Your Turn (Beckett Baseball No. 74): If you could own just one card, what would it be?

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

Imagine a world where you could only own a single copy of a single baseball card — just one and that’s your entire collection.

Which one card would it be?

Would you go with an expensive card? A favorite card? A card you could trade for a different card later?

We want to know which one — and we want to know why.  For me, I really don’t know … it’s quite tough.

Please include your name and location with your comment. We’ll run a selection of the best answers in the next issue of Beckett Baseball.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

52 Comments

  1. Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle. Combo of great player and great design.

  2. Matt
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    The first card that I thought of immediately is the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr.
    I’ve wanted that card since I was 11(when the card was released) and if I ever go that card the 11 year old inside of me would be eternally happy.

  3. Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Bob Gibson RC Pristine!

  4. Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Probably the 2005 Topps Team card depicting the 2004 World Champion Red Sox. Not for the value but for the sweet memory.

  5. Mark
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    1986 Donruss Dale Murphy. It is my favorite card of my favorite player. A perfect photo, along with a wonderful mixture of shades of blue.

    Mark Duell
    Lewis Center, OH

  6. RJ51
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I’d be fine with a 68 Ryan.

  7. Shawn
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    1966 Topps Bobby Orr

  8. Greg
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    A perfectly centered 1979 Topps Ozzie Smith.

  9. Chris Gamble
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    If I could only own one card it would have to be the T206 Honus Wagner. It is the Holy Grail of baseball cards and the one card that seems to bring national attention to the hobby. And, I would be comfortable in the knowledge that if I ever fell on hard financial times I could put it up for auction but that wouldn’t be as fun as owning the card. Just thinking about who might have owned the card before me would be a thrill. Was it a kid who was given the card by his father after buying tobacco? What did the kid grow up to do? Maybe he went on to land on the shores of Normandy on June 6,1944 and went on to help change history. The possibilities are endless.

  10. chrisolds
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Reminder: Baseball only on this one guys! (It’s for the baseball mag …)

  11. clinton johnson
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    if i could only have one baseball card it would be a ’52 topps mantle. thats the one card that i have always always wanted.

  12. Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    i would have to say babe ruth 1933 goudey in best condition possibe and graded by beckett
    for protected reasons. The man,the card, the fame, and all he has done for baseball only makes the card hard to say no to.Not everyone had this card i would think even in 1933. if it was in great condition then it was in the hands of someone with respect for baseball and cards. he may even put it up and went to war, or put it up for his kids to have while he worked to provide for them 1933 was a very tuff time in the great depression the card would have seen alot up till now thanks for reading my thoughts Rick Philpot

  13. Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    i would have to say babe ruth 1933 goudey in best condition possibe and graded by beckett
    for protected reasons. The man,the card, the fame, and all he has done for baseball only makes the card hard to say no to.Not everyone had this card i would think even in 1933. if it was in great condition then it was in the hands of someone with respect for baseball and cards. he may even put it up and went to war, or put it up for his kids to have while he worked to provide for them. 1933 was a very tuff time in the great depression, the card would have seen alot up till now. Thanks for reading my thoughts Rick Philpot

  14. Richard
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I could just select the Honus Wagner T206, then sell it and get whatever I wanted
    plus some cash left over. :-)

    I think the Babe Ruth RC from sporting news might otherwise be my choice.
    2nd place is the Mount Rushmore card they did a few years a go with cut signatures
    of the entire first class of the HOF.

  15. eric livingston
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    1953 bowman large pee wee reese best looking card ever

  16. Jaime
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    1955 Topps Roberto Clemente – he was my father’s idol growing up.

  17. Todd Warden
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I love vintage cards, and I am a big fan of the Cardinals. My pick is going to have to be the 1953 Bowman Color Stan Musial. That is one great looking card.

  18. Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    1988 Fleer Reggie Miller rookie card in PRISTINE condition

  19. Jeff Lange
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Hands down this would have to be the holy grail Honus Wagner T206, it could pay off a mortgage or two….or four!

  20. Rich R
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    1914 Cracker Jack Christy Mathewson

  21. Lyndsey
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    JP Arencibia! That boy is delicious and a great catcher! And he’s pretty fast….for a catcher ;)

  22. Michael Dragon
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    T206 Honus Wagner. I’ve got two of every card but the Wagner and Plank and the Magie error, I only have one of the Magie.

  23. Posted March 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    1952 Topps Mickey Mantle to display with my grandfather’s 1948 and 1949 “Bengal Tales” yearbooks from Commerce High School.

  24. Posted March 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Always loved the look of the 1973 Topps Hank Aaron. Playing first base, great color with his Atlanta Braves uniform – a classic card in my book. 1-A would be the 1953 Topps Satchel Paige.

  25. Caleb Wilson, Gilbert AZ
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    For me, I would definitely go with a card of my all time favorite player, Stephen Strasburg! Ever since the hype of 2010 Bowman I have been obsessed with collecting his cards. My dream card is, without a doubt, The 2010 Bowman Stephen Strasburg Super-fractor 1/1! This single card would be the spark of light in my life!

  26. Tom Waldron
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    mine would be any vintage Jim Thorpe cards.
    How Can you go wrong there course a Nice Hank Arron rc card.Ted Williams Ruth but mostly
    Jim Thorpe a cut sig he is the greatest.
    Thanks

  27. TJ
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    89 Griffey, Jr upper deck … As a kid I wanted those card do much do as a man I now own 10!

  28. Juan jr
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Although i already own it. I still have to stay Alex Rodriguez 1994 UD SP #15 rookie for Seattle Mariners. I know it’s not a vintage card but there’s just something about it that gets me.

  29. Jeff
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    1967 Topps Carl Yastrzemski, the card that started my Red Sox collection.

  30. rootlinuxusr
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Either one of the Wayne Nordhagen cards(from my hometown), or a nineteenteen Walter Johnson in pristine condition.

  31. Michael Poyma
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    An entirely personal choice. One card that, for this collector, sums up his cumulative baseball experience. It’s as if the question is “if you were stranded on an island, and only had one card to look at, what would it be?” For me, in answering this question, monetary value means nothing. A no-brainer. It would be the card of my son on his little league baseball team.

  32. Posted March 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    I would have to go with the card I was most excited to pull when I was a 10 year old, in 1993, busting packs: 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas RC.

    I will never forget my dad buying “us” 8 packs. He opened 2, and I got to open the other 6. In the third pack I opened, there he was, The Big Hurt. He was my first “favorite player” (and still is), and nothing beats the thrill of pulling the best card of your favorite player.

    Now that I’m older, I’d wait to find one in BGS 10 Pristine condition.

  33. Posted March 1, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    forgot to add… Los Angeles, CA

  34. Robert
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    The 2001 Bowman Chrome Albert Pujols autographed rookie card with a grade of 10.

    Robert – Albuquerque, NM

  35. jon prodanovich
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    one of my all time favs and i not too long ago got the tiffany version…woohoo.. is the 1989 topps gregg jefferies. the youthful expression saying put me in coach and a time when you thought he was going to be all world. awesome card and a shame its only 5 cents in the regular version.

  36. Mike Johnson
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    1963 Pete Rose RC

  37. Bill Buhr
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    1975 Topps George Brett

    My favorite player, my favorite hobby. This card was my first prized possession pulled from a rack pack bought at an unclaimed freight store in 1977. The first one I owned is now a tattered thing, but the memories are not.

  38. RUSSELL MURCA
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    mine would be the 1979 rickey henderson rookie , reason being he a bayarea legend and first real pro sport hero i had and too this day my only pro sport man crush

  39. RUSSELL MURCA
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    heres a thought , the only card you would want is the first card from the first pack you ever opened ?the top card in the stack that you first layed eyes on

    russ from northern california

  40. Adam - Philadelphia
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    The 82 Ripken Topps Traded would be it. Great photo, great player!

  41. Posted March 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    A 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card, the 1 and only Home run king.

  42. Posted March 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    This is a ridiculously tough question to answer, but I’ve been dying to acquire a Matt Kemp/Clayton Kershaw dual auto/relic booklet from 2009 Topps Ticket To Stardom. They’re my two favorite players, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both, so adding that high-end of a card featuring both of them would instantly make it the centerpiece of my collection.

    Gregory Zakwin
    Culver City, CA

  43. Darcy44
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    1966-67 Topps Bobby Orr RC

    Doug – Ontario, Canada

  44. Jeff
    Posted March 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Mine would have to be T-206 Christy Mathewson Portrait, obviously pristine if it was mine. I’m so drawn to that card it’s unreal! I don’t know why but that whole set screams out the history of a game that started out as an actual game. Definately wasn’t big business as it is now. I mean, these guys played ball in the summer and held actual jobs in the off season.. WOW!

  45. david jones
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    to me if i could only have one card i think it would have to be the 1989 upper deck griffey jr RC, growing up that card was the card to own he was pretty much the mantle of my generation

  46. Trey Huntsman
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Sandy Koufax gypsy queen auto. He has an amazing signature, it’s on card, and just a great card.

  47. kevin hurt
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    1989 fleer billy ripken F face card I still laugh my butt off every time I look at it. tulsa ok

  48. jake
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    i would want the 2001 bowman heritage chase utley rookie because hes my favorite player and ive been chasing it for a while

  49. Phil
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I would say the 1963 Topps Pete Rose, but since I own one, I will go with the next one that I don’t have…1952 Topps Joe Nuxhall. I grew up listening to the “Old Left-Hander” on the radio and loved to hear the man speak. Seeing the “Rounding Third and Heading For Home” words posted on Great American BallPark brings a tear to my eye knowing that Hamilton Joe is no longer with us.

  50. judy knierim
    Posted March 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    1952 topps mickey mantle

  51. Laurence
    Posted March 6, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I’d love to add an 1934 R327 National Chicle Diamond Stars #1 – Lefty Grove
    to my collection

  52. HDOG7-11
    Posted July 4, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Out of my collection, it would be my 2013 topps archives 19b variation of Russell Wilson

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