I don’t want to be right.

These days, it’s not uncommon to see collectors toss base cards like garbage to get their hands on a relic and/or autograph in a product. To some, the card you see below is completely worthless. OK, to a lot of people.

For starters, it’s a card of one of the most hated players in the history of the game. It also features a photograph that’s been recycled (1992 Topps) and states 1988 even though it’s clearly a photo from the ’91 season.

For me however, it’s one of my all-time favorite cards of Jose. To understand why, all you have to do is go back to 1992. Back then, there wasn’t 30 different releases. It was Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Upper Deck, and Score. At the most I’d have 7-8 cards of Jose (plus inserts & oddballs).

So because I didn’t have 100’s of cards that year, I stuck to the premier releases, one of them being 1992 Topps. I was 12 and despite my short attention span, studied the card like a hawk. From the expression on his face to his bulging arms, I remembered everything about that photo.

Who knew that just over a decade later the very same photo would be used again, only in a horizontal card. For once I can see a lot more than I was allowed to in 1992. Here you can see a huge portion of the crowd (who are not at a World Series game) and Jose’s entire bat.

It may not be much and there’s no autograph or game-used relic in the design but that’s just fine by me. For a collector struggling to keep an interest in his hobby of choice, it’s just about as close to a perfect baseball card as there will ever be.

Incidentally, Topps recycled the same photograph the year prior with their Tribute brand only they killed the design by adding a relic and autograph. Although book value will tell you the Tribute card is worth a lot more, I’m sticking with the 2004 version for my collection.

2004 Topps