My Best Binder Page #4 – 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr.

27 01 2016

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr

I’m into the top 4 from my “best binder page”.  The next 4 cards all have some particular meaning to my collection.

To me, there is a top 3 of iconic cards in the history of the hobby.  The T206 Honus Wagner.  The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle.  1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr.

Only one of those 3 is attainable for the average Joe.  And I have that card.  Actually, I have 2, but this is one I pulled from a pack about 20 years ago.  At the time, even this card didn’t seem attainable because it was selling for just under 100 bucks a pop.

In late 1988, through connections with a couple of California Angel players, Upper Deck was able to wrestle a 5th card license from Major League Baseball.  Their card/hologram connection was supposed to lessen the risk of counterfeiting which had become more common as the value of iconic cards like the Mantle or Wagner rose.

They were charging a whopping 99 cents per pack, which was 2.5x a Topps pack.  Their packs were “tamper-proof”.  They printed their cards on paper stock that seemed cleaner than cardboard.  They put color pictures on the back, and in general took a more fun approach to pictures on baseball cards.  They had a fresh card design.

And they picked a young rising star, Ken Griffey Jr., as the #1 card in their inaugural set.

In 1993 and 1994, I was going to at least 1 card show a month with my mom, probably more like every other week.  In addition to collecting cards from that year, I would usually buy one of two packs of cards when we left a show.  The first was 1993 SP, which I talked about with card #9.  It was probably going for 5 bucks at the time.  The other was 1989 Upper Deck, which probably cost the same, maybe a bit cheaper if you got the high numbered packs.  In one of those 89 UD packs, I pulled the holy grail, and I’ve held onto it ever since.  If I had pulled a second, I would have sold it, but I never did as a kid.  Years later, I bought a box and got one – that’s what’s sitting in my almost-complete set.  This card sits separately as its own piece to my collection.

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