2006 Upper Deck #109 Frank Thomas
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Crazy as it might seem, I've added yet another theme to my many mini-collections.
As of right now, I'm heading up a new project to find as many cards featuring awards as possible. Stealing from an insert series in 2009 OPC, I think I'm going to unofficially dub it as my "Award Show" collection.
As I've mentioned before, I'm not the first blogger to have this idea.
So, whether it be Gold Gloves, Silver Slugger awards, or MVP trophies, I'm on a quest to track down as many hardware-themed cards as possible.
Still, I think the greatest "Award Show" cards of all have to be ones that feature the coveted Commissioner's Trophy, the one given to each year's World Series champs.
I vividly remember the day the hometown White Sox broke their long championship drought in '05. Given his long and hallowed South Side career, I think I was happiest to see Frank Thomas finally get to lift the Commissioner's Trophy.
"The Big Hurt" certainly deserved it.
Kudos to Upper Deck for preserving the moment on cardboard.
Of course, managers can get in on the fun as well.
Often times, they're the first ones to actually hoist the hallowed trophy.
Due to the fact that I was first introduced to the game in the mid-to-late '90s, I tend to think of Mike Scioscia's successful Angels managerial career over his tenure as a Dodger backstop in the '80s and '90s.
His 2002 World Series victory forever cemented that train of thought in my mind.
Needless to say, the Commissioner's Trophy is one powerful piece of hardware.
Grown men have been reduced to tears in its presence.
The Yankees have been fortunate enough to hoist the trophy more often than any other, doing so on 27 different occasions.
Their last victory was featured on this beautiful 2010 Heritage piece, complete with "The Captain" doing the heavy lifting and Nick Swisher partaking in a very Swisher-esque fist pump in the foreground.
And, although I can't be sure, that may well be current Intentional Talk host Chris Rose with the microphone. Given that I watch the show on almost a daily basis, I find that to be pretty neat.
For better or worse, my dad's Yankees fandom hasn't been passed down to me. It's not that I hate them or anything, though. I've just never had more than a passing interest in the franchise. (Save for Ichiro, of course.)
Still, as hard as it might be to admit, I can't help but be jealous of their repeated success sometimes.
To my knowledge, this is the most recent trophy-themed card to hit the market.
The Rangers-Cardinals matchup in the 2011 World Series proved to be one of the better championship contests of my lifetime thus far.
Although he's not pictured on this card, David Freese forever cemented a place in my memory with his heroics during the postseason, especially in the memorable Game 6 contest of the championship series.
To commemorate the Cardinals' victory, Topps featured the pairing of Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman hoisting the Commissioner's Trophy.
Only now am I noticing the giant replica of the exact same piece of hardware in the background, something that instantly makes me like this piece about a hundred times more.
As a Cubs fan, I've had to live vicariously through the successes of other teams throughout my lifetime. Like it or not, that'll probably continue for at least a decade down the road.
One day, though, I hope to see a Cub featured on one of these types of cards.
As an avid follower of the hobby and the game of baseball as a whole, it's one of my dreams.
I can't wait to see it come true.