Being a sports card collector myself, I have always been drawn to Upper Deck, and some of their off-shoots for the creativity of their product. One set, called Allen & Ginter, was not your typical baseball card collection. Within packs, right alongside your favorite players, could be a card of anyone in history, or of a famous place. I have pulled cards of Tim Lincecum and David Crockett, Alex Rodriguez and the Alamo…the list is endless. I even have an over-sized card which I purchased separately that features the battle of Gettysburg, and includes pictures of George Meade and Robert E. Lee (2006 even had a “Stonewall” Jackson card in the set). This Allen & Ginter set always went the distance to ensure that they were unique. You could get a card with a typical piece of a player’s jersey, or maybe even a strand of hair from John F. Kennedy or a Wooly Mammoth—yes, you read that correctly. Then there was a piece of Marilyn Monroe’s dress, or the signature of Benjamin Franklin taken from a letter he had written, which was deemed unimportant enough to have it cut up (something that still slightly bothers me). I always admired them for this, because it was something you could not get anywhere else. Here, for a few dollars a pack, you could end up owning something that belongs in a museum, or something you could quickly sell online and make a small fortune. But now, with a recent Civil War addition to the items they offer, has Upper Deck finally gone too far?
From here on out, I never want to hear another person bring up steroids and baseball ever again. I don’t want to hear how Barry Bonds’ all-time homerun record deserves an asterisk next to it. I don’t want to hear how Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa scammed the MLB fan base by cheating during the 1998 homerun race, when they hit 70 and 66 respectively. I don’t want to hear how Alex Rodriguez, if he breaks Bonds’ record, is one criminal passing another. I don’t want to hear anything about secret lists, public lists, magic lists, whatever kind of list you want to call it, and whoever might have their name on them. I don’t want to hear about records being tainted or re-writing baseball history to separate good from evil during the “Steroid Era” of Major League Baseball. As far as I’m concerned, it’s over—the witch hunt, that is, which has been going on for years now. Commissioner Bud Selig’s personal little crusade to rid the holy league of performance enhancing drugs. Though everyone knew full well it was running rampant in locker-rooms, no one decided to do anything about it, so it seems, until Barry Bonds was smashing records.