You might have GOLD in your relic cards!
Goodness, has it really been 6 months since I've last written an article? That's a good tell for how busy I've been. I guess it also speaks to the fact that I haven't really had anything all that interesting to say ...
While the catalyst of the discovery I'm about to tell you is going to zero in on my latest card acquisition, it is my hope that it will cause you to dig into your collection as well, and see if you can uncover gold. It'll be a fun exercise, I promise!
So, where to begin? Ahh yes, August.
In the heat of the day, a most glorious card popped up on eBay of - you guessed it - Jose Canseco.
I thought the timing was strange, because earlier in that day, I posted a jumbo Canseco Rangers patch card I created, using a player-worn patch, which happens to be the same as the game-used patch I landed. What a coincidence!
I started looking for pictures of Jose wearing the patch, and kept coming up with perhaps the most embarrassing thing that happened to him in his career ...
yeah ... that. Upper Deck decided to immortalize this the next year ...
About a decade later, Topps followed suit ...
Sorry, Jose - not a month. It consistently makes the #1 wildest ALL TIME play in baseball history, even 30 years later.
As a fan of Jose, I get ribbed a lot because of what happened to my favorite player, but people quickly forget he was once widely regarded as the greatest player on the planet for a time. His larger than life persona transcended baseball - he was a household name. You may think it was a blooper. I prefer to think my favorite player is so strong, he could even hit home runs with his head!
Oh, and to put a very sour exclamation point to Jose's unfortunate gaffe, three short days later, he pitched in a game, which ended up causing him to have season-ending surgery.
Conspiracy theory time! What if Canseco never pitched? What if he never got injured, got hot for the rest of the year, put up great numbers, and got close enough to 500 home runs that a team signed him to hit that goal? Would he be in the hall of fame? Would he have not written his tell-all book? If he didn't, would McGwire, Bonds, Clemens, and many others be in the hall? Instead, Jose ended with 462 home runs, was blackballed from baseball at age 37, and the rest is history. Yeah, I know that is a huuuuge conspiracy theory with a lot of threads to pull on, and potentially many holes, but interesting to think about!
Okay, so that has nothing to do with why I'm writing ... anyway ...
Starting in 2018, Panini produced several Jose Canseco game used patch cards of him with the Rangers. Earlier on in the year, a Canseco game used Rangers jersey went up for sale at an auction house.
Guess what? Based upon my ebay history search and comparing stitching to pieces Panini used in their cards, it looks as though Panini used this very jersey that came from the auction house!
The jersey has the same patch that my card has. This got me to thinking ...
If the Rangers ONLY wore this patch in 1993 ...
... and Jose only played less than three months of 1993, is it possible that Panini was the purchaser of THE jersey Jose wore when these unfortunate events happened? Talk about a historical piece!
Here is what part of the Canseco game used jersey description says in the listing:
According to Resolution Photomatching's research: "The photomatch was made to Getty Image #82977809. We confirmed that the photo was taken at Milwaukee County Stadium, which would pinpoint the probable dates that the photo could have been taken to 4/23/1993, 4/24/1993, or 4/25/1993,..." The firm was unable to photomatch the jersey to Canseco's infamous three day stretch, but it is highly probable he wore this road jersey during the games. Teams usually wore two sets of jerseys a season. Given the fact Canseco was gone for the year after his ill-timed pitching debut, it is likely this jersey saw those two games.
This Rangers sleeve patch was the reason for me to dig, and boy did it pay off! I remember hearing that Keith Olbermann bought the hat a number of years back - I always thought that would have been a cool piece.
So while this isn't as monumental as the hat, it is the next best thing!
Panini has put out a handful of really cool Canseco Rangers patch cards, so if you have one of these, hopefully this article helps you to realize they are extra special - you can actually observe on video (and even some baseball cards!) Jose Canseco wearing the pieces in these very cards during the #1 all-time booper reel highlight (and the pitching mishap that changed the game forever #conspiracytheory STOP IT TANNER!) Here's another one of mine that was very close to being on the chopping block (i.e. trade bait) until I realized what it was. All of a sudden, it is much more beautiful to me.
But that doesn't end with these beautiful premium patches. If you own a Panini card of Jose from 2018 to present with any Rangers patch, or even a gray swatch, the odds are, it is from the same jersey! In my book, that is something to get excited about!
This past week, ANOTHER Canseco Rangers patch came up for sale, and I decided to go for it in an attempt to upgrade from my previous card. I landed it, and I must say, I'm super happy about it - in fact, it has demoted my 1999 PMG Canseco to box duty so this beauty can be displayed on my shelf! To me, the design/eye appeal/patch are perfection, but what really makes it special is that tiny square inch of historic fabric that sat on my baseball hero's arm, inches away from a ball bouncing off his head for a home run.
In a collecting world where rarity rules the roost, I'll admit, a low serial number in and of itself doesn't impress me all that much anymore. A card has to have special meaning in one way shape or form. Having a card with a premium patch piece from the infamous ball head bounce & pitching stint that sits on my shelf is nothing short of exciting.
I get it - many of you out there don't care too terribly much for Jose, and that's ok! This exercise was super fun, and if you have enough time on your hands, you can use Google to track down game used jerseys, bats, etc. and potentially match patches from cards in your collection, even pinpointing monumental games. It adds yet another layer of how this hobby can be such a blast!