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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Top 10 Matt Kemp Cards

There is something about this time of the year that breeds countdowns. Nick over at Dimeboxes just did one, and then there is Nick with another one, and, heck, it seems like Nick might be the only blogger doing them. If you're tired of checking out all of Nick's fantastic countdowns, you've come to the right place. I have finally taken the time to produce my Top 10 Matt Kemp Cards Countdown.

Let's go over some basic rules for this thing:

  • Autograph and relic cards are not eligible
  • #'d cards and parallels are eligible
  • The cards must be present in my Matt Kemp PC
Before we begin, I'd like to start out with an honorable mention that did not make the cut. 

Honorable Mention: 2013 Topps Heritage #81 All-Star Vets with Kershaw

This card was initially in the top 10, but I decided that Kershaw's presence is what propelled it into the ranks. It is still one of my all-time favorite cards, but it won't be eligible for the countdown.

Without further adieu, my Top 10 Matt Kemp cards.

10. 2012 Topps Update Series Golden Moments GM-U27

These Golden Moments cards were some of the first inserts I saw when I got back into the hobby a couple of years back. I loved them at the time, and I still enjoy them now, but I am not as high on them as I once was. That said, I love this card. The card commemorates what is probably the greatest moment of Kemp's career on April 28th, 2012. A date also memorable for being the debut of Bryce Harper. 

The Dodgers were down 3-1 in the bottom of the 9th, but managed to push across two runs to tie it. The game went into extras, and Kemp walked it off with a mammoth homer to deep center. The moment was great for Kemp, but it might go down as my favorite memory of the former center fielder. The fact that this card captures that pushed it into the Top 10. 

9. 2013 Allen and Ginter's #319

I love simplistic designs on cards. I loved 2013 A&G. I love the fantastic blue, white, and red combo from the Dodgers jersey. Everything just came together for this card, which is why it holds a spot on this list.

8. 2012 Topps Heritage #279 

Topps Heritage makes its first appearance on this list, though we will see it again. As you will see with the rest of the list, I like posed photos. I didn't realize the extent to which I admired them before this post, but it is pretty obvious now. 

I dig vintage designs, and 1963 Topps is one of the most iconic sets in history (at least in my opinion). Colorful designs, the smaller bubble for an additional posed shot, and a fantastic photo propelled this card to spot number eight on this list. I also like to think that Matty is posing with a bat that I have in my collection, though the chances of that are slim. Especially since this photo was probably taken in Spring Training. 

7. 2013 Panini Father's Day Studio '13 #14

I fought over where to put this in my countdown, but there is no question it is one of the most spectacular cards in my ever growing PC. I'm not one for black and white shots, but this is just cardboard gold. I can never get enough quirky shots in my collection, and this fits the bill perfectly. Considering this is a Panini product (no logos), I feel they executed this perfectly. I also have the cracked ice version of the card (here) which is /25, but I opted to show the base version. Those are some great looking tats Matty. 

6. 2011 Bowman #13

In addition to posed shots, I love me some dugout shots. And as you may have noticed, I also love cards that contain the bat that is possibly in my collection. To be honest, I'm not sure what pulls me into this card. Maybe it is the contrast between the bright colors of the jersey with the black border. I'm not sure, but whatever it is pushed it to number six in the countdown. 

5. 2013 Gypsy Queen Mini Photo Variation #311

We have finally made it to the only mini of the list. This card would be ranked higher (possibly number two) if it was a standard sized card, but I appreciate it for what it is. I like mini's, but I just can't get myself to enjoy these smaller minis from GQ and A&G. Yet, the card ranks number five in my all-time Kemp cards.

The reason? It's a Jackie Robinson Day card. I cannot express just how much I love JRD cards. There is just something about seeing those fantastic Brooklyn B's on the caps, and the number 42 on every jersey.  Add those features to a fantastic action shot of Matty Ice and we have one of the greatest pieces of cardboard I've ever seen. 

4. 2012 Topps Series 1 #330 Beast Mode Variation

Going over this list is a bit depressing for a couple of reasons. For one, Kemp is now a Padre and I'll miss him in Los Angeles; and two, Topps short prints the hell out of some of their best cards. 

Case in point, the ridiculously cool card you see above. Kemp is known for his Beast Mode moniker, or at least he was, so it is awesome to see this captured on a card. I think someone told me where I could get one of the Beast Mode shirts before, but I seem to have forgotten. There is a goal for 2015. 

3. 2013 Topps Heritage #450 SP Black Border

We are now getting into the big boys of this list. The next two cards are pretty interchangeable, especially because I opted to go with colored parallels of the two cards. 

The above cards comes from 2013 Topps Heritage (yay Heritage!), and is a fairly recent addition to my PC. I absolutely the base version of this card, but I am a sucker for black borders. Especially when coupled with the menacing scowl of one Matt Kemp, we get a great piece of cardboard. 

2. 2010 Topps 206 Blue Refractor TC13, #'d 188/199

I feel that this card and the heritage card above could have easily been switched, but I gave the edge to this one. It is probably because I hailed this to be the best Kemp card ever earlier this year, but here we are. It actually landed at number two on the list. 

I actually don't have the base issue of this card, which I found out during the making of this list. I do have the chrome, refractor, and gold refractor copies, but that ever elusive base is still out there. Because it isn't yet in my binder, I decided to show off the blue shiny version of the card. While the initial card is great, the shiny blue border really makes it pop. 

1. 2005 Topps UH284

To me, this will always be the ultimate Matt Kemp card (non-autograph speaking). There is something special about a rookie card that makes it stand above the rest of the that players cards. This is especially true for Kemp above. 

Technically, this is not his Topps RC, but it is the very first card of Kemp as a member of the Dodgers. It is one of the only cards in my PC that features him in any number but 27, and it is probably one of the only cards of him without tattoos. 

For the reasons above, and many more that I simply cannot name, this is the ultimate Kemp card in my PC. 

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