Day Four: A Rookie Card of one of Your Favorite Players
Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the fourth of 30 posts, using the prompts provided. I won't necessarily post one every day, but I will do one for each card, toss in a few "insights" (as insightful as I can be, anyway), and usually include an honorable mention or two, just because I'm like that.
Here's my pick- big surprise, it's my favorite player from my childhood. This card more than any other was one I pined for as a kid, but thought I would never be able to afford. It brings up an interesting conversation, though... is this his rookie card, or is it his 1985 cards? There's only one major issue card of Kirby from 1984, and this is it. It came in the Update set, along with the first major issue card of Roger Clemens. The question then extends to whether or not the update or traded set is really a "major issue" set. Go back a couple years to 1982, and Cal Ripken, Jr. There are cards of Ripken in all the main sets, but a lot of people will point to the '82 Topps Traded card as the "true" rookie. It's definitely the most expensive of his rookie cards, and in my opinion the best looking one. He's not sharing any cardboard real estate with Bob Bonner or Jeff Schneider, either. A lot people count the 1987 Topps Barry Bonds as his rookie card, even though you can find Donruss, Fleer, and Topps sets from 1986 with Bonds cards.... Regardless of the debate on what is really truly a player's rookie card, I had to go with Puck. It was a White Whale card as a kid, and a fairly recognizable icon of the junk wax era.
Since these are basically one card posts, why not show the backs, too? I still want the 1983 Visalia Oaks Puckett card, that's gonna have to wait for me to inherit some money from a distant relative or something . . . It's hard to think of Puckett as a speedy singles hitter, but that's exactly the player the Twins drafted. 40 plus steals in his two minor league seasons.
Here are some Honorable mentions:
This was a pretty easy choice to go with Puckett, but picking honorable mentions was actually tough. I thought about some old school favorites like Elmer Valo, Minnie Minoso, or Harmon Killebrew, but for the sake of symmetry I decided to just use standard card sizes. Big Dave and Rickey are both clear cut rookie cards, but again on the bottom row it's a bit of a question. Especially with Kepler. It's his Rookie season in MLB, but he's been featured on baseball cards for years leading up to this appearance on 2016 Stadium Club.
What do you think, would you call this Jim Thome's rookie card?