He’s only been around for a few years but the new hero in Tiger nation, Jeremy Bonderman, already has hundreds of baseball cards featuring his likeness. No one had more of a rooting interest in his big win than David Stadler, king of Bonderman cardboard.
David Stadler was looking for a hero in a Tigers uniform. Any hero. These were lean years for Detroit’s favorite ball team. 100 loss-like lean.
And then this Davison, Michigan fan picked up a pack of new 2003 Bazooka cards and found a guy who looked promising. He was just a kid. But he looked like hope. A collection was born.
"As the 2003 season unfolded I began to hear more and more about
this 19 year-old phenom who skipped AA and AAA ball and went
straight to the majors," Stadler said. "The more I heard and the more I saw of Jeremy, the more I admired him. I decided I’d start a little card
collection of him."
A little turned into a lot.
"I started shopping on eBay for other cards. This task proved to be
quite the battle. It seems I wasn’t the only one with this idea. Bonderman
rookie cards were selling quite high, I remember paying well over
$150 for some of his more rare cards. Early in the 2003 I was keeping
my mailman quite busy with deliveries from eBay. My goal was to try
and get one of every rookie card produced. With so many people online
battling for these Bonderman rookies I knew that would be nearly
By the end of the 2003 baseball card production, Stadler had managed to get pretty close to his goal, needing only twelve cards out of the total
143 cards produced that year.
What started out to be a "little collection" soon became a monster.
"I have been collecting baseball cards on and off for 30 years and prior to
starting this Bonderman collection I would frequently buy cards of about
50 different players. However, in the past three years Bonderman cards
have been basically the only cards I’ve bought."
"I decided in 2005 that I was going to continue and attempt to build the
most complete Jeremy Bonderman collection out there. I have devoted a
lot of my spare time and money into this project. As of today I have amassed 775 different cards which includes 90 true 1 of 1’s, 145 game-used memorabilia cards, 115 certified autographs, and 30 actual printing press plates. I am now only 5 cards away from having all of his rookie cards. I search the internet on a daily basis, I check card shops and show, and I comb the trading sites."
With today’s countless insert cards, there are still some elusive Bonderman cards out there. Stadler says the 2003 Leaf Certified Materials Mirror Black and Mirror Back Autograph, both 1/1’s, are on the top of his list.
" I would expect to spend upwards of $300 for the pair. At this point the only cards missing from my collection are other 1/1’s," he said.
Stadler shows off his collection on a website devoted to his favorite player http://www.freewebs.com/bonderman/.
After watching Bonderman shut down the Yankees and clinch a spot in the ALCS last weekend, Stadler is that much more convinced he made the right choice of which player to follow. "It’s been a very long and bumpy road for us Tiger fans but behind the arms of pitchers like Jeremy the Tigers have a bright future."