1989 Topps parallels – Eric Davis

28 04 2016

1989 Topps

Card I selected:  #330 – Eric Davis

After 7 Hall of Famers in the first 9 years, I’m going with one of my favorite players for the 1989 set.  That would be Eric Davis.  I don’t know if this is the best Eric Davis Topps card, but it’s up there.  It looks like a double in the gap, maybe more.  I’m also back to just 2 parallels in 1989.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  3

The parallel sets in 1989 include:

  • O-Pee-Chee
  • Tiffany


1989 Topps #330

1989 Topps Eric Davis

1989 Topps Davis back

1989 O-Pee-Chee #330

1989 OPC Davis

1989 OPC Davis back

The Canadian version was again half the size of the Topps set.  Since Davis was in the first half of the set, his OPC card has the same number as his Topps card.  I’m surprised how few cards I’ve picked out of these parallels where it’s different.

Here are the differences for this card:

  • The “O-Pee-Chee” logo on the front replaces the Topps logo in the top corner.
  • On some of the cards (not this one), the card number is different.
  • The copyright on the bottom of the back says O-Pee-Chee and notes the card was printed in Canada.
  • The card is printed on white card stock.
  • Any wording on the back is in both English and French.
  • It says O-Pee-Chee on the back instead of “Topps”.

1989 Topps Tiffany #330

1989 Topps Tiffany Davis

1989 Topps Tiffany Davis back

For the 6th time, Topps issued a Tiffany variation in factory set form, printed on white cardstock with glossy coating on the front.  The 1989 Tiffany set had production cut back a little bit from the previous 2 years – “limited” to 15,000 sets after nearly twice that in 1987 and 1988.

The “Rainbow”:

1989 Topps Davis rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  There’s no others that I know of.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Bobby Bonilla, Jose Canseco, Julio Franco or Mike Schmidt.  It was Schmidt’s last card, and I listed that as my favorite card in the 1989 Topps set.  But Schmidt was in this parallel thing for his 1986 card, so I had to pick someone else.  Glad I could get my favorite player into the set!

Completed set & master set – one last look at 1989 Topps

28 11 2014

Now that I’ve finished that elusive 1989 Topps Batting Leaders insert – I’ve actually finished off the 1989 Topps “Master Set”.  In fact – this means that I’ve finished off the Master Sets for all of the 1980’s!  That’s a fairly big deal in this elusive, oft-sidetracked project of mine.  I could back and do a recap of the 1980’s – but I kind of already did that with a post about the base sets.  I may decide to do a quick (by my standards) post showing how I got each of the cards.  We’ll see.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 410 cards from the wax box
  • 296 cards from a lot of jumbo packs
  • 86 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #393 – Gary Carter AS (1 of 5 cards I got in a trade a long while back from Scott Crawford on Cards that completed the set)

Best card (my opinion): #100 – Mike Schmidt

Check out this link to see the rest of the base set post.

My Master” Set Info:

1,050 cards – 792 “base”, 132 “update”, 126 “insert”

  • Update set: Traded
  • Insert set: Batting Leaders, Glossy Rookies, Glossy All-Stars, Glossy All-Star & Hot Prospects (Send-In)

Toughest card to track down:  Batting Leaders #22 – Alan Trammell

Trammell was one of 6 cards I got in an eBay lot back in April – the last cards to complete this master set.  The Batting Leaders is such an obscure insert from a time when inserts weren’t a thing – one of those has to be the answer.

How I put the additional sets together:

  • Traded – boxed set from eBay
  • Glossy All-Stars – set from eBay
  • Glossy Rookies – 10 from opening jumbo packs, 1 from a Target repack, 11 from Sportlots
  • Glossy All-Star & Hot Prospects – purchased through Amazon
  • Batting Leaders – 20 from various eBay lots, 1 from Beckett, 1 from COMC

Update set composition: 132 cards (126 players, 5 Managers, 1 checklist)

In the update set not in the base set: 44 players, 5 managers

Total in base and update sets: 734 different players, 10 #1 draft picks, 31 managers, 4 retired players

Read the rest of this entry »

Completed insert set – 1989 Topps Batting Leaders

26 11 2014

WHOA!  This was a tough one!  And it took me a while to get around posting about it.  I finished this 22 card set back in April.

I always thought of the ’93 Topps Black Gold set as Topps first ever insert set.  But of course there were glossy inserts from the 80’s and inserts like stamps as far back as the early 60’s.  And then in 1989 and 1990 there were these Batting Leader cards that have become fairly tough to find – at least at a decent price.

Info about the set:

Set description:  22 standard-size cards with a bright red border on the front, with a pair of hands holding a bat on one side.  There is a trophy that says “Top Active Career Batting Leaders” on the other side.  The red backs show the player’s career batting average and the number of at bats he’s had.  The 22 veterans with the highest lifetime batting averages with 765 minimum games played (conveniently equal to Kirby Puckett’s total at the end of 1988).  The cards were distributed one per Topps blister pack sold exclusively through K-Mart stores. The cards are numbered by K-Mart in order of average.

Set composition:  22 cards

Inserted: K-Mart blister packs of 1989 Topps.  1 per pack.

Hall of Famers: 9

Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, George Brett, Jim Rice, Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray, Rickey Henderson, Robin Yount

How I put the set together:

  • 20 from eBay
  • 1 from Beckett
  • 1 from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  In a word – awesome!  The set has a theme and is numbered in order.  I seriously wish this was something Topps had updated every year – you could see people fall in and out of the set based on how they’d done or if a younger guy had gotten eligible with enough at bats.  It’s hard to come by – and it costs some money, too!  Back when I did a write-up on the set, I guessed it would cost me $100 to complete it.  Over the past 4 years – I actually shelled out $150 to finish it!

Card that completed my set:  #22 – Alan Trammell

Trammell was one of 6 cards I got in an eBay lot back in April.

Highest book value:  #5 – George Brett

Best card (my opinion):  #1 – Wade Boggs

I’m going with the guy who was in the lead, which is in this case the #1 card.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

1989 Topps Batting Leaders set

1989 Topps Batting Leaders set_0001

1989 Topps Batting Leaders set_0002

Any other tidbits: Tony Fernandez was about 40 games short, otherwise he would have made the set at card #10.  Ken Griffey and Bill Buckner should have been in the set – Griffey would have been 11th at .298, and Buckner would have been around 16th at .292.  Neither had Topps cards that year (though Griffey was in the Traded set), which probably had something to do with it.

I wanted to look at where these guys finished their career batting average compared to where they were at the end of the 1988 season.  The info in parentheses is the stats at the time these cards came out – I put them in the order they ended their career.  Only Gwynn, Franco and Molitor increased from the end of 1988 to the end of their career – which is quite an impressive feat!

  1. Tony Gwynn, .338 (2nd, .331)
  2. Wade Boggs, .328 (1st, .356)
  3. Kirby Puckett, .318 (4th, .320)
  4. Don Mattingly, .307 (3rd, .327)
  5. Paul Molitor, .306 (10th, .299)
  6. George Brett, .305 (5th, .312)
  7. Pedro Guerrero, .300 (6th, .307)
  8. Julio Franco, .298 (14th, .295)
  9. Jim Rice, .298 (9th, .300)
  10. Keith Hernandez, .296 (8th, .300)
  11. Willie McGee, .295 (12th, .295)
  12. Tim Raines, .294 (7th, .305)
  13. Carney Lansford, .290 (20th, .290)
  14. Dave Parker, .290 (13th, .295)
  15. Johnny Ray, .290 (18th, .291)
  16. Eddie Murray, .287 (11th, .295)
  17. Alan Trammell, .285 (22nd, .290)
  18. Willie Wilson, .285 (17th, .292)
  19. Robin Yount, .285 (21st, .290)
  20. Kent Hrbek, .282 (16th, .292)
  21. Pat Tabler, .282 (19th, .291)
  22. Rickey Henderson, .279 (15th, .292)

Completed set – 1989 Topps

18 09 2012

Before I started doing all this retro stuff on this blog, I had actually completed another set.  Actually, a bunch of sets, but this was the first one – 1989 Topps.  I actually finished this back in February, so I’ve been slacking a bit about getting this post done.  Heritage, Gypsy Queen, Allen & Ginter, Archives, Goodwin (and soon, Topps Mini) will do that to you… I haven’t finished off the “Master Set” quite yet – basically because getting to 1989 means I’ve reached the point where there are some insert sets now.  In fact, for 1989 and 1990 it will be some time before I can finish off the Master Sets.  Why?  Because I’m going for the K-Mart “Batting Leaders” inserts that are obscure and difficult to find for a fair price.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 410 cards from the wax box
  • 296 cards from a lot of jumbo packs
  • 86 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #393 – Gary Carter AS (1 of 5 cards I got in a trade from Scott Crawford on Cards that completed the set)

Set composition: 792 cards (690 individual ML player cards*, 10 #1 Draft Picks, 26 Managers, 5 Turn Back the Clock, 6 Checklists, 7 Record Breakers, 22 All-Stars, 26 Team Leaders) *The 690 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies and 5 Future Stars

Representation of ’88 MLB season: The 690 players represent 70.9% out of the ~973 players who played in MLB in 1988.

Last active player from this set: #717 – Jamie Moyer

Moyer would have been the last active player from this set even if he hadn’t come back in 2012.

Player with the most cards in the set: Orel Hershiser – 4 cards: Hershiser – #550, #5 (Record Breaker), #394 (All-Star), #669 (Team Leaders)

There were quite a few with various combinations of 3 cards, but Hershiser was the only player featured on all 3 subsets in addition to his base card.

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – George Bell RB, #100 – Mike Schmidt, #200 – George Brett, #300 – Darryl Strawberry, #400 – Alan Trammell AS, #500 – Jose Canseco, #600 – Wade Boggs, #700 – Don Mattingly

Highest book value: #49 – Craig Biggio RC

Most notable card: #647 – Randy Johnson RC (rated #54 in Topps vote of 60 best cards)

This card narrowly beats out Mike Schmidt’s last card.

Best card (my opinion): #100 – Mike Schmidt

This isn’t the best set out there, and there aren’t a ton of notable or recognizable cards.  The Griffey RC from the Traded set beats out any cards from the base set.  But I’ll take Schmidt’s last base Topps card over the first cards of Biggio, the Big Unit or some of the others.  Plus, it’s a pretty good picture of the greatest 3rd baseman ever – a good way to go out!

Second best card (also my opinion): #440 – Bobby Bonilla

Staying in the state of Pennsylvania – I just really like this card.  It’s close enough up to see detail, but just far enough away to see a good picture.

Best subset card: #5 – Orel Hershiser

It’s a pretty good photo, but more importantly, this card represents one of the truly great records of all-time.  Not only that, but the way Orel broke Don Drysdale’s record for consecutive scoreless innings is the stuff of legends.  The record came over the last month of the season, when the Dodgers really needed the wins to get to the postseason.  In his last start of the season, he needed to go over 9 scoreless innings to tie Drysdale’s record.  He threw the scoreless 9 innings, and his Dodger hitters played their part – scoring no runs so Hershiser could throw one more inning, which he did.  He broke Drysdale’s record, and he led the Dodgers to the World Series title that year.  This card beats out the Hank Aaron card from the Turn Back the Clock and the Padres TL card below.

Favorite action photo: #231 – Padres TL (R. Alomar)

There really aren’t very many action cards in this set – in fact, the Team Leaders by far have the best action shots.  This one features Roberto Alomar sliding around Gary Carter at the plate.  This beats out the Royals TL card which features a pretty cool action shot of Bo Jackson in the outfield.

Favorite non-action photo: #55 – Julio Franco

The Bonilla could win this one, too, but I also really liked this card of Julio Franco – you’ve got the eye black as he looks on in the dugout.  Cool card.

My Favorite Reds card: #330 – Eric Davis

This was a really tough pick.  I like this card of my favorite player from that time – Eric Davis.  It’s a really good shot of him after going the other way.  Larkin has a really good card, too, with him in a similar pose.  And the last Topps card of manager Pete Rose, who would be banished from the game shortly after this set was released.

Topps Reprints and others:

  • 1999 Ryan reprints – Nolan Ryan
  • 2001 Through the Years – Ryne Sandberg
  • 2001 Archives – Bruce Sutter, Mike Schmidt, Ron Guidry, Willie Hernandez, Tommy John, Wade Boggs RB, Andre Dawson RB
  • 2001 Archives Rookie Reprints – Randy Johnson, Gary Sheffield
  • 2001 Topps Traded – Ken Griffey Jr. (’89T), Deion Sanders (’89T), Nolan Ryan (’89T)
  • 2002 Archives – Bo Jackson, Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell, Frank Robinson MG
  • 2003 Gallery Heritage – Johnson
  • 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Jay Buhner, Chris Sabo, Ron Gant, Mark Grace, Walt Weiss
  • 2005 Gallery Heritage – Griffey Jr. (’89T)
  • 2010 CMT – Sheffield, Johnson, Craig Biggio
  • 2011 60YOT – Bo Jackson TL, Paul Molitor
  • 2012 Tier One Autographed Rookie Reprint – Griffey Jr. (’89T)
  • 2013 Rookie Card Patch – Griffey Jr. (’89T)

With the inserts in 2012 and 2013, Griffey now has 4 reprints to pass the 3 that Big Unit has.

Other Notable Cards: #505 – Pete Rose MG, #233 – Gregg Jefferies RC, #343 – Gary Sheffield RC I mentioned the Rose last Topps card above, but the Gregg Jefferies rookie was a pretty big deal in 1989.  And Sheffield’s rookie card was another winner from the Future Stars subset.

1989 Topps Batting Leaders

14 04 2011

In 1989, Topps added another 1-card per pack insert into the fold.  The Batting leaders set was available at 1 card per “Blister” packs available at K-Mart.  The Blister packs also contained 100 ’89 Topps base cards.  I’ve been looking for and accumulating these on eBay, COMC and Sports Lots.  These cards are pretty rare and the set books for around $100 – and I think that’s about what it would take to collect it from scratch.

The set depicts the top 22 players in lifetime career batting average at the end of the 1988 season.  Not surprisingly, Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn are the first two cards in the set.  The cards are printed on glossy stock and have a red border with a bat vertically across one of the sides.  A trophy cup saying “Top active career Batting Leaders” is in one of the lower corners.

It’s interesting that Topps had issued “insert” cards like this in special packs throughout the 1980’s.  I remember the glossy sets (though I don’t remember ever seeing the Batting Leaders set) – but I always thought of the 1990 Upper Deck Reggie Jackson Heroes as the first insert set.  I guess it was the first real “chase” insert set created.  The Glossy cards or Batting Leaders that Topps inserted came 1 per pack, and only in special packs like Jumbo / Rack / Blister packs.  The ’90 UD Reggie set had a few things different from these cards:

1) the insert set it was available in you standard packs (i.e., hobby or wax), not just special packs.

2) the insert set did not come 1 card per pack – it had odds! I think it came only 1 per 9 or so.  I’m not sure if this is completely new – there may have been some sets this way in Fleer or Donruss late 80’s.

3) the Reggie auto created the ultimate chase – I’m definitely sure this was the first autographed card directly inserted into packs.

Anyways, Topps would again issue this set with the exact same “parameters” in 1990 (but would discontinue after that).  When I get to it – I’ll compare the player changes between the 1990 set and this one.

9 Hall-of-Famers:     W. Boggs, T. Gwynn, K. Puckett, G. Brett, J. Rice, P. Molitor, E. Murray, R. Henderson, R. Yount

1989 Topps Glossy Sets

13 04 2011

Topps again issued three Glossy sets in conjunction with its 1989 base set.  The ranks of Big Red Machine members were thinning by 1989 – there are none in any of these sets.  But the 1990 World Series team was well represented.  Chris Sabo, the ’88 Rookie of the Year, had a card in both the Rookies set and the Glossy Send-In Set (“All-Stars and Hot Prospects”).  Additionally, Eric Davis, Tom Browning and Danny Jackson all had cards in the send-in set.  I haven’t bought the ’89 Send-in set, so the Reds pics are courtesy of my favorite place online to buy single cards.

All-Star Glossy

Back for its 7th year, this 22-card set commemorating the 1987 All-Star game was inserted 1 per rack pack. The set again had the manager, 9 starters, and the All-Star game honorary captains for each league.  The new Hall of Fame inductee was again the selection for honorary captain – as Willie “Pops” Stargell represented the National League.  The American League captain was Bobby Doerr.

12 Hall of Famers:     P. Molitor, W. Boggs, C. Ripken, R. Henderson, D. Winfield, B. Doerr, W. Herzog, R. Sandberg, O. Smith, A. Dawson, G. Carter, W. Stargell (one more than last year)

Glossy All-Stars and Hot Prospects

The send-in set was again 60-cards, called “All-Stars and Hot Prospects”.  Collectors could obtain it in 6 different 10-card portions by sending in 6 of the “Spring Fever Baseball Game” cards that came 1 per wax pack.  The players were generally either current year All-Stars or up-and-coming prospects who’d had break out 1988 seasons.

14 Hall of Famers:     K. Puckett, W. Boggs, G. Brett, D. Eckersley, G. Carter, R. Alomar, D. Winfield, R. Sandberg, R. Henderson, R. Yount, O. Smith, P. Molitor, C. Ripken, T. Gwynn (up from 13 from the ’88 set)

As mentioned, I don’t have this set yet.  I’ve been able to find most of them on eBay for a good price, but not this one.  Above is my standard Rickey card from this set.

Glossy Rookies

In its third year, the Rookies 22-card set came 1 per 101-card jumbo pack.  The set depicts some of the best rookies from the 1988 season.  All 10 members of the Topps All-Star rookie team are included in this set, including Rookie of the Year winners Sabo and Walt Weiss. Future All-Stars Roberto Alomar, Gary Sheffield, David Wells, Brady Anderson and Jay Buhner were all in this set.

1 Hall of Famer:     R. Alomar

I still have half the Rookies set to complete and will continue to look for a decent deal on the Send-In set.  I get to do another post for inserts for this year – 1989 was the first year Topps had an insert (not counting stickers) in addition to all these Glossy sets.

1989 Topps Traded

12 04 2011

In 1989, Topps issued a 132-card “Traded” set in factory form in the same format as previous years; cards were numbered in alphabetical order, separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132.  The set contains XRC’s of players who didn’t have a card in the base set, players who signed with or were traded to new teams, and new managers.  The design is the same as the base set, and the cards were again printed in Ireland on white cardstock.  The set came with an advertisement of to entice buying the new Topps Magazine.

For the first time, Topps issued a retail factory set of the Traded cards.  This came in a much more colorful box, similar to what Topps did for the factory sets of the flagship set.  The retail set has a picture of Griffey’s RC on the front.

Dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set again received a miniature Bronze Card. For the fourth year in a row, this bronze replica was of a historic Topps card.  After issuing the 3 New York center fielders from the 50’s, Topps went with one of the player’s teammates. This time they did bronze replica of Jackie Robinson’s 1952 Topps card. Topps also again issued a limited Tiffany parallel version of this set that had a glossy picture on the front.

Ken Griffey Sr. is the lone Big Red Machine player in this set – he’s the only player left at this point.  He actually didn’t have a card in the base ’89 set, but he got one in the Traded set after being released by the Braves and picked up by the Reds mid-season.  He also got a card right next to his son in the set.

There are 2 members of the 1990 Reds World Champion team in the set.  Todd Benzinger, who caught the last out of the 4-game sweep of the A’s, was traded from the Red Sox for another first baseman (Nick Esasky).  Additionally, Rick Mahler, who was a starter for nearly a decade for the Braves, joined the Reds as a free agent in the offseason and became a spot starter and middle reliever for the World Series team.

There are 6 Hall of Famers in the set (updated for the Big Unit).

  • Nolan Ryan stayed within his home state of Texas – signing as a free agent with the Rangers.  Ryan, having already pitched 22 seasons and boasting the all-time strikeout king and no-hit leader, was thought to be well past his prime, but he still had many memories to make as a Ranger.  He’d win over 50 games over the next 2 years, throw two more no-hitters to finish with 7, and led the league in strikeouts in both ’89 (with 301) and ’90.  He won his 300th game and passed 5,000 strikeouts with Texas.  Many years later, he’d become owner of the Rangers franchise and lead the team to the World Series.  Oh, and he showed Robin Ventura that you don’t mess with Texas.
  • Rickey Henderson was the victim of Ryan’s 5,000th K, and broke the all-time stolen base record on the same day Ryan threw his 7th no-hitter.  In the middle of the ’89 season, Henderson was traded back from the Yankees to the A’s (Eric Plunk was involved in both deals).  Henderson helped the A’s win the ’89 World Series, and won the AL MVP and led them to the ’90 World Series in his second (of four) stint with Oakland.
  • Eddie Murray was traded from Baltimore to the Dodgers in the offseason, and went on to have a few good years with LA, particularly in 1990 when he was 5th in the MVP voting.
  • Bert Blyleven signed with the Angels as a free agent.  He pitched very well in 1989, going 17-5, and pitched parts of two more seasons with California.
  • Randy Johnson is in the set for his trade to Seattle – see that card further down in this post.
  • Griffey Jr. was elected in the time since I initially posted this entry.

This set is most notable for Ken Griffey Jr’s first Topps card.  This card just earned 6th in Topps fan poll of the greatest Topps cards of all time (though that seems a little high if you ask me).  The other particularly notable rookie card would be that of Omar Vizquel.  Vizquel’s is now the earliest card of a player still playing in 2011.  Griffey and Jamie Moyer (see his card below) are the other 2 guys from this set who played in 2010.

There is one other Hall-of-Famer in this set, though it’s that of an NFL Hall-of-Famer.  “Prime Time” Deion Sanders has a RC in this set as well.

Here’s a few more noteworthy RC’s from this set.  “The Cowboy” isn’t really that noteworthy, but he is pretty awesome either way.

These 3 cards aren’t true “rookie cards” – but are notable either way.  Abbott and Olson both were in the ’89 base set shown with their college uniforms as part of the #1 draft pick set.  This is Brown’s first Topps card, but he had a much earlier RC in 1987 Donruss.

There was much more offseason movement in 1989 than the previous years, so there are a lot more notable names in this set.  Here are the four guys who have had probably had the closest thing to Hall-of-Fame careers.  Randy Johnson will of course be inducted in about 4 years.  Palmeiro would go in if not for the steroid thing.  Moyer was traded along with Palmeiro, and would go on to win nearly 270 games.  Julio Franco would become the first of three Rangers to win the batting title (Michael Young and Josh Hamilton).

Those are a couple “greats” and two “very goods”; here’s another group of very good players. Leiter was very early in his career, and wouldn’t become a full-time major leaguer until the 1993 season, where he made some relief appearances for the WS champion Jays.  Randolph was near the end, but would have one All-Star season with the Dodgers.  Langston stayed less than a season with Montreal, signing with the Angels in the next offseason, but this card is notable because the Expos gave up Johnson to get him from Seattle.  Clark had another good season or two with the Padres.  Bedrosian was a former Cy Young and was pretty good for the Giants as their primary closer en route to the ’89 World Series.  But he wasn’t effective after the ’89 season.

I mentioned the 1993 World Series earlier, here are 4 guys who were notable for their part in that matchup.

Here are some more notable names – I call this the “over the hill gang”.  These guys all had good or very good careers, but really didn’t do much after this point.  I could not for the life of you told me that Kent Tekulve pitched for the Reds.  Apparently he finished his career in Cincinnati in 1989, with a relatively ineffective season and an ERA over 5.

1989 Topps scans

9 04 2011

I’ve done my standard Reds scans and scans of the ASR / Future Stars subset cards, so this is the post with the rest of the best cards from the set.  First off, here are 6 guys who had headline / breakout seasons in 1988 and a card of them from the next year.  I really like the Gibson 89 base card, but I don’t have it yet, so the All-Star will have to do.  The Canseco card is on the front of the boxes.

Next up, here’s the Turn Back the clock from this set.  This is a particularly noteworthy set.  It honors the breaking of the Home Run record (Aaron, 1974), the Stolen Base record (Brock, 1979).  It commemorates of the most improbably World Series victory in modern times (Mets, 1969) – Hodges is one of three Mets retired numbers, along with Tom Seaver and Casey Stengel.  The last two honor two great Rookie of the Year campaigns – first is another Met, Dwight Gooden’s 1984 Topps Traded card, and  Mets in this one – first honors Dwight Gooden’s 1984 season with his Topps Traded card.  The last is a “reprint” of a card that never existed.  Oliva had a 1964 Topps card, but he was featured on a dual-player card for the Twins Rookie stars.  Topps took the picture from that card and put it on a regular 1964 design to honor Tony Oliva’s 1964 season, where he won the AL batting title as a rookie.  This Oliva card also has notable variation – there is a rare version where the copyright line is missing along the side of the card back.

Three notable cards – particularly the Rose and Schmidt – as ’89 marks each of these guys last Topps base card.  Rose had his last player card in the 1987 set, but he was no longer allowed inclusion in base sets upon his ban from baseball in the late summer of 1989.  Schmidt would retire midway through the 1989 season after his skills had deteriorated to a level he wasn’t comfortable with.  So the all-time hit king and the greatest 3rd-baseman of all-time – both had their last card in this set.

One of these guys is the White Sox manager, and the other guy is that guy’s boss these days…

Speaking of managers, here’s 2 card of managers I like, and one of a guy I can’t stand.  Now – I realize that there were a lot of people out there who didn’t like Joe Morgan on the ESPN broadcasts.  Personally, I thought he was very good.  Yeah, he might go on some one-off rambles a little bit; he’s always been a bit set in his ways and sometimes that comes out in his commentary. But I liked his personality – and he had great rapport with the players when he did things like pre-game interviews.  I liked him with Jon Miller, and I really liked the two of them when they added Orel Hershiser.  So, who does ESPN replace Morgan with?  Bobby Valentine?  Is that supposed to be an upgrade?  He’s AWFUL!  I also threw in a few Team Leader cards I liked.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from this set.  The McGriff card is great – is it fair, foul, or did he swing and miss?  Gladden and Polonia are capping off the 80’s with the two different hair trends from the decade – the mullet and the jheri curl!  This set was a bit lacking in the photography – but I always did really like the design.

The next few pictures are some of the best players – from the veterans on down to the notable rookie cards.  First – the aging vets.  All these players had rookie cards in the 70’s (or in Ryan’s case – the 60’s).

Next up – guys who were closer to or in the prime of their career when this set came out.

Finally, here’s 12 guys who had their first entry into the Topps base set.  This is a pretty good group of cards with that distinction.  Johnson is the most notable rookie card in the set, while Sheffield is probably next on that list.  Alomar just got elected to the Hall of Fame, and Mark Grace is the answer to the question “who had the most hits in the 90’s”?  Gregg Jefferies was an extremely “hot” card at the time.  And Biggio was probably the best player out of all these guys I just mentioned.  I don’t have the Smoltz card yet – but he makes a 4th Hall-of-Famer in this group (and Sheffield will make a 5th when the whole steroid thing blows over).

Buhner was a mainstay in the middle of the Mariner’s order during the best era of the club’s history – right there with Edgar Martinez and Griffey Jr. Boomer Wells won over 200 games, pitched a perfect game, had an amazing stretch of postseason pitching, and drank more booze than any player since Wade Boggs.  Abbott also threw a no-hitter and was an inspiration just for making the Big Leagues (go Blue!), McDowell won a Cy Young and Avery was the 4th slot in the great Braves’ rotation of the 90’s.  I couldn’t have told you Bichette started with the Angels.

’89 Topps – All-Star Rookie Team, Future Stars and #1 Draft Picks

8 04 2011

Topps All-Star Rookies

Topps again had 10 members on the All-Star Rookie team with the trophy designation on the players’ individual cards.

Future Hall-of-Famer Roberto Alomar was a notable omission – he had 145 hits, stole 24 bases and scored 84 runs.  But Ron Gant hit 19 homers at his position (Gant also played a little 3rd base, but NL RoY Sabo was the clear choice there).  Bryan Harvey (17 SV) and Don August (rookie best 13 wins) were in the argument at RHP, but Belcher was the most deserving.  Paul Gibson was the only card I didn’t pull in opening my boxes and the jumbo packs.

  • LHP – Paul Gibson
  • RHP – Tim Belcher
  • C – Damon Berryhill
  • 1B – Mark Grace
  • 2B – Ron Gant
  • 3B – Chris Sabo
  • SS – Walt Weiss
  • OF – Cecil Espy, Dave Gallagher, Jay Buhner

Future Stars

The Future Stars subset was back for the 2nd year, again with 5 cards.  I pulled all 5 of these cards.  This is a pretty good crop.  Searcy and Harkey were busts, but Sheffield, Jefferies and Alomar Jr. all had great careers.  Alomar Jr., Roberto’s brother, would win the ’90 RoY and was a 6-time All-Star.  Jefferies had over 1500 career hits  and was a 2-time All-Star.  Finally, Sheffield would be a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer if it weren’t for the steroids thing; he ended his career with over 500 home runs, 1600 RBI, 2600 hits and 9 All-Star appearances.

#1 Draft Picks

Topps also had cards from the first 10 draft picks from the first round of the MLB amateur draft.  So a lot of these guys had much earlier rookie cards than they would based on their Major League debut would normally have them do.  Additionally, a few of of these guys had cards in the ’88 Traded sets as part of the USA team subset.  Robin Ventura, Jim Abbott, Andy Benes and Ty Griffin all have cards in both sets.  These cards are left to right in order of draft position – so Benes is 1st, Ventura is 10th (except #7, Will Ansley, which I don’t have yet).  Ventura had won the Dick Howser trophy and the Golden Spikes Award in 1988, while Benes had Baseball America’s Pitcher of the Year Award.  The Ansley and the Abbot are my two favorites out of this subset, and the Avery is solid, too.

1989 Topps – ’90 Reds Cards

7 04 2011

19 out of the 25 players from the 1990 World Champions had cards in the 1989 Topps set.  Lou Piniella was the Yankees general manager in 1988, and managed the club the second half of the season after firing Billy Martin.  I’m not sure what Piniella did in 1989, but he was neither the manager (Dallas Green) nor the general manager (Bob Quinn) of the Yankees that year.  The Reds would hire Quinn as general manager and Piniella as manager for the 1990 season.

Both Chris Sabo and Jack Armstrong had cards in the ’88 Topps Traded set, and 1989 was their first year in the flagship set.  Nasty Boys Norm Charlton and Rob Dibble both had rookie cards in the 1989 set.  However, Mariano Duncan and Luis Quinones were not featured in this set after being included in the ’88 set. Duncan only played in the minors in 1988;  I’m assuming he was injured, because he only played a total of 56 minor league games that year.  Kind of stinks, I guess – play 4 years for the Dodgers, the year you’re sent down, they win the World Series.  Quinones was traded to the Reds at the beginning of the ’88 season, but he spent the majority of the season at AAA Nashville.  He had a cup of coffee in late May and then made the 40-man roster toward the end of the season.

Eric Davis was also featured on the Reds Team Leaders card, and Jackson was featured in the All-Star subset.

1988 – Jose Rijo, Tom Browning, Danny Jackson, Rick Mahler, Randy Myers, Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble, Jack Armstrong, Jeff Reed, Todd Benzinger, Ron Oester, Bill Doran, Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Eric Davis, Billy Hatcher, Herm Winningham, Glenn Braggs, Paul O’Neill