2010 Topps #409b Richie Ashburn SP
Yesterday, I realized that all five of the "Masterpieces" I've shown so far have come from Upper Deck-produced sets.
I guess that brings up an interesting question. Overall (and card design aside), which company has produced better photography over the years, Topps or Upper Deck?
I probably couldn't give you an answer right now. (But that's probably for another post...)
Let's change the Upper Deck trend by inducting the first Topps-produced card into the "Cardboard Masterpieces" gallery.
Richie Ashburn has always been one of my favorites. He's arguably the owner of the best "baseball name" in history.
I've had ties to this particular picture of his ever since I was a kid.
I was an avid MLB Showdown player in my pre-teen and early adolescent years. Ashburn had one of the best MLB Showdown cards ever produced, the leadoff hitter on my best NL team. (My dad had the AL players.)
As with my regular baseball cards, I still have tough time picking my favorite MLB Showdown card. The Ashburn has a strong case. It's one of those rare "foil" cards, and he's good. He was an MLB Showdown triples machine.
But what really made it stand out among all my others was the picture. MLB Showdown cards actually have some decent photography, but nothing comes close to the Ashburn.
MLB Showdown cards were gone after the 2005 edition. While I still played it fairly often, I started to shift my focus to regular baseball cards more after that. I was astounded that no company used the famous MLB Showdown shot of Ashburn for one of their cards.
Thankfully, Topps changed that in 2010.
After seeing that the shot finally made it onto a baseball card, I desperately went searching to someone who had one on the trading block. In one of the better trades I've ever made, I dealt the "Red Hot Rookie Redemption" I pulled from my box of Series 2 that year for the Ashburn.
I don't own near as many of Topps' "Legend" SPs as I'd like, but I'm sure glad I own the Ashburn. I don't know that there's ever been a better picture of a headfirst slide. I don't know what the deal is with that fence in the background. Where are the Phillies holding practice, on a farm?
Every time I see this card, I automatically think of MLB Showdown. While I don't know that many others in the blogosphere played it, the game was a big part of my younger years.
The "face" of those years was Richie Ashburn.