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.