Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Playing favorites

Amongst our heaps of baseball cards, I'm sure all of us have those select few that can be officially classified under the term "favorite".

It's not a term to throw around lightly. I "like" thousands of cards in my collection, but my "favorites" are reserved for select pieces of cardboard that you couldn't imagine your collection without.

Some favorites are attributed to the player on the front of the card. Or perhaps the photography is what makes the card so great.

Personally, most of my favorites are cards that have been in my collection for a long time. The story behind them. Cards that take me back to another point in time in my collecting life.

That's exactly what we have with this Dave Concepcion card.

I've had it for what seems like forever. I'm not sure exactly how, when, or where I first acquired it, but it's stood out in my collection ever since. It was my first great rookie card, something I took a lot of pride in when I was younger.

Its less-than-perfect condition makes it even more enjoyable for me, knowing that it was well-loved by its previous owner. The big "4" written on the front of the card is still a mystery to me. But it's a mystery that I'm not sure I ever want to solve, as that's part of what makes it so great.

My loyalty to this card was recently put to the test.

Last summer, I was digging through a dime box at a card show. To my amazement, I unearthed a nearly flawless copy of the very same 1971 Topps Dave Concepcion rookie card that I had loved for so long.

I was torn. On the one hand, this was such a great dime box find that it was almost scary. I'm not a stickler for condition, but finding a '71 Topps card in great shape is a rare feat in the collecting world, much less finding one of one of the better-known players of the 1970's. And a rookie card, no less.

But on the other hand, I'd had my copy of the Concepcion rookie for as long as I could remember. I couldn't fathom ever replacing it.

In the end, I decided to leave the better-condition Concepcion rookie behind. It was tempting, but I didn't buy it. It just wouldn't have seemed right. Maybe I'm crazy, but I like to think I'm not the only one who would have done the same.

After all, you can't upgrade a childhood memory.


Potch said...

Nice post.

Wow, I have to admit, I would have bought it. Of course, I only purchased my rookie Concepcion last summer - for a heap more than a dime. So that's easier for me to say.

It's fast become one of those rare cards that is a favorite, despite the fact I've not owned it for 30 years.

night owl said...

I completed the 1975 set with cards that were relatively pristine, even though '75 was the first year I collected as a kid and all my '75s were beat to hell. I still have all those original '75s. My complete set and those cards from when I was a kid are each in their own binders, so I can enjoy them depending on my mood.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I would've picked up the tip-top Concepcion. '71s in perfect shape are cool and there's nothing saying you can't have both.

Napkin Doon said...

You know that you could have kept your original card too, right?

AdamE said...

Are you to young to have ever seen a Twix commercial??

Nick said...

Yes, everyone, I understand I could have had both.

Looking back, perhaps I should have bought the other one, if for no other reason than '71s in good shape are tough to find. For set collectors, I can definitely understand wanting to "upgrade", but I'm not a set collector.

For a collector like me, owning doubles of a card doesn't really have any significance. When looking through my binders, I felt I'd rather see the the card I've had for years and years rather than a card I bought last year that doesn't hold a ton of significance to me.

Sorry if my point might have got a little muddled in tonight's post.