My Favorite Cards: 1991 Upper Deck Willie Banks
When the Twins were making their playoff push in 1991, the team held a lottery to decide who got to buy tickets to the postseason. My grandpa, figuring he might as well try, sent off his information and forgot about it.
Then, a few weeks later, he received an envelope in the mail with an order form to buy a complete strip of tickets for the ALCS and, potentially, the World Series. I would imagine the mailman didn't even make it to the next block before my grandpa had that form filled out and sent back to the Metrodome.
In the end, nine-year-old Dave got to go to Game Two of the ALCS against Toronto at the Metrodome. To be honest, I remember nothing about the game itself, apparently the Twins lost 5-2.
What I do remember: After the game, my grandpa brought me across the street to "Dome Souvenirs Plus" to buy, well, a souvenir. I'm guessing the main reason for going there was a large difference in price compared to inside the Dome itself.
We browsed around the store a bit before my grandpa called an employee over to a display case and asked for an item. It turned out to be a 1991 Willie Banks rookie card.
According to Baseball America, Banks was the Twins #2 prospect in 1991 (behind Rich Garces) and the #15 prospect in all of baseball. Banks ranked ahead of future Hall of Famers Mike Mussina, Jeff Bagwell and Chipper Jones.
My grandpa, who really had no interest in baseball cards at the time, paid $3 for the card and handed it to me. I'll never forget what he said when he gave it to me.
"Hang on to this one, it will be very valuable some day. Might even put you through college."
Unfortunately, Banks never fully panned out and, alas, the card did not put me through college. It wouldn't even be worth enough for a pencil at the SCSU Bookstore at this point.
However, in keeping true with the theme here in this series, the memories behind the card are worth much more than money.