The last Roger Clemens baseball card is a relic.

Sure, it’s *just* thirteen years old as I write these lines, but thirteen years in the 2000s might as well be 130, even though they pass like the flash of a Rocket-ing fastball.

Consider just a few of the things that have happened since the 2008 Topps Roger Clemens card first popped out of “wax” packs and into collectors’ hands …

  • The markets — stock and housing and others — crashed hard, spurring (or signifying) a recession.
  • We’ve had four Presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Joe Biden.
  • The San Francisco Giants won three World Series and the Chicago Cubs finally won another one.
  • Clemens and Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez and so many others who had become legends in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s became baseball pariahs in the last decade-plus.

And baseball cards?

As wild and high-tech and incomprehensible as the new cards seemed in 2008, they look like rocks and sticks compared to today’s slick, uniform affairs.

And you could still sort of actually tell what year card you were looking at by just, you know, looking at the thing.

Here, look at Clemens’ 2008 Topps card:

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If you collected cards during that period, you’ll forever remember this design as 2008, and just a glimpse will throw you back to those days of relative innocence — pre-crash, steroids scandal not fully exposed, Clemens and Bonds still thinking they might play again.

And no matter how you feel about Roger or the Yankees, it’s hard to deny the classic look and feel of this one, pinstripes blazing in the sun, Clemens ready to unleash holy hell on some suspecting but still mostly helpless batter.

The Y-A-N-K-E-E-S team name in alternating color bubbles and the Topps logo at the top(ps) of the card take up way too much space, but they feel classic, somehow, and fit perfectly with the hardnosed, old-school persona Clemens effected for most of his career.

And speaking of that career, its entirety is captured on the back of this one, because Clemens never did make it back to a major league mound.

Today, this Rocket career-capper is a $20-30 card in “perfect” graded condition, but you can usually find it in raw form for a buck or two.

All in all a cheap trip in the old time machine any time you’re in the mood to remember how things were all those years ago, another era that disappeared in a flash.

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