Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cardboard appreciation: Duke Snider cards that aren't worth a damn

(March sucks. Is it April yet?... And on that note, it's time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 103rd in a series):

When a baseball legend dies, you do what you can as a card collector. You find the finest cards you have of the player and show them off, figuring the greatness of the card will reflect the greatness of the subject.

That's what I did when The Duke of Flatbush died on Sunday.

But there are lots cards of Snider that didn't appear on 1949 Bowman stock or were even created in the 1950s. There are cards of Snider worth pennies. Leafing through the giant Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, I became all too aware of how many cards exist of Edwin Donald Snider. Many of them aren't worth much at all.

I have some of those cards, Not a lot. But they are among my favorites, and there is something kind of a cool about having a card of a '50s superstar that is worthless ... monetarily speaking anyway.

Here are just a few:

This is one of several TCMA issues that featured Snider. The early 1980s was a great time for sets celebrating baseball's past. They seemed to pop up out of nowhere, and since I was just getting to know about baseball history at the time, I wanted every single thing that TCMA put out. Unfortunately, I had no cash then.

Someone sent me this card, and until yesterday afternoon, I had no idea what it was. It's something called Authentic Sports Autographs from 1983. It featured 11 different players and each player had a dozen cards each. (That means there are 11 more Duke Snider cards in this set). The set was also issued in an autographed version, with the first card of each player autographed.

This card is from the very first set I ever ordered through a catalog. I was probably around 12 years old. This was another TCMA set, of all-time Dodger greats. All of the backs looked the same.

The top right corner of this card was damaged somehow, as if it was stuck to something at one point. Unfortunately, I have no idea what I did. I'm sure it was pure genius.

These cards are actually worth a couple of bucks -- if you don't stick them to something.

This might be my favorite Duke Snider card, one that I wish I sent him, accompanied by a red Sharpie. This is from the 1974 TCMA set on the 1952 Boys of Summer.

The interesting thing about this set is every card is close to being 2 1/2-by-3 1/2. It's as if 2 1/2-by-3 1/2 was some unattainable concept, but, gosh darn it, they were going to try! Some of the cards are smaller, some are larger. Getting them in your standard 9-pocket page is impossible. They will not be compartmentalized!!!!

Again, each of the cards in this set are priced at a couple of bucks, but not if you were trying to jam them into a page pocket all the time like I was.

These aren't even cards. They're stickers. If you collected in the early '80s, you already know what they are. Fleer would insert stickers in its packs, with the World Series cartoons on the back. It was an update of its early '70s World Series set.

I  loved these cards when they came out. I enjoyed the World Series drawings a lot more than the stickers. Most of the cards in the set didn't even feature a player, so having two featuring Snider is great.

There are plenty of other affordable Snider cards out there -- not just the inserts in 2011 Topps. So if you're looking for a Duke card to commemorate his greatness, there is no need to go broke. Find one of the many cheapies that honor the greatness of Mr. Snider perfectly well.

Trust me, they're a load of fun, too.

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