Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Gems of Junk Wax, Pt. 50: 1990 Swell Baseball Greats #11 Robin Roberts

With this post, my blog has hit yet another milestone.

I'm proud to announce that my "Gems of Junk Wax" theme has hit the half-century mark. Mr. Robin Roberts is the 50th different "gem" I've showcased.

The theme started just four days into this blog's history. With the semi-retirement of my "zero-year cards", this theme is my longest still-running series of posts.

It's hard to believe I've come this far.

For the "milestone" post, I figured I'd show one of my all-time favorite cards from the overproduction era, which is exactly what we have with the Roberts.

It's easy to get lost in all the uber-high end and parallel-ridden "legend" sets that have been issued in recent years. I absolutely love releases like Greats of the Game and Legendary Cuts, but I happen to think that the peak for "legends" came during the so-called "junk wax" era.

Vastly underrated sets like Pacific Legends and Swell Baseball Greats gave the fan everything they needed to know about the game's history.

Of course, legendary stars like Ruth and Gehrig were central parts of the checklist.

But what really made them so special was the inclusion of some lesser known players, ones that aren't as well-known to the everyday fan. I can't help but enjoy any checklist that features the Tommie Agees and Sal Bandos of the game. (Not to mention the inclusion of arguably the best "zero-year" card in existence.)

Some of my regular readers may have some idea as to why this particular Robin Roberts card is so special to me.

It's one of the prime pieces of my "unfamiliar uniform" collection.

Not to mention that, in this case, the "unfamiliar" jersey is of my beloved Cubs.

Casual baseball fans probably know the name Robin Roberts. He's a Hall of Famer, after all.

Most probably remember him as a Philadelphia Phillie. Perhaps some know about his tenure with the Orioles. Vintage collectors might recognize him due to his short-term stint as an Astro. His final Topps card pictured him in a Houston jersey. (Also one of my biggest current wants, incidentally.)

However, I'd doubt many fans remember that he was once a Chicago Cub.

He'd come to the Windy City after being released by the Astros midway through the '66 season. His stats as a Cub aren't all that impressive. In 11 games, he posted a 2-3 record and a 6.14 ERA.

Regardless of the stats, his tenure in Chicago will always be important, given that it's where he finished his career. However short it was, the words "Chicago, N.L." will forever be found on his Hall of Fame plaque.

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only card of Roberts in a Cubs uniform. A true "one-card wonder".

Beckett would tell you that it's only "worth" 25 cents. Yet I paid a full three times the "book value" at a local card shop.

Of course, I don't care what Beckett thinks.

Seventy-five cents was a small price to pay for such a terrific and historic piece of cardboard.

There we go.

Gem #50 is in the books.

I can't wait to see what other "gems" are out there, waiting to be discovered. We'll have to celebrate again when I hit a hundred.

Until then, I hope you've enjoyed scavenging the "junk wax" treasures with me on this blog.

It's been a pleasure.

1 comment:

Cory said...

I love this set.

It has touches of '72 Topps on the top and '82 Fleer on the border.

It's just....Swell.