Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Greatest Baseball Card Ever Made according to Dave

Roberto Clemente would have been 85 years old today. I thought this would be a great time to share a contest entry from a reader Dave, who doesn't have a blog. He emailed me an entry for the best baseball card ever made. Here it is.

"For me, the best baseball card ever made is (1) of a player that I never saw play, (2) of a player on a team that I have never rooted for, and (3) is from a set that is not my favorite. However, it is a powerful image that is about much more than baseball. It is the 1973 card of Roberto Clemente.

The image is wistful. The long shadows show that the picture was taken just before sunset. Most of Clemente’s face is covered in shadows and he is looking away. It seems to perfectly capture the fact that his brilliant career was sun-setting. He was 38 and had completed 18 seasons. No one could have known when the card was designed that this was not only the sunset of a long career but of a short life.

The card, #50, was released in the first series of the 1973 set. Surely it was already in production when news reached Topps that Clemente had lost his life while on a hero’s mission to Nicaragua on the last day of 1972.

I’m confident that when the picture was taken, Clemente was entirely focused on the coming pitch. But I can’t help but feel that in the deeper recesses of his mind, he knew that his life was about much more than baseball. And for me, that is why it is the best baseball card ever made: it transcends the sport."

Thank you for your entry Dave! This is a fantastic card for sure.


  1. That is a fantastic card. Definitely one of my favorites of Clemente.

  2. I've posted before that this is my all-time favorite card. It was the first Clemente I got, and I got it at the first card show that Dad and I ever went to. It's not the same as saying that I think it's the best card ever, but it is my favorite.

  3. Almost 50 years later... collectors are still blown away by the awesomeness of this card. Can you imagine how kids, Pirates fans, and card collectors felt when they pulled this card out of their 1973 Topps Series 1 packs back in the day?

  4. this card was such a shock for us kids in 1973, enigmatic and perfect!