1994 Upper Deck Baseball: The American Epic #32 Ray Chapman
If you're a fan of the history of baseball, then you've probably seen the famous Ken Burns documentary on the National Pastime, or at least parts of it.
If you haven't, then I definitely recommend going out and renting it. (If people actually rent movies anymore.)
The fact that a baseball card set was released to promote the series sometimes goes under the radar, although Ted from "Crinkly Wrappers" featured it in one of his past posts.
The set was one of the first great baseball card-related gifts I ever received. I got it for my birthday one year, way before I'd ever watched the "American Epic" series.
It's absolutely filled with great bits and pieces from the long and fascinating history of the national pastime, which is perfect of a baseball nut like myself. My personal favorite from the set is the above Ray Chapman card.
For one thing, it's one of only two Chapman cards I own, the other coming from the 2010 Obak set. It saddens me every time I think of the horrible fate the one-time Indians shortstop suffered.
Chapman remains the only player to ever pass away from the result of a beaning, which was suffered on August 16, 1920, the result of an errant pitch from Red Sox pitcher Carl Mays.
From all accounts, Chapman was one of the more popular players in the game at the time. I think the above card does a perfect job of capturing that fact. Chapman (at center) is surrounded by his teammates, all sharing a smile with the popular Cleveland shortstop.
Like the documentary, I'd recommend picking up the set if you don't own it already.
If the Chapman is any indication, it's well worth it.