You know how back in the ’90s you’d be watching Up All Night on USA, and you’d be like, “Damn, what is Patrick Swayze doing in this crap?”
Then you’d squint a bit to get a sharper look at the actor playing Sgt Barnes, and you’d think, “Wait, is that…That’s not. I mean, it kind of looks like Patrick Swayze, but not quite. It’s sort of like Patrick Swayze melted a little or something.”
So you’d open the TV Guide and run a finger down the listings. “OK, USA Network– 11:00, 12:00, 1:00. Here it is: Broken Trust. Starring Nick Cassavetes… Edward Albert… and Don Swayze.”
“Oh, Don Swayze,” you’d mutter, with a sense of relief that Patrick Swayze had not in fact melted.
Well this Rey Ordonez is a Don Swayze of a card.
The 1997 Upper Deck Game Jersey insert set was the first mainstream baseball issue to incorporate pieces of real game-used uniforms. The set is composed of just three players: Ken Griffey Jr, Tony Gwynn, and Rey Ordonez.
The Griffey card in particular became a sensation upon release and for years to come– I’m looking at a 1999 price guide right now, where it is listed at $600.
The card single-handedly launched the game-used boom that carried on through the aughts and is still in some ways relevant today.
But the poor Rey Ordonez card was stuck in the looming shadow of its more renowned kin. Sure, it listed for $100, but you sensed that collectors only picked it up when they could not afford to buy the Griffey. It was a cheap substitute for the real thing.
I bought my copy a few weeks back for $4, and I’m happy to have it. Happier than I would be to have the Griffey at this point, I think.
Because being a Mets’ fan means loving players like Rey Ordonez beyond all reason.
Being a Mets’ fan means having sympathy for Don Swayze…