Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cards That Never Were #25

1991 Upper Deck - Jim Palmer

When Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer announced his comeback in 1991, a buzz swarmed around Orioles Spring Training camp. Could someone who has been enshrined in Cooperstown pitch another big league game?

After two innings of mixed results, the answer was ultimately no. Sparked by jealousy of Nolan Ryan still pitching, Jim thought that if Ryan can pitch at his age, he would have no trouble picking up where he had left off. After all, Palmer had been working out the past few seasons with the Orioles.

Expectations were high, at least in the romanticized version the public saw. Just as quickly as the attention peaked, it dropped just as fast and is now considered one of the worst comeback attempts in sports history. Not so much for the failure, but the heightened expectations of Jim succeeding led to this being regarded near or at the top of sports comeback flops.

For a relatively new company looking for any type of hobby buzz and media attention, this would seem like the ultimate opportunity. Win or lose, Jim Palmer's comeback could have made Upper Deck the hot product of 1991. Upper Deck already had a special insert card of Michael Jordan in a White Sox uniform. This could have been another chase card or the only base card of the Hall of Fame pitcher that year.

For whatever the reason, Upper Deck chose to bypass Jim Palmer, like all the rest of the card companies. This would have been the type of gimmick that I would have expected from Upper Deck in 1991.


Johngy said...

I like the marketing end of this. Would have been a great idea for UD.

Matt F. said...

This one might be my most favorite.

Orioles Magic said...

Nice work on the Oriole card! This is a funny memory at this point.

Anonymous said...

Nice card Steve. Palmer definitely should have had a card in 1991.

Anonymous said...

Nice card Steve. Palmer definitely should have had a card in 1991.

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