Today's lesson, the futility of being a complete team collector.
Here we have Travis Chapman. Although Travis spent some 6 years in the minors (mostly for the Phillies) he appeared in exactly one game. On September 9, 2003, he had his one and only at bat and flied out. A major league baseball career can't get much shorter than that. But even with that short of a career, and no actual games played in 2004, there were 5 Travis Chapman baseball cards issued in 2004.
Imagine you are a phanatic Phillies collector and want to own all of their cards. Is it possible to actually find all of Travis Chapman's 2004 cards? One thing that might make the task easier is that the other 4 cards are variations on this Donruss Team Heroes card. But that probably makes it harder as well since the variations are all short-prints. There is the autographed version, the bronze version, numbered to 150, the silver version, numbered to 50, and the gold version, numbered to 10. As it turns out, the autographed version is up for bid on eBay right now. So I've got a shot at that.
But the others? There are about 20 bronze Team Heroes cards currently on eBay, about 10 silvers and 7 golds. This was a pretty obscure set and I suspect the short-print versions are always going to be hard to find. Sure, I'd like to own all the Phillies cards ever produced, but Travis Chapman makes me aware of the utter futility of that quest.