But at the moment I have no desire to buy any relic card for the first time since I returned to collecting modern cards in 2006. The fake jersey news stinks so high that giraffes on Mars can smell it. So I am treating the following cards as the last relics I will conceivably purchase. Future me will just have to prove me wrong.
These cards were obtained immediately before the fakes hit the fan. I feel bad for them because I look at them differently now. No longer do the cards see a gooey-eyed collector, with hearts swirling around his head, looking back at them. Instead they see a critical, cynical, pissed-off malcontent who is practically boring a hole through the card because he's trying to figure out what that jersey REALLY is, mister.
But let's try to have fun with these cards anyway.
First up, an Allen & Ginter special:
This card was acquired from the recently defunct blog, Juuust a Bit Outside (I won't link it, because it's depressing). It's kind of fitting. The blog died, and then my faith in jersey cards died.
So what is really in that tiny swatch window? A few guesses:
-- A scrap of pin cushion
-- A scrap of oven mitt
-- A scrap of handkerchief (no word on whether it's used)
-- A scrap of drapes
-- A scrap of carpet
-- A scrap of drapes and carpet (they matched, of course)
-- Several scraps of yarn selected every time James Loney hit a home run for the Dodgers and woven together to create ... uh ... um ... an inch-by-inch square of fabric.
Here's what Topps says on the back: "This Topps Allen & Ginter relic card contains game-used memorabilia of James Loney, star first baseman of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The relic contained in this card is not from any specific game, event or season."
I'm sorry, I didn't hear anything after the words "star first baseman."
But, given all that, here is my guessed percentage on the chance that this is actually a scrap of jersey worn by James Loney:
Which also happens to be the same percentage when gauging whether the Red Sox will release Loney this offseason.
OK, next up, an Upper Deck beauty:
I really, really, really, desperately want this jersey swatch to be the real thing. It's one of the first purchases in my return to ebay; it was pointed out to me by Scott Crawford; it's exceptionally well-designed and you can't say that about 80 percent of jersey cards; and it's SPIDER JORGENSEN, people!
Spider Jorgensen, for those who are not Brooklyn Dodgers fans, was the starting third baseman for the 1947 pennant-winning Dodgers. It was basically his only season as a starter and he was out of the majors by 1952, although he played in pro ball until the '60s.
He is one of the great names in baseball lore, which is why I hate doing this, but ...
What could really be in that swatch window?
-- A scrap of scarf
-- A scrap of sock
-- A scrap of mitten
-- A scrap of teddy bear -- GOODNESS, IT'S A SCRAP OF TEDDY BEAR!! THEY PUT TEDDY ON THE OPERATING TABLE, CUT OUT A CHUNK OF HIS WOOLY GUT, POUNDED IT WITH A HAMMER, AND JAMMED IT BETWEEN 2 PIECES OF COLD, UNFEELING, CARDBOARD!!!!!! OH, THE HUMANITY!!! (*Gasp!!!*) TEDDY, HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO YOU???? WHY, WHY???? UPPER DECK BASTARDS!!!!
Here's what Upper Deck says on the back: "On the front of this card is an authentic piece of uniform worn by Spider Jorgensen in an official Major League Baseball game."
Chances that this is an actual scrap of jersey from a Spider Jorgensen uniform:
I want the swatch to be real, but I don't believe it. You've got to be kidding. Who has Spider Jorgensen jerseys sitting around 50 years after his four-year career ended AND permits one to be cut up? I didn't believe that even before Jerseygate.
Finally, another UD card featuring The Penguin as Bat-man:
This is a COMC purchase. I like it because it's my favorite player ever, it's numbered, and the bat piece is so tiny that it could go on a 24-city comedy tour and get laughs. (Not to mention it's a bat relic and features Ron Cey fielding).
I'm calling this the 101st Ron Cey Dodger card in my collection. Prior to receiving this card, I had only 99 Cey Dodger cards.
So why is this the 101st? You'll see later. I'm saving 100 for something special.
For now, though, what could this itty, bitty, cutey, wooty piece of lumber, be?
-- A piece of birdhouse
-- A piece of popsicle stick
-- A piece of a telephone pole
-- A piece of a tongue depressor
-- A looney Upper Deck employee decided it would be fun to swap the hockey stick relics with the baseball bat relics and now all the Upper Deck baseball relic cards actually feature hockey sticks and the UD hockey relic cards feature baseball bats.
You KNOW that's possible. You know it.
What it says on the back: "On the front of this card is an authentic piece of a bat used by Ron Cey in an official Major League Baseball game."
Chances that this is an actual bat remnant from a Ron Cey bat:
It's The Penguin.
You don't mess with The Penguin. Or his relic cards.
You just don't.
And if you did, don't tell me.
It's been fun.