Monday, June 13, 2011

Favorite Cards: Oakland Athletics

1993 Select #257 - Harold Baines

Since the A's have been in Oakland, they have had their fair share of success. Big name players have come and gone through the ranks. There have been Hall of Fame players that are immediately identified with Oakland and there have been great characters who have emerged from the team.

Great hitting and great pitching have defined different eras in Oakland. From World Series dominance to bottom of the barrel, scrappy teams that you can't help but root for, the A's have had many cards that I've considered great.

In this instance, many things fall into place on this card. One of my favorite players is featured. The border color, which is suspect on many other cards in this set, matches perfectly with the uniform. The player featured has a big, natural smile and is caught in a candid moment.

For all the iconic cards of the Oakland Athletics from Rickey Henderson to Jose Canseco to Barry Zito to Reggie Jackson, this card pulls ahead, in my opinion. While I'm sure others will argue the merits of other cards, from superstars in their prime to hot rookie cards that have defined a year, this card, to me, represents what I love about baseball.

All the dedication and hard work and talent will only get a player so far. To truly appreciate the nuances of the game, the player has to enjoy what he's doing. Too many players carry their sullen attitude onto the field and keep it after the game. Every player that makes it into a game at the Major League level gets paid an extraordinary amount of money to play a game. Players should never forget what it was like to dream of playing in the majors, as a kid.

This card captures that innocence and joy of childhood fantasies perfectly. That's what makes this my favorite Oakland Athletics card.

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