1955 Bowman #216 Preacher Roe (Orioles)
The "zero-year" theme is back.
For this afternoon, anyways.
Those of you who have been with me since the earlier stages of this blog's history probably know what a "zero-year card" is by now. I've certainly written about them on a multitude of occasions.
But for the newer readers of this blog or just newer members of the blogosphere in general, I thought it'd be appropriate to give a little refresher course on what exactly a "zero-year card" entails.
Simply put, a card of the "zero-year" variety is one that pictures a player with a team that he (or she) never ended up playing for at the major league level.
Some, like Andre Ethier, involve one-time prospects who were dealt before their big-league debuts with the team that drafted them.
On the other end of the spectrum, many "zero-year cards" showcase a player at the tail end of their career, struggling to hold onto a steady job in the bigs. Think Mike Scioscia.
The concept itself is one that I've always found fascinating. As a result, I've sniffed out quite a few different "zero-year cards" for my collection over the years.
Still, up until about a month ago, there was one obvious question that I'd somehow never asked myself.
"Just what is the oldest 'zero-year card' out there?"
After thinking about it, I concluded that Robin Roberts's 1962 Topps issue, one that lists him as a New York Yankee, was indeed the oldest card of the sort in existence. (Sadly, I still don't own a copy of that one.)
Turns out, I was wrong about that one.
I can't recall exactly how or where it happened, but I recently became aware of Preacher Roe's 1955 Bowman card.
Despite the fact that Bowman pictures him in what appears to be a non-airbrushed Orioles jersey, Roe never played in a single came for the franchise.
After a variety of standout seasons with the Dodgers, the man they called "Preacher" was dealt to Baltimore before the 1955 campaign.
He would retire before ever suiting up for the O's.
That makes this one a "sunset" card as well. As if I needed more incentive to love it.
As a small "birthday gift to myself", I landed this copy for a little under four bucks shipped.
I'd say I got one heck of a steal there, wouldn't you?
Preacher Roe has always been one of my favorites. Plus, as I mentioned in a recent post, 1955 Bowman is easily one of my top five favorite sets of all-time.
And, of course, what makes this such a sacred piece of my collection is the fact that it's now the single oldest "zero-year card" I own. By a wide margin.
While I'm sure there are a couple obscure T206 or Goudey "zero-year" pieces floating around out there, they're irrelevant to me right now.
Out of sight, out of mind, as they say.
Until proven otherwise, Preacher Roe will hold my personal distinction of having the oldest "zero-year card" in existence.
Needless to say, I am truly honored to add this one to the "zero-year" club.
Perhaps more than that, Mr. Roe has quickly taken his place as one of the cornerstones of my collection.
Without a doubt.