Monday, May 25, 2009

Lazy, Forgetful Or Devious?

2009 Finest #17 - Ken Griffey Jr.

On February 18, 2009, Ken Griffey became a Mariner again. His career came full circle and everyone seems happy about that. A handful of 2009 cards depict Griffey in a White Sox uniform. Early ones show him in the Sox uniform and list him as being on the White Sox.

Since Griffey didn't sign with anyone officially until February 18th, the card companies had no choice than to let their early product reflect the last team he played for. This is fine in my book. This is why there are releases throughout the year. Players of a Hall of Fame caliber tend to make it into almost every release. It's the natural order of things. Very few people want to collect a set with nothing but mop up guys from the middle relief.

It's the star power that drives most releases. Trying to keep the card releases as current as possible, many card companies slap on a semi recent picture and list the player as being on their current team. Some go a step further and airbrush the player into their new uniform. There are numerous examples of this in most of the flagship releases.

Until I ran across this 2009 card of Ken Griffey Jr., I thought I had seen every possible combination of transition card. Yes, this was a later release. It was current enough to either get a picture of Griffey in his new uniform or airbrush it on. Logic tells me that this would be the hardest option for a first half product. This is why we see so many players in their previous uniform. So, if Griffey is in his new uniform, why is he listed as being on his previous team?

I could tell that Topps was planning a vanity number for Griffey. The card number is 17, which was his number on the White Sox. This was the only time that he wore the uniform number 17 in his Major League career. I can see that Topps was planning on making him part of the White Sox team set, until Griffey inked a deal with his original club.

Was Topps too lazy to do the simplest change of the team name? Did Topps just forget to change the team name? Or did Topps want to create an intentional error, which they are famous for lately? We may never know the reasoning behind the White Sox name and the Mariner uniform, but it does reek of suspicion. Everything about this card seems backwards. Maybe that's the way Topps planned it.

1 comment:

Joe S. said...

I've gotta think this was an oversight. They clearly weren't pressed up against any deadlines because they managed to get a pic of Griffey in a Mariners uni on the front... the editors must've just assumed info as basic as the team name is correct... and there's always the chance that someone works for Topps who doesn't necessarily follow baseball all that closely, saw an S on the helmet and figured Jr. was still with the "sox" if he or she even checked at all for something other than a misspelling (which they apparently did not).

Even if that IS the case, it's inexcusable. It's lazy for a product they charge so much for.

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