Friday, August 21, 2009

Card Spotlight: 8-21-09

2006 Bowman Heritage #76 - A.J. Pierzynski

A.J. is in the middle of the best overall season in his MLB career. In most major categories, his stats are career highs or just shy of that mark. Most catchers (on the wrong side of thirty) slow down and become less productive. A.J. has put the work in and is experiencing a renaissance in his career.

This card reminds me of A.J.'s work ethic. He is ready to play at any given moment during a game. If you need him to catch 15 innings, he play it (and want to play in the next game). If you need him to smack a double, he'll send one screaming past an outfielder. I love the way Topps captured the intensity in Pierzynski's eyes.

This 2006 release celebrates the classic 1949 Bowman set. It may not be the prettiest to look at, but there is beauty hidden in the muted hues and undertones. There is a grace that lies in the artwork. Simplicity incarnate, as A.J. grabs his mitt and bat, ready for anything.

The longer I have this card in my collection, the more I appreciate it. The card may go back to a simpler time in collecting, but sometimes it's OK to go back. Those of us who were old enough to collect the original set are flooded with memories. Those of us who are being introduced to the set are getting a great lesson in history. Unlike the 1952 Topps design, the original Bowman designs have yet to become cliche. Let's appreciate them before they do.

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