Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday fun: my baseball relics PC

I hope everyone enjoyed this fine sports weekend--my Wolverines moved to 4-0 on the heels of their non-conference schedule, plus the Lions stormed back from a 20-0 deficit to beat the Vikings (much to Kevin's chagrin) and stay undefeated themselves.

But much to the relief of many of you, I'm sure, today's post focuses once again on baseball, specifically, my baseball relics personal collection.  I've already featured a good portion of it thanks to my various looks at my favorite Maddux and Ripken cards in my PC, so I won't repeat myself and will just feature ones you haven't seen yet.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with relic cards.  Back when they began to become prevalent in the late '90s/early 2000s, I was as high on them as anyone else because autographs weren't nearly as common as they are now, were too expensive for someone like me, or both.  Now that you can't open more than three packs without pulling something relic-like, the novelty has certainly worn off.  

That's not to say there aren't some great ones out there, but the card companies' trend towards "event-worn" pieces and love affair with single color (yet amazingly often labeled "prime") swatches has jaded me quite a bit, especially since they've often used these items to jack up prices to obscene levels.

My usual old-man-sounding-rant-by-not-an-old-guy aside, I do have a few in the ol' PC I enjoy for various reasons, so today I wanted to highlight those for your amusement/derision!

Alex Rodriguez 2001 Upper Deck All-Star Heroes bat:  I don't have any reason to like A-Rod at all anymore, but back when he was with the Mariners and not a total douche, I was excited to grab this bat card from one of my favorite relic sets ever.  I have the Ripken as well, and you'll see one of Alex's teammates below.  This is just a cool concept that features a nice design, a reasonably large chunk of bat (which is much better than a jersey in my opinion) and my favorite aspect--numbering to the year of the All-Star game the card depicts.  This card is just a winner all around, unlike A-Roid.

Barry Bonds 2001 SP Game Bat Edition Piece of the Game bat:  Ok, maybe having these sorted alphabetically by first name wasn't the best idea as we have another asshole/cheater here.  Still, this was kind of a cool set from around the time products featuring a relic per pack where popping up.  Love him or hate him, he had a great career even before the steroids and was heading to the Hall as one of this generations best speed/power combos.  I'm not sure how the voters will see him now, but I'm inclined to keep a relic of him all the same.

Barry Zito 2003 Sweet Spot manupatch:  This is a good example to show that my earlier collecting focus was relics, which is why more of that part of my PC is older, while I've come to appreciate autographs more recently.  It's also fun to look at a manupatch from about eight years ago given Topps' sudden focus on churning these out.  I still fall on the side of the fence that likes them in general, though (as always, when they're done correctly, of course).  You'll see a couple more like this in today's post, but this one came into my collection at a time when Zito was a part of the vaunted A's trio along with Hudson and Mulder.

Carl Yastrzemski 2002 Topps Archives bat:  After those first three it's nice to switch over to a legend and Hall-of-Famer.  Topps Archives produced some cool relics like this one, which features Yaz's 1968 Topps issue.  It's a simple design that pairs a reprint and a relic and it really works out well, as you can see here.

Carl Yastrzemski 2009 Topps 1971 All-Star Game Commemorative manupatch:  Combining two aspects you've already seen while just five cards in, here we have a Yaz manupatch.  This one commemorates the 1971 Tiger Stadium All-Star game, often hailed as one of the greatest ever, and for good reason due to the unfathomable number of future-HOFers, Roberto Clemente's final All-Star game (in which he homered) and Reggie Jackson's tape-measure shot that hit the light standards on the roof.
Anyway, it's nice to have to great Yaz hits in my PC, especially this patch celebrating a historic game.

Chipper Jones 2001 SPx Winning Materials jersey-bat:  I lived through the 1990s, therefore I got to enjoy many an exciting moment featuring Chipper, whom I hope retires as a Brave as expected.  You'll see a bunch from this set in this post as I liked multiple-relic/multiple-player cards for a while and these really delivered on that promise.  I am disappointed that they started shrinking the size of the pieces in relation to the previous year's issue (which you'll see later), but I at least sort of liked the design they used.

Curt Schilling-Randy Johnson-Roger Clemens 2001 SPx Winning Materials triple jersey:  I've complained about enough players for a bit, so let's focus on the two winners on this card, a pair who beat RoidRage McPerjury in that year's Series, despite the best efforts of Mr. Kim.  That was a particularly memorable ending to a World Series in the same year I also got to celebrate Tom Brady's out-of-nowhere Super Bowl title, my freshman year of college.  That's as good a reason as any for holding onto this triple relic.  Bonus points for the tiny pinstripe on Schilling's jersey.

Duke Snider 2003 Sweet Spot Classic manupatch:  Continuing the manupatch goodness, here's one I picked up of the Duke a while back.  This is just an outstanding looking Brooklyn "B" on a gray background that actually makes sense (unlike Topps' questionable designs).  I don't have a true relic of Snider and my not pursue one, but this is a great item of his to have in my PC anyway. 

Gaylord Perry 2002 Topps Archives jersey:  I've never had any reason to be a big fan of Perry, a very good pitcher from before my time, but I like this card anyway.  You might also remember I have an in-person sig of Perry on an N.L. ball, something I posted about here.  This card reprints Perry's '73 Topps issue, by the way. 

Helton-Alomar-A-Rod-Chipper 2002 Fleer Box Score All-Star Lineup quad jersey:  One of the more creative relic concepts Fleer produced, this was a pretty nice combo of four great players of the era.  Bonus points for the stitching on Chipper's jersey, and double points for four different colors here.

Jackie Robinson 2010 Topps 1952 All-Star Game Commemorative manupatch:  I pulled this from a blaster and immediately decided to keep it so I'd have something nice of Jake Roosevelt Robinson in my collection.  Jackie went 1-3 with an RBI in that game, which was the first to be shortened by rain (as opposed to Bud Selig's incompetence).

Jeff Bagwell-Frank Thomas-Carlos Delgado 2001 SPx Winning Materials triple jersey:  Here's yet another example of this set, in this case one featuring two of the best 1Bs of the last 25 years, plus one decent one.  I like the color of Bagwell's jersey swatch, and even better I get a pinstripe for Thomas, one of the few White Sox I actually like.

John Smoltz 2001 Leaf Certified Fabric of the Game jersey:  Lint FTW!  Smoltz was one of the game's better pitchers as I was growing up, and this card goes well with another you'll see shortly.  Just like the UD All-Star relics seen here, I like the home plate-shaped swatch. 

Johnny Bench 2002 Donruss Rooke Year Materials bat:  Here's another one I actually pulled myself, to my amazement at the time. To answer your question, no it's not a seat piece, which would make it a Bench bench.  This is one of Donruss' entries that show you the item from which the piece was taken, in this case a very old-looking bat, which makes sense since it was from his rookie year, and not some random "event."  This guy's #d 032/250, making it one of my better pulls.

Ken Griffey Jr. 2001 Upper Deck All-Star Heroes bat:  This one actually came from a Target blaster, way back before people searched those too.  I was thrilled because of the combination of one of my favorite players and a set I really like.  This gives me a nice trifecta along with his '89 UD RC and this auto.  

Kirk Gibson 2002 Topps Gold Label MLB Awards Ceremony 1988 MVP bat:  This card has a lot of great things going for it:  it's Gibby (even if it's post-Tigers Gibby), it commemorates his awesome '88 Season, it's goooooooooold, and it incorporates a cool design feature, showing his 1988 Topps card in the background.  Because Gibson will forever be a Tiger (and would have been in actuality without 1980s collusion), I placed this in my Detroit PC

Lee-Ramirez-Pujols-Duncan 2008 UD Ballpark Collection Quad Swatch Memorabilia quad jersey:  Here's a good example of why multiplayer cards often don't work--when's the last time you heard Duncan's name?  The other three are great players, though, and this is actually a cool pairing of one of baseball's biggest rivalries.  Bonus points for a relic of El Hombre. 

Manny Ramirez 2000 SPx Winning Materials jersey-bat:  Here's that 2000 SPx design I much prefer to subsequent versions since the swatches are so large.  Manny's had his ups and downs, and Manny's been Manny, but man when Manny's good, he's good. 

Mark Buehrle 2000 Black Diamond jersey RC:  Though I haven't had this since 2000, I did have it a while before his perfect game, so I can at least brag about that.  Another of the few White Sox I actually like (sorry, Jeff), I hope Buehrle pitches as long as he has it in him and continues to be successful. 

Mark Mulder 2001 Private Stock patch:  2001 Private Stock was one of the first relic-per-pack cards, but a lot of those cards ended up being junk.  Not so with the patch cards, though, including this great example.  You won't see very many Spartans here besides Mulder and Gibby (and hopefully that'll be it) as they tend to be as rare as Yankees, but this is the first patch I ever owned and I'm still glad I kept it, despite Mulder's abbreviated career.  Just look at it!

Nolan Ryan 2002 Topps Archives Reserve jersey:  Not only is this a great relic of a true legend of the game, it's from Topps Archives Reserve, the Refractorized version of the regular set.  These cards looked awesome and in many ways actually merited the steep price.  This one features Ryan on his 1974 Topps issue. 

Ozzie Smith 2004 Topps Pack Wars jersey:  I'll admit I tried a couple packs of the relic-per-pack Pack Wars set, then I never touched them again because they didn't really give you anything all that great.  I did luck out with this HOF jersey of the Wizard, though, even if it's a fairly boring card.  Ozzie was just amazing to watch at his position, something at least some still appreciate in a sport where offensive is much preferred. 

Ryne Sandberg 2001 SP Authentic Cooperstown Calling jersey:  MOAR HOFers!  This is a nice pinstriped relic of Ryno, a player I had to have in my PC eventually considering his great career with the lovable loser Cubs.  Nice design and bonus points for the stripe. 

Tom Glavine 2001 Leaf Certified Fabric of the Game Career jersey:  Glavine joins his partner in wins in my PC with this nice entry, numbered 133/208, which in this case isn't arbitrary, but instead corresponds to his career wins at the time. Glavine, of course, made it to 305 before hanging them up. 

Tony Gwynn 2001 SP Game Bat Milestone Edition Bound for the Hall bat:  Truly one of my favorite players, this is one of the earlier relics I picked up of such a star player.  The overall design never thrilled me much but I was still happy to have another nice Gwynn for my PC.  Gwynn was a no-brainer for the Hall, of course, and I enjoyed his (long-winded but interesting) induction speech several years later. 

Vernon Wells-Roy Halladay 2002 Playoff Prestige Connections dual jersey:  Almost 10 years later it's no surprise that neither guy is still with the Jays.  2002 was actually Roy's breakout year, especially since he hadn't shown much previously besides embarrassing a bad Tigers team a couple years prior.  Meanwhile, the Jays dumped Wells' contract to L.A., but not before getting a few pretty nice seasons out of him.  This is numbered 377/400, by the way.  

Vladimir Guerrero 2000 SPx Winning Materials jersey-bat:  Until he got older, Vlad was a force, and easily the best hitter on some bad Expos teams.  He's still fun to watch at times, and as I mentioned, I like this set's design.  Any chance he sticks around to work on a chase for 500 HR?

Walter Johnson 2004 Sweet Spot Classic 1925 World Series manupatch:  We go out with a bang, finishing with a manupatch of one of the best pitchers ever.  Johnson's Senators lost to the Pirates in seven that year, but still had a legendary career.  Johnson had some of the nicest pitching mechanics ever,
and was the embodiment of the term "easy heat," in direct contrast to today's pitchers who are babied through their careers.

Not too many of these cards excite me as much as some of my autographs, but they're still a pretty cool part of my PC.  Please shoot me comments with thoughts about the above cards, your favorite PC relic or anything else.


  1. Wow, we have pretty similar taste in relics. The Fabrics of the Games, SPX triple materials with three guys, quad card, and the Topps Gold Label relics are all cards I own as well and find very, very cool. I also like the Clubhouse Collection and the Bonds relic you have and had those for McGriff. So...good picks!

  2. That Gibson card is very nice. I'll have to track down one.

    I've never been a "collect random stars" collector. But that is an impressive rundown.

  3. I was going to comment on several cards until I got to that Nolan Ryan card and got totally distracted by it's greatness. Nice collection.

  4. hi..i noticed you collect tigers and just wanna invite you over to my blog. check out my tigers page. everything i post is for trade. maybe you'll see something you like or need.

  5. You don't like Buehrle! You just put that card in there to tease me. I'm hoping he finishes his career in a Sox uniform but I'm not sure he will. He's one of my favorites. Also a fan of Bench, Ryan and Yaz. Nice assortment of vintage players with newer players.