer based in London, Ontario - he can be reached @  kevin.glew@sympatico.ca

Thomas' Web Page

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