When you look at the list of baseball players born on November 21, and order that list by career WAR, the two names at the top of the mountain smack you right across the face like a couple of Hall of Fame plaques battling for the mineral rights to your head: Stan Musial and Ken Griffey, Jr.

Born in 1920, Stan the Man had been retired from the St. Louis Cardinals for six years when he turned 49 … on the day that Junior debuted on earthin 1969.

It was quite a capper to the year for Ken Griffey, Sr., who had been selected in the 29th round of the MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds that June.

Young Griffey (the senior) rode that inauspicious beginning to a solid showing in rookie ball and then, like we said, welcomed his boy into the world that fall.

In Donora, Pennsylvania.

Which just so happened to be the birthplace of one Stanley Frank Musial.

Yeah, the The Donora Greyhound himself.

Over the next twenty years, Griffey would establish himself in the majors, with the Reds and then the New York Yankees (and Braves and Mariners), putting together a fine career that yielded more than 2100 hits and a trio of All-Star nods

All the while, he was grooming Junior to follow in his footsteps … and then some.

And Musial, inveterate baseball man that he was, saw the whole thing unfold …

Father winning titles with the Reds …

Son growing up in MLB …

Father welcoming son to the bigs in 1989 …

Son becoming a legendary centerfielder, on par with Musial’s own standing as one of the greatest hitters ever.

And, when Junior retired in 2010, there was no doubt he’d be joining Musial in Cooperstown in five years.

So, if you’re keeping track, the similarities between Griffey the younger and Musial read thusly:

  • Born in Donora, Pennsylvania (as was Senior, by the way)
  • Born on November 21
  • Legendary lefthanded hitters
  • In the conversation for “best player ever”
  • Easy Hall of Fame choices

And, even though a half century divided the two men, they share something else — an enduring legacy as hobby icons.

Oh, and real estate in at least one particular baseball card set.

Here, take a gander:

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Those snazzy throwback cards were part of the Vintage ‘61 insert set included one per hobby pack of the 1999 Fleer Tradition set.

Nothing in that set — either the base or the ‘61 homages — was rare or scarce, and none are really valuable.

But there is plenty of Stan Musial to be had, thanks to a base card plus a couple of Musial-focused inserts.

And, Griffey is all over the place throughout the issue, too, hardly surprising given that he was still in the prime of an all-timer career.

Put them together, side by side on a couple of vintage mockups, and you have a hobby treat for the ages, regardless of how overproduced and largely forgotten the 1999 Fleer Heritage set was, and is.

For just a fleeting moment, like a Junior dash to the wall or a flick of Musial’s wrists, it was a set that put it all together.

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