This countdown is simply flying by.
The fact that we're already into the deeper reaches of this countdown hasn't really hit me yet. After this write-up, I'll only have two more "Top 100" posts to go.
I guess the saying holds true, then.
Time really does fly when you're having fun.
Although I don't exactly need an excuse to show a Thurman Munson card around here, I figured now was a good time to feature one of my favorite pieces of his.
After all, we are into the "Top 15". And no player wore the number 15 better than Mr. Munson.
Well, I won't keep you waiting much longer.
With the backing of Thurman Munson, let's plunge right into the next five cards in my countdown.
#15 -- 1998 Topps #5 Vladimir Guerrero
I'm as surprised as you are.
Having a card from one of the most forgettable Topps designs in history make my countdown would've been a surprise in its own right.
Much less having one make it this deep into the "Top 100".
But, alas, it happened.
Yet, even though I might not enjoy '98 Topps all that much, I think this one was more than worthy of a spot in the "Top 15".
I'm starting to think I may have underrated it a bit, to tell you the truth.
Judging from the many nicks and scratches it contains, I've "loved" this one quite a bit over the years. Although I'll never know for certain, it may well have been my first card of Vlad.
While my personal ties to it may make it a "winner" in my book, I think the stellar photography should make it a "winner" for everyone else as well.
That beautiful sky almost looks like it was physically painted onto the card. Let's not ignore the forest-like trees looming in the distance, either.
But, more than anything, the up-close-and-personal "feel" of this one makes it a prized possession of mine. Given that I own over 600 cards of the guy, a lot of my Vlads have started to bleed together in my mind.
In a world of recycled poses and similar photos, this one has always stood out.
And always will.
#14 -- 1991 Topps #170 Carlton Fisk
Given the sheer variety of bloggers around here, I've been introduced to a lot of different cards over the last year or so.
Padres cards. Hideo Nomo cards. Cards of guys blowing bubbles.
Through it all, though, there seems to be one constant presence.
Carlton Fisk's 1991 Topps card.
I have seen this card on many, many blogs during my time in the blogosphere.
And understandably so.
One could probably write a book on the beauty of baseball. I'd bet some already have.
Yet, somehow, Topps managed to capture the entire sentiment in a single, solitary frame.
Here, Mr. Fisk is shown impatiently waiting for a throw from one of his teammates. At the same time, the portly Cecil Fielder barrels down the baseline, a Tiger teammate begging him to slide in the backdrop.
Words can only go so far, though.
What I just typed does not even begin to explain my appreciation and adoration for this particular piece of cardboard. No words could ever do so.
In the end, the card pretty much says it all.
As far as I'm concerned, it may well be the most action-filled piece in my collection.
#13 -- 1994 Conlon Collection #1000 Ty Cobb
I may have spoken too soon there.
This may well be the most action-filled baseball card in my collection.
Most baseball fans have probably seen this iconic photo on a number of occasions, so I don't think I need to plunge too deeply into it here.
Much like my earlier sentiments, entire books have been written about Ty Cobb's all-out style of play.
Yet this single frame manages to convey that all by itself.
Even better, the famous photograph was indeed taken by Charles Conlon, the man behind one of my favorite sets in cardboard history.
To that, all I can say is, well...
Thanks, Mr. Conlon.
#12 -- 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #1 Ted Williams OW
Earlier in the countdown, I hinted at the appearance of a "position player pitching" card in the "Top 20".
Although I received a few good guesses as to what it was, no one came up with the correct answer.
That's probably because this incredible card is one of the best-kept secrets in history.
Given how earth-shattering his hitting prowess was, I'm not sure that a lot of people even know of Ted Williams's lone appearance on the mound.
I sure didn't.
Until this card fell into my lap, that is.
Until this card fell into my lap, that is.
As the back of it notes, the historic moment took place during game one of a doubleheader against the Tigers on August 24, 1940.
At the time, the Red Sox were getting shellacked 11-1. "The Splendid Splinter" came in to pitch the final two innings of the game, allowing three hits and a run in the process.
There's a good piece of trivia for you.
Ted Williams finished his Hall of Fame career with a 4.50 ERA.
Amaze your friends with that one.
Given my fascination with the "odd" side of the hobby, it's easy to see why this one ranked so highly in my countdown.
I mean, it's Ted Williams on the mound, for goodness sake.
#11 -- 1989 Upper Deck #755 Jim Abbott RC
Okay, I'll give you a little "spoiler alert".
After all was said and done, this proved to be the highest-ranking rookie card in my countdown.
Therefore, it takes the title as my favorite rookie of the "modern era".
Given the amount of rookie cards that have been issued in the last thirty years or so, that's a fairly distinguished honor.
As far as that goes, Mr. Abbott is a more-than-appropriate face for the modern "king" of prospects, in my opinion.
Even though the sideways name and logo may be a bit unsightly in the grand scheme of things, I could honestly care less.
It's a night card. It's a rookie card. It's a multiple exposure card. It's a horizontal card. And, most of all, it's a Jim Abbott card.
And it's all rolled into one truly spectacular piece of cardboard.
What more do you need?