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.
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.
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.
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.