Last week Junior Junkie posted his "Best Binder Page" which consisted of the nine 'best' cards in his collection. He selected cards he's take with him to a desert island. His cards, not surprisingly, were all Ken Griffey Jr cards...and some beauties are on that page for sure. He issued a challenge to fellow bloggers to do the same and several have done so. I liked the idea and figured 'why not?' Seemed easy. Take my nine favorite cards and scan them as they sat in a nine pocket sheet.
Well, not so fast. As I started pulling out binders I found that choosing nine cards was next to impossible. I had a stack of about 25 I thought would belong on my list of 'favorite' cards and I hadn't even gotten to my box of slabbed cards. At first I thought I'd follow JJ's lead and select nine Brooks Robinson cards, or Billy Pierce cards, maybe nine John Unitas cards. But in the end I decided that I had to have my best binder page reflect my wider interests. And I realized that I had to make my own guidelines. So I did.
My Best Binder page would contain:
1) Non-slabbed cards. I decided to take the 'binder page' term literally. I know JJ didn't stick to that but I just wanted to scan a page in one piece. That left out a couple of worthy cards which I'll mention later.
2) Only 'Big 4' sports cards. I collect all kinds of off-the-wall stuff but most folks are not interested in my actresses, Japanese menko or George Jones/Merle Haggard cards so I left them out. I decided that the page would reflect a cross-section of my mainstream interests.
As it turned out I scanned my 'Best Binder Page' about a dozen times. I kept looking at it and thinking that there was a card that I had excluded that needed to be in it. I finally said 'enough!'. And the result is the page at the top.
I'll add a few words about each card below.
The 1978 Murray rookie may be my favorite card of all time. It's certainly my favorite card of the 'modern' card era.
T206 Christy Mathewson speaks for itself. It's the coolest card I own. If I was only allowed to keep one card I think this would be it.
I was a huge fan of John Mackey. I've written previously: "[He] redefined his position and was a pioneer in the rights of the oft forgotten former players in his job as NFLPA president. Sadly his work kept him from induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame due to politics. On top of that he was a wonderful guy, great to fans. I got to see him interact with the public at a memorabilia show many years ago and he was personable and gracious." And this card comes from the terrific 1964 Philly Gum set. Special player, special card.
I couldn't leave out Billy Pierce. It was hard figuring out which card to include but this one comes from the very first card set I held in my hands, the '58 Topps. Truth be told my favorite Pierce items are not regular cards but rather some of the oddballs and specials I have, his Dormand postcard for example.
But I like the '58 Topps set more than most do. Nostalgia plays a part I'm sure. It's colorful...and this Pierce has the great 'flying sox' logo going for it. I'd have put the yellow letter variation here for added spice but I couldn't lay my hands on it immediately.
This is the only card that survived from my childhood collection, at least the only baseball card. '59 Gibson, as battered as it may be, is the centerpiece of my 1959 Topps set. Hey, it's Bob Gibson....on a pink card!
Love this 1961 Fleer Lenny Moore card. Probably my favorite football card. The Memorial Stadium scoreboard, the crowd, Moore's pose and the Colts' logo add up to something much greater than the sum of it's parts.
This Mantle from the '58 All Star subset was on my want list for years and years. I finally found one I could afford in decent shape and grabbed it. That got me to chasing the rest of that group of '58s and really got me going after more vintage subsets. It's been a lot of fun.
The 1961 Topps Wes Covington may be a common on the checklist but there is nothing 'common' about it. You can find this all over the card selling sites for a buck and change. That shows you how few folks appreciate art at it's finest.
And that's my Best Binder Page. I'll have to do a follow-up post on the cards sitting on my desk at the moment that I considered and left out. Any of them could have very easily nabbed a slot.
This nine pocket might be more significant for what I didn't include than for what I did. No Jim Palmer? I named one of my son's Jim Palmer so how could I leave him out. I dunno. I also left off my Johnny Unitas rookie card. It's in a slab and I have never gotten around to freeing it.
There were a bunch of other cards that could have easily made the page like Cal Ripken's rookie or maybe his minor league Rochester Red Wings card. It was hard to leave out one of my Jim Brown cards and I had a couple of Gordie Howe cards in the stack of 'semi-finalists but my best Howe card is slabbed. Same for my pretty Gale Sayers card. I'm looking at several Eddie Giacomin cards as I type and wondering how I can leave out my beloved Eddie! Again, I dunno.
And so it goes. Like most of the other bloggers who took on this challenge said or implied...."Ask me tomorrow and you might get a different group of nine cards".