Friday, August 10, 2012

Cardboard Masterpieces, Pt. 17

2012 Topps #291 David Freese HL

I've seen a lot during my years of watching baseball.

Luis Gonzalez's game-winning hit in Game 7 of the '01 World Series. Alex Gonzalez booting a double play ball in the 2003 NLDS. (Although most even-keeled baseball fans already know this, Steve Bartman is not to blame for the Cubs losing that game.)

The Red Sox coming back from a three-games-to-none deficit to win the 2004 ALCS. The White Sox winning their first World Series since 1917 the following year. 

Roy Halladay's NLDS no-hitter. Evan Longoria's walk-off homer in "Game 162" last year against the Yankees.

The list goes on and on.

It's hard to pick a single favorite moment out of everything I've witnessed.

But if I had to, I think the honor goes to David Freese's walk-off homer in Game 6 of last year's World Series.

What made the homer so electrifying were the events that led up to it. Freese's two-run triple with two outs (and two strikes) in the ninth. Lance Berkman's game-tying single in the 10th, with the Cardinals down to their last strike again.

Then came the homer that ended it all.

It took the world by storm, and instantly made David Freese a household name. Some of my friends who don't even like baseball were talking about it the next day. I'll bet that a lot of them tuned in to watch Game 7 that night.

I've never been more proud to be a baseball fan.

Because of everything I've just mentioned, I find it puzzling that I didn't "induct" Freese into my binders until last month, along with other members of a new "class" of collections.

Usually, I just sit back and let dime boxes do their work when it comes to obtaining cards of new binder inductees. Thanks to a few awesome discount bins, I've already found a lot of new cards of the "new guys", like Matt Cain and Mike/Giancarlo Stanton.

I cheated when it came to this Freese card, though.

A perfect storm of a little extra cash in my pocket, my birthday, and a couple generous parents enabled me to buy more 2012 Topps Series 1 than just about any other set in recent memory.

From what I can remember, I bought two blasters, a rack pack, and a hanger box within the first week of its release. Then, my mom got me a hobby box for my birthday a few weeks later. (There were probably a few loose packs thrown into those purchases that I'm forgetting.)

Even with all that pack-ripping goodness, I didn't pull any copies of "highlight" card #291, David Freese. Not one.

I certainly knew about it, though. It was in the back of my mind, should I ever decide to start a collection of Mr. Freese.

Flash forward to last month.

Now that I had a David Freese collection, I knew this card had to be a part of it. So I checked "sportlots", and nabbed this copy for about sixty cents (with shipping).

With a card like this, can you blame me for "cheating"?

David Freese has already had a huge impact on my baseball life. This card will always remind me of that fact. Forty years from now, I'll be able to look at this card and instantly remember the heroics of David Freese on that fateful night.

I get goosebumps every time I look at it.

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