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The worst card of 2009: time to vote

I began this blog in the final quarter of 2008. When it came to the end of the year, I didn't feel like I could do any kind of end-of-the-year review because I didn't feel up on the card scene.

And when I pulled this card here, I guessed that it was the worst card of 2008, but I wasn't sure. Maybe. Could be. But I left it to the experts, and instead set out to determine, from the beginning, the worst card of 2009.

Through tireless dedication and painstaking attention to detail, I hand-picked worthy candidates throughout the year and came up with 12 dastardly possibilities that were each featured in their own posts. And now it's time to vote on what card is the absolute worst of 2009.

This is based only on cards that I pulled (or received in a trade). I don't buy nearly as many cards as other bloggers do. While many collectors have been featuring Topps 206 everywhere, I haven't hit a card aisle in three weeks (believe me, if 206 fascinated me at all, I would have found a card aisle by now). So, I'm sure there are some suitably stinky cards out there that I missed. But tough hash browns, I say, this is my contest.

These are the cards that, when I pulled them, caused instant shock, pity, frustration, disgust or outrage. In many cases, these cards could have been something more, but fell way short. In other cases, the card just simply shouldn't have existed.

I'm showing them again here. Then I'm asking you to vote on what you think is the worst of the year in the poll on the sidebar. Whatever wins the poll will be revealed as the official worst card of 2009. And you can tell your grandkids you were there.

So, let's review the ugliness one more time:

1. Topps Ryan Braun: In a set that pulled Topps out of its base-set doldrums, this card stood out for the pathetic way it portrayed Braun. The guy was Rookie of the Year two years ago, yet he looks like he sleepwalked into the ballpark. It set the stage for a series of sleepy-eyed Braun cards. It's possible the guy just looks sleepy. But there's a cure for that. Get a photo of him actually DOING something.

2. Topps Cito Gaston: Gaston is talking to someone. But Topps doesn't want you to see who it is. Nope, you can't see him. Sorry. Classified information. No can do. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Instead of telling the story, as a good photo does, this photo just makes everyone wonder what the heck was happening.

3. Upper Deck Spectrum Manny Ramirez: This isn't the only example of Spectrum's laziness in terms of getting the player in the right uniform. But when there is seven months between the time of the biggest transaction of 2008 and the time when the cards hit the stores, and they still can't get the right uniform pictured, there are major flaws with the set.

Spectrum has so many issues: the design, the color, the foil, the cropping. It just can't do anything right.

4. UD Goudey Cal Ripken Jr.: Do you like orange? Goudey thinks you do. So much so, that they made Ripken look like he just spent 3 days in a tanning bed.

5. Upper Deck 20th century Retrospective Dave Winfield: What better way to commemorate the Blue Jays' 1992 World Series by showing an unsmiling Winfield posing stiffly as if they've just led him away to jail. Festive!

6. Upper Deck 20th Century Retrospective Tony Gwynn: Tony Gwynn hit .394 in 1994. And he did it all with his eyes closed! That is one talented portly individual.

7. 2009 Bowman Larry Pardo autographed scout card: Well, this card caused a fervor when Mr. Pardo took exception to my criticism of the card. He thought I was criticizing his profession. What I was criticizing was card companies that include items in packs that collectors don't want. We collect cards of ballplayers. We collect autographs of ballplayers. I like scouts. I like my mother. I don't want an autographed card of her. Sorry, mom.

8. UD Goudey Dave Concepcion: I have to give Upper Deck credit for finding a way to turn Concepcion into a soul-less demon. If it was trying to make people jump when they opened their pack of cards, then, a hearty "well-done" to the boys in Carlsbad. You have a future in Hollywood. But seriously, this card makes my skin crawl, and it sums up the entire '09 Goudey set. Could be the worst set of the year.

9. Topps Humberto Quintero: Another cropping issue. If a photographer gave me this photo to use in the sports section of my newspaper, I'd say, "did you hit your head?" No one reasonable would think this is worthy of seeing the light of day. Humberto, no one may ever know what you look like.

10. UD O-Pee-Chee Francisco Cordero: OPC issued so many strange cards this year that I'm actually starting to grow quite fond of it. I have ripped this set in at least five posts, and yet I still pick up packs when I can. Even though it issues a card like this -- which is completely lacking in any interesting detail -- I can't help but laugh. The set humors me.

11. OPC Michael Young: Amusing quirkiness is one thing, but going so far as to embarrass a player is another. The card that made me scratch my head the longest. Even longer than that scout card.

12. UD 20th Century Retrospective "I Love You" Virus: Upon beginning the "Worst Card" contest, I thought I'd restrict it to cards of baseball players. But the more times I came across cards like this, the more annoyed I became and convinced that these should be considered among the worst, too. After all, we're paying for these cards, too. And I don't know anyone who likes paying for a card like this.

Those are the 12. If you want more detail on the candidates, the links are on the sidebar. I'm going to leave the poll up for the rest of the year before announcing the winner.

Meanwhile, there was plenty about the past year that I liked. My favorite cards of the year will be coming before December is done.


SpastikMooss said…
wow, I had not heard that scout thing, must've missed it. What hubbub!

I voted for Gwynn though.
Matt Runyon said…
Where's the "all of the above" option? Man these are lousy cards. I voted for the computer card but those OPC and Goudey cards gave it a run for its money.
After much consideration I've made a decision. I detest the virus card. It's absolutely absurd, but when you make a subset that includes thousands of cards, you have to put something pointless on many of them. I don't like pulling the 20th anniversary cards and when I did, I sent them all to VOTC. The Rangers fan in me wants to vote for Michael Young, but if he wins, you're going to put that picture up in another post and I don't want to see it any more. I actually put that one in my Young binder backwards just so I wouldn't have to look at it. Therefore, I'm voting for the Scout card BECAUSE it's a stupid concept. Also because Mr. Pardo responded to your post. BUT mostly because while you may not like the 20th Anniversay cards, that Pardo auto took the place of a legitimate hit. That counts in the stated odds for pulling autos and it shouldn't. That makes it all the more disappointing.
Field of Cards said…
I voted for the Virus card because I feel this trend of putting non-baseball cards in baseball card packs is the biggest example of card companies deliberately saying F/U to the collector's face.
cynicalbuddha said…
I vote for the virus card, and for that matter the whole 20th anniversary card set should be up for worst. It's just a terribly done insert set commemorating Upper Decks milestone.
Arno said…
The Virus card is idiotic. I was offended when I received one (the card not the virus). The other cards you list have some redeeming value (either they are players that people collect or are humorous in some way). The Virus one is just ridiculously pointless.
capewood said…
As bad as all of these cards are at least most of them have one redeeming value, they are about baseball. That of course leaves #12, the virus card. Absolutely the worst. I've been complaining on my blog about non-baseball cards in baseball card sets since even before I pulled the freakizoid air guitar guy from the Allen & Ginter set last year.
Joe S. said…
I also vote for the virus card. I can't stand the retrospective set.
Anonymous said…
I'm not considering the virus card because all non-baseball cards are inherently inferior to baseball cards.

So that leaves me with the Michael Young OPC card. While most of the other selections have questionable photography choices, Young's card features a poor photo that wasn't even cropped to remove the identification card! Hands down winner... err, loser. :)