Ya Get Whatcha Get: Triple Play Chicken And Other Delicacies

A couple of months ago I did a post about the three “Famous Chicken” cards I picked up on COMC. Shortly afterwards, I rediscovered another Chicken card that was already in my collection.
1992 Donruss Triple Play Famous Chicken
This card is from the 1992 Donruss Triple Play set, and I don’t really have much to say about it…

…So let’s move two years later to 1994. That year, O-Pee-Chee was in their second (and final) year of producing a flagship baseball sets that wasn’t just Topps cards with French on the back. Not long ago, I picked up a Cal from the set.
1994 O-Pee-Chee Cal Ripken
…und hier ist der back… (Don’t ask me why I suddenly slipped into pidgin German).
1994 O-Pee-Chee Cal Ripken back
These really are very nice cards, and have been the subject of some internal debate. “I should get more of this set!” is followed by “Oh, yeah, because we don’t have enough cards from 1994…”

I’m going to say something that may seem heretical to some Mets fans, and I don’t want anybody to think I don’t appreciate everything David Wright has done for the Mets and everything he brings to the team…
2011 Heritage David Wright
…but with the emergence of young Mets pitchers like Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, I am beyond happy that there are more and more inserts that feature Mets other than David Wright.

And finally I’m going to finish up with a career retrospective on Sonny Siebert that I will be sort of “live blogging”… writing it as I’m researching it. The main impetus behind this is my buying this cheap 1972 Kellogg’s card and then wondering “What did Sonny do to warrant a Kellogg’s card?” Prior to finding this card, Sonny Siebert was (to me) just another guy in the 1974 and 1975 sets.
1972 Kelloggs Sonny Siebert
OK, well the first thing I found out about Sonny Siebert’s 1971 season was that he as an All-Star, which goes a long way to explain this Kellogg’s card. He went 16-10, 2.19 that season. He was also an All-Star in 1966, while with the Indians.

He shares his 1964 rookie card with fringe-y Indians pitcher Tom Kelley, who should not be confused with Tom Kelly who managed the Twins for 16 years.

His 1965 card says that he was originally an outfielder, but switched to pitching in the minors. On May 10, 1964, he pitched 6 innings of mop-up relief during a Yankees blowout in the first game of a double-header, and he struck out 11 Yankees, including Jim Bouton, Mickey Mantle, Elston Howard and Clete Boyer. All four of those notable Yankees struck out twice against Sonny.

Moving along, his 1966 card says he was among the 1965 A.L. leaders in wins, K’s and ERA. Oh, look! There’s his picture on some 1966 League Leader cards. The photo used on his 1966 League Leader card was used on his 1967 base card.

Let’s see… he no-hit the Senators on 5/10/1966… He’s on a 1968 Topps ERA Leaders card… Traded to the Red Sox in April of 1969… Oh, he was also on a 1971 Kellogg’s card…

On June 19, 1970, Sonny Siebert was no-hitting the Yankees after 8 innings and had a 7-0 lead. Horace Clarke lead off the 9th with a single, which was followed by a double, a two-run single and a two-run homer… at which point Sparky Lyle came in for the save.

Sonny likes to go bowling! …That’s according to his 1973 and 1974 cards. He was traded to the Rangers early in 1973, but never appeared on a card in a Rangers uniform – A call to action for one of you “Cards That Never Were” guys (and if you’ve already done one, please leave the URL in the comments).

His real name is Wilfred… He was traded to the Cardinals after the 1973 season, traded to the Padres after the 1974 season (a fact noted on the back of his 1975 card), made six starts for San Diego before being traded to the A’s in May, 1975. He ended his career after 17 appearances with Oakland. 1975 Topps was his last baseball card, so he never appeared on cardboard with the Padres or A’s, either. Two more opportunities for custom card makers.

To wrap things up, baseball-reference.com says that Sonny is the last A.L. pitcher to hit two homers in the same game (9/2/71 against Baltimore).

OK, well sorry about the rambling but as the subject line says, “Ya get whatcha get”.

The Very Large Oddball Sets: 1990’s O-Pee-Chee Baseball

Yesterday’s post featured this 1993 O-Pee-Chee B.J. Surhoff card I got last year:
1993 OPC BJ Surhoff

A comment from CommishBob of The Five Tool Collector reminded me that not everybody – or at least not everybody in the U.S. – is aware that O-Pee-Chee had designs that were not just duplicates or echoes of the Topps set from the same year. It wasn’t that long ago that I was right there with you on this.

I thought it would be fun and helpful to give a brief run-through of the unique designs used for 1990’s O-Pee-Chee baseball… but just to be clear, I ain’t no expert. If anybody catches me in a misstatement, please let me know.

I’ll admit, it’s probably not fair to refer to O-Pee-Chee sets as “Oddballs”, but for most of us ethnocentric Americans, that’s pretty much how they’re regarded. My apologies to our Canadian brethren.

In 1991, the O-Pee-Chee flagship set was the usual duplicate of the 1991 Topps set, but they also issued a 132-card “Premier” set that was likely meant as an effort to get in on the “upscale” card trend started by Upper Deck in 1989.
1991 OPC Premier Cal Ripken
I like how both Cal’s head and feet encroach on the border…

Here’s the back. Not much on information, but very easy on the eyes:
1991 OPC Premier Cal Ripken back

1991 Premier Baseball used the same design as 1990-91 O-Pee-Chee Premier hockey, so this was more a matter of “Hey, we did this thing for hockey, let’s do it for baseball as well!”

While the 1992 flagship was again largely identical to Topps, O-Pee-Chee Premier came back in 1992 with a 198-card set.
1992 OPC Premier Doc Gooden

1992 OPC Premier Doc Gooden back

Again, this was a reuse of the 1991-92 Premier hockey design.

In 1993, O-Pee-Chee issued a 396-card set that was their first flagship baseball set that didn’t echo Topps.
1993 OPC Howard Johnson

1993 OPC Howard Johnson back

This set had a pair of insert sets commemorating the 1992 World Champion Blue Jays, but I won’t get into that here (mainly because I don’t have any of those).

Premier also came back for a third year, with a 396-card set issued in three series. There were also inserts sets of “Top Draft Picks” and “Star Performers”.
1993 OPC Premier Harold Baines

1993 OPC Premier Harold Baines back

As with the other Premier sets, it used the design from the 1992-93 Premier hockey.

While O-Pee-Chee created a Premier hockey set for the 1993-94 season, it was not back for baseball. Instead, O-Pee-Chee issued what I consider to be the best design of the bunch. It’s not clear in my scans, but these are full-bleed cards.
1994 OPC Mike Mussina

1994 OPC Mike Mussina back

This set also had some inserts that I won’t get into here…

These cards feature an O-Pee-Chee logo that seems to have been short-lived and forgotten in the mists of time.

According to Wikipedia, it was at this point that O-Pee-Chee got out of the trading card business after being hit hard by the 1994 baseball strike and the 1994-95 hockey lockout.

All of these O-Pee-Chee sets are very nice, although the designs are not particular favorites of mine. They generally did an awesome job on the backs, while the fronts were just OK.

That being said, while I was pulling out Mets & Orioles cards to scan for this post, I was thinking that I need to add these cards to my COMC Black Friday want list.