About a week ago, I picked up something rather nice for myself off of eBay. I had a little extra cash in my account, Topps Series 2 had just been released and I was just looking for something that I could really sink my teeth into. Yesterday, it came in the mail. Ready?
Don't all ooh and ahh at once!
So here's the thing. I'm not really keen on redemptions, mostly because I fear that they will never be redeemed. However, this is Al Kaline, Kaline has been all over the 2011 Topps sets, he's in good health and seems pretty accessible. So I took a leap.
I did this for two reasons. First, it is numbered to 60 after all and, unlike his other cards in 2011 Topps (Series 1) it portends to be an on-card signature. Also, I think that the 60th Anniversary Reprints set is quite nice--I much prefer it to a straight reprint of a card. What do I mean? Well, here's Al Kaline, this time in Relic Form:
It's not a perfect card, but it's got a lot going for it. Reprint of a rookie card, acknowledgement of a milestone Anniversary for Topps. Um, other stuff? Whatever. I like them.
So here's the rub. If you're a collector you can look at that card and say "Oh, I see where the autograph will go." You can, right? It should be obvious to even an untrained eye. The autograph goes here:
YES. My Kaline is going to be sweet. Want some more awesome examples? How about:
Damn you Ryne Sandberg! How dare you ruin a perfectly cool card by screwing up the design and scribbling some illegible blob over the only real graphic element on the card. You're an idiot. I'm sure that this is the only...
DAMMIT! Mattingly did it to, on his classic rookie card that shows him both with and without "sideburns," if you catch my drift. This must be a manager thing. Managers are stupid--ask anybody. Is your team's manager an idiot? The answer is yes, and you know it. Ok cool. Manager problem. The old salt players like Gibson and Brooksie know what they're doing. No worries.
Oh son of a...
No one is spared.
Mr. Cub, who shares a rookie card year with our own Mr. Tiger, signed his name over a picture of a card that already has a signature. This is like an artist signing a reprint of his painting over the face of his subject and leaving some random dead space in the corner. THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE THAT.
And herein likes the problem. If Al Kaline signs where he was meant to, this card will be fantastic. If he signs in the worst possible place, it will be forgettable. Forgettable enough that I might even try to flip it back on eBay once it arrives, I would be so disappointed. I'm banking on the fact that Kaline is not an idiot. That he can see what even the most basic observer could figure out--sign in the big blank spot on the top. JUST LIKE TOPPS ADVERTISED.
Of course, the fact that we're even having this conversation is absurd. I can't count the number of times that cards appear to be signed in the wrong place, throwing off the intention and design of the card. This shouldn't be a burden placed on the players. There should be no discretion here.
Would a simple investment in some of these be too much?
Instead I'm forced to sit and cross my fingers for the next XX weeks. Wish me luck.