My favorite posed shots from Topps in the 1990’s

29 09 2016

1993 Topps 2nd best card Puckett

Next on my posts for completing the decade is another top 5 list based on photos from the decade.  The last post was action shots, the next one is the best posed shot.  Like that list, this listing also goes completely based on the photo itself – not necessarily the player.  Of course these are just my favorites – so let me know if you’ve got some others you’d include!

Honorable Mention (in no particular order, though the Brian Jordan and the Puckett were the ones I really thought about):

1998 Topps Brian Jordan

1990 Topps Keith Hernandez, 1991 Topps Roger Clemens, 1993 Topps Kirby Puckett, 1995 Topps Eduardo Perez, 1998 Topps Brian Jordan, 1998 Topps Jose Guillen

Here’s the award winners.

5) 1999 Topps #52 – Todd Helton

1999 Topps Helton

It’s unusual for Topps to capture these types of moments from a different part of the 162 game season.  Rain delays! That looks like Riverfront Stadium in the background – I think this was a game from May 24, 1998 when the Reds beat the Rockies in a rain-shortened game that went through 2 delays.

4) 1994 Topps #80 – Jose Canseco

1994 Topps Jose Canseco best non-action shot

Again – more credit to photos that have the player doing something interesting that’s a part of the game that’s not showcased as much as others.  In this case, Jose Canseco is shaving his bat handles for game day use.  Surprised he does that in the dugout.

3) 1992 Topps #40 – Cal Ripken

1992 Topps Ripken

The Iron Man next to the monument of the Iron Horse.  Probably a better overall card than the 2 ahead of it – but I’m supposed to avoid too much consideration of who is in the photo.

2) 1991 Topps #450 – Wade Boggs

1991 Topps best card Boggs

It was borderline revolutionary to put something like this on a card in 1991.  Particularly for Topps.  The best photo in a set full of great photos.  I had a really tough time not putting this card #1 – I switched back and forth a few times before finally hitting “post”.

1) 1993 Topps #52 – Bobby Bonilla

1993 Topps best card Bonilla

I don’t know why – but this card resonates with me.  This doesn’t feature a pose in an actual baseball environment.  But I’m someone who has an affinity for Manhattan, which is strange since I’m from the Midwest.  But Bonilla – and Bonds a year later – were such a big free agent signings.  Those 2 felt like the first really huge free agent moves in baseball history.

Anyways, like him or not and question his tenure in New York, I think this card captures a bit of baseball history in a unique way.  And it makes me thing wistfully of my 2+ years living in New Jersey.

Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #68 Cooperstown Old Slugger Pale Ale

24 09 2016

Another Cooperstown Brewing Co for this Saturday’s post.  Still have quite a few more, but I’m going to do as many “Saturday Suds” as I’ve had from this brewery for the next few weeks.  Have about 3 or 4 more.  This is Cooperstown Brewing Company beer #4.  I posted about the brewery itself about 2 months ago.

CBC sign

Brewery:  Cooperstown Brewing in Milford, NY

Beer:  Old Slugger Pale Ale

CBC Old SluggerDescription:  “Our Flagship – first brewed in 1995. A light bodied English pale ale with only a slight inclination towards the Fuggle and Cascade hops.”

“The flagship beer of Cooperstown Brewing Co. Old Slugger was the first beer brewed at CBC in July of 1995. This English-style pale ale is brewed with four barley malts, including two-row English pale malt and crystal malt, balanced with Mt. Hood, Cascade and Fuggle hops, and fermented in open vessels by Ringwood yeast (150 year old yeast strain brought over from England).”

As mentioned, this is their flagship beer.  It’s technically an English Ale – not an American pale ale.  It’s more “malt forward” than hops, which is fine by me.  I love hops, but I think these guys have found a good niche by not just trying to make a bunch of different IPAs.  They have one regular IPA that’s good, one seasonal IPA that’s really good (for a later post), and in general all of their beers are all really solid.

Medium:  I bought it in a 12 ounce bottle.  You can also get it on tap at the brewery or a few other places.

How it’s related to baseball:  All of CBC’s beers are baseball themed; they’re built around the idea that a brewery around Cooperstown should focus on the baseball part of the town.  Since this is their flagship, they combine the idea of “old faithful” but throw in slugger instead. A good name to me, as this would be a great beer to bring to your local softball team’s game.  They sell it at the Binghamton Mets park, which is sponsored by CBC.


My favorite action photos from Topps in the 1990’s

19 09 2016

Getting back on track with my “completed decade” posts.  This listing goes completely on the photo itself – I’m trying to avoid letting the player impact it too much.  These are the “action” variety best of the decade.  I’m just going to do a top 5 of these.

Of course these are just my favorites – so let me know if you’ve got some others you’d include!

Honorable mention – 1994 Topps Kenny Lofton, 1994 Topps Roberto Alomar, 1992 Topps Darryl Strawberry, 1992 Topps Hubie Brooks, 1999 Topps Travis Fryman

5) 1995 Topps #23 – Mike Devereaux

1995 Topps Mike Devereaux

This card could be higher, I like the way it can look awkward or amazing depending on how your mood is going.

4) 1997 Topps #65 – Chuck Knoblauch

1997 Topps 65 Chuck Knoblauch best action shot

This Knoblauch card was the winner in a very good set of action cards.  I love when a card captures a lot of things – there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on, up to and including the jump throw by Knoblauch (who says Derek Jeter invented that!).

3) 1998 Topps #79 – Kevin Polcovich

1998 Topps Kevin Polcovich

Polcovich – whose career was far from memorable – is shown here levitating over a cloud of dust, after trying to turn a DP!  Kind of like the card below, but a slightly different angle.

2) 1993 Topps #50 – Roberto Alomar

1993 Topps best action Alomar

The top 2 separated – the difference between this card and #3 is pretty extreme, whereas I nearly picked this card as #1.  A lot going on.  That’s Carlos Baerga sliding into second to break up a potential double play. Alomar looking on after the throw, mid-air with his leg kicked up.  Mel Harder’s retired number in the background at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium.  Dust kicking up.  Great card.

1) 1991 Topps #170 – Carlton Fisk

1991 Topps best action Fisk

I didn’t intend it this way – but Fisk won this “award” in both decades!  His 1982 In Action card was my pick fo the 1980’s, and this card is my favorite action shot of the 90’s.  It’s a great card from a great set; the card captures so much.  Cecil Fielder barreling down, Fisk waiting for the ball (and the potential collision), and the on deck hitter signalling “get down”!  This was a tough choice over the Alomar card above.

Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #67 Vermont Pub & Brewery Grand Slam Homerun Beer

17 09 2016

I’ve been trying to catch up on Cooperstown Brewing Company beers from my trip to the Hall of Fame back in July.  But I had two beers on that trip that weren’t from CBC.  The first was the .394 Ale from AleSmith (Tony Gwynn’s concoction).  This is the 2nd one.

Vermont Grand Slam Homerun Beer

Brewery:  Vermont Pub & Brewery, Burlington VT

Vermont Pub & Brewery Grand Slam Baseball BeerBeer:  Grand Slam Homerun Beer

Description:  “A light-bodied American pale ale dry-hopped with ALL Vermont Nugget hops. This was the brainchild of Greg Noonan. He had said, privately, that he felt that he had nailed the style for what he had planned and hoped for. Enjoy this light, summer ale while watching your favorite team play. It’s a homerun!”

So I need to digress a minute.  Greg Noonan is a brewing icon.  Maybe, for America, the brewing icon.  Here’s a good write-up.  He trained Jon Kimmich from Alchemist, who brewed (and continued to brew) the most important IPA in the business.  So going to a brewery that was founded by someone viewed as the founder of craft beer – it was pretty cool.  Considering this was a beer he thought hit the mark -that’s pretty cool.

It’s not a beer that I’d give 5 stars by any means.  I thought it was a solid pale ale that was worth drinking and I was happy it wasn’t too strong.  I drove 3 hours to Burlington and had 30 minutes to drive after that – so I needed to pick 2 light beers with my dinner.  This was a good one.  It’s not something they should bottle and mass produce, but it’s a tasty, smooth-drinking ale.

Medium:  I got in on draft at the Vermont Pub & Brewery.  I was driving from Cooperstown, heading to brew heaven in Stowe, VT (Alchemist).  As far as I know this is the only way to get this beer.

How it’s related to baseball:  It’s brewed by one of the founders of craft beer specifically to specifications to watch baseball.  And it’s called Grand Slam.  That’s all I need.

Vermont Pub Grand Slam Beer

The best Topps subset cards from the 1990’s

13 09 2016

Subset cards is the topic for my next category of “best of” awards for the 90’s decade.  I’m not treating Olympic, Draft Pick, Future Stars, Prospect or All-Star Rookie cards as subsets.  These are those players’ only cards in that set, which isn’t what I think of when I think “subset”.

I also decided against including tribute cards for Aaron, Ruth, Mantle, Robinson, Clemente, and Ryan.  Those probably are subsets, but they’re retired players and only 1 card per subset.  I could probably have been persuaded the other way, but I don’t consult anyone about posts on this blog 🙂

Feel free to chime a comment in with any you would have included!

Here are the honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut:

  • 1991 #392 – Ken Griffey, Jr. AS
  • 1995 T #163T – Mike Piazza / Ivan Rodriguez AS
  • 1997 #464 – Hideo Nomo SH
  • 1997 Eddie Murray SH

10) 1990 Topps #7 – Rickey Henderson RB

1990 Topps Rickey RB

The Record Breakers subset was always one of my favorites. While there are only 3 such cards in the 1990 set, this card is for a pretty cool Rickey record – the most home runs leading off a game.  He broke the record of 35 held by Bobby Bonds in early 1989, but I find it interesting they actually talk about his last one of the season (his 40th) on the back of this card.  I guess at the time, that was the new record.  Kind of like McGwire’s 70th home run ball being more valuable than #62.  It’s a great photo of Rickey going deep.

9) 1998 Topps #479 – Ken Griffey Jr. / Mike Piazza INTP

1998 Topps INTP - front

This card became extra cool this year when Griffey and Piazza went into the Hall of Fame together this year.  I was there – and it seemed like Griffey and Piazza had great chemistry together.  I’ve been a huge Griffey fan for almost as long as I’ve been a sports fan, but I came away a Piazza fan after going to Cooperstown in July.

8) 1993 Topps #409 – Greg Maddux / Roger Clemens AS

1993 Topps best subset Clemens Maddux AS

This card captures 2 of the greatest pitchers of our lifetime.  Of course, you didn’t know at the time they would go on to win a combined 709 games and 11 Cy Young awards.  It’s cool they were both on this same card.

7) 1995 Topps Traded #124T – Hideo Nomo ROYC


This is where I looked back at my posts and decided I had made a mistake.  I picked the card of Piazza and Pudge Rodriguez as the best subset.  But I didn’t give enough weight to Nomo-Mania!  So the Pudge/Piazza All-Star card didn’t crap the top 10, but this Nomo does.

6) 1999 Topps #461 – Sammy Sosa HR

1999 Topps series 2 box Sosa HR Parade

5) 1999 Topps #220 – Mark McGwire HR

1999 Topps McGwire HR 70

First and second of 3 cards from the 1999 set, which obviously did well as far as subsets go.  The Home Run Record was either the biggest or the 2nd biggest story of the decade – so you’ve got to have the 2 cards that Topps did in honor of that incredible summer of baseball.  These would be higher up if subsequent things weren’t learned about the methods used to reach those records.

4) 1992 #2 – Rickey Henderson RB

1992 Topps Rickey RB 939

This card is awesome, pure and simple; it’s definitely the best subset card in 1992 Topps.  It shows the actual moment (stealing 3rd base in Oakland on May 1 against the Yankees) for one of the coolest records out there.  Henderson has more than 1.5 times as many steals as the 2nd place thief, Lou Brock.  Truly an amazing record.

3) 1999 #452 – Jeter / Rodriguez / Garciaparra AT

1999 Topps All-Topps Jeter A-Rod Nomar

The 3 shortstops that looked to supplant Ripken or Wagner as the greatest of all time.  None of them did, but they sure were amazing when this card came out.

2) 1995 #388 – Ken Griffey Jr. / Barry Bonds AS

1995 Topps AS - front

The best players of the 90’s, on the only Topps base card to showcase both 2nd-generation stars.

1) 1996 #96 – Cal Ripken 2131

1996 Topps 96 Ripken best subset

This was a no-brainer.  When I think of baseball in the 90’s, a few things pop into my head.  The strike, the 1998 home run chase that seems tainted (and I don’t even have it out for steroid guys).  Maybe Griffey Jr.  But Ripken’s streak was the story that resonated the best with Americans, and it’s the one that has lasted.  This is the Topps card that pays homage.

The best Reds cards from Topps in the 1990’s

11 09 2016

The next few posts will be about the top cards from the 1990’s decade in Topps.  I’ll start with the best Reds cards of the decade.  When I do this, I’m considering it from a pure Reds fan standpoint.  Not necessarily what is the best Topps card that happens to be a Red – but the cards that are the coolest to me as a Reds fan.  I didn’t have a set number in mind when I did this for the 1980s, but I ended up doing 10, so I figure that’s a good number in this decade as well.

Before I get into the top 10 – here’s the 5 honorable mentions.  These were cards I considered but didn’t put into the top 10.  A bunch of good Reds cards here – if I were a team collector I would consider these a must!


10) 1998 Topps #1 – Pete Rose, Jr.

1998 Topps Pete Rose Jr

Pete Rose wasn’t allowed to have MLB licensed cards after 1989, when he was suspended for life from MLB. But there’s one Pete Rose Topps card in Topps in the 1990’s – Pete Rose Jr., who played in 11 games in the 1997 season – his only time in the Majors.

9) 1993 Topps #515 – Greg Swindell

1993 Topps best Red Swindell

Swindell had a good year with the Reds during his lone season in Cincinnati in 1992.  And this is a great photo.  Anytime you have a pitcher swinging a bat – it’s a win in my book.

8) 1991 Topps #92 – Danny Jackson

1991 Topps best Red D Jackson

I love this card because it shows Jackson’s unique leg kick and delivery.  And his head hanging over the internal border – that’s very cool.  1991 was a great set, though the Reds didn’t really get some of the better photos.  Especially since it was photos of the 1990 season when they won it all.

7) 1997 Topps #373 – Jose Rijo

1997 Topps Rijo

Rijo messing around in a janitor jumpsuit.  This was in the middle of a 5 year stretch where Rijo didn’t actually play a sanctioned professional game.

6) 1994 Topps #485 – Joe Oliver


The only card in this top 10 I didn’t pick as “Reds card of the set”.

5) 1999 Topps #114 – Dmitri Young

1999 Topps Dmitri Young

Da Meat Hook barreling around 3rd base sticks out to me in a major way.  This was one of the only good Reds cards in the 1999 Set.

4) 1999 TT #T50 – Adam Dunn


Rookie card of a guy who hit about 450 homers – most with the Reds.  Dunn was my generation’s Dave Kingman.  Swing big or go home.  Actually, it may be that Dave Kingman is the Adam Dunn of a previous generation.  Dunn walked, struck out or homered in nearly half (49.92%) of his plate appearances.  I’d imagine that’s the most of any player – it’s more than McGwire (45.6%), Kingman (38.5%), Reggie Jackson (46%), Babe Ruth (38.6%) or Barry Bonds (38.5%).  Mark Reynolds is actually the closest I found – he strikes out so much his ratio is over 47%.

3) 1994 Topps #705 – Jose Rijo

1994 Topps Jose Rijo

Unlike 1991, the Reds got a lot of the better cards in 1994.  This was the only set that got 2 cards in my top 10, and Rijo was the only player who got 2 cards.  In addition to Rijo and the Oliver card above, there’s a Barry Larkin card where he’s going back on a fly ball.  I could honestly pick any of these top 3 as my favorite Reds cards from the decade.

The Super Soaker had just come out in 1992 and I remember all the kids getting them.  Rijo was apparently a big water gun enthusiast – there are at least 2 other cards I know of where he is shown with a water gun.

2) 1990 Topps #260 – Eric Davis

1990 Topps Eric Davis

In some aspects – this card means more to me personally than the card i’m calling “Card of the Decade”.  Eric Davis was my favorite Red when this set came out, and it it’s an awesome photo that fits well with the set.  Oh, and this is the year they went wire to wire and won the World Series!

1) 1995 Topps #350 – Barry Larkin

1995 Topps 90 Reds Larkin

I said this back on the 1995 complete set post – but I just don’t have to think twice about this card.  Us Reds fans know – we aren’t the Yankees.  We can’t overspend to give ourselves a better shot at a championship.  So when a player wins an NL MVP award, it makes him a local hero.  Like Pete Rose and Ken Griffey Jr., he was a local high school baseball who went on to win an MVP.  Unlike Griffey, he won his MVP with the Reds and went into the Hall of Fame wearing their cap.  He’s one of only 4 players to play their whole career for their hometown team and make the Hall of Fame.  The other 3 are Yankees (Ford, Rizzuto, Gehrig).  Larkin having a cool card the year he won the MVP?  That’s really special.  And it deserves the Reds card of the decade!

Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #66 Cooperstown Nine Man Ale

10 09 2016

Another Cooperstown Brewing Co for this Saturday’s post.  I’m going to do as many “Saturday Suds” as possible from this brewery when the appropriate day of the week comes around.  Have about 5 or 6 more.  This is Cooperstown Brewing Company beer #3.  I posted about the brewery itself about a month ago.

CBC 9 man 6 pack

Brewery:  Cooperstown Brewing in Milford, NY

img_2212Beer:  Nine Man Ale

Description:  “A classic English pub ale with a complex malt center brewed with Hallertau and Cascade hops.”

This is Cooperstown Brewing’s golden ale.  It’s a refreshing ale that is halfway between a pale ale and a lager.  I like the IPA spectrum better, so this is definitely not my favorite beer.  But it’s one that meets in the middle – halfway between an ale and lager.

My wife doesn’t really like my hop affliction, but she’ll drink this one gladly.  It’s very good on a hot summer day.  At a baseball game, or doing yard work…

CBC 9 man yard

Medium:  I bought it in a 16 ounce tall boy can.  You can also get it in 12 ounce bottles or on tap at the brewery.

How it’s related to baseball:  All of CBC’s beers are baseball themed; they’re built around the idea that a brewery around Cooperstown should focus on the baseball part of the town.  This beer focuses on the set up the game – 9 players to field a squad.  A good name to me, as this would be a great beer to bring to your local softball team’s game.  They also sell it at Citi Field from time to time, as well as at the Binghamton Mets park.

It’s also one of the 2 logos on their corn hole boards.

CBC 9 man ale

The most Topps cards in the 90’s – Bonds & Griffey

8 09 2016

Before I went and did the legwork on this – I would have guessed one of 3 players would have the most base Topps cards in the 1990’s.  Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds were the players of the decade depending on what source you looked at – they are obvious contenders.  Cal Ripken Jr. played the whole decade, won an MVP early on, and set a significant record halfway through – so he was an obvious contender.

I was right – on all 3 counts depending on how you look at it.  I include Topps, Topps Traded and Topps Debut in this.  From that perspective, Bonds and Griffey had the most cards, coming in at 22.

Barry Bonds (22)

  • 1990 (1) – base
  • 1991 (2) – base, AS
  • 1992 (2) – base, AS
  • 1993 (2) – base, AS
  • 1993 Traded (1) – base
  • 1994 (3) – base, AS, MOG
  • 1995 (2) – base, AS
  • 1995 Traded – ATB, AS
  • 1996 (2) – base, STP
  • 1997 (2) – base, SH
  • 1998 (1) – base
  • 1999 (2) – base, ATT





Ken Griffey Jr. (22)

  • 1990 (1) – base
  • 1990 Debut (1) – base
  • 1991 (2) – base, AS
  • 1992 (1) – base
  • 1993 (2) – base, AS
  • 1994 (3) – base, AS, MOG
  • 1995 (2) – base, AS
  • 1995 Traded (2) – ATB, AS
  • 1996 (2) – base, STP
  • 1997 (1) – base
  • 1998 (2) – base, IL
  • 1999 (3) – base, LL, ATT





If you don’t count Topps Debut – Bonds would have the most since he doesn’t have a Topps Debut card.  If you eliminate Topps Traded from this discussion, Bonds, Griffey and Ripken all have 19 cards.

Aside from Griffey and Bonds, 2 other players have over 20 cards in the decade:

  • Ripken – 21 cards
  • Frank Thomas – 20 cards

Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Matt Williams all have 18 cards.

Topps in the 90’s – earliest active player

4 09 2016

Earliest active current player from this decade:  Nolan Ryan – 1990 Topps #1, 1991 Topps #1, 1992 Topps, 1993 Topps #700, 1994 Topps #34

1994 topps Nolan Ryan

Amazingly, the earliest active player from the 1990’s Topps decade actually had a card in half the decade (60% if you count his 1999 Tribute card).  That emphasizes how long his career was.  You would expect it to be someone who only had a card in 1990 or 1991, but Ryan had a card as an active player in 1992, 1993 and 1994 (remember – card sets show what you did last year. Or at least they used to).

Ryan made his MLB debut in 1966, though he only played in 2 games for the Mets that year.  He came in for mop up duty on September 11th of that year – pitching the 6th and 7th innings of an 8-3 loss.  He walked one, struck out 3 – appropriate – and gave up one run courtesy of a long ball to fellow future HOF-er Joe Torre.

Ryan pitched one more game that year, starting 7 days later and leaving after giving up 4 runs in 1 inning.  He spent all of 1967 in the minors, before coming up for good in 1968.

Three other players debuted in the 1960’s and had Topps cards in the 1990s – Carlton Fisk, Jerry Reuss and Rick Dempsey all played their first game in 1969.  Reuss had his last Topps card in 1990 Topps, Dempsey had cards in 1990 and 1991, while Fisk was around long enough to get a card in 1993 Topps.


Tommy John is also worth mentioning.  He actually debuted a year before Ryan in 1965.  And while his last Topps card was in 1989, he did start 10 games for the Yankees in 1989 – so it would have been possible for him to have a card in 1990 Topps.

Earliest active player from this decade:  Babe Ruth – 1995 Topps #3

1995 Topps TRIB - front

The earliest player period is a different story.  Topps did a number of tributes in this decade – the last year of Turn Back the Clock cards in 1990, tributes to Hank Aaron (twice), Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente.  But Babe Ruth’s card #3 in 1995 represents the earliest player from the set.

Ruth made his debut on July 11, 1914, 7 days after the Red Sox purchased his contract from the Minor League Baltimore Orioles.  He reported to Boston that day, and notched his first victory that afternoon.  He went 7 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) as Boston beat Cleveland, 4-3.  He went 0-2 at the plate, striking out once.  The greatest slugger of all-time was pulled for a pinch hitter in the 8th inning.  Tris Speaker was manning center field behind Ruth that day.  He faced off against Shoeless Joe Jackson (2-4 with an RBI), and an aging Nap Lajoie (0-3).

Saturdays Suds: Baseball & Beer #65 Alesmith San Diego Pale Ale .394

3 09 2016

On the first Saturday of College Football, I’m always excited but also a bit sad that baseball is going to start getting a little less attention (from me and the rest of the American sports world).

The beers from Cooperstown Brewing Company weren’t the only baseball-themed beers I had on my Cooperstown trip.  There are a couple other beers to post about.  The first came all the way from AleSmith from San Diego.  I knew about this beer, but didn’t realize AleSmith sent it out to Cooperstown.  You could find this at a number of bars and restaurants throughout Cooperstown.  I’m not completely sure – it may have been distributed only for Hall of Fame week.  I had a couple of these across the 4 days we were there.

394 Pale Ale

Brewery:  AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, CA

394 Pale Ale beerBeer:  San Diego Pale Ale .394

Description:  Per their website: “In early 2014, Tony Gwynn’s team approached AleSmith to create a distinctive beer for the baseball legend. A meeting was called at the Gwynn household, which included a sampling of AleSmith beers to identify Tony’s preferences. He wanted the beer to be “light with a kick” which he elaborated further to mean full of hop character and light in body and color. The result of the Gwynn family’s feedback on test batches rendered a golden pale ale full of American hop flavor and aroma, with a subdued bitterness and a malty sweet finish. AleSmith San Diego Pale Ale .394 pays tribute to the city that Tony loved and the career high batting average that he achieved in ‘94. Discover what happens when a Hall of Fame perfectionist crafts a beer with a world-class brewery. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation (TAG).”

I incorrectly assumed something like this wouldn’t be that good – a lot of time a famous person adding their name means the product suffers.  Instead of working on the product, it tries to sell with its name.  I was wrong in this case, and apparently the story about Gwynn working with them before his unfortunate passing is true.  This is a light-but-tasty pale ale.  Wish I could get this year-round!

There’s also an imperial version that was released over a year ago.  Hopefully AleSmith does that again.

Medium:  Comes in 12-oz bottles.  You can also find it on tap at certain restaurants – the first of the two I had in Cooperstown was a draft.

How it’s related to baseball:  Tony Gwynn helped the brewery designed it!  It has his autograph, him in his recognizable batting stance.  And, of course, the name follows his remarkable 1994 campaign where he hit .394 and was robbed of the opportunity to cross .400 due to baseball’s most recent labor impasse.

394 Pale Ale sign