Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Joe Carter's Rookie Card

I'm a huge Joe Carter fan. I grow up during a time when the Jays were one of the best teams in baseball. They made the playoffs a few times before winning the World Series twice in a row in '92 and '93.

Joe was part of the play that decided the winning game both years. In 1992, he caught Mike Timlin's throw to first base that put out Otis Nixon of Atlanta and won the Series. In 1993, he won the Series in style by hitting a home run off Philadelphia's Mitch Williams. He was only the second player in history to win the World Series with a home run after Bill Mazeroski did it some thirty years earlier.

I still remember where I was when Joe hit that home run. I was about nine years old. My family was sitting in our car in the parking lot of a donut shop, having just driven back from my Dad's rec league hockey game. We were listening to the game on the radio and stopped to have something to eat. We decided to stay in the car to listen to the end of the game. Good thing we did.

Pictured to the left is Joe's rookie card from 1984 Donruss, the first year that company did their "Rated Rookie" subset. Joe began his career with the Chicago Cubs, before moving on to Cleveland and then San Diego before being traded to the Jays in probably the most important trade in Jays history. It brought Joe and Roberto Alomar to Toronto in exchange for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. McGriff had been a star in Toronto and Fernandez was a great player, so it was a bit of a gamble for Toronto. McGriff never returned to the team, but Fernandez would be back multiple times, including winning the '93 Series with the club.

I picked up the rookie from Ebay for about $100. It's the only PSA 10 card I've ever owned. I'm not sure if I could discern between a PSA 10 and a PSA 9, or even a PSA 8. But it's nice to own a card that was graded perfect.

I also picked up the same card, but a graded autographed version. I got this one, pictured right, from Ebay for about $60. The grade of 10 is for the autograph, as the card is more of a mid-grade example. It's also nifty to own an authentic autograph graded a perfect ten.

I'm not sure I would care about owning perfect versions of a baseball card if that card wasn't of Joe. As I wrote above, I don't think I could visually tell the difference between a perfect card and an almost perfect card. But I will admit that these are unique versions of this otherwise nearly worthless card and having some unique Joe Carter pieces in my collection brings out the childhood nostalgia in me.

I have a few more unique Joe Carter pieces in my collection and I am always looking to add more. I'll post a few more in the coming weeks.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Wayne Gretzky’s Rookie Card

I picked this up from reputed vintage cards dealer Martin Sports Cards on Ebay. It’s a PSA 1 Gretzky card. PSA 1 is, of course, the lowest grade given out by the most popular trading card grading service. I don’t mind. One of the things about the Gretzky rookie is the sheer amount of counterfeiting of this card. I would wager it’s the most counterfeited hockey cards ever printed, although I suppose there is no way of winning that wager.

So, having even a lousy example of this card graded by PSA indicates it is authentic. Or, at least probably authentic. The graders that work at PSA or any other card grading company are not perfect people and I’m sure forgeries and fakes slip past their watchful eyes. I’m also sure, however, that a fake Gretzky rookie is quite easy to spot. Even without the PSA grading, this example being in such poor condition lends credence to its legitimacy.

The corners are in bad shape. There are creases. The card’s front is off-centered from top to bottom. That’s all good. The photograph of Gretzky is actually in nice condition. For a card given the worst possible grade by PSA, this one isn’t in such bad shape and it’s so-called eye appeal is better than its flip indicates.

I don’t collect graded cards, per se, but because of the counterfeiting problems with Wayne’s rookie I wouldn’t consider purchasing his rookie card if it wasn’t graded by a reputable company.

The cartoon on the card’s back indicates that
Gretzky debuted in the WHA at the age of seventeen.
I believe the photograph used on the card’s front was from Gretzky’s year playing in the WHA. Edmonton was one of four teams to enter the NHL after the WHA folded, along with Winnipeg, Hartford, and Quebec. Only Edmonton and Winnipeg remain, although Winnipeg remaining in the NHL is a minor miracle considering their sojourn from the league and the franchise’s move to Phoenix some two decades ago.

The 79 O-Pee-Chee cards are difficult to obtain in high grade. They are one of the few O-Pee-Chee releases that featured coloured borders, in this case baby blue. Most cards have white borders, which hides the flaws of a card from a suspicious eye. A coloured border, however, makes flaws along the edges and corners easier to detect, subsequently making higher grade cards difficult to find.

I remain satisfied with my poor example of Gretzky’s rookie.