If you want to quibble about it, Upper Deck tried this with hockey first. But this is an iconic baseball card ranking, and this card changed the future of all baseball cards. Upper Deck were the first to decide they could put a piece of game worn jersey onto a baseball card and build hype around it. Griffey was the best player in the world at this point. He was the player that everyone else based their games off of. Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the best players of his generation and his willingness to be apart of this series would cause a seismic shift in the baseball card industry.
Before this point, the chase cards were really just cards. This was the first card to make baseball collectors rethink their entire collecting philosophy.
Random Ken Griffey Jr Fact: Griffey would end up being the most famous player from Archbishop Moeller High School, but he was far from the only person to play MLB baseball. 14 players would see action in the majors. He wouldn’t even be the first player from this high school to make the Hall of Fame. Barry Larkin played at the same high school and made the HOF six years before Griffey.