Now I didn't pull it, but I did snap a photo of my trusty '89 UD Griffey rookie alongside this soon-to-be monster eBay sale (just imagine the seller fees!). It's certainly among the best possible pulls from a highly lauded brand, maybe even one of the best pulls from any 2014 product.
The card is great and everything, but how does it stack up against the mass-produced-but-legendary crown jewel of the overproduction era? As an extremely biased Griffey collector, I feel qualified to make that call.
I've decided to pit these cards against each other in a one-on-one, cardo-y-cardo battle to decide which is really the better card. It's a battle 25 years in the making. The competition is based on ten categories and an eleventh in case a tiebreaker is needed (gosh, do you think it'll go that far?). Here we go:
Category 1: Rookie Logo
The little home plate RC has been making the rounds on Topps and Bowman product for a few years now. Is it really better than the only-used-for-one-set star and banner from '89 Upper Deck? No. Just no.
Griffey 1, Abreu 0
Category 2: Photo
Griffey 2, Abreu 0
Category 3: Rarity
While there are plenty Abreu cards around that look exactly like this (but with different effects and most with no autograph), there is really only one of this particular card in the whole world. There are thousands of the Griffey. Abreu makes it onto the board.
Griffey 2, Abreu 1
Category 4: Value
Griffey 2, Abreu 2
Category 5: Uniqueness
Back in '89 the Griffey would have done a lot better in this category - it was strikingly unique back then. The 1/1 auto of baseball's biggest prospect from a twice-retired but universally revered brand - that's a spicy meatball of unique, IMHO.
Griffey 2, Abreu 3
Category 6: Print Quality
Again, back in '89 the Griffey would be a king in this category. But it's not 1989. Printing technology has come along way, giving the Abreu a very unfair advantage here.
Griffey 2, Abreu 4
Category 7: Importance
This is a measure of the card's importance in the area of the sport and the hobby as a whole. The Abreu doesn't really stand a chance here what with the Griffey being such a boon to the industry when it came out and even in subsequent years. Then again that print quality category was kind of a gimme, too. I feel no guilt whatsoever.
Griffey 3, Abreu 4
Category 8: Pedigree
This is a measure of the perceived authenticity of the card. '89 Upper Deck's pedigree back in '89 was excellent what with their tamper-evident foil packs and holograms on every card. On the other hand, that Abreu came out of the pack with a small amount of damage, and the LCS owner upon reporting the pull and the damage to Topps was told they would be sending out a replacement card. A perfect copy of a card sent directly by the manufacturer to the lucky recipient? It doesn't get much more authentic than that.
Griffey 3, Abreu 5
Category 9: Character
Griffey 4, Abreu 5
Category 10: Cool Factor
This one is heavily debatable. On one hand we have a card that's cool because of it's high print quality, neat foil effects, and the inclusion of an autograph, not to mention that it's a 1/1 of one of the biggest prospects of the last few years. That's pretty darn cool.
On the other hand, we have a card recognizable to millions featuring one of the biggest prospects of all time that has already panned out into a first-ballot hall-of-famer. Abreu's future is uncertain at this point, but Griffey's legacy is secured. And check out those gold chains in the photo. Gangsta.
Tough call, but here's my line of thinking:
Now, which is cooler, really?
Still not sure? Let's try a few more:
I think I've made my point. I'm giving this one to the Griffey.
Griffey 5, Abreu 5
So here we go to the tie-breaker! Who saw this coming???
Tie-Breaker Category: Desirability
The Abreu is an amazing card. So, do you want it? I must admit that I do...so I can sell it. I see dollar signs, and if it were mine it would already be on the 'Bay. I might even pay for enhanced visibility and promote the sale on the blog and everything to squeeze ever possible dime out of that card. Then, I would use that money to buy Griffeys.
How about the Griffey? You want it? I want it. So do lots of people, many of whom don't even collect cards. It's an icon.
Another toughie. Tell you what: what if we took monetary value out of the equation. You're walking down the street and someone comes up to you and says, "Hey, you want one of these?" Which would you choose then?
I think the answer depends on you. Are you a Chisox fan? A rookie prospector? A card flipper? Well, you probably want that Abreu.
Are you anybody else? You probably want the Griffey.