I found 2 cards on eBay last month that I’ve been looking for quite a while now. As part of my Lifetime Topps project, I collect every base card from 1980-2009 Topps flagship. I also collect every insert card within reason. Reason isn’t really something I’ve ever defined – and I haven’t had to quite yet since I’m only to 2000. But it basically excluded parallels, autos, relics or inserts that are numbered. Last, I also collect promo cards. Topps produced pre-production cards from 1991 to (I think) 2007. I’m collecting all of those. They aren’t all that hard to find if I just pay attention to eBay here and there.
But one other group of promo cards existed for the 1991-1994 set, and has proven very difficult to flag down for me. In November each year, Topps would host the Golden Spikes award banquet for the best player in amateur baseball. Bob Horner was the first winner in 1978, and AJ Reed, who was drafted last year by the Astros, was the most recent winner. The list of winners is actually very impressive from an MLB career perspective. There aren’t any Hall of Famers to come out of the list yet, but that could change. Will Clark probably had the best career of any player to win the award. There have also been a number of future award winners:
- Buster Posey (MVP),
- Tim Lincecum and David Price (Cy Young),
- Horner, Jason Jennings, Posey and Bryce Harper (Rookie of the Year)
- Tim Wallach (Comeback PoY)
Lincecum, Jered Weaver and Jim Abbott threw no-hitters. 2 guys – Robin Ventura and Terry Francona – are current MLB managers. Stephen Strasburg and Alex Gordon are current MLB stars.
The 1990-1993 winners were immortalized on cardboard by Topps, in each case done in a way to preview the next year’s flagship set design. The cards were given out at the November banquet, and supposedly there are ~600 in existence. The 4 winners from those years are not as impressive as any of the names above, though Fernandez did have a nice career.
- 1990 – Alex Fernandez (1991 Topps)
- 1991 – Mike Kelly (1992 Topps)
- 1992 – Phil Nevin (1993 Topps)
- 1993 – Darren Dreifort (1994 Topps)
I picked up the Fernandez card a few years ago. Last month, I found the Kelly and Nevin on eBay for the first time, and was quick to pick up both. The Kelly didn’t cost me too much, but I did pay over 50 bucks for the Nevin. Since I’d never seen it, I was glad to get it. I kind of figured I’d never see these cards, so now I’ve only got the Dreifort and I’d have all of them. Maybe at some point I’ll find it. There was an autographed card for sale on eBay, but I don’t want a signed card, and it was way too expensive even if I did want it.
And the Fernandez thrown in to boot.