Friday, May 30, 2014

1996 Donruss Phillies

Yesterday, I featured the Phillies cards from 1996 Stadium Club Members Only Parallel set I recently acquired. I also just bought the Phillies cards from the 1996 Donruss set. There were 18 cards in the set and I only had 5 of them.

Superficially, these cards are a lot like the Stadium Club cards. A full bleed-photo on the front and back. I think that's Shawon Dunston of the Cubs trying to dislocate Van Slyke's shoulder.

It also featured some decent photos. But Donruss wasn't a premier set like Stadium Club. The photos aren't quite as crisp and the card stock is a bit thinner.T he front and back are glossy but lighter than Stadium Club.

The glaring difference is in the front design. In fact, that block of dufex foil on the front comes pretty close to ruining the entire set.

The block is quite distracting. Your eye gets pulled right to it. Sure there is some information there, the Donruss logo, the team logo, the players position and uniform number, and the team name and home city are all geometrically arranged. It's maybe the worst way this information has ever been presented on a baseball card.

The back of the card helps to make up for the poor design of the front. There are career stats, laid out in a clear manner, easy to read. The player name, position and card number are easy to read. I like the large team logo in the background. And with all that other stuff, there's still room for a good sized player photo. Donruss did a pretty good job of listing stats through most of the 1990s.

When there weren't enough stats to fill the back they filled in some of the space with biographical information.  This is a common design element which is way better than leaving a large blank space.

Here that dreadful block is covering the center of the action. Keven Jordan, by the way, is part of the all Keven infield that the Phillies could have fielded in 1995, if they had wanted to. In addition to Jordan, they had infielders Keven Stocker, Keven Elster and Kevin Sefcik. In addition, they had outfielder Keven Flora. 5 Kevins on the field at once would probably have set a major league record.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

1996 Stadium Club Members Only - Phillies

I've been randomly working on my 1996 Phillies collection. I recently picked up the 13 Phillies cards from the Stadium Club Members Only Parallel set.

The Members Only parallel is exactly the same as the regular edition except for the addition of the gold-foil Members Only logo on the front. Stadium Club is a set that a lot of people, myself included, miss. Crisp, full-bleed photography on the front without a lot of design blocking the photo. And a large color full-bleed photo on the back. Generally skimpy on stats, but who cares. That's what base-level Topps is for.

The regular Stadium Club set had 450 cards and most of them were regular player cards. The Members Only Parallel set had an extra 100 cards, featuring various inserts like "Bash and Burn" and "Megahits".

The Members Only Parallel was only available to Stadium Club members. I remember that there was an annual fee to join and that got you access to special member only sets. I think there was a cost to acquire these special sets. Only 750 Members Only Parallel sets were produced, according to

Here's a few more.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

1993 Coca Cola Commanders of the Hill cards

A recent article on featured this set. I'd never heard of it before. There was only one Phillie in the set and I got lucky that it was available on eBay.

Based on the name of the set and the camo design on the card front, you won't be surprised to find out that these were available on US military bases in 1993. 25 cents and the purchase of a fountain drink at a base restaurant got you a five card pack. I imagine that it was pretty easy to collect a complete set.

The cards were produced by Topps. They have a light gloss, front and back. The back features Schilling's 1992 pitching results. Note that early in the season, he was pitching only a few innings in each game. It's hard to remember now, but Schilling was a relief pitcher before he came to the Phillies. He appeared in 42 games in 1992 but only 26 of those games were as a starter.

When I last looked there were 5 individual cards and one set available on eBay.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2014 Bowman Is Back card

I didn't buy much Bowman this year but I did manage to pull one of the Bowman Is Back insert set cards.

Bo Jackson has always been one of my favorite players so I was happy to get this card from the 25-card set.  It's got that cracked ice chrome finish that Bowman has been using for a few years. Is this card a reprint of Bo's 1989 Bowman card? Not exactly. I don't have the 1989 base card but I do have the Tiffany version.

The Bowman Is Back card has a different front photo and the facsimile signature is way different. The back of the card, while having a similar overall design has a more conventional stat layout. The first few years of Bowman gave a different look to player stats. The cards showed the players performance against other teams for the previous year. Also, the 1989 Bowman cards were about a 1/4" taller than regular cards. The Bowman Is Back card is normal size.

I had to pull out the original card to figure out what the curvy line on the right border was. It looks like the padded edge of a batting cage.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Card producing laziness

I've been seeing a lot this year of Topps using the same photograph on more than one card. They crop them different, change the color balance, do the 'Gypsy Queen' thing to them, or even Photoshop the backgrounds, but it's still the same photo. I've even seen some 2013 photos used on 2014 cards. I started collecting examples back a few weeks ago, planning for a post later in the year. But I've got 15 examples, enough a full post, now. There may be a part two later in the summer.

Chase Utley Gypsy Queen vs Bowman

Bernie Brewer Topps Stickers vs 2012 Topps Stickers
They went all the way back to 2012 for this photo.

Zach Wheeler 2014 Bowman vs. 2013 Topps Update
Less tight cropping and a subtle change in the color balance for this one. 

Starlin Castro Bowman vs. Topps Gypsy Queen Framed White
One of my favorite action shots, a batter with the ball. But I'd rather not see the same photo on two different cards.

Christian Bethancourt Topps Heritage vs Bowman
OK, he's a rookie, maybe there are just not that many different photos.

Michael Brantley Topps vs Topps Stickers
Extreme cropping on the Sticker but the scoreboard lettering gives it away.

Gerrit Cole Topps Opening Day vs Topps Stickers

John Danks 2013 Topps vs Topps Stickers
This one was a bit tricky. Not only did they crop the photo differently they also removed a players leg from the background.

 Jorge De La Rosa 2013 Topps vs 2014 Topps Stickers

Ernesto Frieri Topps Pink vs Topps Stickers

Onelki Garcia Topps vs Bowman

Kevin Gausman Topps vs Topps Stickers

Junior Lake 2013 Topps Update vs 2014 Topps Gypsy Queen

David Wright Topps Gypsy Queen vs Bowman

Bartolo Colon Topps Gypsy Queen vs Bowman
 The Gypsy Queen and Bowman sharing seems common.