Featured Card: 2013 Panini America’s Pastime Hitters Ink #HI-PHI, John Kruk & Carlos Ruiz
Last week, in my first post after a three-month hiatus, I mentioned how jaded I had become as a collector. That, somehow, I wasn’t really that excited about adding to my collection a short-printed triple-relic card featuring three different Phillies to win an MVP award. However, I have to admit that changed a couple days later when the first cards and inserts from 2013 Panini America’s Pastime started appearing on eBay. The second I saw the Hitter’s Ink card featuring Kruk and Ruiz, I knew I had to have it in my collection — it was a moral imperative.
Well, it arrived yesterday, and in my heart, I squealed like a little schoolgirl seeing One Direction in person. A dual autograph card featuring my two favorite Phillies from the past 20 years, and the best part is that the autographs are directly on the card, not stickers! I also give Panini all sorts of credit for choosing photos which required negligible retouching to remove the Phillies insignia. At first glance, you don’t even notice they’re gone. I cannot overemphasize how thrilled I am to have this card in my collection.
What makes me love the card so much more is that it makes no logical sense why someone at Panini thought Kruk and Ruiz should share a dual autograph booklet — unlike, say, a dual autograph booklet or card featuring any combination of Phillies who have an obvious connection, such as playing same position, winning similar awards or honors, playing in all star games together, etc. Panini attempts to make such a rationalization by comparing Kruk’s Phillies career batting average to Ruiz’s batting average from 201o through 2012, but that really takes an act of precise cherry-picking. In other words, they had to concoct a reason for this particular pairing.
I don’t know if this card is the true centerpiece of my collection — it’s far too early to say that right now. However, including all parallels, Panini only made 46 copies of this card, and when the day comes that I can put together some sort of display to highlight my favorite pieces in my collection (unfortunately, due to space constraints, it’s nearly entirely in boxes), I’m certain that this card will be a part of it.