Description1968 Topps Nolan Ryan - Mets Rookie Stars #177 PSA Mint 9. Like Walter Johnson and Bob Feller before him, Nolan Ryan baked the paving stones of his path to Cooperstown in a kiln of extreme heat, overpowering opposing batsmen with a fast ball that occasionally lit up the third digit of the speedometer. Even when they knew exactly what was coming, a Major League-record 5,714 batters were sent back to the dugout shaking their heads during Ryan's twenty-seven seasons on the mound. "Every hitter likes fastballs just like everybody likes ice cream," fellow Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson once explained. "But you don't like it when someone's stuffing it into you by the gallon. That's how you feel when Ryan's throwing balls by you."
But nobody could have imagined the devastation that lay ahead when this unassuming slab of cardboard announced the arrival of Ryan and fellow Mets ace Jerry Koosman in 1968, just a year before the most Amazin' season in franchise history. Much like facing Ryan's blazing fastball, finding this card in high grade is typically an exercise in futility, with fewer than one percent of submissions to PSA rating as high as this gorgeous example.
The full-bleed print design is the fly in the ointment, magnifying the appearance of even the slightest edge and corner wear. Here we find no evidence thereof, but rather a card visibly unchanged from its appearance upon production. Colors are bright, registration strong, and centering nearly perfect. Only a single representation has ever graded higher--Heritage auctioned that sole Gem Mint 10 example for $612,000 in August 2016.
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