Last year I did something that I've typically avoided during my time in this hobby, and took a shot on a somewhat expensive redemption card. I really didn't like the concept of "hoping" that the company in question (Upper Deck in this case) would come through with the promised card, but the redemption was for a card that I wanted badly and would have precious few chances to land so I went for it.
This particular card is one I wanted as badly or maybe even more so than the Jagr. In fact, I saved an eBay search for it months before I even knew whether it existed or not. After a good long wait, and a couple of missed opportunities, I ended up winning the redemption card on eBay.
Another few weeks passed, and then one day I found a FedEx label stuck to my front door with the signature required box checked. The sender was The Upper Deck Company; my card was here. Behold!
The second I heard that there were '92-93 Ultra buybacks included in the 2016-17 Fleer Showcase release I immediately thought of this card. I was a rabid 10-year-old hockey player and fan when Selanne burst onto the scene and recorded 76 goals (a rookie record that still stands and may never be broken) and 132 points in 1992-93 with the Jets. He was right up there with Eric Lindros in terms of guys with tremendous hobby buzz who could potentially take the torch from the Gretzkys and Lemieuxs of the world. Collectors were crazy for both players, and I spent many hours trying to emulate them at the rink, and with my street hockey stick and net in the back yard.
While Teemu did have a card in the 1991-92 Upper Deck set, he was depicted with team Finland on that one. Besides, since he didn't debut in the NHL until the '92-93 season I always considered this Ultra card and his '92-93 Upper Deck card to be his true rookies. I love the post-shot follow through photo on this card, and of course the iconic (for those of us who are children of the '90s anyway) gold foil ROOKIE ribbon affixed to the Ultra logo is the icing on the cake.
Like the Jagr, I smile every time I look at it. I always told myself that in the future if my priorities or interests changed and I decided to sell off my collection, I'd keep a small box (a shoebox, of course) with a select few favorites to remember my second run in the hobby. This card would, without a doubt, have a spot in that box.
Are you old enough to remember Selanne's breakout season in 1992-93? Can you think of anyone else who has generated that much hype in their rookie campaign since? Sidney Crosby? Connor McDavid maybe?
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