Monday, September 20, 2010

Favorite Cards: Toronto Blue Jays

1983 Topps #488 - Alfredo Griffin

Unlike the previous entries in this series, this card is different in several ways. It features a team whose first game (against the White Sox) took place roughly five and a half months after my birth. This is also the first card featured that is younger than I am. It is also the first card to feature a Rookie of the Year, even though he had to share that honor with John Castino of the Minnesota Twins in 1979.

This is a copy of a card from my very first pack of card, back in 1983. I've told the story of that pack several times, so I won't re-hash that here. I will however re-hash and add things about the card itself.

Thumbing through that first pack could have been disaster. I was unimpressed with players that I was unfamiliar with and teams that I didn't follow. There were posed players that looked older than my grandfather, to my six and a half year old eyes. Then, I came across this card of Alfredo Griffin.

The first detail I noticed about the picture was the pucker of Alfredo's mouth. The second detail that caught my eye was the ball. It looked like he was about to miss the ball, but seeing only one frame of a play in motion, it was hard to tell for sure. I can remember looking at Griffin's headshot and thinking that he looked so sincere. He had a kind face. I was heavy into the Blues Brothers at that time (and still am), so the fact that Alfredo had sideburns like Elwood Blues may have subconsciously held my attention too.

It could be a combination of all these things and more. Whatever the reasons, I have not been able to get this card out of my memory. I thought so much of it as a child that I wrote "$1.00" in black crayon on the back. To me, at that time, $1.00 was the equivalent of pricing it at $100.00 today. It meant that much to me.

I have no idea what happened to this card. I assume it is tucked away in a box somewhere in a closet, trapped with other childhood memories. I did run across it about a decade ago, but I was in a non-collecting phase of my life, so I put it back wherever it was and forgot about it. I haven't been fortunate enough to replace the card and it is not on a high priority list. I have my memories and somewhere in my house rests the card, waiting to be discovered.

I haven't found another Blue Jays card that has ever captured my interest more than this card. It's been twenty-seven years and the search continues, but this Blue Jays card will be tough to beat.


Steve Scott said...

Alfredo was my favorite baseball player when with the A's. I saw him do some amazing things. He once stole home from second base on a bases loaded walk.

I used to yell "Al-fre-do" at him during his pre-game wind sprints for about 3/4 of his games in Oakland. One day he sent the bat boy out and gave me an unbroken bat, tape, pine tar and all.

Steve Gierman said...

I used to purposely choose White Sox games against the A's in the 80s just to see Griffin play.

Awesome anecdotes! Plus a great souvenir!

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