If you were an avid card collector in the 90s, there were baseball cards and then there was THE baseball card. The Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card was the most sought-after card of my childhood, and to this day I’ve never acquired one. This card mostly sold for over $100 (which at the time seemed enough to retire early on) and was always the first card we’d look up in the new Beckett magazine to see if the value went up or down.
In my mind, the iconic image of this card conjures up all sorts of magical memories of the pursuit of its golden treasure. Just think — anytime you bought a pack of 1989 Upper Deck, you had the chance to bankroll an entire shopping spree at Toys R Us for you and ten of your closest friends. But now, looking back on the actual card, it’s kind of… unremarkable. Everything from the goofy overbite grin of a teenager in bad need of braces, to the unfortunate neckwear, to the dated “Rookie” star graphic are a perfect summation of awkwardness. Not exactly what you would expect in the most popular card of our generation.
On second thought, maybe this is the exact reason that this card meant so much to so many pre-teens. Everything about this card summed up our existence and somehow that slack-jawed, starry-eyed look of the 19-year-old phenom may have suggested that, yes, dreams do come true. If I eat my Wheeties, maybe my rookie card will be in Beckett magazine too. But then of course, we all realized that his father is a Major League hall-of-famer and that our growth spurt would end much short of six feet.
I think I may head over to eBay and finally buy one. Turns out, unlike our fathers before us, our generation kept our baseball cards – an ‘89 Griffey only costs 15 bucks.
Remember The Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card ?
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.