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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

2003 Play Ball - Joe's Streak

This is the coolest insert set from 2003 Play Ball. Remember the DiMaggio Streak cards from last year's Topps set? These make them look pathetic. First of all, these are hefty cards. They are thick as a brick as the box score is recessed in the card. Completely unecessary, but the shadowbox effect looks nice. UD used the same technique on box score cards and base parallel cards in the 2004 set also, but these look nicer. The set is dedicated to the Yankee Clipper's 56-game hitting streak in 1941. There's one card for each game, each with a photo of Joe, the Yankee half of the box score and a summary of the game. The one above is game 14 of the streak, a rainout in Washington where DiMaggio hit a chopper off the plate for a single before the game was called in the middle of the 6th. Nowadays the umps would rather eat a bug than call a game, but back then with no lights the Sens were probably happy to wait till it got too dark and escape with a tie.

Here's game number 15 of the streak , where Joe barely kept the streak alive with a single in the ninth inning of the opener of a twinbill in Boston. Note that the two photos are different. Upper Deck did this set right, every card has a different photo of Joe, and they are related to the hit in some instances. Card 45 shows Joe in front of a sign stating "45 cracks" and card 56 has him kissing his bat. The box score is cool as this is before you could go on Baseball-Reference.com and pull up RetroSheet box scores whenever you wanted. Actually, the box scores only go back to 1956 right now, so you can't really look these up that easily anyway.

What is extremely cool about this set is that each card has a game summary on the back. It's pretty neat to read about these games that happened over 60 years ago. It adds some context to this legendary streak. These were actual baseball games they were playing after all, not just Joe getting a hit and everyone going home.

These cards were somewhat difficult to find in packs, I think they were maybe one or two a box or so. They weren't cheap, either. I only got these two back at the time, and then pulled a third out of a pack. Unfortunately it was a dupe of card 14. Anyone need card 14 for their set? Sets are pricey nowadays too, there's one on eBay right now for the low, low price of $250. Gotta admit, it's a pretty freakin' sweet set though.


Matt said...

These are the insanely cool cards that let me forget about all of the stupid gimmicks for a minute and think that UD and Topps haven't TOTALLY screwed up the hobby.

shoeboxlegends said...

Wow, never heard of them before but those are some great cards!