Doppelgangers? ….Maybe….

A couple of years ago I had a short series of posts about what I called Doppelgangers, which are pairs of cards which were from different manufacturers but showed the same moment from slightly different angles.  For those of you who don’t want to click on links, here’s my favorite example:  The Geronimo Pena cards from 1994 Topps and Upper Deck Collector’s Choice:

The Dodger underneath Geronimo Pena is Brett Butler.  These two cards feature photos that were clearly taken by different photographers at the same moment.

The pairs I’m featuring today appear to be from the same play, but aren’t from the same moment and could conceivably be from different plays… but they’re close enough to be cool.

First up, we’ve got the patron saint of the baseball card Blogosphere, Bip Roberts.  Bip appears to be turning two against the A’s while Eric Fox (#28) breaks it up.

Since 1993 was before Interleague play, you wouldn’t see the Padre`s and A’s appear in the same game outside of Spring Training, so there’s no way to know which game this is from.  I don’t even know for sure that the Athletic on the ground in the second card is also Eric Fox.

Next up is a pair from 1994 Score and Collector’s Choice, this time featuring the Red Sox’ John Valentin and the A’s Brent Gates.

I could make guesses as to the play, but I couldn’t even swear that this is the same play.  I’m comfortable in saying that it’s either from July 8th 1993 or July 10th (Gates didn’t get on base on the 9th).

This final pair of cards isn’t really a Doppelganger because both cards are from 1994 Upper Deck sets, but I’ll feature it anyway, mainly because I kinda liked Anthony Young when he pitched for the Mets.

Saved From The Purge: 1994 Pinnacle

I don’t have a lot of 1994 Pinnacle – somewhere between 100 and 200 – but it’s also one of those sets that I’ll never complete and there’s no reason to hang on to the cards that don’t fit into a subsection of my collection or bring me joy in some way.  These are some of the cards that fall into the latter category.

Bryan Harvey seems amused to wear one of the Waaaaaaaaaaaaay-too-teal caps of the early Florida Marlins.
1994 Pinnacle Bryan Harvey
FWIW, Havey’s son Hunter is a pitcher in the Orioles system. He was a first-round pick in 2013 and has ranked #4 (after 2013) and #2 among O’s prospects (after 2014, both rankings according to Baseball America).

FWIW #2, there are two minor leaguers named Harvey Hunter listed on, both from over 100 years ago.

Speaking of sons, Keith Kessinger is the son of long-time Cubs shortstop Don Kessinger.
1994 Pinnacle Keith Kessinger
Keith’s MLB experience was a September callup in 1993. He played eight years in the minors with the Orioles, Reds and Cubs and is currently a analyst on the Ole Miss broadcast team (He played baseball and basketball during his time at Mississippi).

This Mark Lemke card get saved because it’s a Shea Stadium action shot, and I think I’ve figured out which game it comes from.
1994 Pinnacle Mark Lemke
Charlie O’Brien played 4 years with the Mets, but wore #22 in 1992 and 1993. That leaves us with a handful of games that O’Brien played against the Braves at home, and this is the only game that seems to fit the action:
May 23, 1993… O’Brien is batting 2nd (!) against Steve Avery. In the bottom of the first, with the Mets already down 1-0, Vince Coleman grounds out to third, Charlie O’Brien singles to right-center and then Eddie Murray grounds into a 5-4-3 double play (with Mark Lemke playing the part of “4”). The Braves won that game 2-1, and Bret Saberhagen pitches a complete game and takes the loss. Charlie drove in Coleman for the Mets only run on a ground ball single to left field in the 9th.

Stan Javier gets saved from the purge because he’s trying his best to be “3-D” while wearing a nice-looking throwback uni.
1994 Pinnacle Stan Javier

1994 Pinnacle Bip Roberts
It’s always fun to find another Bip Roberts card I’ve had for 20 years. This card is not as washed-out as my scanner makes it look.

This card is here by mistake, but I don’t feel like removing it from the post. It doesn’t fit the theme of the post because it’s an Oriole card and should’ve already been in an Orioles binder rather than in Cardboard Box Purgatory waiting to see if it will move up to Binder Heaven.
1994 Pinnacle Mark Eichhorn

Aw, Man! I Want A Fairfield Repack, Too!!!

I’ve been seeing a bunch of posts lately for repacks, and it lit a fire within me.


I had to go to Target anyway, so I went through the repacks they had on hand… Unfortunately, the ones they had made no promises of vintage, just 5 rookie cards. Whoop-dee-doop-dee-doo.

Didn’t matter, I needed a fix. Into the cart it went, and into my blog it goes…

The particular repack I bought was one I picked out because of this Jason Bay card I didn’t recognize… and it turned out to be a 2007 Topps Wal-Mart insert. Despite his less-than-stellar time with the Mets, I like Jason Bay and hope he turns it around with the Mariners.
2007 Topps Wal-Mart Jason Bay

Just like most Fairfield repacks, I got some 1980’s Topps glossies… Usually my favorite part. Unfortunately, this time around the only one I needed was this Clemens…
1987 Topps Glossy All Star Roger Clemens
…and naturally, I ended up with two of these. Sigh.

I like the late-1980’s parking lot in the background.  I believe that’s a big ol’ Cadillac just over Clemens’ shoulder.  It’s too bad it’s not a pink Cadillac, crushed velvet seats, ridin’ in the back, oozin’ down the street, wavin’ to the girls, feelin’ outta sight, spendin’ all my money on a Saturday night, honey I just wonder what it feels like in the back of your pink Cadillac… pink Cadillac…

Huh?  Whuh?  Oh, sorry, drifted away for a minute…

Woo-hoo! I got Bipped! I think that’s almost becoming a point of honor…
1992 Upper Deck Bip Roberts

Huh. I didn’t know Star did a Keith Hernandez set… I’ve got a couple of other player-specific Star sets, but I don’t recall running across Keith before.
1987 Star Keith Hernandez Post Season Stats
The problem with doing these player-specific sets in the colors of the player’s current team is that you get bad combos like a Cardinals uniform framed with Mets orange. This would’ve been a nicer card with different colors… but it’s Star, it’s only going to get but so nice… I’ll just distract myself by admiring Keith’s stirrups.

I got a number of 2010 cards, including this Aaron Laffey. Laffey was on the Mets earlier this month, and I didn’t have a single card of his. Last week the Mets put him on waivers and he was claimed by the Blue Jays… and NOW I have a card of Aaron Laffey. Ain’t that just…
2010 Topps Aaron Laffey
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Blue Jays will put a waiver claim on ANYBODY. Don’t believe me? Keep an eye on the transactions column… seems like half the guys who go through waivers get claimed by the Jays, even if the Jays then turn around and DFA the guy.

No, I don’t understand it.

…and for what it’s worth, the Jays did turn around and DFA Aaron Laffey.

Among the promised rookies I got were a 2005 Bazooka Melky Cabrera (which seems to actually have some value), a couple of uninteresting 2010 rookies and this 2007 TriStar David Price, which is at least shiny even if it is kinda ugly.
2007 TriStar Prospects Plus David Price

Not one of the better repacks I’ve gotten, but still $4 worth of entertainment.

…And for the record, 36 cards went straight from the repack into the recycling bin… Just doing my part to keep America safe from Junk Wax.

1997 Topps Gets Whacked

I did something last weekend that I thought I’d never do… but I have to admit, I feel better for having done it. After much deliberating and a bit of impulse – imagine a tiny little Bluto Blutarsky in my head yelling “LET’S DO IT!!!!! Go! Go! Go!” – I’ve officially abandoned any intentions of completing 1997 Topps baseball. The significance isn’t so much that I’m giving up on 1997 as much as I’m giving up on a Topps set that I’d started.

1997 Topps Bip Roberts

I felt like I should keep the Bip just for the meme-iness of it all.

When I was a kid, my goal was to collect every baseball card ever made. As I got a little older and realized that it wasn’t a realistic goal, I scaled it back to every Topps card ever made, and then to every Topps base set from 1970 on… that last goal has been in place for at least 30 years. For me to finally abandon the “Prime Directive” that I’ve had longer than some of you have… well, been… that wasn’t something that was easily decided.

This actually started back when Topps’ Diamond Giveaway was in full swing and I had people offering to trade me cards from 1997. I’d looked at my checklists and was dismayed to find that I needed 60% of the 1997 Topps set.  Sixty Percent!  That’s damn near starting from scratch.

1997 Topps Jose Valentin

Special Guest Star: Cal Ripken, Jr.

Then I looked at the 1997 cards I already have in my collection, and the 4-year-old part of my brain started whining “I don’t WANNA collect that set! It’s POOPY!!!!” Sure enough, when I took a step back and looked at the set with some objectiveness, I had to agree with 4-year-old Joe. The 1990’s was not a good decade for Topps, and 1997 is the nadir… small, bland, dull. It’s such an uninteresting and useless set that I passionately hate it for being uninteresting and useless.

Truth be told, I’ve always liked 1997 Collector’s Choice better.

…And 1997 Fleer.

…And 1997 Score.

I think the only reason I’d bought more than a pack of 1997 Topps was because it was Topps. One simply must buy Topps, mustn’t one?

So then I started thinking about cutting back my wantlist to those cards that I truly want. It’s at that point that I started thinking “Well, if I’m not going to get the Paul Shueys and Tom Pagnozzis that I would need for a set, then do I really need to keep the Tim Crabtrees and Orlando Millers that I don’t care about but already have?”

1997 Topps Butch Huskey
So I finally pulled the trigger and purged the unwanted cards from my binder and storage box, and in addition to Tim Crabtree I also purged Barry Bonds and Ivan Rodriguez and other cards that didn’t have any significance for me. I kept the Mets, Orioles and a handful of other cards, and the ‘casualties’ ended up being just over 100 cards… but it’s not about how many cards got purged. It’s more about setting a precedent, pushing the envelopes, killing the sacred cows and other hackneyed phrases.

Seriously, though, this was a mindshift for me, and has me questioning the general idea of completing sets… but I’ll get into that another time.