Back in the mid-90’s I was an exclusive Basketball collector!! Jason Kidd was my player of choice and I had about 100 different Kidd cards in my collection…
In the pre-eBay era this was pretty good going for a UK-based card collector.
Around this time I started to regularly attend card shows that were held at the US Air Force base at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. These shows were small affairs, around 15-25 traders, and held every 6-8 weeks on a Sunday.
It was at these shows that I saw my first Vintage Baseball cards, usually being sold/traded by the US Serviceman based at Mildenhall.
I managed to feast my eyes on treasures such as a 1963 Topps Pete Rose RC, a 1949 Jackie Robinson RC (worn around the edges but still a great looking card), numerous Mantles from the 50’s and early-60’s, as well as a whole host of other goodies!
And it was from speaking with the US Serviceman, listening to collecting tales from their youth, that opened my eyes to the magical world of Baseball cards, and Vintage cards in particular!
On one particular visit I remember a dealer having some packs of 1989 Upper Deck (High numbered series, no less) for $5 a pop. I had exchanged some GBP to USD prior to the show and decided to grab myself 5 packs, just for the hell of it.
Now, I don’t remember a great deal about what came in packs 2 to 5 but when I opened my very first pack I came across this beauty…
To this day this remains the best card that I’ve ever pulled from a pack…
At the time Beckett had the 89 Griffey Jr RC listed at $150 and it was one of the hottest cards in the Hobby!!
One dealer (who I believe had regular dealings with PSA) gave the card a good examination and offered me $100 on the spot, probably knowing full well that he’d get 3-4 time that if he got the card graded.
Naturally I turned him down as the money was never the issue. All that mattered to me was the ‘wow’ factor of having pulled this highly desirable card directly from a sealed pack, in near mint condition!! This was my first ‘proper’ Baseball card and it was of a player I’d ACTUALLY heard of.
I never did sell the card and it’s still part of my small collection today!! Somehow I doubt it’s a card that I’ll ever part with – must be the sentimentalist in me I guess!!
Griffey Jr becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2016 and in his 22 year career he hit 630 Home Runs, enough to put him 6th on the All-Time Home Run list.
Despite being a recipient of 10 Gold Gloves in centre field; 7 Silver Slugger awards; having 13 All-Star appearances to his name; an All-Star MVP award and an AL MVP award; as well as being one of the most popular and respected players in the Majors throughout the 90’s and 2000’s, Ken Griffey Jr never played in a single World Series game…