The Phoenix Art Museum will present a limited-engagement exhibition specially reserved for some of the rarest and most important baseball cards in sports history from March 9 through April 24.

From the Diamondbacks Collection, carefully and painstakingly amassed by longtime collector and Arizona Diamondbacks Managing Partner Ken Kendrick, The Ultimate Collection: Iconic Baseball Cards from the Diamondbacks Collection includes 16 of the 20 sports trading cards top rated worldwide. , plus 25 additional popular and prized baseball trading cards.

The exhibit will include baseball’s rarest and most famous collectible: a T206 Honus Wagner trading card, once owned by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

“This is truly a wonderful opportunity to bring a collection of this cultural significance to the Phoenix Art Museum and to our community,” said Amada Cruz, Museum Director Sybil Harrington. “Mr. Kendrick’s collection transcends the realm of sports and pays homage to the art of collecting and the unique enthusiasm that fuels collectors of all kinds.

Kendrick got his start as a collector as a young boy growing up in small town West Virginia, buying nickel packs of trading cards on summer trips to the dime with his childhood friends. , both for chewing gum and for cards.

Kendrick, who grew up playing Little League and listening to baseball games on the radio with his father, began amassing a collection of cards featuring the players he followed in the 1950s.

As he got older, he moved away from card collecting, only to find as an adult that his mother had kept the cards he had collected in his youth. It was these cards that would form the basis of a decades-long pursuit that would become The Diamondbacks Collection, named for the Arizona team that Kendrick became part-owner of in 1995 and general partner. in 2004.

The list of cards that make up the collection is truly staggering, including 16 of the 20 rarest and most prized trading cards in sports history. The collection includes Topps rookie cards for Baseball Hall of Fame inductees Mickey Mantle, Henry “Hank” Aaron and Sandy Koufax.

It also includes a rare Bowman 1954 Ted Williams card, as well as cards featuring some of the most legendary and iconic names in gaming history, including Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Satchel Paige, Joe DiMaggio and Willie Mays. It also includes a single basketball card: a 1986 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan card, considered by many to be the greatest player in NBA history.

The Ultimate Collection marks the first time Kendrick’s collection has been displayed west of the Mississippi, and the first time it has been officially displayed in his home state of Arizona. Previously, the exhibit was presented at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York for three years, before closing in 2013.

The exhibition complements the Museum’s first celebration of the art of collecting as part of Collectors’ Month in April 2016, honoring collections of all kinds. This will coincide with the opening of Phoenix Rising: The Valley Collects, an exhibit that showcases the best of the Valley’s art collections from a multitude of genres and media, and the annual Copperstate 1000, a vintage car rally that raises funds to support the Museum. and features beautifully restored classic cars.

For many, the stories of why collectors collect, where their passions were first ignited are often even more intriguing and fascinating than the items themselves. With the thrill of chasing the cards on the way to possession, for Kendrick the cards represent the love of a game that ultimately bonded him to his late father. Today, the collection has become an intergenerational bond for Kendrick and his own children.

“More than anything, baseball for me was one of those great ties I had with my father. When I see these cards today, it makes me think back to my youth and most importantly, it reminds me of my father, listening to games together on the radio and sometimes traveling to see Reds games in Cincinnati,” Kendrick said. “Today these cards represent a legacy for my own children. They represent family stories and memories. I am delighted that the collection is on display at the Museum because I hope it can connect other families. I hope to see fathers bringing their sons and daughters, grandfathers bringing their grandchildren to come see the collection , share their stories and memories with the next generation.

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