I started collecting Ozzie Smith cards in 1985. About 15 years ago I decided to focus on the cards from his playing career years only (1978-1996). I did this out of necessity; I couldn't keep up with volume of cards being created every year and with a wife and two kids it just wasn't financially feasible. Over the years one of the most gratifying aspects of my collection has been constantly developing, tweaking and adding to my checklist. I take pride in my collection, checklist, and the knowledge I've gained and shared with other Ozzie collectors.
My ever evolving Ozzie checklist has 986 total cards from 78-96. As of today I have 979 of 986. The card I got today in the mail is the 1996 Cardinals Team issue card. In the nearly 20 years since it was issued I've only seen three copies; one was bought by another Ozzie collector and one was so badly damaged I couldn't buy it.
Here is the bittersweet part. Of the seven cards I'm still missing, five are promo cards or cards only rumored to exist. Now I'm not saying they don't exist but I've never seen any of them and don't know of a single Ozzie collector that has ever heard of one or seen one. The two other cards do exist but one is way out of my price range and the other is just impossible. Will I give up on these seven cards? No. Do I expect to ever add them to my collection? Maybe. As any long time player collector will tell you new cards are always being added. I look forward to that aspect of the hobby.
So what are the seven cards?
1990 Score Promo- On a checklist but never seen. I do believe this card does exist.
1990 Sportflics Promo- On a checklist but never seen. I do believe this card does exist.
1992 Legends Sports Gold- On my checklist only. I do believe this card exists.
1992 Colla All Star Promo- On a checklist. I do NOT believe this card exists. Others players do but Ozzie is not listed on the back of the other promo cards with other players.
1993 Pinnacle Cooperstown Promo- On a checklist but never seen. I do believe this card does exist.
1996 Collectors Choice Gold Signature #404 checklist. I know of one example of this card but have only seen scans. Just impossibly difficult to obtain.
1996 Select Certified Mirror Gold- You know the story on this card. Only 30 copies and just way out of my price range.
So after 30 years here is a scan of what could possibly be my last Ozzie Smith pick up:
1996 Cardinals Team issue. This card has only been seen autographed and signed in black. This is a far-from-mint example but I will take it gladly.