Black Friday: Cards I’ve Wanted Since The 1990’s

These two cards were 1997 Score inserts that I’ve always wanted, because they’re fun and they combine baseball cards and comic books, two of my long-time passions — although I haven’t read Superman since I was a kid.
1997 Score Pitcher Perfect Cal Ripken

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “Pitcher Perfect” insert set, they all feature photos by soon-to-be-Hall-Of-Fame pitcher Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson, who majored in photojournalism at USC. You can check out his photography website here.
1997 Score Pitcher Perfect Cal Ripken Alex Rodriguez
There’s a third card in this ‘subset within an insert set’, but I’ve had that A-Rod card since 1997 and the punk doesn’t deserve to be featured without Cal there to counteract his negative aura.

Next up is a card that I have, in theory, been desiring since 1991.
1991 Studio Lance Parrish

…Not so much Lance Parrish, but what this Lance Parrish card represents:  This is the last card I needed to complete my 1991 Studio set.

I know ’91 Studio isn’t a universally-loved set, but I’ve always liked it, and a cheap waxbox from a few years ago put me close to a complete set.  I got to the point where I was one card away and I decided to get the card off of COMC just so I can finally put this set to bed.

This last one is a bit of a cheat… Yes, I’ve wanted it since the 1990’s, but in the sense that it’s Keith Hernandez and I always want any Met from a Topps base set.
1990 Topps Keith Hernandez

Oversized Load: 1984 Donruss Champions

1984 Donruss Champions Keith HernandezIn recent weeks, I’ve been featuring cards from the oversized Donruss Action All-Star sets of the early 1980’s. Today I’m going to highlight a little side trip Donruss made in 1984, the 1984 Donruss Champions set.

This set, which is the same 3.5″ x 5″ size as the Action All-Stars, featured a subset of “Grand Champions” painted by Dick Perez. The “Grand Champions” were Hall of Famers who held either a season or career record in certain statistical categories. The remainder of the 60 card set was made up of current players who were supposedly in a chase to surpass that “Grand Champion”.

Chase… chase… where have I heard that recently?

I decided to go ahead and share all the Mets cards from the set. There were a good number of Mets in the set, probably because of the number of older players with healthy numbers. Keith Hernandez, at 30, was the “kid” of the bunch.

Tom Seaver was no longer a Met by the time this set came out; he’d been drafted by the White Sox in the free agent compensation draft in place at the time.
1984 Donruss Champions Tom Seaver

Dave Kingman was also gone in 1984; he signed with the A’s as a free agent.
1984 Donruss Champions Dave Kingman

George Foster was with the Mets and manning left field in Shea.
1984 Donruss Champions George Foster

Rusty Staub was also with the Mets in 1984, but in a part-time role. His games and plate appearances are nearly identical.
1984 Donruss Champions Rusty Staub

These cards were sold in cello packs of 5 cards with the legally obligatory Donruss puzzle pieces, this time picturing Duke Snider.

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.

MUST…
HAVE…
REPACK!!!!

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.

Keith Hernandez Wasn’t Born With That Moustache…

…It just seems that way.

As Mets fans – and many others – know, Keith shaved off his moustache for charity last week. It was the first time in 25 years that Keith’s upper lip has seen the light of day.  I’m frankly surprised it wasn’t longer than that;  the oldest card I know of featuring a clean-shaven Keith is this 1980 Kellogg’s card.  I had thought it might be an older photo, but the Cardinals didn’t wear uni #’s on their sleeves until 1979, so that’s probably when this photo is from.

I wish Keith good luck in getting used to it;  I used to have a mustache for 18 years, and no longer having it took a bit of adjustment… I can’t tell you how long it took me to stop trying to run the comb through my moustache after I’d combed my hair.

Now that Keith’s ‘stache is REALLY trash, I guess that’s just more evidence that he and the other former athletes have been phased out of “Just For Men” commercials in favor of that baby with the goatee.  I am a man in his mid-40’s, ostensibly their target demographic, and I’ve gotta say – that baby is massively creepy.

Unrelated: 1980 Topps / Songs With “King” In The Title

I’m gonna try something new and (hopefully) fun by pairing cards with unrelated lists or facts.  “King Felix” Hernandez pitched a perfect game this week, as I’m sure you know;  A few months ago I received a number of 1980 Topps as my “Diamond Giveaway” payout.  Let’s mash it up…

My top five songs with “King” in the title (in no particular order)

AND

The top five 1980 Topps I got from Diamond Giveaway:

“Sun King” by The Beatles (from Abbey Road)

Side 2 from Abbey Road is one of my favorite all-time album sides.  Yes, I’m old, I still think of certain albums as having sides.  For those who never had Abbey Road on vinyl, side 2 begins with “Here Comes The Sun”

“King Contrary Man” by The Cult (from Electric)

“The King Of Bedside Manor” by Barenaked Ladies (from Gordon)

Some of you may scoff at Barenaked Ladies, but I’ve been a fan since their first album and they were a hell of a lot of fun to see in concert.  Yes, I used the past tense even though the band still exists.  Sorry guys, but it’s not BNL without Steven Page.  I’m not sure how “BNL” it was the last couple of years with Steve.

“King Of The World” by Joe Jackson (from Summer In The City)

This is a Steely Dan song, but I prefer JJ’s live cover version.

“Kings And Queens” by Aerosmith (from Draw The Line)

To me, this song will always be the B-side on the “Come Together” single, but it was one of those B-sides that I got to like as much as the A-side.

Bonus Track:  “King Tut” by Steve Martin ANd the toot uncommons

Another song which will always be a single to me.  The single benefits from being just the studio track without the live lead-in you have on the “Wild And Crazy Guy” album.  I’m sure Mickey Lolich prefers the single.

Confessions: 1985 Mets Super Fan Club

Forgive me, bloggers, for I have sinned.  Twenty-seven years ago I committed a deceitful act, and the guilt has been weighing on me all this time.  Back in 1985, I signed my son Buzz up for the Mets Super Fan club, a club meant for kids…  But Buzz doesn’t exist, I made him up to get the cards that club members got.  Payment was by check, so I figured it might raise some red flags at Mets Central if the member’s name was the same name printed on the check.  I don’t know whether the Mets would’ve rejected a suspicious-looking application, but I wasn’t about to risk it.  There were cards at stake!

These days, none of the major or minor league teams I follow include baseball cards with their kids clubs, I suppose it’s a sign that the hobby is aging.  Probably just as well, because Buzz would be signed up with at least 3 kids clubs each year, and over an extended period I’d have to keep inventing children.

An eBay search revealed that there was a similar clubs in 1984 and 1987 that I was not aware of.  More Mets cards for my wantlist!  (I do own the 1986 Super Fan sheet, and that will be a future post.)

After nearly 30 years, I couldn’t tell you what else came with the Super Fan Club package… that stuff is long gone.  As you can see, there are 8 players and a membership card in the sheet.  Each of the cards are standard size.  The sheet as a whole is 7.5″ x 10.5″ and is  perforated, although it looks to be the kind of perforation which is more a guide for scissors than anything you could easily tear.  The card stock and printing looks pretty Topps-like, but there’s no mention of anybody but the NY Mets on the cards.

Here are some images of an individual card, for your viewing delight.

Why did Big Baseball fail, and would it work today?

If Clay Luraschi had said that last summer’s “game changer” comment was in reference to a horizontal, 1952-56 sized, multi-series set with two photos of each player and cartoons on the back, would you have gotten excited?

If you answered “yes”, would you still be excited if the cards looked like this?

I’ve recently picked up a few 1988 Topps Big cards, and they seem like something which should’ve worked, but didn’t.  I tend to like larger-sized cards (Topps Giants, Super, 5X7, Donruss Action All-Stars), and I love cartoons on the backs of cards, but I never had any interest in these sets when they were out.  The sets were clearly aimed at kids, and apparently kids in the late 1980’s wanted garish designs.  Topps must’ve blamed the lack of success on not being ugly enough, because subsequent sets were each more hideous than their predecessor.  1990 Topps Big makes 1990 Topps look like a tasteful and classic design.

If a set like this were released today and aimed at an all-ages crowd (and actually attractive), do you think it would be successful?  Would it be something you’d buy?

I would post some 1989 and 1990 Big images, but I’m already late for work so it’ll have to wait for another time.

Here’s the back of the Gooden, plus a few other Mets: