Ken Griffey Jr. owns 100 copies of his Photoshopped Upper Deck rookie card (photo)
Ken Griffey Jr.’s arrival in the major leagues in 1989 as a bright-eyed, teenaged rookie with the Seattle Mariners was met with great fanfare and anticipation, not only from baseball fans, but those involved in the baseball card business as well, even before he made his debut.
Griffey was only 18 years old when his Upper Deck rookie card was released. He already was such a big star that Upper Deck decided to have his card serve as the No. 1 card in Upper Deck’s first set, apparently over the likes of Gregg Jefferies, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Gary Sheffield, according to a 2008 piece in Slate.
“I had no idea. Being 18, you never know what’s going to happen,” Griffey told the Sporting News recently in an interview about the 25th anniversary of the release of the card. “Now as you get older, you start looking back at things and that’s pretty awesome that the guys there would think that highly of me to make me their No. 1 card.”
But Griffey also revealed an interesting tidbit about the card itself, which he refers to as the favorite card from his storied baseball career.
It was Photoshopped.
“That was actually the first, pretty much,” Griffey told Sporting News about the iconic piece of pressed papre. “That baseball card was me in a San Bernardino uniform, they just Photoshopped it.
“If you notice, the Mariners had the blue stripe down the center of the shirt. That one doesn’t have it. And if you look at the hat closely enough, you’ll see the trim of the red where the yellow is.”
Griffey says that folks still approach him about the card, even bringing it along to his son’s baseball games in the hopes they will run into him and have an icebreaker to approach him.
But it’s not like Griffey is unfamiliar with the card. In fact, he claims he owns quite a few copies of the card himself.
“I got a few … over 100,” Griffey said. “I have the bigger version of that. A couple of those, too. I don’t have a hundred, but I have a couple.”
(image courtesy of Sporting News)