Is this really THE WORST BASEBALL CARD OF ALL TIME?
Over at Slate, Josh Levin makes a pretty good case for it:
Some people believe that a bad baseball card is one in which a player looks like a nerd, has an afro or a unibrow, or is talking on an enormous cellphone. These are not bad cards. A bad baseball card is one in which errors of composition, design, or production conspire to turn a 2.5-by-3.5-inch piece of cardboard into a memorabilia crime scene.
The experts agree: 1996 Pinnacle Foil No. 289 is a very bad baseball card. "It's so jarring and awful, a collision of unpleasant forms and surfaces," says Josh Wilker, the author of the memoir Cardboard Gods. "I fear for anyone dwelling too long on this card. There should be contests to see who can last the longest staring at it before screaming into the night." Beau and Bryan Abbott, proprietors of the site Baseball Card Vandals, give 1996 Pinnacle Hamelin their highest praise, calling it "awesomely terrible." Dave Jamieson, author of Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession, wonders if someone at Pinnacle really hated Bob Hamelin and wanted to make him look bad on purpose. (The blog Royals Review agrees with this theory.)
I don't remember seeing that card, probably because I never bought Pinnacle cards. I was mostly a Topps and Upper Deck guy, although at the height of my mania I was also scooping up Donruss and Fleer wax packs like the world would end before the new century.
I do wish that contact lenses had never been invented. Baseball players sure looked goofier when some of them wore glasses.
If that Bob Hamelin card isn't the worst, what is? Extra credit for a good essay of explanation ...