If It Weren’t For PWEs, I’d Get No 2020 Cards At All

OK, that’s a bit of hyperbole, but I definitely get the bulk of my first looks at 2020 cards from cards sent to me by Dime Boxes Nick.

…but I’ll get to the other stuff first, because he sent me plenty of oddballs as well.

I was well into my 20’s when Starting Lineup figures came out and I never liked the figures much.  The only one I’ve ever owned was a Gregg Jefferies I found cheap (and which still works its way into my rotation of ‘display toys’ at work).  I do like the cards which came with them, though, and this 1988 Starting Lineups card of Howard Johnson is new to me.

It seems to me like HoJo is a largely-forgotten figure of late 1980s / early 1990s baseball, so I will point out that he was an All-Star twice, scored 100+ runs twice, had 100+ RBI twice, won a World Championship twice, won a Silver Slugger twice… And yeah, we’re generally talking about 1989 and 1991 here, but not always.

This next card was indirectly involved in my learning something about a useful feature of Trading Card Database….

Junk Wax Twins clued me into the fact that TCDB has a “FILTERS” feature, so if I don’t know what this card is – and I didn’t…

I can look up Gregg Jefferies and filter on team and card # to find out that this is an unlicensed 1989 card put out by Pacific Cards And Comics… if there even was a Pacific Cards And Comics in Los Angeles (FYI, the “Pacific” we are familiar with is Pacific Trading Cards out of Washington state).

I saw this 1990 Swell Baseball Greats card and said “Well, that’s cool… but why did Nick send me a card of Jimmy Piersall?”

Then I realized that Piersall’s left arm is covering some Mets script… I’d forgotten that Jimmy played 40 games for the Mets in the middle of 1963, even though I’m very familiar with the story of Piersall’s 100th home run when he backpedaled around the bases.  The Mets acquired him from the Senators that May (in exchange for future Mets manager Gil Hodges) and then released him in July (and he was quickly scooped up by the Angels).  The only Mets cards of Piersall are from sets like this one and Pacific Legends.

So yes, Nick sent me one of his Short Term Stops!  (trademark patent pending)

Shifting from “cards issued after a career was over” to “cards issued before a career got started”, there’s this 2002 Justifiable minor league card of David Wright.  The cap logo has been removed, but I believe he’s shown with the Capital City Bombers, an A-Ball team based out of Columbia, SC.  (but not the same franchise as the Columbia Fireflies, the current Mets affiliate in the South Atlantic League)

Even though Just Minors didn’t put out the greatest cards, I kinda miss them…. Or maybe it’s more that I miss being able to buy packs of minor leaguers. (I realize that Topps Pro Debut comes in packs, but even though I own more than 500 Pro Debut cards, I don’t think I’ve ever opened a pack)

This card is simultaneously pre- and post-career… a 2009 TriStar Obak card which shows Tom Seaver with the 1966 Jacksonville Suns (his one and only minor league season).

I was going to make a comment about how this photo of Seaver with the Jacksonville Suns had a sun in the background, but then I realized that this was one of a number of backgrounds used by TriStar in the Obak set.

Jump forward ten years and we’ve got another card of Tom Seaver, this time in a  more recognizable uniform.

For those who enjoy somewhat obscure Beatles movies references, I saw the old-timey ballpark background substituting for Shea Stadium, and I said to myself “Not a bit like Cagney”.

Believe it or not, I had not as much as seen a 2020 Bowman card in person before receiving this Adley Rutschman card. Normally I’d buy a pack or two and then fill in wants at shows, but…

BTW, now that I’ve seen 2020 Bowman in person, I can confirm that it’s a better design than 2020 Topps… and if Bowman were Topps and Topps were Bowman, nobody would’ve said boo.

I bought very few packs of 2020 Topps Series 1 or 2, so this Cal Ripken insert is also new to me. I think I have a couple of other “1985” inserts around here somewhere.

By the way, this is starting to come across as very “woe is me”, but it’s really not. I miss opening packs and checking out new product in a more timely manner, but if we’re being honest here… by the time many of these cards make it to me, the bloom is off the rose and I find I’m not as interested as I would’ve normally been. That’s not a bad place to be in, as it turns out.

OK… Moving on to the next 2020 product I hadn’t seen before, and it’s 2020 Topps Archives. I’ve been disappointed in Archives the past year or two, so I wasn’t sure how much I cared about 2020 Archives. I have to admit, they did a pretty decent job with the 2002 design.

This design haunts me a bit because someone, somewhere – I think I know who, but I’d rather not guess than guess wrong – made a custom version where he replaced the burnt caramel color with traditional white, and it looked REALLY GOOD… Bit of a missed opportunity there.

1974 Topps was the first set I collected and I know those cards backwards and forward and inside-out. When I saw the first images of Archives’ 1974 design I went on a bit of a rant about incorrect details. I won’t rehash these here, but I’ll just point out that the most vocal complainers are the ones who want to be happy with something but aren’t.

This is also my first look at Stadium Club. I do like this year’s minimalist design… it’s different, but has a definite Stadium Club-ness about it. (Doesn’t scan all that well, though)

I mistakenly scanned the wrong side of that Syndergaard, so I figured I’d just post it here for anyone who also hasn’t been able to find Stadium Club. I really like how they reprised the colored stripes for the card number

As always, I’m amazed at what Nick can pack into a literal Plain White Envelope, and I’m very appreciative that he takes the time to pack cards into a PWE for me.

Thank you very much, Nick!

10 thoughts on “If It Weren’t For PWEs, I’d Get No 2020 Cards At All

  1. Hehe. Mixed feelings on HoJo here. He was the star I always pulled in inserts back in the day. Never pulled Will Clark but I could pull a HoJo out of every pack. Definitely a forgotten player though, I remember him killing the Giants (and everyone else in the NL).

  2. I’ve got an autograph version of that David Wright which says “Rookie Preview” (and, on the back, “Prototype”) which does have the cap logo, and it’s a big “C”, so I think you’re right about the team.

  3. The 1988 Kenner SLU cards are awesome. They did a great job with the photography and creating a star packed set. This was one of my favorite set builds… and it was pretty challenging. As for HoJo… I remember him evolving into a superstar, but then he just seemed to disappear off of collector’s wantlists.

  4. Glad you enjoyed everything! I love sending you cards just to see what you write about them and, as always, this post didn’t disappoint! I’ve never been into collecting figurines like SLUs but I really like finding the cards when I can.

    You can probably count the number of times I’ve found cards at Target this year on one hand — thankfully there was a short stretch a couple weeks ago when I saw Archives and Stadium Club in the wild in the same week. ’02 Topps is by far my least favorite of the three designs Topps used for 2020 Archives, but it’s also by far the most true to the original of those three designs. I like seeing ’74 Topps honored, but they really screwed that one up.

  5. I like the non Topps cards on this article, much better than what Topps has been doing with there base set over the last 4 years. Bowman cards always look good, but cost too much, I would like to see Bowman get back to team by team stats on back of there cards & add more mlb players.

  6. Nick’s stuff is always well-rounded. 2002 Topps in white – oh how sweet that could’ve been. As it stands 02 is one of my least favorite designs, period. New S. Club is well-designed, imo. I dig the color bars on front and back. It’s my fave SC since the product returned.

  7. Great stuff from Nick! Somehow I never knew about filters on TCDB until reading this post, I’ll have to investigate that more as that was one of the features I was most bummed to lose when I was forced to transition from Zistle to TCDB!

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