What name do you think of when you hear the term, “matinee idol”?

Yeah, I know it’s probably not something you do think of very often, but indulge me here … someone comes to mind, right?

Clark Gable, maybe.

Or Rock Hudson.

Or, from a more modern perspective, how about Denzel Washington or Brad Pitt?

They all fit the bill, but for a couple of generations (at least) of moviegoers there wasn’t a much more dreamy idol than one Gary Cooper.

Dude was a huge draw with all sorts of audiences, and his presence on the screen just about guaranteed you’d have a successful film. Heck, Coop even earned his baseball chops by starring as Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees, way back in 1942.

That timeline and Cooper’s superstar status are just two of the reasons collectors might have been surprised to see the heartthrob show up in their Mylar packs of 1992 Pinnacle cards that summer.

ad17aef4-e8e2-447d-8eed-2169e1cbafed_560x400.png

Find 1992 Pinnacle Rookie Idols in eBay (affiliate link)

Find 1992 Pinnacle Rookie Idols in Amazon (affiliate link)

But there he was in the Rookie Idols insert set, hot on the heels of a nine-game cup of coffee with the Astros in 1991.

Never mind that Cooper turned 28 in 1992 or that he would never taste the Majors again or that he would sample four different minor league systems (Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit) before he retired in 1995.

None of that mattered.

In 1992, Gary Cooper lined up with young guns like Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, and … uh … Eddie Zosky in a nifty concept set that paired a rookie with his baseball idol from boyhood.

And who was Cooper’s idol?

Well, despite the fact he played a legendary first baseman on the silver screen, Cooper lined up at third in real life. Fittingly, then, he singled out Kansas City legend George Brett as the dude he looked up to, baseball wise.

No word on whether there was any component of pine-tar-butt-on-fire admiration going on there or not, but Brett was a worthy choice in any case.

And, man … with a multifaceted career that spanned, like, six decades, that Gary Cooper sure had some staying power, huh?

ebay_market_182x76.gif