Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Day Fourteen - 2002 Topps Joe Mauer #622

Day 14: A Favorite Card From the 2000s

Taking the lead from Tony at Off-Hiatus Baseball Cards this will be the fourteenth 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 - Had to go with Joe! I mentioned yesterday that I don't have many cards from this era, I wasn't collecting at all in the 2000s, though I did buy a pack or two on rare instances when I was feeling the itch. This card, along with the vast majority of cards in my collection from this decade, was picked up as a single. I purchased this one at a local card show, which is probably the least cost effective place to get Joe Mauer cards on the planet. Mauer was effectively "the most popular Twin" from the day he was drafted until he started to have injury issues, at which point his contract became the target of every armchair GM and bleacher bum in the state. Nevermind that he won 3 batting titles and an MVP while still earning his rookie contract... Kennys Vargas is currently my favorite Twin, but Joe has always been near the top of my list.

Since these are essentially one card posts, why not share the backs, too? You can tell, even from the limited stats on the back of this card, that Mauer was a special talent. He only struck out one time in High School - not just as a Senior, but in his entire 4 years at Cretin-Durham Hall. He was also recruited by Florida State to be their starting QB, but he opted to play pro baseball instead. Unfortunately, baseball didn't prevent him from suffering the concussions that nearly ended his career. He did crank out his first home run of the season last night, however, and has been hitting the ball very hard all season.

How about some honorable mentions?
Upper Deck (and Fleer) were pushed out of the sport by the end of the decade, but before they left UD gave us some amazing sets including the UD Masterpieces cards. It wouldn't be the 2000s without more Stadium Club, as well as companies making ridiculously large sets that commemorate every single hit, strikeout, homer, etc. of a given season.

Just a sampling of some of the more notable players and sets of the decade - Heritage was in full swing, and everybody was in on the action. Allen & Ginter's was re-introduced by Topps. Pedro was in his prime, Mark Prior made his highly anticipated debut, as did Ichiro.

BONUS! This card arrived today via a trade package from Jim aka GCRL from cards as i see them - complete with a glorious view of the Metrodome from the visitor's dugout. Never knew this card existed, and I nearly re-wrote the whole blog to make this one the "winner" instead of Joe.

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