Laughing, Ryan handed me three sheets of paper. It was the Wikipedia entry for Roger Freed, who logged 828 plate appearances across eight seasons and, among the Strat-O-Matic cognoscenti, is celebrated for having one of the most valuable cards ever: in 1977, used primarily as a pinch-hitter, Freed hit .398 in 83 at-bats for St. Louis with an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.090.
"If you were drafting guys to play in a tournament against people who knew their stuff, that's the No. 1 pick," Ryan said. "Guys who are just starting, they'll take the stars. So would I, and then in the later rounds, I'd take Roger Freed, and they'd all be like, 'Huh?' "