Card Stories | JP France Rookie Debut Patch

A Big Pull in Aberdeen, South Dakota

Date: Feb 17, 2024
Topics: Card Stories, Collector Stories, How To Collect, Rookie Debut Patch
Length: 983 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

For Ty Fox, pulling a Rookie Debut Patch Auto was all thanks to procrastination. As the calendar rolled over to January, Fox decided it was finally time to get his girlfriend an espresso machine for Christmas. The plan was simple: roll over to Target, grab an espresso machine for his girlfriend, and head home. Little did he know that a quick stop on the card aisle would lead to the most significant pull in his life as a collector.

As Fox grabbed a 2023 Topps Chrome Update Series blaster box and checked out, there was no indication that this box would be different from the two previous ones he had bought since starting his new baseball card collection. “This was probably the third box of Topps Chrome [Update Series] I bought,” Fox said, “I just started collecting new baseball cards again.”

When Fox returned to his truck, he ripped the pack in the parking lot, joking with his girlfriend that he had “always heard ripping in your vehicle was good luck.” Fox opened his Topps Chrome Update Series blaster box and pulled Houston Astros JP France’s Rookie Debut Patch auto card. Fox started yelling and celebrating. He then explained the card’s significance to his girlfriend, and they both started celebrating. “I’m pretty sure the whole Target parking lot could hear me,” Fox laughed.

It turns out that ripping packs in the parking lot of Target in Aberdeen, South Dakota, is lucky.

The next thing Fox did was kickstart the redemption process. Once Fox was home, he hopped on topps.com and submitted the Rookie Debut Patch redemption code. A few hours later, he received a call from Topps detailing the shipping and grading options. Two and half weeks later, Fox had his JP France Rookie Debut Patch auto card slabbed, graded, and in his hand. “It was the smoothest process I could ever imagine,” Fox said.

The Meaning Behind the Patch

Fox described the experience of pulling the JP France Rookie Debut Patch card with one word, “Unbelievable.” As Fox sees it, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime pull, especially from a blaster box.” But it’s not just the rarity and value of the card that Fox cares about; he cares about everything that the Rookie Debut Patch card symbolizes. “The patch on this card was literally on someone’s sleeve while they made history. They will never have a debut again, so this card is a piece of history. These Debut Patch players will go on to play in other games, win awards and championships, and maybe even earn a spot in Cooperstown, but they will only ever have one debut,” Fox said.

Considering everything, Fox said, “Having this card in my hand, it’s just unbelievable.”

Rediscovering Collecting

Pulling the JP French Rookie Debut Patch auto card was an incredible, unforgettable moment. But even more important for Fox, it reconnected a family tradition and spurred a new passion for The Hobby. “I never really collected much, even as a kid,” Fox related. However, his father and grandfather helped lay the foundation for Fox to catch the collecting bug. Growing up in the late 1980s and 1990s, Fox’s grandfather would gift him complete sets of Topps Baseball every year. Presciently, Fox’s dad told him to take care of his cards so he could enjoy them when he was older.

Several decades later, Fox was visiting his parents, and his mom told him he needed to do something with all his cards because she was going to clean out his closet. “I took the cards home and started going through them and was finding all these cool cards,” Fox said, “I found a Randy Johnson rookie card and a Bo Jackson rookie card.” From this first thrill of rediscovery, Fox decided he would start collecting. He began researching the modern Hobby, buying boxes, and growing his collection. Fox smiles, “Ever since then, my collection has grown; I’ve had one card graded by PSA and one by SGC.”

The biggest and best addition to Ty Fox’s PC

Chasing the Rainbow

Following the serendipitous rediscovery of his childhood collection, Fox was already hooked on the modern Hobby. “I would say I was hooked before [his big pull], but getting the JP France card made me realize that you never know when or where you’re going to find a big card,” Fox said. Ignore all the internet and social media chatter that says all the big cards are only in high-end boxes, hobby products, or pulled by breakers; you can pull amazing cards in a blaster box purchased at the only Target for one hundred miles in northeast South Dakota.

In addition to knowing the times for retail restocks at Target and Walmart—nine AM on Wednesdays—Fox is chasing JP France’s rainbow autos. “We’re diehard Dodgers fans in my house. So getting an Astros player was something else,” Fox said. However, Fox checked out France’s bio and discovered they share many of the same passions, most significantly a love of the outdoors and family.

“JP France has a lifelong fan, now,” Fox shared. And it all started with reconnecting with The Hobby and a huge hit.

The Couple that Collects Together

In the wake of the excitement of pulling the JP France Rookie Debut Patch auto card, Fox’s girlfriend has also started to get into The Hobby. They will rip packs from boxes he picks up, and she’s developing her own collecting passions. Together, they’ve made a routine of cruising card aisles for the latest offerings, Fox gravitating toward baseball and his girlfriend grabbing soccer cards, her sport of choice. On a recent outing, she grabbed a box of Topps Chrome UEFA. Of course, they started ripping as soon as they got back to the car.


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