This card is from 1962, which is pretty old. But it’s not all that old. I have 30-40 cards in my collection older than this one.
It’s plenty beat up. The corners are rounded. It isn’t perfect on the face – you can see there’s a scratch on Whitey’s cap. It’s cut OK, but not great. Heck, it’s even been defaced with some writing :). There aren’t any creases, so I guess the card has that going for it.
On the flip side, it’s from 1962. That’s my favorite set. Which is a bit of the chicken or the egg thing. I think the reason I love the 1962 Topps set, and by extension the 1987 set, in large part comes back to this card.
It’s condition gives it character. It’s rounded corners make it feel like it meant something to somebody before I found it. It probably got moved around a bit, which is why it has a few small scratches. It’s cut pretty well for a card that old. And the way Ford signed it across his arm is perfect for the design of the card!
The reason this card is #1 in my collection isn’t because of the value. I did some quick eBay research, and I’d be shocked if I could 50 bucks for this card. I love this card because of the history behind it. I am a bit hazy on the specific details, but I know that its history with me began in the late 1980’s. I found the card at an antique show with my mom. She used to go “antiquing” on the weekends and my brother and I would tag along because sometimes we could find baseball cards. And I found this card on one of those trips.
At some point not so shortly thereafter, my dad took us to an autograph show where some baseball immortals were signing. Eddie Mathews and Whitey Ford were the 2 autographs we picked up on. Two guys from my dad’s childhood. He told me the story over the holidays – he got a nickname Whitey when he was a kid because his hair was so light. So he kind of liked Ford even though he despised the Yankees. This card is from the year after the Yanks swept his (and now my) favorite team, the Reds, in the World Series. So it’s quite possibly taken from that same season. Anyway, we got Mathews to autograph a baseball. I still have that. And we got Whitey to autograph this card.
This was my prize possession for a long time, but as time went by I found “cooler” cards like 1993 Upper Deck SP. And then I didn’t collect cards for a while. Long story short, I couldn’t find the damn thing for the longest time. When this idea came up from Junior Junkie’s blog, I knew I couldn’t adequately put together a true top 9 if I didn’t know where this card was. So when I went home for the holidays, I made it my mission to find the card.
That’s not easy to do. If you’ve seen my parents’ 3rd floor, you’d understand. That used to be my room in high school, but after the kids went to college, it became the “old hoarded stuff” room. Among other things, the baseball cards that me, my brother, my mom, and even my little sister used to collect from 1993 to 1995. And I can see now that we were ridiculous. There’s more 1993 Leaf cards in that attic than there should be in any 10-mile radius. And they’re not expertly organized. I spent two pretty late nights trying to sift through those cards, and couldn’t find the card. Just stuff I already knew was there. At 2 AM on Saturday night / Sunday morning, I gave up. I was dejected that I couldn’t find it and now I was depressed that I was going to have to drive back to Chicago with 2 young children in tow on far less sleep than I’d like. Just before I was gonna go downstairs, I thought to look in the attic part of the 3rd floor. There shouldn’t be any baseball cards in there, but it didn’t hurt to try. What’s the difference of another half-hour when you’re already gonna get less than 5 hours of sleep?
Good move on my part. There were 2 shoe boxes of cards, containing stuff from the late 80’s when I first started collecting. From the time period when this card was obtained. It didn’t take me long. I found it, buried behind cards that were far less worthy. But it was in a screw down case, which showed the prominence it was given at the time.
And now it’s back and truly in my collection! I was so glad I found the card. This card was one of my first card collection memories, and is also one of my first memories associated with baseball. I got the card with my mom. I got it signed with my dad. They were both happy the next morning when I found it, so that all makes it pretty cool. And the #1 card in my collection.