Saturday, November 26, 2011

SIGnificant Cards - 2005 Ken Griffey Jr. Sweet Spot Signatures

In 1989 The Upper Deck Company took the trading card world by storm. Brash to the point of nearly doubling the existing price of a pack of cards would have been enough, but they also landed one of the hottest prospects in Major League Baseball history before anyone else did. That player was Ken Griffey Jr. I had no problem finding the Griffey rookie card in those 89 packs, but let's skip ahead just a few years. Griffey would become synonymous with the Upper Deck brand. Enter the memorabilia and autographed card era. Keeping with my stubbornness, I had for a long time wanted to pull a Junior Griffey auto out of a pack.

It really wasn't because I was a fan, it was because he was a fairly difficult auto to get. I'd see him at MLB spring training in Arizona and he didn't sign very often if at all. In fact a lot of guys were like that. Bo Jackson, Mark McGwire and Rickey Henderson and Griffey weren't very cordial to their supporters some goaded the fans accusing them of selling their stuff on eBay. I always found it funny that a guy making 10 million gave a crap about a guy making a couple of bucks on eBay... but that's fact, I saw it with my own eyes. For every one of them though, there were 4 or 5 players that would sign as often as possible and that, some warm weather and good baseball is what made an annual trip to Arizona worthwhile.

It wasn't until 2005 that I finally pulled a Griffey auto out of a pack. It came from the 2005 Upper Deck Sweet Spot Baseball product, one of the best MLB sets ever made. It is perhaps the very best autographed baseball card insert collection to hit the hands of collectors even to this day. Unfortunately I've heard some collectors complain about their autos fading after some time, but I have never experienced this.

Junior signed it in black ballpoint with an extra inscription of "56 HRS". It's #'d to 175 and is one of the true gems in my collection. Do you have a favorite Sweet Spot auto? Which one is it?

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