Early this year, I stumbled across the two items that had been on my wantlist longer than any others. They were from an obscure set from 1991 called Starshots Badges. These are not cards, they are a pinback button that is displayed in a plastic case with player statistics. They were featured in Sports Collector's Digest back in 1991 and two out the three Cubs in the set had been on my active wantlist ever since.
The three Cubs in the set are Ryne Sandberg , Andre Dawson, and Shawon Dunston.
There are 55 total players in the set and the really big stars seem like they are fairly easy to come by. Sandberg is among the easy ones and I have had his badge since the early 90s. But the lesser knowns and even some of the stars hardly ever pop up. I had at times questioned the existence of the Dunston and the Dawson after such a long search. I had literally had the Starshots search on my daily search list on eBay for over 9 years and hadn't seen one of either player. But I had occasionally seen other commons and kept it on my list just in case.
In the end, it wasn't the Starshots search that yielded the big find. It was a random search of 'button lot' that was more targeted towards a 1986 Baseball Star Buttons Bob Dernier that I hit the jackpot with. But once I found the listing, there was at least a little more adventure to come. The listing was for a lot of 35 different buttons, and it was very vague and had a pretty poor photo. It didn't list the players in the lot, just said there were 35 different ones including Nolan Ryan. But the photo was enough to tell me I had stumbled onto something big as it showed a portion of one of the badges along these lines;
Obviously, this had to be either Dunston or Dawson. So I e-mailed the seller to ask if I could have a list of players in the lot to find out which one was included and with some hope that both might be included. The response I got back was not very encouraging as he declined to provide a list due to it being too much work (???) and basically reiterated the little information there was in the auction listing. So I e-mailed him back and asked specifically if either Dawson or Dunston were included in the lot. He responded that he wasn't sure who they were, he didn't know much about baseball (or how to read names, apparently?), but that they were all different. At this point I was getting a bad feeling about my big find as things always seem to go wrong when you deal with an idiot.
Since I wasn't going to get any more information from the seller, I had to decide whether to make the purchase just based on a sliver of a photo and the knowledge that I had an idiot on the other end of the deal. It was $30 shipped, which I would have easily paid for a single badge if I knew the deal would go smoothly. I decided to take the chance anyway and was thrilled when the package arrived and looked to be in good shape. Then I just had the suspense of opening it up. Dawson was actually the first one I pulled out of the package! So I had 34 more to go in hopes of getting the Dunston. I got another Sandberg about 10 in. And the with about 8 left to go, I got the Dunston as well. Sweet!!!! My two oldest wants were no more!
P.S. - The other players I got in the lot of 35 were as follows; Ryne Sandberg, Eric Davis, Sandy Alomar Jr., Dave Parker, Eddie Murray, Alan Trammell, Wade Boggs, George Brett, Don Mattingly, Nolan Ryan, Ruben Sierra, Cecil Fielder, Jim Abbott, Doug Drabek, Dave Justice, Lenny Dykstra, Dwight Gooden, Tony Gwynn, Bill Ripken, Glenn Davis, Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Orel Hershiser, Eddie Murray (dupe), Chris Sabo, Bret Saberhagen, Delino DeShields, Ron Gant, Carlton Fisk, Rickey Henderson, Wally Joyner, Wally Joyner, Dave Stieb, and Barry Larkin.