I’ve finally acquired one of the hardest-to-find cards for my 2010 Blackhawks RC project: a 2008-09 Be A Player Antti Niemi “Rookie Redemption” card. Even though it is a part of a set that predates Niemi’s rookie cards, this technically does not count as his rookie card. Confused? Intrigued? Then read on.
Ever since the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, I have been trying to track down a rookie card (RC) for every player on that team. Antti Niemi’s rookie cards appeared in the various 2009-10 sets, such as O-Pee-Chee, Black Diamond and Upper Deck. However, this Be A Player card is part of a 2008-09 set. The problem is, it came out after many of Niemi’s 2009-10 rookie cards.
OK, so here’s the deal. This 2008-09 Be A Player Antti Niemi was a part of the 2008-09 Be A Player set, but this card was available via redemption and limited to 99 serial-numbered copies. The Niemi cards were not mailed out until after the start of the 2009-10 season, as evidenced by the blurb on the back:
Niemi’s first career NHL shutout will always be a memorable one for him, as it came in Helsinki in front of his Finnish countrymen on 10/3/09. The Vantaa native stopped all 23 Florida shots he faced in a 4-0 ‘Hawks win at the 2009 NHL Premiere.
How about that? A 2008-09 card that talks about the 2009-10 season. Oddly enough, many of the Rookie Redemptions from the 2008-09 set are of player who didn’t play in the NHL until 2009-10, like John Tavares, James van Riemsdyk and Erik Karlsson. (Niemi is one of the few exceptions of a 2008-09 BAP Rookie Redemption player who actually did play in 2008-09).
Thus, all of these 2008-09 BAP Rookie Redemption cards have the unusual XRC designation from Beckett. The X, I believe, stands for eXtended, and the designation was used quite a bit in the 1980s and 1990s for rookie cards that predated a player’s “real” rookie card, but wasn’t officially recognized for one reason or another.
In the case of this Niemi card, it probably doesn’t count as an RC because collectors were able to get other cards of Niemi in an NHL uniform before this one. And yet I still wanted it for some inexplicable reason.
Collecting! Am I right? ■