There are very few cards that reach “must have” status for my collection. Most of them, such as the Richie Ashburn rookie card, in my opinion are just prerequisites for any serious Phillies team collector. However, every once in a very rare while, I just see a card and decide that I absolutely must have it. It’s almost always an emotional response — there’s no reason or logic as to why I need that card. But, I suspect on some level that’s true in varying degrees to what a lot of us collect. It’s just that some impulses are ridiculously stronger than others.
At the beginning of the year, I posted about the head-scratcher that was the 2013 Panini America’s Pastime Hitters Ink John Kruk & Carlos Ruiz card. I reference it now because it seems to me that it’s the only Phillies-only multiple autograph card issued thus far that makes less sense than this card (though, the 2013 Topps Archives Triple Autograph of Larry Bowa, Darren Daulton, & Juan Samuel is certainly in the running). I’m being a little unfair with that statement — after all, each of these three were members of the 2013 Phillies. However, I just can’t imagine any Phillies fans picking Young when asked which other team member they associate with Halladay and Ruiz.
Another fascinating thing about this card is that the autograph stickers represent the disconnect; Ruiz’s and Halladay’s are clear on top of a gold foil background while the Young sticker has a silver foil backing. The scan of the card doesn’t do justice to how badly the silver foil wrecks the overall appearance of the card. For a premium product, it looks juvenilely slap-dash. Yet, Topps clearly had Michael Young stickers lying around that needed to be used; hence this monstrosity.
Here’s the real kicker about this card: it’s the only certified autograph card of Michael Young picturing and denoting him with the Phillies, and Topps only made 10 of it. The fact that 2013 Topps Supreme was (in theory) released only in Asia means that this is even harder to find in the US than the print run suggests. One day I plan to write a short series on the Phillies with the smallest number of certified autograph cards available, and I’m pretty certain that Michael Young will top the list.
Even though I try to make sure that I grab as many certified Phillies autographs as I can, Young’s presence still doesn’t fully explain my irrational need for this card. It’s ugly and reeks of Topps trying to make sure that they weren’t stuck with unused old autograph stickers for Young. Of all the cards with a print run of 10 or less in my collection, this is easily my least favorite. Yet, I’m still happy to have it.