Monday, August 31, 2015

1995 Donruss Bomb Squad

Donruss Bomb Squad was a 6-card insert into 1995 Donruss. Back in those days, some of the card manufacturers used to randomly place "hot packs". These would be individual packs that had something special in them. I don't remember if the card companies advertised this practice or if I learned about it from Beckett Magazine.

Anyway, one day in 1995 I bought a couple packs of Donruss and all six of the Donruss Bomb Squad were included. A so-called hot pack!  I never saw another one. The cards featured the top six home run hitters from each league of the 1993 season.

Card 1 of 6 - Matt Williams (43) and Ken Griffey (40)

Card 2 of 6 - Jeff Bagwell (39) and Frank Thomas (36)

Card 3 of 6 - Barry Bonds (37) and Albert Belle (36)

Card 4 of 6 - Fred McGriff (34) and Jose Canseco (31)

Card 5 of 6 - Andres Galarraga (31) and Cecil Fielder (28)

Card 6 of 6 - Kevin Mitchell (30) and Joe Carter (27)

Friday, August 28, 2015

The first Photoshopped baseball card?

This is a clipping from a 1993 edition of USA Today's Baseball Weekly.

I had cut out the piece and saved it with my Fred McGriff cards. Too bad it's not in color.

Photoshop was released to the public, on the Macintosh, in 1988, according to Wikipedia. The first Window's version was available in 1992. This 'computer enhancement' was probably done in the summer of 1993. I don't know what other computer programs were available in those days for 'image retouching' but Photoshop as been the most well known program for a long time.

The article makes this sound like a new practice when Topps had been air brushing cards for at least 20 years by this time.

I sure wish I had that Platinum Power card. The photo is on the back of the card. Here's an image I swiped from

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The 1990s Baseball Cards Face-Off - 1998 UD Choice vs. 1991 Upper Deck

Check this post to see my methodology.

Yesterday we finished here.
Today we've got an Upper Deck product from early in the decade against an Upper Deck product late in the decade. In 1991, there was only one Upper Deck product. By 1999, there were many Upper Deck products. I'm not sure anyone in 1991 predicted the proliferation of baseball card produced in the 1990s.

1991 Upper Deck

1991 Upper Deck featured good photography on the front and back, the back action photo taking up a good 2/3rds of the card. It had a nice white, although thin, card stock (which has tended to yellow over time) and no gloss. Plus that hologram logo in the back.

1999 UD Choice

Upper Deck replaced the Collector's Choice brand with UD Choice in 1999. Why? Who knows? Fewer letters in the set name? UD Choice was printed on thin white card stock with gloss on front and back. In an era when pretty much all cards had some sort of foil on them, UD Choice had none. The backs featured a color head shot and full stats. The stats block pretty much determined the size of the other elements on the back. Note that Galarraga has a much smaller photo than the Guerrero card. And no hologram.

Results: By 1991 some though that the Upper Deck design was getting a bit stale. It was almost revolutionary when introduced in 1989 and even though most other manufacturer's designs were lagging behind Upper Deck by 1991, the design was getting a bit too familiar. Even so, I'm giving this one to 1991 Upper Deck. The UD Choice card is just too busy, especially the back. You've got the stats, a photo, player's name in two size fonts, team logo, three trivia questions, and the players uniform number (which is printed to look just like the card number leading to confusion). And with all that, they found room to leave a plain white rectangle. 

Next up 1994 Collector's Choice vs. 1996 Bazooka.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The 1990s Baseball Cards Face-Off - Which Set is the Best, continued

Check this post to see my methodology.

We're working our way through the Babe Ruth Division. Here's where we stand.

1998 E-X 2001, 1993 Flair (a fan favorite) and 1995 Ultra have moved into the Red Level. 1995 Bowman's Best, 1999 Topps and 1998 Pacific Omega have been eliminated.

Today 1996 Studio and 1994 O-Pee-Chee go head-to-head.

1996 Studio

After the horrible 1995 'credit card' set, Studio returned to what made it a great set, although with a bit different direction. The cards were glossy and full bleed printed front and back. The front featured a large, nearly full, head shot plus a smaller insert full body action shot (that's the new twist). The backs featured an action shot and a head shot in a circle. Head shots in a circle were quite popular in the mid-199s. For the first time, last year's and career stats were included. Silver foil is was used on the front to highlight the player's and team's names and the team logo.

1994 O-Pee-Chee

In 1993, Canadian company O-Pee-Chee stopped using the Topps design on its cards (as it had been doing forever) and started designing its own cards. They also seemed to be making a bigger push in the US as their cards were readily available in retail stores. In 1994 the set went full bleed front and back. Not a bad looking card. A large photo on the front and back, with bio and complete stats ghosting out the bottom of the back photo. Note that highlight colors take off from the player's team colors. The design did not use foil.

The Result: Although I think the 1994 OPC card is nice, it doesn't hold a candle to 1996 Studio. I particularly like that the Studio has the card year on the front and the tasteful use of silver foil. And it manages to get four photos on the card. It's not the best year of Studio (that would be 1993 or 1994) but it's close. It's also the last good year for Studio in the 1990s.

OK, we're halfway through the First Quartile of the Babe Ruth Division. Stick with me.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

New source of cards for future repacks found

Hey, fellow card collectors, how would you like to stumble upon this?

According to this story, this long abandoned pile of sports cards could be worth $1 Million!

Here's a key sentence in the story "While only estimated to be individually worth between 99 cents and $5.99, the collective haul of hundreds of cases would potentially fetch millions if ever put on the market".

The stash was found in an abandoned warehouse in Detroit.

Here's a photo of the mess on the floor.

I don't know about the hockey cards but those 1989 Topps cards are worth less than nothing.  Read the story, there are a couple more photos. Apparently the location is only known to a few, and one guy claims that selling cards from this pile is his primary source of income.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Random Cards from my Collection #75

Card #41912
2002 Upper Deck Ovation #37 J. D. Drew

Comments on the card/player: Drew was 5 for 13 (.385 average) with a home run in the 2002 NLCS between the Cards and the Giants but the Cards still lost.
How/When acquired: Bought several packs of Ovation for $0.34/card on 4/26/03. This was in the days when I had a local card shop I'd stop into every week and buy a few packs of stuff I didn't have.

Card #50003
2002 Stadium Club #3 Chipper Jones

Comments on the card/player: I'm not sure but that scoreboard looks like the one in Citizen's Bank Park where the Phillies play.
How/When acquired: Bought box of Stadium Club for $0.25/card on 2/8/02.

Card #39033
2009 Topps Allen & Ginter #54 Carlos Guillen

Comments on the card/player: I think that 2009 was when Topps first introduced these horizontal action cards into Allen & Ginter.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.42/card for hobby box of Topps Allen & Ginter on 8/30/09.

Card #8428
2010 Topps Update #327 Mike Stanton

Comments on the card/player: Remember Mike Stanton? He's known as Giancarlo Stanton these days. It's a card collector's cataloging nightmare when a player changes his name during his career.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.25/card for 2 10-pack blasters in December 2010.

Card #31386
2012 Topps #232 Mariano Rivera/Johan Santana/Felix Hernandez

Comments on the card/player: They were at the top of the game in 2012. Rivera - retired in September 2013; Santana - retired in August 2013; Hernandez - still going strong with a 14-7 record so far this year with a 3.65 ERA
How/When acquired: Paid $0.20/card for a hanger box of Topps in February 2012.

Card #39770
1988 Donruss #516 Manny Trillo

Comments on the card/player: Slick 2nd baseman for the Phillies 1979-1982. Was the NLCS MVP in 1980 putting the Phillies into the 1980 World Series.
How/When acquired: Don't know.

Card #24641
2009 O-Pee-Chee The Award Show #3 Brandon Phillips

Comments on the card/player: A 20-card insert in Upper Deck's abortive attempt to bring back the old O-Pee-Chee brand.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.17/card for MJ Holding repack in March 2011.

Card #15607
2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #17 Rollie Fingers

Comments on the card/player: 2009 O-Pee Chee may have been a big bust, but 2009 Goodwin Champions was the last best thing Upper Deck did. Could have been serious competition for Allen & Ginter if Upper Deck hadn't bit the dust.
How/When acquired: Paid $0.23/card for 36-card jumbo and 10-pack (8 cards/pack) blaster in May 2009. Hobby boxes of this product are going for about $120 on eBay today.

Card #33898
1994 Score #78 Pete Harnisch

Comments on the card/player: The dark blue borders of this set make it very unattractive to me. Look for 1994 Score to lose it's first round in the 1990 Baseball Cards Showdown, no matter what card it is up against.
How/When acquired: Acquired in my 2012 Summer Clearance Trade.

Card #12405
2002 Fleer Showcase #123 Mike Lieberthal

Comments on the card/player: After a serious injury in 2001 (he tore his ACL, MCL and cartilage in his knee attempting to dive back to 1st base), Lieby was the Sporting News NL comeback player of the year in 2002.
How/When acquired: Acquired in a trade with a fellow blogger in 2009.