Call it the lowest common denominator, but something about our human nature draws us to the lewd. Even in the world of cardboard this is true. Over the years, I have assembled a small collection of “obscenity” cards, or in short, cards that have something offensive depicted on them. Here is a small tour of the cards that I have accumulated into my collection.
The first obscenity card is probably the most famous. You guessed it, it is the 1989 Fleer Bill Ripken “F*@k Face” #616 obscenity. For those who don’t know the history of this card, if you look at the bat knob of the bat Bill Ripken is holding, you can see that someone wrote F*@k Face with a black marker. This card was packed out before the obscenity was caught, but eventually it was censored. What makes this card so interesting is that in the process of neutralizing the card, Fleer produced a plethora of variations (most of which are rarer than the obscenity). The most common of variations is the “black box,” but in my years I have seen several versions of scribble outs, whiteouts, and even “saw cuts.” I currently have the original obscenity, the black box, and one variation of the scribble out. If anyone is interested, there is a fantastic private website that is dedicated to this card. Every known variation of the Bill Ripken obscenity is displayed for viewing. Here is the link: billripken.com
Next is one of my all-time favorites. It is the 1989 Score Paul
Gibson #595 obscenity. As a kid, and to this day, the Paul Gibson card always puts a smile on my face. At first glance, this card looks like a normal pitcher’s card. But if you look behind the winding Paul Gibson, you can see that the second baseman is helping any way he can... In this case, he is grabbing his crotch! If you use your imagination, it also looks like he is taunting the batter with some sort of heckle or facial expression. It is classic. An interesting note, a couple of years ago, I was sorting through a box of cards at the LCS, and I stumbled upon a corrected version of this card. Up until that moment, I did not know that a correction of this card existed. The correction looks as if someone whited-out the second baseman’s hand. However, they did a poor job, and left some of his fingers visible. Now it looks like the second baseman’s “junk” is showing. I have provided pictures of both cards.
Third is the 2006 Bowman “Signs of the Future” Leon Washington obscenity. This card was hot for a short time, but Leon Washington’s lackluster performance, coupled with the fact that there was never a correction, relegated this card to the junk boxes. However, it is still a cool obscenity. If you look at this card you can see that Leon is smiling, and at the same time giving the “international hello” with both fingers.
Finishing up my obscenity expedition is a glimpse of non-sport. Parents, shield your children’s’ eyes! Sometimes called the C-3PO XXX card, the 1977 Topps Star Wars #207 C-3PO obscenity is decidedly one of the most offensive cards that exists. How this card made it through the proofing stage is beyond me, but there is nothing left to the imagination. C-3PO is well hung, and very happy to see someone.