It’s the feeling of wanting something that’s always seemed too far out of reach. It’s reviewing it and revisiting it again and again over years, decades. It’s like when you first start playing guitar and knowing that you’re not good enough a player to have something as nice as a Gibson LP or Fender Stratocaster. But in time, with practice and patience, you can become proficient enough to deserve such fine things. In the beginning, however, it almost seems as if the finer things are to be worked toward, to be granted after meeting years of prerequisites leading up to graduation. For Freshmen, this may seem like an eternity. For Seniors, this is something bestowed upon as a right of passage, an honor.
For me, the finer thing was Vladimir Guerrero’s 1995 Bowman’s Best Refractor, the ultimate of his rookie cards, the granddaddy, the monster. For so many years, it seemed so far from me. As if I didn’t deserve it. It’s the centerpiece of the 1995 Bowman’s Best Baseball set and its associated cherished Refractor set. It’s the reason why prices are where they are for this product. It’s the most important card in the set.
To look at the card is to see bare hands gripping a bat with the right index finger wrapped subtly about ever so slightly separated from the middle. The calm but focused look on Vlad’s face pulls us in if only for a second to make us feel as if we’re his next opponent, his next victory.
The design is complemented by signature edged technology with vertical lines coupled with a refractor shine that could stun a giant. It stops us in a way so bold we have to look again after staring for far past a common moment. Do I look again, and if so then when? The magic dissipates only when we look away but is revised upon further interaction. And for that moment, we’re made to feel deserving of such an opportunity to view, to appreciate, and for me finally, to own.
After 21 years, I can finally say I own Vladimir Guererro’s “Best” rookie card, the 1995 Bowman’s Best Refractor. Thanks, mom!