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Joe Intro and Welcome

Updated: Jun 25

Hey y’all. Welcome into the Hobby Chatz column. I’m Joe Chatz and I promise not to start any column like this again.

I should probably introduce myself, Joe Chatz the sports memorabilia enthusiast (my mom would say expert). I’m a Chicago guy through and through and I’m based in the city as a sports reporter.

I grew up a big Bears, White Sox and Bulls fan who dabbled in the Cubs because I love baseball. I’ve also become a massive soccer fan who is too scared to begin collecting anything other than US National Team players and anything related to my beloved Millwall Football Club.

If it’s a weird collectible in the sports sphere, I’m here for it. And that’s what this column will be: a weird mash of what I find interesting in the hobby world that month. So buckle up and keep your hands & feet inside the ride at all times.

Baseball Is Back, Baby!

Baseball is the best. At least it is when the pace is decent and the ball is put in play.

As a collector, I love baseball season because that’s when the market is most vulnerable to sudden changes. A player-of-the-week award can skyrocket an afterthought into someone who forces us to scramble through boxes to find their rookie cards (Ty France, cough-cough) while Tommy John surgery can turn your “dark-horse” Cy Young candidate into a long-term hold as he recovers.

Either way, I’m thrilled baseball is here and I hope we see some history in 2023.

Predictions ahead of 2023 baseball season (I wrote this on March 29):

-Adley Rutschman is going to start slow and long-term investors shouldn’t panic. As a catcher it’s important that he takes his time in developing the entirety of his game and that may lead to a slow start and possible demotion in early 2023.

-Mike Trout will have a “bounceback” year in the hobby. Yes, Shohei Ohtani is now the biggest star in baseball. But having some of the pressure off of Trout should allow the future Hall of Famer to thrive again at the all-world level we are accustomed to seeing him at.

-Andrés Giménez is going to be an All Star this year. He’s no Lindor, but the Cleveland middle infielder has all the tools to take the next step in 2023.

-World Series Prediction: Toronto over San Diego in 6 games.

To hold or to sell? Nico Hoerner, what do we do with you? The Cubs just signed Hoerner to a three-year extension that goes through the 2026 season. Hoerner turns 26 in May and with just 261 hits in his MLB career, I think anyone who holds Hoerner cards should sell them when a decent offer comes around.

Purchase for the future:

I recently acquired Jadon Sancho 2018 Panini Donruss Rookie PSA 10 for less than $20. I think I made a great purchase because Sancho is likely to be playing on the biggest stages in men’s soccer for at least the next 10 years when he plays for England.

Speaking of purchases for the future that I’ve previously made: can I interest you in a Jordan Yamamoto autograph or a Keith Shore Project 2020 Ken Griffey Jr.?

Product I think I like: Anything ‘Topps Finest’

You always get two autographs and the cards are clean. There isn’t much more that you can ask from a product that is produced in mass quantities.

Product I’m not a fan of: Anything ‘Topps 1st Edition’

Enough with the ‘1st Editions’. I thought the only reason they were successful in the first place was because the hobby needed products during the early portion of the pandemic in 2020. Now it seems like every Topps baseball product is going to have a ‘1st Edition’ going forward and it’s too much. They’re beginning to do the same with soccer products around the globe and I worry non-autographed cards that are anything but incredibly short prints are going to decrease in value because of an over-saturation in the market.

Random Memorabilia Item of the Month

Program from Wrexham-Millwall on January 3,1976.

As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy the weird and I love Millwall. I also love “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and immediately became enthralled with Wrexham AFC when Rob McElhenney bought a stake of the club in September 2020. I found this program a few years back from when the two sides played to a 1-1 draw in front of 2,779 people at the Racecourse Ground and it brings me a remarkable amount of joy.

Every column I am going to bring on someone who I find interesting to talk about the hobby.

Naturally, my first guest is the person I’ve had the most fun working with in sports: Andrew Murphy. Andrew (I call him Murph but we’re friends, so don’t get any ideas) is the PxP Broadcaster for the Winston-Salem Dash, the Chicago White Sox High-A affiliate.

How did you get into collecting?

My uncle had a box of 1971 Topps and there were a few cards from other years just kind of sprinkled in, but most of them were 1971. And I remember he had like ten Hank Aaron’s, five Roberto Clemente’s, I found a Willie Mays in there, a Brooks Robinson. And I literally just asked him ‘Uncle Dave are you doing anything with these’ and he said ‘no you can have them if you want’ and that’s all I needed. So I took them home and organized them by team. And that was the first collectible where I knew I had to be careful with them.

Best ridiculous collectible you own:

Back when I was in fifth grade I was a big fan of ‘Kiss.’ And I combined Christmas and a birthday to ask for the Epiphone Les Paul Tommy Thayer Signature model. And it’s 1 out of 1000 and it was reasonably priced, well under $1000!

Best Pull:

2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Clayton Kershaw Rookie Card, and I had no idea it was anything at the time. And a few years ago I was looking through a binder and that card was just staring me right in the face!

Best Stadium in America (non-employer edition):

Fenway Park because I can’t allow my St. Louis bias to get in the way.

Follow Andrew on twitter here and email him at if you are interested in tickets for the 2023 Winston-Salem Dash season.

Made it all the way here? Have any questions? Feedback? I’d love to have a mailbag portion of this column. Email them to me at with the subject ‘Hobby Chatz’.

‘Til next time.

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