Sunday, October 7, 2012
The Gems of Junk Wax, Pt. 46: 1992 Upper Deck #780 Turk Wendell RC
I lost count of how many different cards I've shown on this blog a long time ago.
It's probably in the thousands by now.
Some cards have gotten an entire post to themselves. Some have had to share the spotlight. And some have only warranted a passing mention.
Before today, this card belonged to the latter. It even had to share a scan with another piece of cardboard when I originally found it at the flea market a couple months ago.
That needed to be rectified.
If there was ever a card that deserved its own post, this is it.
It's hard to put into words just how exciting it was to "save" this card from a dime box. Even though Turk Wendell isn't currently a part of my binders, it's still one of my better discount box finds.
I'd long known about his quirky superstitions, but I never thought any of them would pop up on one of his cards. Surely card companies would rather use the generic follow-though pitching shot.
Luckily, Upper Deck chose to grant Wendell a little piece of cardboard history for his rookie card.
Aside from the odd generic blue hat and the free Coca-Cola ad, it's the only card I've seen that features a guy brushing his teeth.
I'd bet that it's the only one.
Between every inning he'd pitch, Wendell would chew four pieces of black licorice, spit them out, and brush his teeth in the dugout. (Leaf used a shot of him and his licorice habit on the back of one of his earlier issues.)
It's hard to believe that Upper Deck squeezed all that into Wendell's very first appearance on a piece of cardboard.
Does all that make this the greatest rookie card ever?
Possibly. It's certainly in the running.
That's for sure.