Building the Mount Rushmore of Baseball Cards
This year, Buster Olney of ESPN put together a list of players that would represent the Mount Rushmore for each franchise. It really is a fascinating subject. For some teams, it is almost impossible to narrow it down to four players. With others, you might struggle to fill all the slots without a chuckle or two. As a collector, someone who is intrigued by lists as most collectors are, the exercise was fun.
Right around the time when Olney released his picks, I received an email from a collector who suggested that we raise the same question for the hobby. My reaction was instantaneous. What a terrific idea.
What four baseball cards would make up your Mount Rushmore?
It's not as easy as one would think. There are so many iconic cards to choose from and here, unlike the Olney exercise, we are not selecting four cards per franchise... we have only four slots and every baseball card ever made to consider. It would be hard enough to deal with what Olney had to contend with for the New York Yankees alone. Even if we have a consensus on Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle, do we fill the last slot with Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra or Derek Jeter?
Back to baseball cards... here is my attempt at sculpting the prestigious side of the mountain and the reasons behind each selection.
1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner - Enough said.
1916 M101-4/5 #151 Babe Ruth - This card has really emerged over the past few years. While the set in which the card resides is not the most popular issue, the rookie card of the "Sultan of Swat" has taken on a life of its own. The 1914 Baltimore News minor league card is far tougher to find, but this is considered the major league rookie of the greatest player who ever lived.
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle - The Wagner card might be the Mona Lisa of the baseball card world and the 1951 Bowman issue may be Mantle's true rookie, but no single card image is more iconic than this one. If I had to pick a sole card to represent all of card collecting, it's this one... hands down.
1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron - Without a doubt, the fourth slot was the toughest one to fill. You could argue that any number of cards could finish this quartet. Should it be a 1915 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb or Shoeless Joe? Should it be a 1948/49 Leaf Jackie Robinson? How about a 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax or Roberto Clemente? So many options, yet just one slot.
I ended up selecting the Aaron rookie for the same reason I chose the 1952 Topps Mantle. When I think about collecting baseball cards, the image of the Aaron rookie is one that immediately comes to mind. It's not nearly as valuable as the others on this card mountain or many others I left off for that matter, but the image alone symbolizes baseball card collecting as well as any I could think of.
So, which cards would make your cut?
Never get cheated,
Which of the following cards do you think should take the
#4 spot on the Mount Rushmore of Baseball Cards?
1) 1954 Topps #128 Hank Aaron
2) 1915 Cracker Jack #103 Shoeless Joe Jackson
3) 1948/49 Leaf #79 Jackie Robinson
4) 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente
Vote at www.psacard.com/rushmore
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