About a year ago or more, I learned of the collecting term "trifecta." I don't know who came up with that, but I first read about it at Drew's Cards. I thought it was a great little collecting category.
The best part of tracking down a rookie card, auto card and relic card of a single player is it's a little bit of a challenge. Going through my collection, I found lots of examples of completing two of the three categories. But coming up with all three was more difficult.
Finding a rookie card and relic card of Manny Ramirez was easy. Finding an autograph card, not so easy. Same with Shawn Green.
Finding a rookie card and an auto card of Sandy Koufax was doable. But I don't know if I've ever seen a relic card of Koufax.
Finding an auto card and relic card of Duke Snider was achievable. But it takes big cash to land the rookie card.
In the end, I found 15 Dodgers for which I have the rookie card, autograph card and a relic card. That's much more than I thought I had, and can be attributed to the generous traders out there more than my collecting ability.
But I'm afraid I'm going to have to call it an uncertain 15. Anytime I get involved with anything concerning rookie cards, I get very confused. Between the multiple sets issued since the '80s, and the rookie card logo, and displaying cards of players not in the majors or even in pro ball, I really have no idea what a rookie card is anymore. I think if you visit the Beckett website, you can figure it out, but every time I go on that site, my computer starts to smoke, so I generally avoid it.
So, here are the 15 trifecta players as I see them. They may or may not feature the player's true rookie card. I leave it to the experts to figure that out.
1. Ron Cey: Of course, I must have a trifecta of my favorite player. The Troll helped me out with the rookie card, bless his way-too-busy heart.
2. Steve Garvey: The Garvey relic might be my most favorite relic card that I have. It is such an impressive card, from the see-through back down to the reproduction of his 1974 card in the background.
3. Pedro Guerrero: Good ol' Upper Deck, using the same photo of Guerrero for the auto and the relic.
4. Chan Ho Park: This is where it starts to get murky for me. There are several '94 cards of Chan Ho. But I don't think there's a '93. Also, I wonder if Park is disqualified on the relic because he shares the card with Kaz Ishii?
5. Adrian Beltre: There are a bunch of Beltre cards from 1998. The Bowman's Best is from '97, so I believe that's the rookie card. I just know someone is going to tell me that I'm wrong.
6. Kaz Ishii: Ishii is just one of three cards that I have that features both a jersey and bat relic. Yes, I know he's a pitcher.
7. Chad Billingsley: The Billingsley card at the top of the post is another one of my all-time favorites. But showing a card that features both the auto and relic seems like trifecta cheating.
8. Hong-Chih Kuo: I have one of those Just Minors cards of Kuo from around 2000, but I'm assuming that minor league cards are not useable in a trifecta. Somebody needs to post some Trifecta Rules somewhere.
9. Russell Martin: This is where I start getting into "first year" cards and other baloney. I'm saying that card, or any Martin card from 2005, is his rookie card. So there.
10. Andre Ethier: This is the only trifecta I have where the "rookie card" features the player on a team other than the Dodgers. Usually I don't collect those cards. But I have several 2005 Oakland A's cards of Ethier.
11. Blake DeWitt: It's a trifecta of a Cub. But I'm not trading these away.
12. Matt Kemp: Kemp's 2006 cards feature the "rookie card" logo, but there are several Kemp cards from 2005, including the Bowman's Best here.
13. Clayton Kershaw: The first time that Kershaw starts showing up in Dodger uniforms is 2006, I believe. All I've seen from his 2005 cards are him in a Team USA uniform. But if you ask Topps, Kershaw's rookie card is from 2008. Arrrrrgggghhhhhhhhh!!!!!!
14. Delwyn Young: Yes, I have a trifecta of Delwyn Young. I couldn't be more proud.
15. Chin-Lung Hu: Again, the rookie card could be some other deal. That Bowman Chrome card is from 2006, which I think is his earliest mainstream issue. He is all over the place in 2008.
I ended with Hu because he's my most recent trifecta as of a few days ago. I won the autographed card in Community Gum's Moments & Milestones Pack Lottery contest!!!
Jon and Andy could have totally kept the auto card for themselves because I was a lazy ass and didn't watch the videos they made. As usual, I skimmed the pretty pictures and apparently the autos weren't part of the pretty pictures. Jon said it was the second-best auto of the break. (As I write this, I am listening to their video to figure out what the best auto was .... Ross Ohlendorf? OK, I'd still rather have Hu).
Collecting trifectas is pretty cool, but I admit all of these happened just out of my desire to own Dodger cards. I don't actively seek out trifectas. In fact, I kind of like that they just became trifectas all by themselves. I like the idea of my cards roaming around and forming groups while I'm asleep. Just as long as they don't form secret warring tribes.
I suppose you're wondering why I mentioned in the post title that this was the new-school version of the trifecta. Well, I'll be visiting the old-school version of the trifecta in the next day or two.
It was cool in an old-school kind of way.
(Crap, I forgot to plug The Great Orioles Autograph Project's contest. It may not be a Dodger auto, but you can win a really cool Earl Weaver autographed card! Go!)