A little bit of cardboard nostalgia

In The Cards

Long gone are the days of finding that luscious, pasty, “cardboard like” pink stick included in a package of much anticipated hockey or baseball cards.

When I was a youngster, packages of O-Pee Chee or Topps, depending on the sport of season were found in nearly every corner store, ranging between $0.35 to $0.50 and then increasing to $1.00.

Jump ahead to the days of die-cut, foil backed, holographic specialty cards and packs of memorabilia that used to be purchased with pocket change would set collectors back $5.00.

For fans on the West Coast, finding cards of your favorite local heroes have not been hard to find, and for many, the first piece of cardboard that displayed both picture and stats is still modestly priced.

When you take into consideration all of the players that have spent at least a portion of their career either in Vancouver, Seattle or Portland, the chances of striking it rich with a piece of their cardboard memorabilia is pretty slim when you are talking about their standard issue cards.

As with many collectable pieces, more often than not, it is their first appearance that will attract the big money.

However despite it’s rich history of sports, the Northwest does not represent well in the trading card market for those looking for an investment piece.

*All cards valued based on GEM condition*

Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card

The gem of all Northwest gems, the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. (Photo: Upper Deck)

Ken Griffey Jr. (1990 Upper Deck #1 . Approx. value $250.00)

For nearly two decades, “The Kid’s” UD rookie card is one of the gems of the sport card world. At the time of it’s release, this piece brought mainstream awareness to the hobby.

Spencer Haywood NBA Rookie Card

Haywood had to wear his jersey backwards to please the company (Photo: Topps)

With the first base line running down the side, Griffey’s megawatt smile highlighted the company’s first venture into the sports card world, changing not only the quality of product, but also the purchase price.

Spencer Haywood (1971 Topps #20.  Approx value $100.00)  

The former Seattle SuperSonic rookie forward was actually a member of the ABA’s Denver Nuggets the year before the league merged with the NBA, however his first official “rookie card” was one in a Sonics uniform.

All things considered, the cards offer a pretty bland picture of Haywood in front of a green square with a groovy looking Seattle font above his head.

Rumor is that the reason why you see “Haywood” on the front of his jersey is that if the team name / logo was displayed, the player would forfeit their fee from the Topps to the team.

Pavel Bure Rookie Card

The Russian Rocket Pavel Bure (Photo: Upper Deck)

Pavel Bure (1990 Upper Deck #526.  Approx value $10.00)

The Russian Rocket’s rookie card was featured in Upper Deck’s inaugural set of hockey cards.

While his rookie counter part Sergei Fedorov is captured wearing the familiar Detroit Red Wings #91 jersey, Bure was photographed after the World Junior Championships in his CCCP colors.

Clyde Drexler Rookie Card

Clyde “The Glide” Drexler (Photo: Fleer)

Along with Fedorov, and Jaromir Jagr, Bure’s card was one of the most sought after of the set.

Clyde Drexler ( 1986 Fleer #26.  Approx value $160.00)  

Always and forever overshadowed by Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler’s rookie card is part of the historic 1986 draft class (Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkens and James Worthy to name but a few).

Considering that he just came from Phi Slamma Jamma, one may have appreciated Drexler’s first card capturing him in flight, rather than what looks like Billy D. Williams bringing the rock down the floor.

Steve Largent Rookie Card

The pride of Seattle, Steve Largent (Photo: Topps)

Steve Largent (1977 Topps #177.  Approx value $2800.00)

As with Haywood’s rookie card, Largent’s isn’t much to look at.

While it is great to get a close up of the Hall of Fame receiver, the helmet and shadows take a lot away from the Seahawks prized football collectable.

For you youngsters who don’t know the importance of these cards, I urge you to print them out and show them to your fathers, they will understand.

Sports cards were the beginning of a love affair with sports for many of us.


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About Steve Lee

Steve is a 12 year writing vet, and writes for a number of sports sites, offering a unique and abstract look at the games we love. He still hopes the Grizz + Sonics return to the Northwest, and has been a Lakers fan since "Showtime".
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