Monday, December 3, 2012

"The Dime Boxes Top 100": Cards 70-61

I like to think I'm an unbiased collector.

I tell myself that I hold every era of the game in an equal light.

While that may be true in regard to my overall appreciation for baseball as a whole, I'm starting to believe that my collection is slightly shifted to the more "old-time" stuff.

Even though my "Top 100" certainly has its fair share of both the "then" and "now" in the world of cardboard, you may begin to see a slight tipping of the scales towards the "then" as the list rolls along.

I couldn't help it.

As an avid fan of baseball history, it's just my nature.

However, tonight's countdown begins on the "now" side of things.

#70 -- 2000 Fleer Tradition Update #U7 Brent Mayne SH

Surprisingly, Mr. Mayne was the only Colorado Rockie to make my list.

Before Wilson Valdez did so with the Phillies in 2011, Brent Mayne was the list position player to earn a victory in a big-league game, doing so in a 2000 contest against the Braves.

A former "impulse buy" of mine, this is one of just two cards I own of non-pitchers on the mound. The fact that this is a "night card" certainly earned it some additional points in my book.

Not surprisingly, the other "position player pitching" card made the countdown as well. It's a part of the top 20, in fact.

Until then, you'll just have to try and guess what it is.

#69 -- 2007 UD Masterpieces #19 Ozzie Smith

Even with all the dazzling plays he made during his career, Ozzie Smith may be best known for the famous backflips he used to do while taking the field.

Because of that, I think it's pretty obvious why this one made the countdown.

From what I've read, it seems like Masterpieces is one of the few universally accepted sets in existence. I have yet to hear a dissenting voice about it.

Cards like this one of "The Wizard" can probably attest to that.

You just can't argue with the greatness of Masterpieces.

#68 -- 1994 Origins of Baseball #59 1889 World Tour

I was seriously considering inducting a few more subjects from the "Origins of Baseball" set into my countdown.

In the end, though, this was the only one that made it. This particular issue chronicles the "world tour" of the Chicago White Stockings in 1889.

As you see above, Egypt was one of the stops along the way. The back of this card notes that the players "rode camels and played several games in the shadow of the pyramids" during their time there.

That's definitely one of the most epic sentences I've ever read off the back of a baseball card.

Apparently, the White Stockings players also found time to visit the famous Sphinx statue in Egypt as well.

This is another one of those cards that I may have underrated on my list. Perhaps it should've been a bit higher.

After all, how often do you see the Sphinx and baseball united on a piece of cardboard?

#67 -- 1994 Conlon Collection #1260 Fred Merkle

I vividly remember acquiring this card.

It came out of a 12/$1 bin at the local flea market.

I was all smiles after I added it to the day's group of "finds". No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't stop gushing over it. I kept pulling it out of my binders to get another look.

This card has been in my collection for about three years now.

Even so, the Merkle still elicits all those same emotions to this day.

I'm not sure what it is. Fred Merkle is definitely one of the most interesting players in baseball history, but it's not like this is the only card of his I own. A few others reside in my Giants binder.

Maybe it's those weird checkered uniforms the Dodgers used to wear. Maybe it's just the overall aura of an "old-timey" baseball shot.

Whatever it is, it was more than enough to net Mr. Merkle a spot in my countdown.

#66 -- 1993 Conlon Collection "Color Inserts" #19 Dizzy Dean

My slight bias towards the "old stuff" certainly shows with Conlon Collection.

Because of the gigantic size and overall awesomeness of the set, I probably could've created a "Top 100" list with just Conlons alone.

I'm especially a sucker for the jaw-dropping color inserts issued during the later years of its existence.

Between the amazing blue borders and the vivid green grass, the colors on these are second-to-none. Not to mention that this one features one of my all-time favorites with Dizzy Dean.

I'm not sure about you, but I don't think it gets much better than colorized baseball photography.

#65 -- 2007 Upper Deck #225 Gary Matthews Jr.

Let's dive right back into the "new stuff".

For the record, I don't think I've ever seen a better catch than the now-famous Gary Matthews Jr. grab. The timing, jumping, and sheer athleticism of it all is something I haven't seen since.

From the looks of it, Upper Deck thought so as well.

As far as "action shots" go, this is easily one of the best in cardboard history.

Without a doubt.

#64 -- 2004 Upper Deck #246 Adam Dunn

As I've mentioned before, this card marked a major turning point in my collecting ways. 

It inspired me to look past the names on the fronts of baseball cards. 

Sure, player collections are all fun and good, but sometimes the picture alone is worth it. 

At least as far as his time with the Reds goes, I don't collect Adam Dunn. However, after seeing it week after week in a flea market vendor's dime box, I decided enough was enough.

This was a card that absolutely needed to be in my collection.

About a year after the fact, I'm proud to say that I've come home with dozens of cards of guys I don't collect. Even if they don't necessarily fit within the parameters of my collection, I'm happy to buy every single interesting or simply "cool" shot I can find.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

If the Dunn is any indication, that's certainly true when it comes to baseball cards.

#63 -- 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #9 Reggie Jackson OW

There sure are a lot of Dodger fans in the blogosphere.

And I'm guessing that this one wouldn't even sniff any of their "favorites" lists.

Still, this is an iconic image from the annals of baseball history, one that is featured on a handful of cards in my collection.

There's a specific reason I chose this one, though.

It manages to capture the entire scene in one frame.

None of the other ones I own feature Charlie Hough or catcher Steve Yeager. From the looks of it, Mr. Hough knows exactly where that ball is headed.

Most of all, "Reggie" knows where it's headed.

And he's about to savor every moment of it.

My apologies, Dodger fans.

This one was just too cool to leave out of the countdown.

Hopefully, this next one will cheer you up.

#62 -- 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #72 Don Newcombe

My countdown doesn't lie.

As much as I've talked about them during my time as a blogger, this is indeed my favorite "pitcher at the plate" card. It's the highest-ranking one in my "Top 100".

You just don't see older photos of hurlers at the plate all that often. Putting Babe Ruth aside, this is the oldest "pitcher at the plate" shot in my collection.

Upper Deck's photo choice here wasn't an accident, either.

The back makes it a point to note Newcombe's .271 career average. He also hit 15 homers during his time in the bigs, including seven in 1955 alone.

All in all, it's safe to say that Upper Deck selected a true masterpiece with this one. 

#61 -- 1984 Donruss #41 Joe Carter RC

Tonight's countdown ends with the first "white whale" I ever speared.

As a kid, I was quite aware of Joe Carter's brief 23-game stint with the Cubs in '83. Even then, I was a huge fan of "unfamiliar uniform" cards, something that made Carter as a Cub a pressing need for my still-budding collection.

For a long time, I didn't think any existed. Up to that point, my searches had come up empty.

Then, at one fateful card show, I decided to take a peek through a little bin of discounted rookie cards. Before I knew it, I found the card I'd wanted for so long.

Joe Carter as a Chicago Cub! 

To my knowledge, it's the only one of the sort. Donruss was the only company to snap a shot of Carter in the Cubbie blue.

It's a good reminder of how little my collecting ways have changed over time. This card has probably been in my Cubs binder for a good seven or eight years now.

It still means just as much to me to this day.

If not more.

That's all I could really ask for out of a baseball card.

Isn't it?


hiflew said...

That's what I love about collecting cards. As a Rockies collector, I am not sure if that Mayne card would be on my top 20 Rockie cards. For you it is the #1 Rockies card. That is exactly what is great about this hobby and art of any kind in general.

Michael Chase said...

Great Selection...That "Origins of Baseball" is pretty stunning! I need to put that on a must have list. In fact I've never seen a card anything like it!

Dan said...

i've always wanted that cost as much as a griffey upper deck rookie at some point...

let's see...position player as a pitcher...i;m thinking canseco on the 1994 score card??

gcrl said...

i like that reggie card thanks to the fact that charlie hough is shown (and yeager too). had the dodgers not beaten the yankees in 1981, i probably would like the card less. but not by much.

if that newk is your oldest hitting pitcher card, get a 1973 topps jim kaat card asap.

Once a Cub said...

As a Cubs fan, your position player as pitcher card has to be a 1991 Score Doug Dascenzo!