Just like the MVP voting which recently took place, there are many different ways to interpret "best binder page". Is it the cards you would have the hardest time replacing (due to scarcity)? Does the particular card hold a sentimental value that a simple copy of the card wouldn't be able to replicate? Is the card just awesome and you'd be fine with any copy of it, as long as you just had it? I found myself all over the map on my selections, but here's what I finally landed on:
A rather eclectic bunch of baseball cards, if I do say so myself. None of the cards shows a player wearing a similar uniform (though, admittedly, there are six Padres cards here, so it's kinda their own fault for the lack of consistency, uniform-wise. At first, I thought this would be a Padres-only page, if not a Cianfrocco or Gwynn only page. In the end, I'm pretty satisfied with the diversity.
1992 Upper Deck - Archi Cianfrocco #772
First up, my all time favorite player. It was hard to choose an Archi card, and I was really leaning towards a slightly-harder-to-find minor league issue, but in the end, I was a sucker for a card from the overproduction era. It happens to be the Cianfrocco card that I have the most of, so I wouldn't necessarily need this exact copy - any one would do.
1993 Topps Black Gold - Fred McGriff #13
Here's one of my favorite players from when I was a kid, and the nostalgia is beginning. Not only is the '93 Topps Black Gold insert set one of my all time favorite inserts, this is one that I pulled out of a pack as a kid. As a kid, I would have to say that this is one of my best "pulls".
1993 Mother's Cookies - Gene Harris #18
This one just snuck into the page, but the sentimentality of being my first in person autograph was just too great. As I got older, I contemplated completely tossing this one out, because I was a bit of a condition snob, and this one has a pretty decent sized crease. But I love Mother's Cookies sets, and the memory of getting the autograph from the Padres Store at Jack Murphy Stadium is still cool.
1952 Bowman - Jerry Coleman #73
I have a full page of vintage Jerry Coleman cards, and while this one isn't the first I picked up, or the one in the best condition, I think it's the best picture of The Colonel. Man, this looks so good to me.
1967 Topps - Willie McCovey #400
While the McGriff and Harris cards were sentimental to me, this one still blows them out of the water. This was the prize of my collection as a kid, the one I saved up a whole $18 for. When I found out that a former Padre was in the Hall of Fame, I knew I had to get his card, and for whatever reason, the local card shops didn't have any cards of him as a Padre, so this ended up being my pick. This is still my favorite card in my entire collection, earning it the middle spot in my binder page.
1985 Topps - Tony Gwynn (AS)#717
No big story behind this one, but it wouldn't be my best binder page without at least one Tony Gwynn card, and this is my favorite Gwynn card. The design looks incredible with the uniform. Well done, Topps, well done.
1953 Mother's Cookies - Tom Alston #24
This Tom Alston card was the first vintage Mother's Cookies card from the Pacific Coast League Padres I ever picked up. It's also the best looking card, and Alston was the first African-American ballplayer to play on the St. Louis Cardinals, so that's pretty cool. I almost went with the Whitey Wietelmann card from the same set, but on this particular day, I gave this one the slight edge.
2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes - Kevin Kouzmanoff autograph/jersey swatch
Kevin Kouzmanoff rules, and so does this card. Despite the fact that it's a sticker auto, I still really dig this card, and is probably my favorite Padre relic/auto. It very slightly edges some other cool autographs like Bip Roberts, Benito Santiago, and a few Gwynn relics that I have.
2011 Topps Update - Chris Denorfia #US243 (printing plate)
I got back into collecting at the end of 2011, and this Chris Denorfia card was the first modern card that I really really dug. It's the first card I put together a "rainbow" for, and while all the different colored parallels are cool, the printing plate tops them all.
Cards from the 50's: 2
Cards from the 60's: 1
Cards from the 80's: 1
Cards from the 90's: 3
Cards from the 00's: 1
Cards from the 10's: 1
Serial Numbered Cards: 2
Autographed Cards: 2
Hall of Famers: 3
Players who at one time were Padre: 9
Upper Deck: 2
Mother's Cookies: 2
This was pretty fun. Fun enough to lull me out of my posting hibernation, at least.