Thursday, September 28, 2017

My Favorite Card: 1973 Topps Roberto Clemente

I can't imagine any circumstance in which I ever like a card more than my 1973 Topps Roberto Clemente.  I recently sent it to PSA to be graded and slabbed, and it earned a grade of 3, VG.  More important to me than any grade is that the card is significantly more protected than it was before.
My 1973 Topps Roberto Clemente, graded 3 VG by PSA.
You naturally may be asking, Why is this his favorite card?  This is easy.  This is the first "good" card Dad and I ever bought.  When I started to be heavily into baseball cards at age 11 in 1987, I chose the Pirates as my favorite team.   I don't remember the order we did things in, but at some point we got a Beckett price guide (the September 1987 issue with Andre Dawson on the cover) and some other baseball card magazines, we ordered some cards from an ad we saw in a magazine, and we went to a baseball card show.

I remember some details of that first show.  I am sure that it was at the Concordville Inn in Concordville, PA.  We lived in Newark, DE, and this was an easy trip -- up I-95 to 202, turn right on US-1, and pretty soon you're there.  I don't know if we agreed how much I could spend or anything like that, but I was clear that I wanted a Clemente card.  When we got into the main room, we went up to a dealer with a few binders, and Dad asked if he had any Clemente.  He turned right to this card, and Dad asked how much.  This is where my memory falters, I think -- for the past several years when I've thought of this, the price in my memory is $25.  According to the price guide from that time, that would have been way too much.  Maybe it was actually $10 or $15.  But, Dad looked at me and asked if I was sure I wanted it, and I was sure, so he bought it for me.  We got the Clemente card first thing, and after that, stood in line for a Brooks Robinson autograph; I'm sure we also looked around and bought some less important stuff.  I had a great time.  I don't know when the show was; from some partial information I found online, I think maybe November 1988.  I don't remember every detail, but the big picture remains -- this is the first good card my Dad and I got.

Clemente was a special talent and a special human being, and this will always be my favorite card.

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