Card of the Day: 2000 Ovation Ken Griffey Jr. (Reds)

Eight years ago, Ken Griffey Jr. went home. He went from being a superstar in the Pacific Northwest to a hometown hero. He traded the Mariner blue for Cinicinatti Reds pinstripes. Then for some reason his health betrayed him like Mother Nature or the Almighty himself was a Seattle fan. Griffey became an injured star; a shell of his former self. And aside from a few milestone homers, since that move fans have been relegated to watching old highlights of The Kid, or low lights of him hurting himself while round third base in a spring training game or chasing a routine flyball. But before The Kid became an old frail man, he was the greatest player the game had seen in decades. And when he made that move to Cincy, this 2000 Ovation card was one of the first to picture Griffey in a Reds uniform. It was one of the hottest cards on the market.

By the time the end-of-the-year products start hitting the market, there will be another Griffey card that will be the object of any Griffey collector’s affection. It will be that which picture’s Griffey as a member of the White Sox. By now you know the deal. Griffey dealt back to the American League Thursday for a pair of prospects. Seemingly this could be Griffey’s last shot at a World Series ring. But the move is a bit more significant. Junior is only 39, and should he find a home as a designated hitter somewhere in the AL after this season, he could add another two of three years to his career. And what does that mean? A shot at 3,000 hits, maybe 700 homers? Anyway, that’s a discussion for another time.

For now, back to the cardboard. There’s something about a star player being traded or moved through free agency that seems to energize the hobby. For a shortwhile, base cards seem to mean something again. Stars in their new caps and jerseys smiling for the press, an image forever encapsulated between four borders of  a new piece of cardboard. Those new images tend to drive player collector’s into a frenzy, temporarily causing them to pay book prices for a non-short printed card. And when those first Chicago Griffey cards are released we’ll see it again. I’m curious to see if that trend will last longer this time since there are so many people who collect Griffey, coupled with the fact that the White Sox are legitimate contenders for the AL Crown.

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