Friday, July 3, 2009

Card Spotlight: 7-3-09

1997 Bowman International #290 - Frank Thomas

Here in the United States, we are heading into our Independence Day weekend. It's a unique time, where you celebrate the birth of your country by blowing up a small chunk of it. It's grand, spectacular and noisy... all at the same time. I love watching pretty lights in the sky as much as the next person, but I leave the handling of those pretty lights to a trained professional. Mostly, this weekend will consist of spending quality time with family and friends, watching some baseball and medicating my dog, so she doesn't have a heart attack from the fireworks.

My original plan was to be in Kansas City with my fiancee to watch the White Sox take on the Royals tonight. Due to budgetary constraints, we'll have to make that trip another time. Instead of exploring Kauffman Stadium, we'll be watching the White Sox on television. This gives me time to flip through my binders of cards. It's a compromise that I can live with.

When I actually take the time to carefully look through my collection, there are certain cards that just pop out. They can be the simplest designs or ones with imaginative colorful backgrounds. Sometimes it's the juxtaposition of a card next to another one that will make it stand out. Other times, a card is just begging to be noticed. Then there are the times where everything in your life converges perfectly on display through a tiny piece of cardboard.

Enter 1997 Bowman International. I must confess, when this set came out, the last thing on my mind was baseball cards. I had stopped collecting after the 1994 strike canceled the World Series. I was a little bitter about it. I was secretly hoping for a White Sox/Expos World Series that year. I think I would have gotten it too, if it hadn't been for the strike. If the Expos made a World Series appearance that year, maybe they would still be in Montreal. It didn't work out that way and we must move on.

The idea of flags as a backdrop on cards is really nothing new. I can remember some early nineties Fleer inserts that featured some players in front of an American flag. Score even put out a card of the American flag as a baseball card. Something about Frank Thomas in front of a flag really stood out.

The obvious reason would be the upcoming Fourth of July festivities that are currently underway. Another reason this jumped out at me was because this was a parallel of the regular 1997 Bowman set. The background was edited out and a flag of each player's origin was placed in the void. If I were actively collecting in 1997, I would have busted packs of Bowman to get the one International parallel per pack.

Even with those reasons making the card jump out, I think it is the road uniform of Frank Thomas that helped the card resonate with me today. Not only is there talk of Frank Thomas ending his career with the White Sox, but that road uniform reminds me of the trip not taken this weekend. No matter what you're doing in life, it can all be summed up in cards.

1 comment:

night owl said...

"No matter what you're doing in life, it can all be summed up in cards."

Absolutely true!

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