Shane Mack in ’93 Finest

Shane Mack may be one of the most underrated players in Minnesota baseball history. By the time this card was produced he was putting up the same kinds of numbers as better known names like Puckett and Hrbek. Steady production of 3.5 wins above replacement is the kind of contribution that made the Twins teams of that era competitive. Take a look at Mack’s performance with the Twins compared to his Minnesota peers during his time (1990-1994) with the team:


Shane Mack’s Rookie Card: 1985 Topps #398 US Olympic Team Subset

It’s not a surprise that Mack did well in the majors. He hit two home runs in five games as a member of the 1984 US Olympic team (teammate Mark McGwire didn’t hit any). He was the 11th overall draft pick in the ’84 MLB draft, one spot behind McGwire and ahead of fellow big leaguers like Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.

Where Have All the Shane Mack Cards Gone?

What happened to all the Shane Mack Refractors? That is the question posed by a well-known collector of 1993 Finest Refractors way back in 2005. At the time, he had amassed 15 examples of the card but had not seen any offered for sale in quite a while. This would prove to be quite a dry spell in his collecting efforts, as the last published copy of his refractor database shows the collection topping out with 16 copies of the card.

The collector maintained a database of refractor transactions from 2005 through early 2017, capturing information on a total of 91 Shane Mack sales or an average of 7.75 per year. I have acquired a copy of this Excel file and appended its information with several years of my own observations and expanded the sources of transaction data. The additional information has so far shown Shane Mack refractors to be changing hands about 4.5x annually.

The collector who started this record-keeping work emphasized that this card is not rare. I wouldn’t read too much into my own transaction data given the limited timeframe that it represents. The clustering effect of random data could easily bring my records in line with earlier data if just a handful change hands at once. Transaction prices have not approached the level observed for the set’s least seen cards. It seems most collectors already have all the Shane Macks they need or are content to wait for the next one to show up.