Thursday, January 20, 2022

A miraculous Zeenut

 The problem with collecting Zeenuts is that because they are so rare, any cards of Hall of Famers, movie stars, Jimmy Claxton, and Black Sox are crazy expensive. Forget about them, unless you get a great deal.

Well, I did get a great deal recently. It was a card of Buzz Arlett, who doesn't actually fit into any of those categories, but whose cards are in high demand because he is the minor league record holder for career home runs, with 432. 

He started out as pitcher with the Oakland Oaks in 1918. He was a good but not great pitcher: In 1920 he won 29 games with a 2.89 ERA, and for his career was 108-93 with a 3.39 ERA. But he hurt his arm in 1923. He'd been a decent hitting pitcher, .248 average and .385 SLG, but not great. He converted to being an outfielder, and suddenly became an incredible hitter. He hit .330 in 1924, .328/33/145 in 1925, .344/25/146 in 1926, .382/35/140 in 1927, etc. In 1929 he hit .374 with 39 homers and 189 RBIs in 200 games. But he was a very bad fielder (maybe because he started as a pitcher), and this kept him out of the major leagues. He had one year with the Phillies in 1931, and he hit .313 with 18 home runs (4th in the NL). But his bad glove reputation haunted him, and that was his only year in the majors. 

He went back to the minors, and hit .339 with 54 home runs for the International League Baltimore Orioles in 1932. In 1934, with the Minneapolis Millers, he hit .319 with 41 homers and 132 RBIs in 116 games.  For his minor league career he hit .341 with a .604 SLG. 

Now for the card.

I was on Net54 one night, and noticed there was an auction for a SGC 2.5 1924 Zeenut Buzz Arlett, ending in a few hours. I figured it would be out of my price range. 

Five minutes before the auction ends, I get on Net54 and remember about it. It was still at $51, just a dollar above the minimum bid. I waited feverishly until 30 seconds were left, then put in a bid for $55. Somehow, I won. I sat back in disbelief and awe. I now owned a Zeenut Buzz Arlett.

 25 minutes after it ended, another member put in a bid for $150.

I feel a little sorry for the seller -  he had it listed on eBay for $400. If it was just some random person on eBay, I feel like I would have gotten a message "Whoops, I don't know where it is. Sorry, I'll have to refund your order." And it would have been relisted so the guy who bid $150 could have a chance. But people on Net54 are honorable. The card was shipped quickly, and he was nice about it. 

Picture from the listing

It's in great condition for a Zeenut card, and I'm very happy to have it. 

Even better, my Grandpa paid for it as my Christmas present. 

There's a rather bizarre post-script to this. I don't really like graded cards, so I have a habit of trying to open graded cards with my hands, knowing that that's not how you actually do it. It never works, except this time it did. The case opened up, and I sat there dumbfounded. I'm not very strong, so it's not like "Wow, he's so strong he cracked open a graded card with his bare hands!"

The card, freed from its plastic prison

The empty case (sorry for the bad picture)

It's an early SGC case, #326555, so I guess the early ones weren't as sturdy.

Anyhow, thanks bengineno9, the seller, and thanks to my Grandpa for paying for it. And thank you for reading.


  1. Congratulations! Sounds like you got a steal. And kudos to the seller for honoring the sale.

  2. There's nothing more frustrating than having a seller back out, so it's good to hear the seller honored the deal.

  3. That is a real beauty. Looks even better out of the slab! Oh, I've tried opening more than a few graded cases with my hands, it never goes well.

    P.S. Is your grandpa looking for another grandson? If so, I'm available :)

  4. Did you ever get your hands on that 1971 Gaylord Perry?

    1. I guess this is in response to ?

      A weird coincidence because I was just reading that Saturday. No, I haven't found it, and I haven't found my 1971 Topps Carl Yastrzemski either. Or my Aroldis Chapman Triple Threads patch card numbered to 18. I suspect they might have been stolen by someone I knew at RCA then, but I'm not sure and feel slightly guilty for suspecting him. Oh well.