Saturday, January 12, 2013

30 Year Top 50: 1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game

#10- I already did a write up about this set during the past fall that involved old men in card shops around St. Louis telling the same story about buying boxes of the 1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game.  Basically, the boxes were either hot, meaning you landed several really great autographs, or cold meaning you just wasted $200.  While there had been other baseball card products that featured a per pack autograph, the Greats of Game set focused exclusively on retired players, with many of the set's signers being notable names.


1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game Steve Carlton Autograph


While there was a base set of unsigned cards featuring Sports Illustrated covers and photographs, the main focus for most collectors were the autographs.  The autographs all generally follow the format of the Steve Carlton autograph above.  The main picture on the card were either a Sports Illustrated cover, or a picture from a Sports Illustrated magazine.  The bottom of the card featured a white box where the player was supposed to sign and the side of the card always had a blue strip with the words Autograph Collection running bottom to top.  


1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game Bob Gibson Autograph


As previously mentioned, the autographs in each box ran hot and cold.  Some boxes would yield a high number of high end hits featuring premier Hall of Famers such as Nolan Ryan, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays.  However, Fleer did a great job putting together a great list of signers for this set making sure that the checklist for each team was deep.  Most teams have multiple Hall of Fame signees and a wide range of other interesting names available.  For example, my Cardinals have the usual group of players that you would expect to appear in a set featuring the Greats of the Game.  


1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game Stan Musial


However, they made sure to also include players with significance that would be highly collectable among the teams fan base.  Some of the players who signed for this set have few autographs out on the market making their autograph in this set highly desirable.  For the Cardinals, this set is home to the only certified autograph of pitcher Bob Forsch.  Certainly not a Hall of Fame player, but he had a long career with the team and pitched two no-hitters.  For a Cardinals fan this is a great card to pick add to your collection, but that can be said of many of the cards in this set.  


1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game Bob Forsch Autograph


This set is a classic of the past 30 years and is a fun set to track down.  Especially the autographs.  While some of the higher end autographs have dried up on the secondary market there are still some really good autographs floating around at great prices.  One of the hidden gems of the set is the Chicago Cubs team set which features seven autographs, but five of them are Hall of Famers.  All five of the Hall of Famers: Fergie Jenkins, Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Ron Santo, and Buck O'Neil can all be found pretty easily and will most cost less than $25 on a good day.  Banks might be a little pricey.  Whatever your team, or player, these are fun to find.  

A little hint on my next set?  This isn't the best Greats of Game set. 




1 comment:

  1. This a great collectors set and over the past 13 years I have been trying to complete the set. I am now down to needing three cards- the Willie Mays and two of the Reggie Jacksons. About two years ago I dropped out of a Mays bidding war at $300. Someday I'll find it and the other two cards!
    Sam B.
    West Orange, NJ

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