Yankees fans and star-chasers alike open high-dollar baseball card products like Panini's National Treasures expecting high-quality Hall of Fame autographs and relic cards, knowing that their chances of pulling something truly jaw-dropping are minute.
But, if and when that minute chance arrives and a truly special moment strikes, collectors want to be assured that they're receiving a product of the utmost quality.
That expectation (which should be an assumption!) took a hit this week when one collector opened a box -- which retails for $500 a pop, by the way -- and pulled a spectacular case hit of all case hits.
A Babe Ruth cut signature booklet card, marked one of one, meaning there's only one in the world. The remarkable card includes swatches of Ruth's vintage Yankees jerseys, as well as a slot for a Bambino autograph, sliced from a previously-signed item. Not as clean as it could be, but more efficient than the alternative (raising Ruth from the dead, hoping his zombified corpse has maintained its calligraphy skills).
Unfortunately, it looks like Panini raised the wrong man during the manufacturing process, as this one-of-a-kind card includes a signature of George Freaking Brett instead of George Herman Ruth.
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New York Yankees legend Babe Ruth's signature got swapped with Yankees enemy George Brett
Shoulda known the damn thing was messed up from all the pine tar on the back of the index card. Billy Martin is rolling over in his grave! Partially because he's got the spins, but still!
Brett, of course, was the one man standing in the Yankees' way during their dynastic era of the 1970s/early 1980s, though at least New York got the last laugh most of the time, leaving Brett screaming/crying/tarring up.
On top of everything, Panini isn't licensed for baseball card production in the same way that they are for basketball and football, so you'll notice there's no Yankees logo on Ruth's cap. There's no Yankees logo ... anywhere. There's no mention of the Yankees! OUTFIELD ... NEW YORK. Add in the Brett cut signature -- who is not dead, and didn't need to sign a blank index card at any point -- and you've really got an historic mess.
Surely, Panini is very sorry about the error, and will be offering any collectors affected equivalent-value autographed cards of Hall of Famers Mickey Mantooth and Lou Gehrigno (with a picture of The Hulk).