Monday, February 26, 2018
Top 30 Griffey Acquisitions of 2017 Part 1: #21-30
Hi! Miss me? I missed you! But regardless of how far-removed from card blogging I get, I will always, ALWAYS make my Top 30 post because I am still always getting new Griffeys.
This year was weird. It was the first year I didn’t try to build any sets; instead I focused pretty exclusively on Griffeys. At the same time I’ve also reigned in my spending on cardboard for two reasons: first, I’m a super-responsible Dad now (LOLZ), and second I already have most of the Holy Grails/White Whales I want.
Don’t get me wrong - there are a handful of spendy cards I would drop reasonably shiny dimes on given the chance, but for the most part I am pretty satisfied with the state of my Griffey collection (though I do still chase the cool new cards that come out). For now I’m mostly after cards of some significance in the hobby.
All this has added up to one bizarre Top 30 list. I’m still extremely proud of my Griffey acquisitions this year, but it’s a very non-standard list as these lists tend to go. There are a couple of spots where you’ll probably think I’ve lost my damn mind (and one spot in particular where you’ll be 100% right).
30. 2000 Stadium Club Beam Team #BT9 #/500
Not terribly expensive but relatively tough to come by, this is an amazing example of an over-the-top, techy-for-the-sake-of-techy Stadium Club insert. It would have been right at home among the out-the-box inserts of the mid-to-late-90’s, but it came out fairly late for such wackiness. Check out the helix of holofoil along the left border and internal die-cutting. Just plain naughty.
29. 2017 Topps Chrome MLB Award Winners #MAW-9
Again, this one is not expensive by any stretch, but I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the best-designed cards of last year. When I first came across it online, in the split second between when I first laid eyes on it and when I saw how much one would cost me, I was fully expecting a minimum $50 price tag. It just looks like it cost a fortune, and it keeps me (somewhat begrudgingly) coming back to the new product.
28. 1994 Upper Deck All-Star 125th Anniversary Jumbo Gold
There was a time when I genuinely doubted this card’s very existence (this has been the case for several of the remaining cards from the 1996 Beckett Tribute checklist). I was flabbergasted when one popped up on my saved searches and chomping at the bit right up until that auction’s end. In the end I got it for a very reasonable price because NOBODY ELSE ON THE PLANET IS LOOKING FOR THIS OBSCURE FRIGGIN CARD.
27. The Rest of the Collector’s Choice Gold Signatures
This is also the year I completed the checklist of Collector’s Choice Gold Signatures. Yes, ALL OF THEM. Gold sigs may as well have been unicorns when I was ripping packs at 15 (I only ever saw a handful in person), so this feat in itself is a kind of childhood dream come true. That 1996 base card was a real bugger, and I had all but given up on that Up Close and Personal subset.
26. 2009 Upper Deck A Piece of History 600 HR #600-KG
Upper Deck made history in the late 90’s when they released the first cards of their legendary A Piece of History 500 Home Run Club relic insert. Then in 2009 they tried to recapture that old Upper Deck magic with a similar multi-year/multi-product insert with slightly higher minimum credentials to make the checklist. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to save Upper Deck’s place in the baseball card market. The design is a bit unspectacular – far from the timeless sepia of its predecessor which seems a little bass-ackwards to me. You would think having to hit another 100 dingers to get a spot in the checklist would call for a fancier card. Ho-hum.
The most interesting thing about this insert is that this Griffey is the only card in it that got made. You are looking at the first and last A Piece of History 600 HR insert card. More were meant to be produced, obviously, but Upper Deck would never get the chance as only a year later they were out of the baseball card business completely. Given the popularity (and resulting prices) of the original 500 Club insert combined with the fact that Junior was the only player represented in this checklist, I’m surprised this card isn’t more (in)famous in Griffey-collecting circles. A weird little piece of cardboard history from the end times of Upper Deck baseball.
25. 2017 Donruss Whammy #W-2
Man, these things were hotter than Tamagotchis when they hit the streets. As soon as I laid eyes on one I (and just about everyone else with the Griffey itch, I suspect) knew right away that I just had to have one. Prices for this thing shot up well over $30 per card and have never regressed. It’s just so damn cool, and design-wise that comic book caricature angle plays perfectly even without logos. I have no doubt that this is the most universally-loved Griffey card Panini has ever produced.
24. 1996 SP Holoview Special F/X #10 Die-Cut Red
Regardless of what happens with me in other areas of card collecting, my love of 90’s inserts is forever. For a few years this die-cut beauty has eluded me with solid gray whale price-points. Then in late December, someone slapped one up on COMC for a third of what they usually go for, and I pounced. These are quite famous as the die-cutting on each card is accurate to the shape of the outfield wall of each player’s heritage stadium, meaning this card is the exact shape of the Kingdome. Pardon my French but that’s fudging amazing. Fun fact: there are no fewer than three Red Sox in the checklist and any one of their cards will show you just how weird Fenway really is.
23. 1996 Ultra HR King #6 Gold Medallion and Exchange Card
The Gold Medallions of 1996 Ultra are NOTORIOUSLY scarce, and in addition to being one of my favorite wood-grain cards of all time, this is also one of the scarcest GM’s. I was able to acquire the exchange card too which is cool. Of course rumor has it those exchange cards also had their own Gold Medallion parallels, which would put me still one card away from completing the 1996 Ultra Gold Medallions. Grrrr….
22. 2000 Pacific Aurora #133 Pinstripes Premiere Date #/52
OK LOOK – I’m usually the first guy to call out crappy parallels of which this is certainly one. A significant design difference such as fun die-cutting or crazy foil would be one thing, but this is just a stamp, and an ugly one. But this card has a few saving graces. First, it's Pacific, and if you don't love Pacific I don't want to know you. Second, the Reds version of this card is also Griffey’s FIRST EVER (like, literally) Reds card, thus making this his last Mariners card. And at an ultra-low run of only 52 cards I considered it irresistible.
21. 1998 Pinnacle Mint #7 Gold and Silver Coins
I’m a sucker for card/coin crossovers, but these examples from Pinnacle have been grey whales for a few years now. No more! A fellow Griffey collector was having a fire sale via a Griffey-collecting Facebook group, and I couldn’t pass the gold coin up. After that the silver was just a few easily-justified clicks away. It’s amazing how much easier it is to overpay for a card just to complete a set. Anyway, at long last they’re all mine! Mwah-ha-ha.
Thanks for reading! Tune in for #11-20...someday...