A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Iconic Rookie Cards

A few weeks back, I was reading a bunch of giddy bloggers talk about how excited they were to be gearing up for the National.  Of course, being the charitable person that I am, I was very happy for them.  Then again, part of me was jealous that there is basically one card show a year here, and it doesn't sound nearly as awesome as any of the shows I read about, let alone something like The National.

So, as a sort of early birthday present to myself, I did a little eBay bargain hunting with a specific question in mind: what would I want to find at a show like The National?

I'm not much of an autograph collector, and shiny paralleled refractors with serial numbers aren't a big part of my collection (though I wouldn't throw them away if they were sent to my door).  I'm close to finishing the '69 Topps Padres inaugural team set (only four cards left) but that's a "by the end of the year" goal, and we're barely in August.

As you can tell by the title of the post, I went with "iconic" rookie cards.  The key, of course, would be staying within an extremely modest budget.

As you can tell from the photo, time has not been kind to the condition of this Ozzie Smith rookie card, and to say that it's not evenly centered would be an understatement.  Still, when it comes to Padres rookie cards, it might not get more iconic than this.  And as is the case with vintage, the more the wear, the more likely I'll be able to afford it.  

Here's the back, for those of you who are into that kinda thing.  Sorry for the blurry shot.

But I wasn't done, not only did I snag that Ozzie for a few cents less than an Abe Lincoln bill (with free shipping), but I also  picked up another cool 70s rookie card for less than a Thomas Jefferson bill shipped (that's the $2 bill, for those not in the know).

As you might know, I've been trying to scare up "Foster" related cards, since that is my son's first name.  From what I can tell, George is the most prevalent of the Foster's out there in cardboard land.  This card is awesome (even if it is a Giants card), as I love the dual rookie card look from the '71 set, my most favorite Topps set of all time.  Foster looks like one bad dude in this one.

After picking this one up, I think I'm tempering my "Foster-quest".  I don't want to drive myself crazy tracking down every Foster related card, since there are literally hundreds of George Foster alone.  So, the new goal is to get one card of every player named Foster that I can.  This one will obviously be the card representing George, as I have to believe that it's the coolest one (though let me know if you think I'm wrong).

Anyways, as far as rookie cards from the 70s go, I figure you could do a whole lot worse than Ozzie and George.  Since I'm already on the subject, I'll go ahead and dazzle you with the small handful of other "iconic" rookies that are in my collection

Here are a pair of Gwynn rookies, from the O-Pee-Chee and Fleer brands.  The OPC was an eBay steal, while the Fleer came via the very generous Vealtone.

This beat up Winfield was another beat up 70s rookie that the condition snobs wouldn't let near their collection.  It looks just fine to me, especially since it's in my binder.  Thanks again eBay.

They're not all Padre rookies.  This Ripken rookie is one of two that my father-in-law Dave has had.  Great guy, that Dave.

This last pair are of the 90s variety, and I'm frankly very surprised that they survived my childhood, as both of these were ripped from packs when I was a kid.  I'm guessing they escaped unscathed (for the most part) because why would I need to even bother looking at rookies that would probably not amount to anything when I could be beating up all my Padre cards to death?

There are definitely rookie cards that I would consider to be more "iconic" than these few in my collection, but they'll do just fine for now.


  1. I think the most iconic Padres rookie is the '74 Winfield, with the '79 Smith a close second. I'm proud to say that I also own copies of both, although my Smith RC is in worse condition than yours.

    Nice deal on the Foster rookie as well! That's a card I wouldn't mind picking up one of these days.

  2. OK, I'm a condition snob. I own both the Smith and the Winfield in spiffier condition (although I did once glue and laminate a Smith rookie to a binder, along with a bunch of other '78-'80 Topps dupes back when I was a kid).

    The Winfield is in the top 5 as far as the most I've ever spent at a card show on one card.

    Most impressed with the Gwynn rookie OPC. Very nice.

    I probably own almost all of the Fosters from his playing days. Other Fosters to chase: Alan Foster (his '75 was a favorite of mine as a kid, and he's former Padre as you know), Leo Foster (former Met and Brave), Steve Foster (one of first night cards I ever featured), Kevin Foster (sadly deceased). Lots of early 20th century Fosters, too.

  3. Sweet cards. Yeah, I can forgive a roughed up card when it's a tasty piece of vintage like those. I still need an Ozzie rookie.. someday. I've got the Winfield rookie framed in my bedroom with an autographed postcard.

    I pulled that Ripken RC from a pack once.. probably my greatest pack rip ever.. I was crossing Jamacha in El Cajon, walking home from the card shop.. probably the only pack rip I actually remember from my youth. (I don't have an super memory like Night Owl remembering all his childhood card triumphs.)

    As far as great George Foster cards, there's an 81 Fleer card that lists his position as "Slugger" which is just awesome.. need to get that someday.

  4. I have two of the 79 Smith rookies that I pulled from packs and they are both miscut like yours.

  5. I really need to make the Winfield and Ozzie rookie cards part of my 2014 goals. Great purchases... huge fan of the 83OPC Gwynn. Actually I love all OPC rookie cards from that era.