The biggest news I remember hearing about 2012 was the addition of Ken Griffey Jr. to the Topps mix. The guy who has been synonymous with Upper Deck since 1989, and he’s going to autograph Topps cards in 2012. That was bigger than Koufax, Aaron, or Mays. Not because his auto was worth more, but because it represented a changing of the guard in a way. If you couldn’t move on from Topps getting an exclusive license 2 years ago – well this was a way to bolt the nail in the coffin for you.
But I truly mean that in a good way. I’m biased, but I believe that Griffey has one of the 5 most significant baseball cards of all-time. Actually, I think his ’89 UD is third, behind the 52 Mantle and the T-206 Wagner. I actually don’t know who would be 4th – it might actually be a non-baseball card if I wanted to expand.
So regardless, when Griffey’s signing with Topps – and this card – was announced in December of last year, I thought it was huge news. And the picture above is the auto you’d get with a Griffey redemption. And it is a true beauty. A shot of Junior following through on his signature swing, maybe seeing one of his 630 homers. Junior had an earlier card than this one – it was in Topps Tribute. And his Archives auto was a pretty cool remake of his 1989 Topps Rookie Card. But for me, this is the card that said “Griffey is back in the baseball card game”.
I have been trying to get this card all year. But the price was too high. Well, I finally met myself in the middle. I saw one come up on eBay, offered up more than I would have been previously willing to pay, but less than it had been going for earlier in the year.
I’d put that over some other cards. Here’s some of the other cards I’d consider.
- Second place for me has to go to this card. I know it’s from an unlicensed set, and I know we can’t trust relics any more – but it’s a bat card from Shoeless Joe for crying out loud!
- Bryce Harper Archives card #241. Maybe one of the most hated cards ever – but also one of the hottest selling cards I’ve ever seen
- Topps #261 – Kyle Blanks. A card of a no-name player that makes you want to watch “The Natural” like no other card can do.
- Topps #58 – Tim Hudson (the vote for best card from MadduxGlavineSmoltz). Not a no-name player, but it isn’t usual that you see a pitcher trotting off a homer with the dugout shown waving it out. This would be a great card if it was a slugger; the fact that it’s for Hudson adds to the cool factor.
- Goodwin Masterpieces Cap Anson. Another Goodwin Champions insert – I loved the Masterpieces set which featured artist hand-painted renditions of the original Goodwin Champions cards from 1888. Though #’d out of 10 and pretty pricey, I decided to try to collect the 5 boxers from this set. The baseball players were just too pricey (and there are 8 of them). But if there was one card I’d love to have out of this set, it’s the best player from the 19th century and the first guy in history to reach 3,000 career hits.