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We bloggers love talking about great cards. We'll pick the best from any set, any decade, any player or team. What makes it fun is that "greatest" is really subjective. We all have our own definition of what makes a card great.
When coming up with the greatest card of all time, I had to devote some serious mental processing time to figure out what I feel signifies true greatness, and which card personifies those measures.
What makes a card great?
I came to the conclusion is that what makes a card great is how that card makes us feel. A truly great card will make us smile no matter how many times we've seen it. If you were going through a stack of random cards and came upon it, you would pause and appreciate it - every single time.
Photography is key. Although the backs of cards are important and often contain aspects that make the card better over all, the front is where you focus. A good card has a good image on the front. A great card is a work of art that would be a centerpiece in any photographer's portfolio. Any borders or graphical overlays shouldn't really distract from the main image. The set it comes from shouldn't be the main thing that catches your eye.
So what can I tell you about the greatest card ever made?
There's a halfway decent chance you may already own it. As I alluded to above, the card I chose comes from the height of the overproduction era. The funny thing is, that's part of what makes this card great too - if the ability to create happiness is part of what makes a card great, then the fact that happiness isn't rare or exclusive is part of the charm. Everyone can own it, and you may still have the chance to experience the joy of pulling one out of a repack or a dime box at the local flea market.
It's not a star player. The guy isn't exactly a nobody - he made multiple All-Star teams actually. Yet, if you were to compile a list of the greatest players to play for any given team, or greatest players of a particular position, I would bet he wouldn't ever make your Top 10. Heck, he wouldn't even make your Top 10 greatest baseball mustaches list (although he does have a pretty awesome cookie duster!) The fact he isn't a household name proves my point that photography is key - There have been hundred of ballplayers better than him in the decades since he retired, and none of them have had a card as amazing as he does.
It really is amazing too. The image on the front grabs you and holds on to your retinas. It fills you with a sense of awe and wonder. In your mind you just know the original photograph is in a museum somewhere. It's magic captured on cardboard.
I must be crazy. I just stated that a good (not great) player has a card from an overproduced and forgettable set, and it is the greatest card ever made.
|1991 Score #884 Doug Jones (DT)|
Admit it. This one made you smile. Isn't that what truly makes a card great?
This is my third and probably last entry for a contest hosted by Daniel at It's Like Having My Own Card Shop. Interested in winning some awesome cards? There's still time to enter! Check out his post here!