Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Card of Week: 1994 Topps #180 George Brett

The big news in the world this week is that England's royal family has a new addition.  So, I will celebrate it with honoring the greatest Kansas City Royal of all time.  George Brett spent his entire career(1973-93) with the Royals.  He won a Gold Glove, AL MVP, 3x Silver Slugger Award winner and was a 13 time All Star.  Also during his tenure, Kansas City won five division titles, two American League pennants and one World Series championship.
As for the card itself, this perhaps my favorite Brett card of all time.  The photo is one of a few ever that has a viewpoint from behind the plate. It gives the fan a glimpse of Brett's classic swing that allowed him to get over 3,000 career hits.  It has also shows his #5 uniform number which was later retired by the Royals and a nice view of Royals (now Kauffman) Stadium. I have always considered the stadium as one of the most underrated in terms of beauty.   Too bad one can not see any of the fountains beyond the outfield wall.

In the baseball card hobby, a player's rookie card is usually always the most sought after and because of this, has the highest value. For me, I have always liked the players last card. I can flip the card over and easily see the career stats of the player.  Brett retired from baseball at the end of the 1993 season and this card gives you a look at his entire Hall of Fame numbers.  If you look close enough, you can see that Brett won batting titles three times -in 1976, 1980 and 1990). He is the only player in MLB history to win titles in three different decades.
The photo is significant also. I don't know that Topps made a photo of Brett using pine tar on purpose for his last card in order to showcase another part of Brett's career.  Brett's most famous (or infamous) game of his career was the Pine Tar Game  ,which Wednesday is the 30th anniversary of the game. To this day, I have never seen a person more irate on the field when Brett's go ahead home run was disallowed by umpire Tim McClelland.
On a personal note, George Brett was one of my favorite players growing up.  In addition to playing the game with class and dignity, Brett was known to come up big against the hated New York Yankees.  He also had the ultimate respect from my local Detroit Tigers and manager Sparky Anderson.  Anderson always said if the Royals were going to beat us, it will be by someone else other than George Brett and was given his fair share of intentional walks from Anderson during the later parts of games.  Brett also is one of the select few players to hit a home run over the right field roof of Tiger Stadium.

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