Lately... I've been totally out of it. Work. Holidays. Stress. Family time. Anxiety. Christmas shopping. Book club. Illness. My list of excuses could go on and on... but I'm starting to sound like one of my students walking into class without their homework assignment... so I'll just get to the point. I have a lot on my plate right now.
With that being said... I really, really, really have been looking forward to responding to The Junior Junkie's Best Binder Page post. Choosing your favorite cards? Well... that's something I've been doing since the early 80's when I was a little kid sitting down in my family room sorting my 1981 Fleer set.
Now you'd think that combining the fact that I've been doing this for decades... and it's one of my favorite things to do would make his challenge easy. Right? Umm. Wrong. Imagine trying to pick your favorite grandchild... or in my case, my favorite student of all-time. It's a lot easier said than done.
That's why I decided to narrow down my focus, instead of picking my 9 favorite cards. But even this proved difficult. There were just too many ways to approach this task. Do I choose a specific sport? Personal collection? Team? Type of card? Card company? Decade?
I decided to follow TJ's lead and choose my nine favorite cards of my favorite athlete of all-time: Mr. Tony Gwynn.
Starting from the top... and going left to right... here we go...
1999 UD Century Legends Epic Signatures #TG
This card isn't my favorite card of all-time, nor is it my favorite Gwynn. However... it's part of my favorite autograph set. I've been in love with this card design since they were released in the late 90's and was ecstatic to finally cross this off of my want list back in February of 2014.
1982 TCMA Hawaii Islanders #10
This card might not be as visually appealing as some of the others, but it's Gwynn's first officially licensed trading card and it eluded me for over two decades. I personally never thought I'd actually own a copy.
1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey #GJ2
Memorabilia cards have lost their luster with many collectors over the years and most don't hold their value like they once did. But it's hard to deny a piece of history... and that's exactly what this card is. I'm just lucky Gwynn's name was one of the three players Upper Deck selected to be in baseball's first ever game used memorabilia set.
1992 Donruss The Elite Series #14
Imagine buying a box of 2015 Topps baseball and pulling an insert card numbered to 10,000. If you're like me, you'd probably smile and throw it in the stack with other cheap inserts. The fact is... these days 10,000 might as well be 10,000,000 when it comes to sports cards. I mean... are there even 10,000 die hard sports card collectors out there? But back in the early 90's... this card was considered rare. And it definitely has its place in cardboard history and a place in my 9-pocket page.
1983 Topps #482
Favorite 80's Card Design + Favorite Player + Rookie Card = Center Spot on Gwynn 9-Pocket Page
2007 UD Masterpieces Stroke of Genius #GW
If you've followed my blog long enough, then I'm sure you've read about my love for UD Masterpieces. I love the paintings and matted look. Add the fact that Gwynn once touched this card himself... and you can see why it made my Top 9.
2007 UD Sweet Spot Classic Signatures #TG
Upper Deck is dominating this 9-pocket page and for good reason. Here's another great concept that's been lost due to their lack of an MLB license. Out of all of my Gwynn Sweet Spot Signatures, this is my favorite. I love how Upper Deck used a picture of Jack Murphy Stadium as a backdrop.
2002 UD Vintage Timeless Teams Bat Quads #2
Right behind Gwynn in my baseball fandom is Rickey Henderson. In fact, I'm pretty sure Henderson was my first official favorite player... and had the A's not traded him to the Yankees in the mid 80's, this post might actually be about the Man of Steal. That's why I decided to include this card into my page. The addition of Griffey and Bonds only make this card that much sweeter.
2013 Five Star Autographs #TGW
Another hard signed signature on a great looking card. But that's not the only reason it made this list. It also marks the final autographed card of Mr. Padre added to my collection before his passing last year.
Well there you have it. Nine of my most cherished Tony Gwynn cards. It will be interesting to look back on this page a few years from now to see if I'd choose the exact same cards. I'm guessing that most of them will still be here... but hopefully I continue to add some amazing cards that will make this challenge more difficult and yet more entertaining.
Thanks TJ for this awesome idea for a post. I also appreciate you helping me create the actual 9-pocket image you see above.
Happy Monday and sayonara!