Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blog Bat Around 2 - Centerpieces

1. an ornamental object used in a central position, esp. on the center of a dining-room table.
2. the central or outstanding point or feature: The centerpiece of the evening was a play put on by the employees.

I’ve spent a good bit of time contemplating what I might consider the centerpiece of my baseball card collection. For the most part, my card collection has two main focuses – sets that I have built (or bought in a few instances), and Red Sox cards. While I am quite fond of many of the sets that I have collected over the years, and while many of them have some individual cards that are centerpiece-worthy, when taken as a whole, none of them stand out to me as centerpieces of my collection (I may change my opinion on this when and if I complete my birth year set - 1976 Topps). So that leaves me with my Red Sox collection. When I consider my Red Sox collection, there are a number of cards that spring to mind.

The first card that I might consider a centerpiece to my collection is Mike Greenwell’s 1987 Topps rookie card. While this card is pretty much worthless in terms of dollar value, Greenwell was my favorite player when I was younger so it has significant sentimental value to me. The 1987 Topps set is also an iconic set from the 1980’s and was the first set I completed in my earlier collecting days (by opening wax packs no less) so it has that going for it too. All of that factored in, it just doesn’t scream centerpiece to me, so I dug a little deeper.

And arrived at Carl Yastrzemski’s 1960 Topps rookie card. To me this is a card that is definitely centerpiece-worthy. While I really don’t care for the 1960 set design, I think the Rookie Star subset design is outstanding. And Yaz looks like the quintessential all-American baseball player on this card. But, while this card has decent monetary value, it has little sentimental value to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love this card. But I bought it at a card show years ago and it has no real story to it. So I went back to my collection once more.

And found my centerpiece – my 1954 Topps Ted Williams #1. This card is everything that I think a centerpiece should be. It is a beautiful card from a classic vintage set; it features one of the greatest baseball players to ever step foot on a diamond; and it has real sentimental value to me as it was a Christmas gift from my favorite Aunt when I was thirteen. I spent lots of time at my Aunt’s house when I was growing up and she is almost like a second mom to me. I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like with her now that I’m grown up and have a family of my own, and seeing this card reminds me of all those summers playing board games at her dining room table and watching Red Sox games. Of all of the cards I own, this is one of the few that demand being displayed, that is more a piece of art than a baseball card. I can’t conceive of a situation (short of being on the verge of homelessness) in which I’d want to sell this card.


night owl said...

Great Yaz, even greater Williams, and even GREATER that your aunt gave it to you. Meanwhile, my grandmother was throwing out my father's collection of Ted Williams cards. You definitely have something special.

Anonymous said...

LOVE that 54 Williams ... it would look solid in my Sox collection and as part of my "Number Ones" collection.

I'm going to have to do one of these centerpiece blogs. I've seen a few of them recently ...