2005 Topps #626 Roberto Alomar (Devil Rays)
Zero-year cards don't sneak up on me too often.
Usually, I know which of the guys I collect have had zero-year issues. The ones I do have are treasured pieces in my collection, while the ones I don't are near the top of my "most wanted" list. (Three zero-year cards currently reside in my "Dime Box Nine" list.)
In rare cases, I'll have a zero-year card without even knowing it. This Roberto Alomar is one of those exceptionally few.
I've always had a soft spot for 2005 Topps. It was the last baseball set I can remember being really excited about before my year-long plunge into hockey cards.
As a result, I probably bought more packs of '05 Topps than any other set in my lifetime.
I am almost positive that this Robbie Alomar came from one of those at some point.
The majority of my zero-year cards come from either a player's early years or one of their later years. (Rookies and final cards make up most of my zero-year collection.)
This is one of the latter. To my knowledge, this is the only card that features the Hall of Famer as a (then) Devil Ray.
I had always assumed that Alomar played a few big-league games for Tampa near the end of his career. To my surprise, I found out that I was mistaken. I had a zero-year card under my nose this whole time, and I didn't even know it.
After splitting his 2004 season between the Diamondbacks and the White Sox, Alomar signed with the Devil Rays for the '05 season.
At some point, he must've decided he just couldn't cut it anymore, because he retired from the game in mid-March of that year.
It's hard to say what my single favorite card is for most players. I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what my favorite Rod Carew card is. Or my favorite Morgan Ensberg card.
Although I know I'm in the minority among most collectors, my favorite Alomar card has to be his very last one. The "zero-year" one.
It's an easy choice for me.