24 April 2011

the ultimate final tribute card

even before i developed an appreciation for the 1973 topps set, i counted this card among my favorite cards ever.  it's the 1973 topps roberto clemente card.
clemente died in a plane crash on december 31, 1972 while trying to deliver supplies to nicaragua after an earthquake a week or so earlier.   i'm not sure exactly when topps issued its first series of cards for 1973, but it seems reasonable that clemente's death occurred after this card was designed.  that makes it even more perfect - the black border (that is on all 1973 topps cards), combined with the shadows gives a sort of reverence to the card.

the cartoon on the back
celebrates his final big league hit - a double of off the mets' jon matlack - which also counted as his 3000th career base knock.  it's a great thing to see that nice big round number on the bottom of his baseball card (something steve at 'wait til next year' coined a 'clemente-ism').

this 1973 roberto clemente card is one of the reasons i have such an interest in 'final tribute' cards, and it will always be one of my favorites.

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