Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The way all "relic" cards should be made

This isn't a post about card design. It's not about some grey swatch versus white swatch versus patch argument. It's about something the card companies could have, and should have, been doing all along. Telling the collector something specific about the "relic" on the card.

Here is example #1.

I'm not as awed by the relic card as I was when they first appeared on the scene. Of course, they are much easier to pull than they used to be and that has jaded my opinion of them to a degree. However, over the years, I've tried to hold onto anything that isn't the normal white swatch or plain old type of "relic". This 2001 Fleer E/X Scott Rolen Wall of Fame game used wall fits that bill. I've got one of these for a football player too (floating around somewhere). The thing I like about this card is the "rubber-like" blue swatch of wall material. That and the reason for this post. The back looks like this:

Do you see what it says just above the legal mumbo jumbo? Here is the blown up version.

It says "Game Dated: 05/17/00-2 Hits, 2 HR, 2 RBI". I looked it up and Scott Rolen did have those stats on that day in a Phillies home game against St. Louis. Now, does that mean that blue wall piece was purchased by Fleer that day? I don't know for sure, but I think it's implied.

Example #2 is much more explicit in the description of events surrounding the relic.

Here we have a 2001 Leaf Rookies and Stars Carlos Delgado Statistical Standouts Game Used On-Deck Circle card. That's pretty cool and the only one of these on-deck circle cards I've ever seen. The best part is on the back.

Here is the blown up version of the back of the card. It says "The enclosed piece of On-Deck Circle was cut from an Authentic On-Deck Circle used in an official Major League Baseball Game on April 9, 2001 featuring the Blue Jays vs. Devil Rays." You can't get much more specific than that. They give you the game score (Jays 8, Rays 1) and tell you that Delgado had 1 RBI. Now, I'm not sure how 1 RBI ranks as a "statistical standout", but the point is they tell you exactly what your holding in your hand.

That, my friend and more importantly, TOPPS, is how you make a relic card. I want to know that the bat chip in my Joe Mauer card is from the bat he hit his 58th career homerun with, who he hit it off of and the results of the game. I want to know the lame Carl Crawford white swatch I just pulled was worn in a game where CC stole 5 bases including home plate. These are just examples of course, but I'm willing to pay a premium for that (or at least be a little more excited when I pull it) and it's something you CAN do. You can, if you want the collectors to care about your little relic cards.

I understand you can't always verify a historical relic from the likes of Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth, but for goodness sakes man, you shouldn't be cutting that stuff up anyways!

Now, will someone help me put away my soapbox. I hurt my back playing baseball in the park.


  1. WHERE did you see that Delgado? I must have it.

  2. One problem with the Rolen card. The May 17, 2000 game was played at The Vet, which had a green outfield wall.

    IIRC, Fleer issued a press release around the time 2000 E-X was released saying that they just bought a piece of the outfield wall of Milwaukee County Stadium (which had a blue outfield wall).

  3. Chris, that's what I'm talking about. Even though it's implied that the Wall piece came from the Vet, it doesn't say it. That card is a bad example...not the good example I thought it was and thanks for the correction!!

  4. Roy, the Delgado is mine. It's not for trade right now...unless you've got one of these with a Ranger player on it.