Ask any player collector what they’re dream card is and it’s likely going to be a signed rookie card of some sorts. Or maybe a 1/1 featuring a sweet patch or button, coupled with an autograph.
Some people may not understand my fascination with this card. I was a big fan of the photography used in the 1991 set and from the outset, I had my eye on the Clemens card because it features him standing at the base of the iconic Green Monster. I’ve owned probably 30 or 40 copies of the standard card, but always wanted the Desert Shield version. For the uninitiated, the Desert Shield version features a gold stamp in the corner. These were cards that were sent (in pack/box form) to the US troops stationed abroad during the Gulf War. The fact that some of these actually made it back to the States is impressive in their own right.
(Side note: Surely some of the boxes never actually made it abroad as sealed wax can be found if your pockets are deep enough. Nonetheless, the mystique surrounding the product remains.)
When I first learned of the cards, I hoped that one day I could own one card — any card at that — from that special set. My hopes, obviously, were to own the Clemens card but I figured it would cost me a fortune. Remember, this was a quarter of a century ago.
Over time we as a hobby have found new ways to get the cards of which we’d always dreamed. The internet has made the impossible possible as we were no longer limited to just the cards we had in local shops and shows. Even so, I failed to obtain a Desert Shield version of the 1991 card until recently, when I not only located THE card, but one that had been handled and signed by the legend Roger Clemens himself. The autograph is authenticated by JSA, as noted with a sticker affixed to the back with a matching serial number on the COA.
The term “priceless” gets used quit a bit by collectors, but this one truly is in my mind.