2009 Upper Deck Heroes #488:
Hometown Heroes Tony Romo / Mike Modano
I had no idea that this card existed. It features an illustration of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Dallas Stars center Mike Modano. If the two of them combined into a giant super monster, it would be called ROMODANO, play two sports, make $30 million per year…and breathe fire!
Finding unknown gems like this is the reason why I love rummaging through quarter boxes at card shows. Although honestly, this could have been from a dollar box — and it was a dollar well-spent.
The Romodano artwork is credited to Eric Cash. With a name like Cash, you know he got paid. Well, for that and for being a good artist. I wouldn’t recognize Tomy Romo if he hit me in the head with an 80-yard pass, but I can say that likeness of Mike Modano is spot-on.
The card back also has short bios about Romo and Modano:
Romo went on an absolute tear in November
2007, completing 64 percent of his passes with
seven TDs to notch a 102.5 QB rating in three
games for the Cowboys.
Modano has virtually re-written the record
book in his career with the Stars, holding
franchise marks in goals, assists, games
played and power-play tallies.
What is interesting about these two players in 2009 is that they were at very different points in their careers; Romo was finally coming into his own as the Cowboys’ starting QB, while Modano was winding down what would end up being a 21-year NHL career.
This Romodano card was issued in the 2009 Upper Deck Heroes set. Heroes was mainly a football card set, but included athletes from other sports and even famous historical figures like Thomas Edison, Wyatt Earp and Vincent Van Gogh. Upper Deck would later carry this out to the Nth degree with its Champ’s Hockey sets over the years, which would include cards of athletes from other sports, historical figures, animals, wonders of the world and popular food items.
The last seven cards in the Heroes set was called “Hometown Heroes,” and featured illustrations of a famous football player and a famous hockey player from the same city. Making this card even more so worth that buck that I paid for it is that it was one of the set’s short-prints. The other football/hockey combo cards in this set are Gordie Howe and Barry Sanders; Mario Lemieux and Terry Bradshaw; Evgeni Malkin & Ben Roethlisberger; Ray Bourque and Tom Brady; Mark Messier and Eli Manning; and Bobby Hull and Mike Ditka. That last card may very well be the most “Chicago” card ever made, and has rocketed to the top of my want list (hint, hint).
These “Hometown Heroes” football cards borrow from Upper Deck’s “Hometown Heroes” hockey cards, in name as well as the concept of superimposing a player in front of the skyline from the city his team plays in. Or if it is a Panini card, putting the player in front of the skyline of the wrong city. ■
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk.