Earlier today, there was some head-shaking over the news that Ken Griffey Jr., the star in the Upper Deck stable for years, had reached a signing deal with Topps for 2012.
It was another sign that Upper Deck is finished in the baseball world. The man whose face appeared on a card in 1989 that launched UD as the most innovative and anticipated card brand -- especially with a certain generation of card collector -- has vacated what's left of an apparently doomed organization.
The news doesn't mean much to me. Griffey's card arrival came when I was almost 25. Too late for me to see him as a revolutionary. In fact, I do not have nor have I ever had the desire to own Griffey's 1989 Upper Deck card. If I should stumble across it for a buck or less, I'll take it. But I will never feel as if my collection is incomplete without it. If I was going to collect ground-breaking cardboard, I'd be out there with all the others scrambling for a '52 Mantle.
Although I can comprehend collectors' fascination with Griffey and Upper Deck, I will never "get" it. It's much like what people 25 years younger/older than me find amusing. I don't "get" much of it. It's not funny to me. Generational thing, I guess.
Take this Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck 1992 night card. Griffey and Upper Deck are at the height of their powers at this time. And Upper Deck has decided to experiment and show players in multi-exposure format. Some of the multi-exposure cards are pretty cool.
But this one I just look at quizzically. I can't even make out how many images of Griffey are in the photo. Three? Four? Also, the fact that his face is blurred in every image is annoying to me, and I can't follow the sequence that well.
It's too much work to decipher.
But that's probably just me. Upper Deck, Ken Griffey Jr., Bo Jackson, Beckett Magazine, rookie card collecting. It all arrived after I left childhood behind. So why would I be affected by today's news? When have I ever cared about the items I just listed?
Other than the lack of competition thing, I have no reason to mourn UD. Or Griffey jumping ship.
I'm glad people will be able to pull an autographed card of Griffey from a Topps product next year.
But I'm still trying for that Koufax.
Night Card Binder candidate: Ken Griffey Jr., 1992 Upper Deck, Card #424
Does it make the binder?: Yeah, until I can find something better.