Spring 2017 Major League Baseball "Set Registry Masters" Premium Auction
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Like Addie Joss and Lou Gehrig and Thurman Munson, and even Shoeless Joe Jackson and Sandy Koufax, for that matter, Roberto Clemente is one of those immortal Hall of Famers whose mystique has ballooned over the years because of his early exit from the game. This is not to say that the fame these players earned with their sweat and grit during their playing careers was undeserved or that it has grown out of proportion relative to the game's other greats. Indeed, these half dozen men were six of the single greatest and most beloved players in the history of baseball. While Gehrig and Munson no doubt enjoyed international fame because they played for the New York Yankees, none of these players was as beloved in more parts of the world than was Puerto Rican born Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker.

The first Latin American and Caribbean player ever enshrined in Cooperstown, Clemente was also the game's first Latino to help win a World Series, to win a National League MVP Award, to win a World Series MVP, and to collect 3,000 hits. With his startling speed and surprising power, Clemente was an All-Star 15 times, and he won 12 Gold Gloves, four NL Batting titles, and two World Series championships. More than these, however, he embodied a selflessness and dignity more common to the clergy than to baseball, setting a role model for millions of Latino baseball players in dozens of countries around the globe. As such, the Roberto Clemente Award is given annually to the Major League player who "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team", as voted by both fans and the media. Indeed, if there was a Mt. Rushmore for baseball players of the post-war period, Clemente would be among the first to be carved into the mountain.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Clemente's best and rarest cardboard collectibles continue to be among the hobby's highest selling cards in top condition. His 1955 Topps rookie card, for example, was among the first to lead the stampede in the recent bull market when prices for PSA 8 specimens jumped from about $6,000 just five years ago to several sales of over $100,000 last year, while a copy of his 1971 Topps card graded PSA 10 recently fetched $71,700 in a Heritage auction last fall. Offered in this lot is another Gem Mint rarity with which only advanced Clemente collectors may be familiar, the 1967 Dexter Press Premium Short Biography variation. About three times scarcer than his more common 1967 Dexter Press All Star variation, the offered copy is one of just 38 ever graded by PSA, only two of which have attained the coveted Gem Mint 10 label. Due to their large size and ultra glossy surfaces, the Dexter Press Premiums are notoriously challenging to find in top grades, with only 28 examples from the entire 229-card complete set ever realizing PSA 10. Coming off his MVP-winning season in 1966, Clemente led all of baseball with 209 hits and a .357 average in 1967. Now maybe you can lead all of Clemente collectors with a winning bid on this refreshing and thirst-(for-the-best)-quenching Coca Cola redemption card.

1967 Dexter Press Premiums Roberto Clemente Rare Short Bio Variation PSA 10 Gem Mint Pop 21967 Dexter Press Premiums Roberto Clemente Rare Short Bio Variation PSA 10 Gem Mint Pop 2
1967 Dexter Press Premiums Roberto Clemente Rare Short Bio Variation PSA 10 Gem Mint Pop 2
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