An insert card featuring autographs of three New York baseball icons might be considered the 'pull of the year'.
Allen Shen is a self-proclaimed "prospector". He buys rookie cards from products like Bowman Chrome, hoping one day his gut feelings turn into hot cards when those prospects have big-time success in the Major Leagues.
He's also a fan of certain modern, high-end baseball card products and isn't afraid to take a gamble to see if he can't pull a rare autograph card. One such purchase paid off when he bought a package of 2007 Topps Triple Threads and scored perhaps the most rare and sought-after memorabilia card of the 2007 season.
Shen pulled the redemption card for the 1 of 1 Triple Threads Hide Mickey Mantle/Alex Rodriguez/David Wright autograph. The card was produced when Topps had the two current New York stars add their signatures to the actual section of baseball once signed by Mantle. The redemption card was issued one per 13,000 packs and is the only one to contain three Topps "spokesmen". Topps also issued three other 1/1 Hide cards including one featuring Ted Williams, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.
Shen said he was attracted to the Triple Threads issue after sampling the 2006 product and finding the 2007 issue even more appealing.
"They had a great card design, a tremendous player selection for autos and game-used, and their high-end chase cards were amazing," Shen said. "The Hide card is special because it brings many things to the table that have never been done before."
Shen believes the card's scarcity, combined with the players represented means "in my opinion this is one of the most important cards of the last ten years. It takes the chase card concept to a new level."
Some have criticized the card's appearance as being a bit crowded and forcing a single Mantle sweet spot signature to share with the scribbles of two players with no nostalgic appeal, but Shen disagrees.
"Although not aesthetically pleasing the concept behind the Hide card is amazing," Shen said. "Let's face it, there isn't much room to work with on the sweet spot part of the ball. I think they did a good job with what they had. Its not like they could have asked Mantle to sign a particular part of the ball to leave room for ARod and Wright."
"Besides, Wright is one of the best third basemen in the league so I'm happy he's on there. ARod, well, he's ARod and considered the best baseball player in the league right now. This card represents New York's past, present and future and that's special all in itself."
Shen had fun pulling the redemption and owning it for a few months, but the potential value has him leaning toward finding a new home for it.
"My wife and I are expecting this year so it will probably be for sale. I would prefer to sell it outright to a Mantle or New York collector as this is where a card of this magnitude belongs."