When it comes to cardboard glory, timing is everything.
Just ask Mike Ramsey.
No, not that Mike Ramsey, who spent parts of seven seasons in the Major Leagues, mostly for the St. Louis Cardinals, and parlayed his 189 hits into a bevy of baseball cards showing his flowing 80s locks.
But not him.
No, I’m talking about this Mike Ramsey:
This Mike Ramsey originally signed as an amateur free agent with the Cincinnati Reds in 1979 and then landed in the Dodgers’ system in an October 1982 trade that sent hurler Ted Power to the Riverfront.
After five seasons of Single-A ball (or lower), Ramsey finally made the jump to Double-A San Antonio in 1985. Another season split between those 2A Dodgers and Triple-A Albuquerque and a strong Spring Training in 1987, though, landed him the Opening Day centerfield job with the Big League Dodgers that April.
Heady stuff for a soon-to-be 27-year-old who had never had so much as a cup of coffee.
Ramsey went 2-for-4 that day, but couldn’t keep up that .500 pace (which would have been a record or something). He ended up turning in an up-and-down season split between Chavez Ravine, San Antonio, and Albuquerque that left him with a .232 MLB batting average.
Find 1987 Donruss Opening Day cards on eBay (affiliate link)
He never made it back to the Bigs, but by virtue of his place in L.A.’s starting lineup in the 1987 opener, Ramsey did make the cut for 1987 Donruss Opening Day (#80) set issued later that season.
He also made it into the Dodgers’ Mother’s Cookies set that summer (at #11) and even, um, scored a slot (#267) in the inaugural Score set in 1988.
But it was that Donruss card that said it all — Ramsey was an Opening Day starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his accomplishment was immortalized for all-time within those beautiful (to him, at least, I’ll bet) burgundy borders.
Barry looks funny … and pricey
You know who else is in that 1987 Donruss Opening Day set? A young Barry Bonds:
Yeah, he looks funny because that’s actually Johnny Ray, and collectors back then took about as long as you just did to notice the gaffe.
Donruss corrected the thing quickly to set up one of the most scarce error cards of the decade and create the most expensive Ray card around.
As of this writing, there is a PSA 9 copy (affiliate link) on eBay that could be yours for the cool sum or just $3125. It’s a hunk of hobby history — an expensive one — and one taking a gander at, even if only virtually.
You can check out that listing here (affiliate link).
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