Lately I've been looking for relic and autograph cards of Cubs players from the '70's and 80's. Not too long ago I picked up a Rick Monday jersey card. Today, I've got an autograph card of Bill Madlock.
This card is from Topps' 2003 Retired Signatures Edition. I really like that it has an on-card signature instead of the crappy stickers they use today. Plus, Madlock has a signature that you can actually read!
Madlock came to the Cubs in 1974 in the Fergie Jenkins trade. There was a lot of pressure on the 23 year-old because he would be replacing Ron Santo at third base and he came to the Cubs in a trade for a six time 20 game winner.
But Madlock handled himself like an old pro. All he did was go out and hit .313, good enough for 5th in the league. He also finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. From there, he got even better, leading the NL in batting average for the next two seasons. He was also co-MVP of the 1975 All Star game. You would have figured that the Cubs would be set at third base for years to come.
But, no. When Madlock sought out a big contract for the 1977 season, he was seen as "uppity" by owner PK Wrigley. So Madlock was sent packing, traded to the Giants for Bobby Murcer, And then Murcher was given a bigger contract than what Madlock was looking for. That whole situation was an embarrassment to the Cubs. And it set in motion a revolving door at third base that would last another quarter-century.
Back to the card.....
...When I saw the picture on ebay, I just assumed it was an autographed card. But when it came, it was encased in a thick sealed holder by Topps, along with a sticker at the top of the case.
I have no doubts as to the authenticity of the autograph. But, I really hate these over-sized cases. My preference is to put the card in my autographed card binder, but the thick case won't allow that. So...do I crack the card out of the case? It also has a little serial numbered sticker on the back that would attest to the authenticity of the card. Is the case necessary?
What say you....crack it out or leave it be???