Friday, May 31, 2013

Out the Back Door

Being a team collector means there will constantly be cards you want and don't have.  Or don't want, don't have, but feel some irrational compulsion to purchase anyway for some demented sense of completion.

Of course budget constraints add an added wrinkle of complication to this.  So it's always nice to find a lower cost alternative for a card I'm interested in.

The card industry has never exactly been known for their sterling business practices.  Whether it was sheets of 1989 Upper Deck reportedly being printed off well into the 90's, or Topps more modern practice of offering autograph redemptions for players who they don't and never will have under contract (which is why I didn't come anywhere near Pedro Alvarez auto redemptions a couple years ago), no company is above some questionable business practices.

It's amazing what finds it way out the back door of a card company.  Or in some cases, the front door.

When Fleer went bankrupt in mid 2005, the assets were auctioned off, sending thousands of cards into the marketplaces from all corners of the Fleer warehouse.

Most of the time, I couldn't care less.  But a few weeks ago a couple Fleer Bankruptcy cards caught my eye. 

 Unnumbered copies of some rare Fleer issues?  Yes please.  Realistically, the pack inserted versions of these cards have likely already hit the market and are now in a collection.  And after all, I'm really interested in the card, not necessarily the rarity or serial number.
Fleer wasn't putting much effort into card design in their dying days, so in case you're wondering what these very base-looking cards are:
2004 Fleer Hot Prospects White Hot /1
2005 Fleer Showcase Red /15
Classic Clippings Final Edition /1

Now, all these cards are unnumbered versions, which definitely takes away from their appeal (and value) a bit.  Presumably these copies were held back in case a damaged card was sent back for replacement.  The original would be destroyed, and one of the extra copies serial numbered in its place.  I can't imagine there would be more than one, maybe two, sheets of replacements printed for a 1/1.  For higher numbered cards, there would presumably be a few more replacement copies available.  But either way, these cards are almost as rare, if not just as rare, as their numbered counterparts.

The big difference?  I paid a grand total of $6 for all 3 cards with shipping.  Not bad for a couple cards that technically don't even exist.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Too Many Card Shows, Too Little Space

Right now the backlog of cards I need to scan is right around the 700 mark.  A couple card shows, a few ebay purchases, and two lots of minor league team sets can cause the number to pile up pretty fast.  Coupled with the fact that wedding planning has taken up much of our free time with just 5 months left and there hasn't been a lot of time for cards.

Or more accurately there's been time for buying new cards, but little time for the rest of the stuff that needs to happen to prevent small mountain ranges of stacked cards from forming.

Last month I heavily debated whether to go down to Dayton or not.  The Robert Morris show was just a week later, and being a monthly show I may or may not miss much.  But since we may not be in the area much longer, depending on how some job prospects play out, I figured it was worth the trip.  The show is a bargain box dream, and I know the opportunities to beef up my Steelers and Pens collections at such low prices wouldn't exist if we move back to PA.

And boy am I glad I went.  I didn't find what I had expected, but there were two dealers with some great discount vintage boxes.

One dealer had glorious 12/$10 and 12/$5 boxes.  The two cards above came from the dollar box, while the $.50 box filled in some holes in my late 60's needs, as well as a few low grade high numbers.

 And of course I had to dig around for some more modern cards.  I came home with a nice pile of numbered cards.  For as high numbered as they are, the Topps Gold cards are always a pain.  I don't think I'm anywhere close to completing a single year's team set out of the decade plus that they've been around.  In short, topps parallels annoy me.

The Bowman parallels are perhaps the most annoying of the modern parallels to me.  The colors always look so drab, especially when compared to their Chrome counterparts.  Couple in the fact that so few players from the sets ever actually make it in the bigs and the price gauging prospectors, and they're something I prefer to leave for quarter blowout boxes 5 years down the road. 

 But of course it wouldn't be a proper show without some time spent in the dime boxes.  This Best beauty captures former #1 overall pick Kris Benson during his time with A-ball Carolina.  I always enjoy picking up minor league cards when possible, and the range of minor league cards released in the 90's was vastly superior to what Topps has put out the past few years.
 I also came away with a nice stack of seven or eight Josh Gibson HR History cards.  The run of Home Run History sets Topps put out for Bonds, Mantle, ARod and Gibson may be the most annoying and bland insert set ever.  The Gibson is particularly bad due to its incoherent skip numbering, speculative home run totals, and generic front and back that remains unchanged on each and every card.  I frequently find these cards in the dime box, so I suspect I may be able to put a set together eventually.
 Of course digging through common boxes can occasionally yield something a little more exciting.  These ended up costing a little more than a dime, but who can pass up Cutch or a much thinner Bonds.

 The find of the day may have been 5 or 6 Topps Tek cards from the 99 and 2000 sets.  The additions gave me a grand total of...5 or 6 Tek cards.  There have to be piles and piles of these cards somewhere.  But where appears to be a mystery to collectors everywhere.  6/180 possible patterns?  I'm on my way!

 Overall the show was well worth the drive, even if it meant diverting some funds from Robert Morris the next weekend.  Writing in retrospect, it was a great decision, because the Robert Morris show was below average compared to past years, and I was able to fill vintage needs at or below the costs I would see the next weekend.

But seriously.  I need to stop going to so many shows.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Paint Me a Picture

I love a good photo.  And cards and great photos have gone hand in hand for quite some time.

But the addition of art to the card landscape has made for some very unique cards over the years.  I don't know that there can be any debate - the work of Dick Perez is unquestionably the beginning and end of any serious conversation over card art.  Perez's Diamond King cards made some otherwise drab 80's and 90's Donruss sets exciting.

The Perez cards seemed to really transition the pieces from simply common cards to pieces of art.

Sure, the artwork ranged from phenomenal to less than impressive.  But the cards were something different, something sharp.

It seemed like the hobby lost interest in art-based cards by the mid-late 90's, as inserts, game used, autographs, and any number of other diversions took over the hobby.  I love those cards, so I'm not necessarily complaining.

But the lack of fun and exciting art definitely took something from the hobby.

Fortunately by the early 2000's art returned to card sets.  The Topps Gallery sets may be my favorite of all the art releases, and really seemed to deliver quality, lifelike artwork in each and every card.  I can't begin to fathom how much Topps spent on the individual pieces of artwork (though I believe most were auctioned off, probably covering all or most of the cost of the pieces).  But I imagine there is a reason companies have stayed away from large, full art sets, instead churning out year after year of photoshopped crap like A&G.

I'd love to see more artwork make its way into current sets.  But I'm not sure how likely that is in a one company marketplace.  I'd love to be wrong, but I just don't see the incentive being there for a company like Topps to put put out a costly art-driven set, when they can continue repackaging the same products with sustainable profit margins.  And Panini has never done an art set, to the best of my knowledge, since buying the Donruss brand.

Hopefully that changes at some point in the near future.  These cards are simply too eye-catching and unique to be phased out of the hobby.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Wait, When Did He Play There?" Wednesday

As a kid, my thought process for picking my favorite players wasn't particularly complex.

Sometimes it required having a cool name (Jeff Bagwell, David Justice, Andy Van Slyke), or players whose Starting Lineup figure I owned.

Starting Lineups.  Your reaction is most likely either utter confusion about what I'm talking about or flashbacks to an investment gone horribly wrong, depending on whether or not you were collecting in the 90's.  There really isn't a lot of middle ground.

Except for me.  As a kid, they weren't investments.  Value didn't matter.  Heck, the player wasn't really even that important.  Instead, I spent my evenings playing an intricate game of baseball on our gameroom floor while my dad would be watching sports.  Our forest green carpet served as the field, with those mini ice cream helmets serving as the outfield wall (and the couch serving as my own version of the green - or in this case a hideous shade of peach - monster).  Crumpled up wads of paper served as the ball, and SLU's wide range of batting, pitching, and fielding poses allowed me to field a full roster of batters with permanent fielders.

What happened on the real baseball diamond didn't matter much.  Instead, the exploits on my carpet were far more influential in determining my favorite players.  That's the reason I still think Carlos Baerga is awesome.  Or that Brooks Robinson isn't so great (he was in a very lame pre swing hitting pose that was terrible for hitting my paper baseballs).

And the star of the fielding bunch was Wil Cordero.  Posed in jumping and throwing position at second base and wearing a bright blue Expos jersey, Cordero was, simply put, an awesome piece of plastic.

So when the Pirates signed Cordero for the 2000 season, the slightly older, more mature baseball fan certainly grasped that we weren't getting the best player on the face of the planet.  But the 7 year old inside me did not care one bit.  And it didn't matter that the slick fielding middle infielder of my fantasy league had since become a lumbering corner outfielder.
And then Wil Cordero actually played baseball.  Cordero was maddening in his time with the Pirates.  He consistently misplayed balls down the line in Three Rivers rounded corners. 

He hit well during his time in black and gold, but it certainly won't be the way his career is remembered.  Even by me.  I'd rather just stick to the plastic version.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Throwback Tuesday

Simply put, this is one of my favorite cards.

My favorite player in a throwback uni?  Yes please.  The Bucs didn't wear many throwback uniforms while Jack was with the team, so for one of these to show up on a piece of cardboard is a pleasant surprise.

I've talked endlessly about my love for the 70's mix and match jerseys.  And the gold on gold combo is hard to beat.  I really like the slightly baggy look to the jersey (it's certainly more flattering than the skin tight unis that were worn back in the day).

And of course for all the Jack Wilson cards I have, the parallel version to this beauty has continually avoided me over the past decade.  I don't think I've ever seen a copy for sale in person or online.

But one of these days, I'll snag one.  And then it will be the grandest throwback card of the  all!

The Great Sort

I must confess, dear reader, that the past few posts have been little more than thinly veiled attempts to stall for time as I get my recent card show finds sorted and scanned, all coming under the guise of card show related topics.  Such petty chicanery is far too unkind to you the reader, and you most likely deserve better.  But alas, perhaps a Victorian drawl and use of archaic language shall be enough to placate your cardboard yearnings.

But seriously. Yes, I'm stalling for time and riding this card show theme for all it's worth.  But it is a long process.  Or at least it is for me.

The buying part is the fun part.  When I leave a card show, I'm usually toting one (or more) brown paper lunch bags packed to the brim with new finds.  In the rush to pack as much browsing in as possible at shows, I usually go through cards pretty fast, so I often find myself saying "Oooo I don't remember buying that one" when I'm reviewing my finds a few hours later.

When I get home, the review process also typically includes putting all the cards in pennysleeves, and then organizing the piles into Pirates, Steelers, Penguins, college collections, miscellaneous cards for my other team pages, potential cards for TTM/IP autos, and finally anything I might want to resell or trade.

From there, everything needs entered into my respective spreadsheets for Pirates, Pens, Steelers, WVU, Pitt, and autographs.  And then scanned.  And since my scanner is about 8 years old, manually cropped in photoshop. 

If that isn't enough of a headache, I then have to deal with photobucket's idiotic new interface to upload all of my scans, and then enter the url's into my Pirate spreadsheet beside the corresponding card.

It's a tedious process that some days (like the past few weeks) I can't bear to stomach, and other days I find somewhat enjoyable.

I'm sure there's an easier way.  There has to be.  Right?  So feel free to share your post-show process.  I'd love to hear how other (presumably more organized) people go about dealing with their newfound piles of cards.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Where Do I Find the Application for Hoarders?

I think I'm officially on card overload.  With three major shows in the past 5 weeks, a couple of bigger online purchases, and a few cards here and there off COMC, I've been dealing with cards even more than usual lately.

All the new additions are stacked in precariously teetering piles on my desk and file cabinet, and have completely overwhelmed the already cluttered space.  Not to mention the piles that have migrated out to the living room coffee table, a fact that the little lady is none too pleased about.

I tried to sit down and make a dent in the 500+ cards I need to scan and 300 or so I need to enter in my respective spreadsheets, but the interest just isn't there right now. 

And it doesn't help that my one big planned purchase for the show this past weekend was supposed to be a few boxes of 9 pocket pages, the most critical step in getting my collection organized and filed away.  The only problem is that the two dealers selling supplies were asking $18/box, while I found pages from an online retailer that would come out around $12/box after shipping.  I hate spending money on supplies as it is, so I decided to save a few bucks and wait a few more days for my pages to arrive.  But in the mean time, these piles of cards are in cardboard limbo, awaiting their new homes.

Getting organized has been a long and tedious process.  I'm hoping the full-out move to binders can finally put an end to all that.  I can't tell you how many times I've organized and re-organized my monster boxes, only to have to completely re-do my filing when I find a 1000 count box I had overlooked, and when I frenziedly dig for cards for a last minute autograph signing, throwing entire years out of order.  Once the cards are in the binders, they can stay there.  It will allow me to take a thorough inventory of my doubles (and triples, octuples, etc), and sell, donate, or trade the extras that I don't have a use for.
The light at the end of the tunnel is near.  But it's this (hopefully) last, pronounced wait that is the most frustrating.  Hopefully a few weeks (months?) from now, I will have a glorious bookcase of binders neatly chronicling my collections.  Cause these piles sure are irritating.

That Was Easy

My card show adventures have come and gone, and I've been returned to my cornfield prison in Ohio.  Maybe my collecting habits, interests, and frame of reference have changed a lot over the past year (they have), and perhaps the array of dealers shifted a bit.  But this year's show was a bit of a disappointment. 

The show is always vintage heavy, but this year there was a major dropoff in the amount of modern stuff available, and nearly a complete lack of any $.25/$.50 boxes loaded with inserts and numbered cards as I have come to expect.  So when in Rome...

I spent most of my time focusing on filling in my vintage needs.  It may not be as thrilling to me as finding some modern cards, but the relatively small size of my needs list from those years (as opposed to the thousands of cards I don't have from a single mid 00's year alone) and the variety of dealers gave me a wide range of prices and conditions to pick from.

I'll get into the specific pickups in a few days once I have time to sort and scan everything.  But I thought it might be interesting to go through my thought process when vintage shopping.

Now I realize the very idea of vintage "shopping" may be a luxury to many.  Not many shows offer the sheer number of vintage dealers from across the country that the Robert Morris show offers.  And honestly, at most shows the idea of finding even a couple vintage cards I need, regardless of condition, would have me immediately grabbing for my wallet.  So having so many decisions to make certainly complicates an otherwise easy process.

Many of the dealers vintage dealers are regulars from year to year, and can be found in the same spot each year.  It makes it easy to know who has the best discount boxes, and which dealers tend to steer towards higher condition or lower condition copies.

After a quick scan of the entire show floor (not an easy task, given the sheer number of tables), I like to start checking discount vintage boxes.  My breakdown in terms of price/condition follows a fairly simply rule of thumb:

1950-55: any card without significant paper loss, major creases, tape, or writing on the front.  Corner wear doesn't bother me much.  I'm typically looking to pay around $2/card.

Late 1950's-1964 I become a little more selective with condition.  Soft, but not quite rounded corners are ideal.  Again, no major surface defects. I'm usually aiming to pay around $1 for these cards, though sometimes less in the case of mid 60's commons.

1965-1972 Again I'm becoming a little more selective with condition, looking for slightly sharper corners, and beginning to worry about centering.  I can usually find crisp copies in the $.50-$1 range.

Post 1972 - By these years, I'm bargain hunting.  Most of these team sets are completed, but any remaining needs can usually be found in dime boxes, usually paying between $.25-.33 for decent looking copies of the high number cards.

Of course exceptions exist in the obvious cases of star cards (Clemente and Stargell) and high number short prints, where my price and condition preferences go out the window.

Collecting on a budget, I'm often looking for quantity before quality.  If I can pick up a decent looking copy of a 54 Topps card for a dollar or two, I would rather get that card now and have the funds to pick up a few more cards from the set than spend $5-10 on a higher grade copy and still leave so many holes.  Should my tastes and/or budget change in the future, I doubt I'd have little trouble in moving these cards and recouping all or most of my cost, and maybe even have a little left over to put towards upgrades
This particular show also draws a certain higher end vintage crowd - namely deep pocketed middle aged men.  Now I have nothing against such people, dear reader.  But our collecting budgets are not coming out of the same cookie jar, so to speak.  So while they jockey over position in front of the row mid grade of 1953's, or 1967 book looking for a 5 or 6 quality Mantle, I'm happy to scurry off to the discount box in search of more well loved cards, and also free of much competition.  Some discount box cards I passed on on day 1 were sitting right in the front of the row where I had left them when I came back to the table in the middle of the day on day 2.

While I certainly didn't walk away with anything jaw dropping, I made a nice dent in my vintage checklist.  Check that.  I basically just dropped a two ton bomb on my vintage needs - high numbers, low numbers, league leaders, stars, commons.  They all felt the wrath of my discount box campaign. 

I'm looking forward to reviewing the damage and showcasing some of these fun (and well loved) additions in the coming posts.  Though the weekend wasn't spent the way I had anticipated heading into the show, it was a ton of fun.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Minor Matters: Bronson Arroyo

Bronson Arroyo pitched for the Pirates. 

This is probably a fact both Arroyo and Pirate fans would like to forget.

Bronson was drafted by the Bucs in the 3rd round of the '95 draft.  He moved fairly aggressively through the system, reaching AAA at age 22, though he posted solid, but never dominant, numbers at every level.

When an insane string of injuries to starting pitchers hit the major league team in 2001, Arroyo was called up to the bigs, seeing extended time as a starter and long reliever.  He likely wasn't fully ready, and could have used more than the 25 AAA starts he had under his belt.

He spent the majority of 2002 pitching back at AAA, with a brief callup to the bigs.  His numbers looked strong, and there presumably would be space for him in a weak starting rotation in 2003.  After all, the 89 loss club of 2002 wasn't exactly setting the world on fire.

Instead, the Pirates placed Arroyo on waivers in early 2003, where he was claimed by the Red Sox.

And what happened to this Arroyo fellow you ask?  Oh, just a decade of consistent starting pitching.  Fortunately the Pirates have had that in spades over the past decade, so it was no big loss, as evidenced by our string of division pennants, while Arroyo's subsequent employers, the Red Sox and Reds, have wallowed in the cellar of their respective divisions.  Or...something like that.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Calm Before the Storm

Unless something dramatically changes, this will probably be the only post I make for the rest of the week, unless I get some time to throw something together tomorrow.

The rest of the week will include a trip back to Pittsburgh for the biggest show of the year at Robert Morris University.  With over 250 tables, it's the largest show of the year for me, and a nice way to eat up a good amount of cash.

The show offers a great mix of vintage and modern, with a few super high end vintage guys who fall into the "if I won the lottery" category.  I've been able to knock off big chunks of my vintage Pirate needs over the last couple years for around $.50/card for mid 60's cards, and $1-2 a piece for 50's and early 60's pieces.  You definitely can't get those kind of deals online.  The show also used to boast an impressive array of Pittsburgh signers.  No, it wasn't the high end, $300/signature signers you'll find at Chantilly.  But the likes of Whammy Douglas and Joe Christopher were exactly the kind of guys who I need for my Pirate collection.

This year the show is under new ownership.  Dealers have told me they kept the dealer pricing in tact from previous years, so there should be a lot of the same guys set up, but the auto lineup is much weaker.  I'm not purchasing a single autograph this year, which bums me out a little bit, since that was always a highlight of the show in the past.  But you can't win em all.

Hopefully this weekend will yield some big finds, but at the very least I should come home with a nice stack of new cards for the collection, and some fresh trade bait for the blogosphere.  If anyone wants me to keep an eye out for anything in particular, feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Card Show Pickups...A Month Late

Well, it's official.  I'm a full month behind on my collecting. 

This past Saturday, I drove down to Dayton for the monthly show.  I came home with a nice stack of beautiful cards, including a huge dent in my remaining 60's vintage needs.  And then I realized I had nowhere to put this cardboard goodness (save for the living room table, which would not go over well with the little lady).  So I finally decided to get around to scanning and cropping all my pickups from last month to clear some space in what has quickly become s a cardboard disaster zone. 

Life has been pretty hectic recently, and coupled with some lots of minor league team sets that I recently purchased, the stack of cards in need of entering and scanning has become a major backlog.  With a show last weekend and the biggest show of the year (for me) coming up this weekend, I better make at least some dent in things this week before it gets any worse.

Card shows have become very hit or miss for me.  I used to be able to go into any show, dig through dime boxes, and come away with around 100 new Pirate cards each and every time.  But my commons needs have dwindled down quite a bit.  That isn't to say I don't need a truckload of commons.  It's just that the stuff I need never seems to make it into the dime box: either those all too common mid-late 80's overproduction era sets that people presume every collector in the world already has (I have more needs in the '86 Topps set than I do in the 2012 Topps Black team set), or the more obscure sets from the mid 90's through mid 00's that set builders and dealers never took an interest in.  Somewhere out there are boxes and boxes of Stadium Club and Ultra, Fleer Authentix and Donruss Team Heroes.  Cause I can assure they are not in any of the hundreds of dime boxes I've been through!

So with the dime boxes yielding limited potential, my show hopes have been bumped up to the $.25 and $.50 boxes.  This is quite a hit or miss prospect.  When there are dealers with such boxes (and I mean ones populated with serial numbered cards, inserts, etc rather than a host of Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds base cards) it's paydirt.  If those dealers don't show up that weekend, I'm usually spending an hour plus driving home while muttering to myself how I just wasted a bunch of gas and should have just ordered some cards off COMC.
While I wouldn't say I hit paydirt last month (this month was a different story), I think I found enough to make it worth the trip.
A quarter box yielded a nice mixture of 90's shiny goodness and some more recent numbered cards.  Nothing that made my jaw drop, but I gladly gobbled up all the Bucs I could find.
There's a bit of paranoia any time I hit one of these boxes.  I'm always convinced some Pirate collector has come before me, wiping out all the Pirate goodies in the box.  I've spent enough time digging through 4000 count boxes that only yield 3 or 4 Pirate cards to have faith in that theory.  Maybe it's because there just aren't a lot of Pirate players in most sets.  Maybe the Bucs are more heavily collected than the blogosphere and online collecting communities have caused me to believe.  Or maybe I just have plain bad luck. 

Either way, I can't help imagining that most shows play out as a comedy of errors, with some Steeler jersey wearing middle aged man with a mischievous grin and pencil mustache clearing out all the Pirate cards just moments before I enter the show.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Kratz Out of the Bag

Catchers and middle relievers both tend to have some interesting career trajectories.  Sure, there is the occasional super prospect like Joe Mauer rushed to the majors to almost instant success, or the young flamethrower who makes a name out of the bullpen.  But the majors are also littered with guys who has a little less pedigree who spent years working their way up the minor league ladder.  And a large number of them do their work right smack dab in the middle of the action.

Erik Kratz is one of those feel good stories.  I'm sure there are a few newspaper articles that detail his great story, but basically he just about quit the game after spinning his wheels as a AAA catcher for a few years before earning a callup with the Bucs in 2010 at age 30.  Over the past two seasons, he's made a nice little mark in the majors as the Phillies backup catcher with the Phillies, including some extended playing time at the beginning of this year.
Kratz is the kind of player who you can't help but cheer for.  I had a brief interaction with him before a AAA Indy Indians/Columbus Clippers game in 2010 (prior to his callup) and he was a super fan friendly guy, who seemed genuinely excited to just have the chance to play, regardless of the level. 

I sent this card out to Erik early in 2011 while he was still at AAA, and it came back signed in lightning quick time.  It would have been nice to see him stick with the Bucs a bit longer, but you have to be happy for him to get an opportunity.  Of course the Bucs have found a pretty nice backup catcher of their own in Michael McKenry.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

This Magic Moment

Baseball is a game with a rich history.  But that can be said of any sport.  Perhaps the biggest difference is the amount of attention the sport gives to that history on a regular basis, and card sets are no exception. 

I think you can safely argue that Bill Mazeroski's walk off game 7 home run in the 1960 World Series is the most dramatic moment in pro sports.  Other events may be more impressive, more talked about, or more photographed.  And that last part may be the most interesting to discuss.

Full game film from the famous game was only recovered a few years ago.  And the still photos from the famous homer are pretty slim pickings as well.  All in all a far cry from the army of photographers and cameras that come with each and every sporting event today, regardless of scale or importance. 

And the number of cards celebrating the occasion are inversely impressive.  The thing is there's only so much you can do to make the same event, the same photo, the same angles interesting.  Some have been more impressive than others, but each and every one is a part of my collection that I love having.

First up is undoubtedly the most straightforward.  Iconic image.  Clean, crisp design.  The retro Topps Heritage design captures the excitement of the moment and the spirit of the game in its moment.  So too does Maz's bland crew cut haircut.  The design highlights the image, while still recognizing the event in the text.  As much as many of the aspects of Heritage annoy me, it's about as well designed as you could hope for.
Fleer decided to take a slightly different approach in 2001 and 2002, pairing Maz with fellow WS Walkoff HR Club member Joe Carter.  I like the pairing, and it's a fun and unique pairing of major events in baseball history.  I just wish the 02 Fall Classic card would have used a retro Jays logo, rather than the since abandoned (and arguably ill conceived) version featured on the card.

Fleer took another crack at it, this time using a facsimile box score clipping.  Sure, the box score doesn't tell tell the whole story, but it's a unique piece (numbered /1960), connecting the iconic image of Maz with the glorious, glorious score board line.

And the event is certainly worthy of a little artistic flair as well.  This card beautifully captures the elation of Maz rounding third.  I love the Masterpiece sets, and the set features quite a few cards depicting famous moments in baseball history.  It's also interesting to see a tightly cropped version, since I'd assume the photos from the game are all at too low a resolution to be blown up and cropped so tightly.

Of course some cards take a...less inspired perspective.  Both UD and Topps offered up these posted photos that make mention of the big hit.  But they're a far cry from the drama and excitement of the moment.

For that, what better place to go than to the card that captures that very moment, in the moment.  I can't imagine what it might have been like to be a card collecting Pirates fan in 1961 and to pull this card, pack fresh, from the local five and dime just months after the game.   I was able to get the card signed by Maz at Piratefest a few years back, along with his RC, and they are two great pieces in my collection.  What more could you want than a beautiful vintage piece of cardboard capturing the defining moment of your team, and quite possibly baseball history.