Tuesday, January 15, 2013

400-Count Box, Pt. 1: Players I Like

1993 Upper Deck

As mentioned yesterday, I recently picked up a 400-count box of random, assorted baseball cards from my local card shop.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I found lots of great cards.  I figured I'd split up my finds into three parts:  Players I Like; Meet the Mets; and Other Fun Stuff.

If you're sharp, you already know which of those three areas I'll be covering in this post.  I'm happy to report that I found over 50 cards in the box that will be new additions to my various player collections.  I have quite a few players that I like to collect -- only some of which I've listed in the aptly-named "Player Collections" tab at the top of the page.  But, many of these collections aren't very big.  Then again, for me, any time I have more than a dozen cards of a given player I think that's pretty extraordinary.  [Ed. Note: I'm extremely easy to please, what can I say?]

Anyhow, one of those players is Chris Sabo.  I can't tell you how exciting it is to get new cards of Sabo, such as the one above.  Great horizontal action shot on one of my favorite non-Topps sets from the overproduction era. Upper Deck '93 gives you beautiful, vivid photography not just on the front, but on the card's back also.  What's to dislike?

1991 Score "Dream Team"
Many of Score's subsets are kind of schlocky, but this isn't one of them.  Well, okay, I guess it's a little bit schmaltzy, but it's so well done.  By the way, the Will Clark "Dream Team" card -- the one where he is holding the Wonder Boy replica -- is one of my all-time faves.

1992 Fleer Ultra
It's hard to believe the giant leap that Fleer took from it's 1991 Ultra product to the '92 issue.  Right up there with '93 Upper Deck, this is another set not bearing the Topps name brand that I really love.  As for Eric Davis, this is one of his first cards in Dodger Blue.  He would never come close to matching the great heights he reached in Cincy, but he already left a pretty indelible mark on the game by the time he departed the River City.

1990 Topps
In my opinion, Edgar is the greatest DH to ever play the game.  And this '90 Topps rookie paints a pretty good picture of the man who would craft a .312 lifetime average.  Looks like a pretty chilly day at Yankee Stadium -- just my best guess on the location, by the way.  I know '90 Topps has its share of detractors, but with the right photo of the right player the design really works well.

1992 Score "Sidelines"
It's a well-documented fact that Tom Glavine -- a Massachusetts native -- is a hockey fanatic.  What I didn't know, however, was that the L.A. Kings made him their fourth-round draft choice in 1984.  Or so I was informed from the back of this card -- yet another fancy Score subset.  Corny or not, I really like this one!

1997 Flair
"Mr. Marlin" has always been one of my favorites.  Just a rock-steady pro for 17 big league seasons.  A member of both Florida world championship squads, he hit .294 in 12 Series games.  He even had a brief stint with the Mets in 2007 which, coincidentally, also was his swan song in the Majors.

1995 Collector's Choice Special Edition
Not a bad choice for a fantasy team in those days, eh?  In the early and mid '90s, Williams was near the top of the list of sluggers who were threats to break Maris' single-season HR mark.  I didn't buy much Collector's Choice in 1995, so I don't remember how frequently these blue-bordered "Special Edition" parallels occurred in packs.  But, they seem to be staples in just about any dime box you fish through.

1997 Donruss "Rated Rookies"
Shoot, this isn't your dad's "Rated Rookies", is it?  I guess Donruss had ditched the little blue "Rated Rookies" logo in favor of a more shiny, star-spangled platform by 1997.  Don't get me wrong, this is an attractive card. But, as impressive looking and shiny as this Paul Konerko is, I'll take a good ol' 1988s Rated Rookie any day!

1996 Fleer
I love getting cards of Olerud.  The expressionless face, the hard-shelled cap.  It's all good.  I was never more bitter than when Olerud (and his wife) decided to depart Flushing for the Great Northwest after the 1999 season. Still, he's one of my favorite Mets of all-time, and certainly one of my favorite first basemen.

1987 Donruss
Bonilla was probably 23 when this shot was taken -- and it looks like it was snapped at Wrigley Field -- but he looks like he just graduated from high school.  Yes, I fully understand Bobby Bo was a Grade-A jerk during his time with the Mets -- during both tours -- but, I still enjoy collecting his cards.  Chalk it up as a mystery, I guess.

1981 Topps
This takes its place in my Jack Morris collection as the oldest specimen.  Pretty uncanny that I would get this a week after I posted about Morris' Hall of Fame snub.  Jack went 16-15 with a 4.18 ERA for the Tigers in 1980, but he tossed 11 complete games including two shutouts.  I've never been a huge fan of '81 Topps, but I like how the colors and design work on this one.  I might be biased, though.

1991 Bowman
Bowman didn't veer too far from its 1990 design with its 1991 offering.  Ditto for the photo choices, which were mostly of the bland Spring Training variety.  However, this Deion card is one of the coolest batting cage shots I've seen on any card.

2005 Topps Heritage
I didn't get many Topps Heritage cards in the box, but I was happy to get the few that I did.  Especially this one of a young King Felix.  By the way, notice the background action shot features Felix in a "World" jersey top.  As in the one he wore during the MLB Futures game in 2004.  Pretty cool!  In terms of Heritage, I think if I could go back in time and choose one Heritage set to collect pack-by-pack it would be this one.  I totally dig the way the present day players look on the horizontal '56 design.

1988 Topps
Did anyone see Pete Rose's new reality show on TLC?  Clever title ("Hits and Mrs."), but it's kind of embarrassing.  Rose seems uncomfortable in the reality show setting.  As opposed to, say, any of the Kardashians.  Or Honey Boo Boo.  Anyhow, I watched the sneak peek on Sunday night and couldn't turn away as much as I wanted to.  As if it were a car wreck.  I digress, though.  The man sure could wield a bat, and that's all I care about.  And I'm more than happy to get an extra copy of his '88 manager card.

1998 Fleer Vintage '63
I was surprised at how thin the cardstock was on this one.  I guess I'm just accustomed to the thickness of the Heritage brand.  Nonetheless, I like this design and I really like the photo Fleer chose.  I would assume this is from a batting practice session, unless I missed a pretty interesting footnote from Browns' career.

2002 Fleer Triple Crown
I was not buying baseball cards at the time this set or any of the 48 other Fleer sets were floating around.  Part of me wishes I hadn't abandoned the hobby during this era, since it cost me the chance to collect of lot of unique and unusual sets.  Plus, it had to be a player collector's dream, what with so many brands.  But, in retrospect, it's probably for the best since pack prices were probably absurd.  Furthermore, these cards can now be found on the cheap in many a dime box.  I was equal parts surprised and thrilled to find this Shinjo card in the box.

1990 Leaf
Another rookie of a very good player, albeit from a pretty vanilla-looking product.  Oh well, one tends to be tolerant of almost any design or color combination when embracing the junk wax era.  And I certainly do embrace it; I love it for all its faults and misused excesses.

So that's my look at some of the cards I'll be adding to my player collections.  I didn't intend for it to be so lengthy, but I couldn't help myself.

For my next post, I'll get around to scanning some of the neat Mets cards I received.

See ya then...



  1. Nice! I'm not usually impressed by these "random box of cards posts", but there are some keepers in there! I love that Glavine card (can't go wrong w/ '92 Pinnacle), and the Williams and Konerko cards are cool too. Even a Padre card that was worth showing!

  2. I can't stand Chris Sabo. Thought he was wildly overrated and cost more deserving NL 3B All-Star roster spots and starting jobs.

    I'm huge fan of all of Pete Rose's manager cards from 85-89. I'm pretty sure Pete didn't like Chris Sabo either. Pure speculation, but I'm putting it out there.

    1. I can understand that, seeing as your a Wallach-ite.

      However, didn't Pete Rose once characterize Sabo as a guy who'd run through Hell in a gasoline suit to win a game? I don't think he'd say that about someone he didn't like.

  3. So much for my speculation.