Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sentimental Favorites: 99-00 Fleer Focus Feel The Game Grant Hill Jersey Card

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I never thought in a trillion years that I'd be a game used collector. To own full pieces of game used memeorabilia like jerseys, bats, shoes, baseballs, footballs, etc.. is just so beyond awesome, it's just pretty cool to own something that a future hall of famer or your favorite athlete wore or used. Before that though, many years ago, my main white whale was something called the "Game Used Jersey Card". I know Press Pass originated it, but my first mainstream encounter with game used jersey cards was when Upper Deck introduced them in their base brand in 1996. I was in awe, they took jerseys that were worn in a game by Joe Montana, Ken Griffey Jr, and most of all MJ himself, cut them up into pieces and placed them inside trading cards! Are you freaking serious!?! I wanted one soooooooooo bad. They were super tough to pull naturally. 1:2500 packs. There was no way I'd ever be able to own or afford one. At the time, with no Ebay, and being a kid, basically my only chance was packs. As the 90's rolled on, game jersey cards were THE big pull to get. Even semistar players were popular because of the fact of how tough these babies were too pull. But then something happened, the odds started shrinking, probably in an effort to get more collectors to rip open packs. UD's hobby only jersey cards while still nice were 1:360 packs and it started an inevitable trend of mass productions. But in 1999, they were still highly sought after and after my buddy Kenny pulled a Terrell Davis Jersey card out of a pack of 1999 Upper deck at target, I was even more determined to get one..OF ANYBODY! I had a couple of memorabilia cards in my collection, but both were pieces of basketball and football, not really anything directly linked to a specific player. Fleer entered the game used market with it's Feel the Game series and the odds were 1:360. But I had entered the Ebay era, and instead of ripping open pack after pack, I decided to just buy one of those damn things. I had to ask my mom if I could use my money on something that big, cause mom wasn't exactly the biggest card nut, puzzled on why I'd want to spend that kind of money on cardboard much less cardboard with a "swatch of  clothes" on them. She joked "you know they just bought some clothes at a garage sale and put them in those cards to trick you right"? (might not be too far from the truth nowadays, lol). Anyway after promising that this was gonna be the best card in the whole wide world and I wouldn't buy anything "in a long time" she gave me the OK and I found a jersey card I wanted big time. Grant Hill was still a hobby superstar and here was a card that a swatch of a jersey he wore and I locked in on it. I was pleasantly surprised to see these cards didn't go for nearly as much as their UD counterparts and ended up winning the Hill for an amazing steal! $75!! Well...I thought it was a steal at the time anyway. FINALLY though...FINALLY I had acquired my first game worn jersey card! Now I didn't have paypal back then, so I paid with either a check or money order so the wait felt like foreverrrrrrr. Finally though, it came in and it instantly became the best card in my collection. I couldn't stop staring at it, such a magnificent card. I have a piece of jersey that Grant Hill ACTUALLY WORE! Fast forward to now, and I'd probably be lucky to get $5 for this card. The game used jersey card market has been completely saturated and the only things collectors care about are super sick multi colored patches and logomen. In a way it's sad to see the demise of the plain jersey card swatch, because at one time these was the cornerstones of collections. Even today, when I look at the collection I have, I always pull this card out of my box and it brings a huge smile to my face. The memories this card brings are much more than the $5 I'll get off Ebay. This card is never leaving my collection!

1 comment:

  1. Great story. It's these types of posts that made me start my blog. Now I just need to sit down and try to remember my first "jersey" card. Hmmm....