Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dime Box Heroes: Awe-inspiring

1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game #23 Bill Lee

There's different reasons why we like certain cards.

Perhaps a card is a new "hit" for your player or set collection. Perhaps there's an interesting backstory as to how it wound up in your hands. Perhaps you were at the game that's featured on a particular card.

Some cards, however, don't need any of that. Some are The few, special cards that are simply awe-insipring in themselves.

This is definitely one of those cards. 

I have Bill Lee's 1970 Topps rookie card. I also have his final Topps issue from '82, and a lot in between.

But I can say, without a doubt, that this is far and away my favorite card of his. 

This isn't the first time that a card from the '99 SI Greats set has shown up in these theme posts. "The Bird" has an equally fantastic base issue as well. It won't be the last time you'll see a card from this set, either.

I'm a little surprised that it took me over seven months of blogging to devote an entire post to this card. I briefly mentioned it in one of my older posts, but it deserved better.

Seriously, how could anyone not love this card?

The shot captures the "Spaceman" in all his glory. Lee must've thought so as well, because it also graces the cover of his autobiography, The Wrong Stuff. (A fantastic read, by the way.)

One of the vendors I came across at last year's National had a couple huge 12/$1 boxes. (Even cheaper than a dime!)

Those boxes rank up there among the greatest discount cards I've ever flipped through. What made them so great was the stack of these '99 SI cards I found.

I always knew how great the set was, but I could never find much from it for whatever reasons. I came up empty on numerous dime and quarter boxes. 

So you can imagine how surprised I was to find a giant stack of them in a seemingly innocent 12/$1 box. I was able to add a few dozen cards from this set to my collection thanks to the vendor that had no use for them. The likes of Ed Kranepool, Clete Boyer, and Johnny Podres came home with me for a mere eight cents each.

But the Fidrych and Lee cards were the unquestioned highlights of the box, if not the entire show that day. They actually made me exclaim "Wow!" right out loud in the middle of the show. I couldn't help it.

That's how I knew that this was one of those special cards.

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