What do you remember Ozzie Smith for most, on the baseball field?

His stellar defense, right? The way he revolutionized the shortstop position, at least from the vantage point of 1980s fans’ eyes?


And maybe that walk-off home run he hit out of the blue in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS to help the Cardinals to another National League pennant.

That was big, too.

Or maybe even the way he sort of got jobbed (along with a bunch of other dudes) in the 1987 National League MVP voting, at least if you consider where his team ended up, where Andrew Dawson’s Cubs ended up, and what Sabermetrics (WAR, in particular) has to say about the affair.

But that’s getting weedy, as bosses and Cheeches might be prone to say.

For the general public, or the more casual baseball fan, say “Ozzie Smith,” and you might as well have said “backflip.”

As in … “Oh yeah! He’s the guy who does a backflip before every game, right?”

Well, sort of. Not every game. Not most games. But before special games for sure — Opening Day, All-Star Games, World Series games … a farewell game.

But it’s that iconic image and mental video of Ozzie going heels-over-head and back down again, sticking the landing, that really resonates through the ages.

Sort of interesting, then, that card companies didn’t seem much interested in capturing one of those high-flying moves, memorilizing it in cardboard while Ozzie was active. There were around 900 Ozzie cards issued during his career, and about the only one I can remember taking a shot at his acrobatics was this 1995 Pinnacle deal:

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I mean, I guess(?) that’s a backflip? I hope it’s not an upending as part of a play, or I fear the Wizard ended up on his head.

Maybe there are other cards among that 900-piece Ozzie master set that capture his signature move, too, but they’re not plentiful.

Lucky for us, then, that Topps rectified the situation, first with their 2017 Topps 1987 Topps throwback insert:

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And then with their 2019 Stadium Club issue:

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Finally, then, all these years later, the cardboard world gets turned right-side up by going upside down and giving us flipping Ozzie Smith right where he belongs.

On the diamond.

And in Cooperstown.

The Daily Wow!

If you like a little more dimensionality from your backflips, you could check out this little number on eBay:

It’s a backflipping Ozzie bobblehead.

See the full listing here (affiliate link).

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