Monday, April 24, 2017

1995 Mr. Turkey Baseball Greats Tug McGraw

It's hard to pass up on a card issue called "Mr. Turkey Baseball Greats". At least it is for me, if the player in question is a Phillie. And not just any Phillie, but Tug McGraw, one of the heroes of the 1980 Phillies World Series championship. Post-career McGraw cards are rare anyway, and he's as likely to appear on such a card as a Met or a Phillie.

Although the copyright is 1994, both and list this as a 1995 issue.

It's kind of a weird set. The other four cards are Bob Feller, Al Kaline, Boog Powell, and Warren Spahn. Mr. Turkey was (and maybe still is) a trademark of the Bel Mar Foods Co., a meat packer in Michigan. If the company still exists (I did a bit of searching, but it wasn't exhaustive), the company may now be owned by Sara Lee.

What these 5 players have to do with each other or an upper midwest meat company is beyond me. And I have no idea of how they were distributed. I imagine they were stuffed with the gizzards in fresh turkeys available in Michigan supermarkets.

Note that the cards were not licensed by ML Baseball. Tug's cap is air brushed, but that's clearly a Phillies uni, not a Mets uni.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hall of Fame Inductee Jeff Bagwell Cards

Jeff Bagwell finally got nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. I've already made one post recently about him, and I've got enough Bagwell cards (536) to do several more. With this post I want to show some recently acquired Bagwell cards.

I was idly searching for Bagwell cards on eBay the other week and came across an offer for 30 different Bagwell cards for $10.75 (including shipping). The seller was nice enough to actually list the cards he was offering and I saw that I needed 27 of them. Most were 1990s inserts and parallels.  Here are my favorites.

1992 Score 100 Rising Stars #35

 24-year-old Bagwell looks like he just ran in off the high school playing field on this card.

1993 Topps Inaugural Rockies #227
Topps put out an entire parallel set to honor the new Rockies and another for the Marlins inaugural season. I believe these were only available as boxed sets. I had one other from the Rockies set but I've never seen one from the Marlins set. Pretty rare, I'd say.

1994 Pinnacle Power Surge #16

Not only a Bagwell card I didn't have but an insert set I didn't know about. This goes right into the reference books.

1994 Stadium Club Golden Rainbow #108

1994 saw a sharp rise in parallel sets. And this was how it was often done, putting foil on the front, or if the card already had foil, putting different foil. These weren't particularly hard to get in packs of 1994 Stadium Club.

1994 Upper Deck Electric Diamond #480

I always like this parallel. My recollection is that it was a tough pull in 1994 Upper Deck.

1995 Fleer Update Headliners #1

I have several cards from this insert but never noticed the text on the story from "The Fleer Times" behind the photograph on the front. It's describing a Phillies game where Tony Longmire hit a pinch hit home run to win a game over the Cardinals. Since Tony Longmire only hit 3 home runs in 1995 it probably wouldn't be too hard to find what game it was. I looked at the other cards I have and they all have the same background.

1995 Ultra Hitting Machines #1

1995 Ultra Hitting Machines Gold Medallion #1
I had the Frank Thomas version of the base card. Now I have the Gold Medallion version as well.

1996 Collector's Choice Crash The Game #19

Pretty extravagant finish for a contest card.

1998 Leaf Fractal Foundations #149

Leaf had a pretty complicated system of parallel cards in 1998.

1999 Sp Authentic Home Run Chronicles

1998, of course, was the year of the Home Run. I only have a few of these cards and find them unattractive. Lots of gold foil nonsense on the front. Since the card mentions a specific home run on a specific date, you'd think that maybe the photo would be of the player hitting that home run. Not in this case since the Astros were at home and Bagwell is in an away uniform.

2002 UD Superstars Keys to the City

This is an insert in a 2002 multi-sport set that I never heard of. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

2017 Topps Gypsy Queen

According to, Topps was trying a lower price point for Gypsy Queen this year. I paid $0.47/card this year for a blaster and a couple of packs, which is the same as I paid last year, and pretty much for every year of this product.

Topps did revamp the product. There are no mini cards in this set, which is OK by me. There are also very few insert sets (in fact only two) which aren't either parallels or autos/relics.

I've not been much of a fan of the Gypsy Queen designs over the years.

There are some nice design features this year. I like the lighter borders, the way the photo fades into the border, the curlycue things on either side of the city name, and the player name plate. I even like the fake age burn. But, the bottom part of the card is just horrible. I like the ornate Gypsy Queen logo on the back but it just takes up too much room on the front. There is also no team name on the front and no team logo anywhere, which I don't like.

Topps maintained, what I believe, is the main Gypsy Queen feature, the treatment of the photograph. This feature I've always liked, regardless the rest of the design.

I pulled two Astros (of 12 cards in the set) and two Phillies (also 12). I guess I'll buy the rest on eBay. Both teams are a bit over represented in the set.

There aren't a lot of cards featuring players in the field.

I guess this photo is from last year's All-Star game or it's a joke. In the back ground we can see various team caps (Mariners, Blue Jays, Indians, Phillies) and several team shirts (Brewers, Dodgers, Padres, or maybe it's the Nationals All-Star shirt). Even though the game was in the Padres park, the American League was the home team. Arenado was hitless in 3 ABs.

Randy Johnson rocking an Expos uni. Gypsy Queen always included a few retired players. This year they collected the retired players as cards 301-320 and made them short prints. The box proudly proclaims "1 Short Printed Base Card Guaranteed!".

I pulled two of the 10 different parallels. Can you spot the gimmick in this one?

It's apparently supposed to have been printed without the black printing plate. I don't know why the name plate is black however.

This one is a little easier.

Here are the 2 non-auto/relic inserts.

This is called the "Fortune Teller mini". It's as tall as a regular card but thinner.

Looks like 2009 Upper Deck Goudey, one of the creepiest issues of the past 20 years.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Repack Bang or Bust Part 4

It's time to open up another repack and see if I got a bang for my money or just a bust.  This is one of the Fairfield plastic boxes with 250 loose cards and a couple of packs. All together that's about 265 cards working out to about 4 cents/card.

My baseball card collecting mantra is "If it's a card I don't have, then I need it". I judge a repack like this on two criteria, how many cards did I need, and what was the quality of the cards. This box was not too bad on the number of cards I needed as I pulled 110 cards from it I didn't have. Normally I'm happy if I'm near 50%. On the other hand, I got some good (in my opinion) stuff in it. I'll give this a:

1981 Topps #193
The Mad Serbian. This card almost made the whole box worth it.

1982 Topps #342
A good player from a good set.

1987 Topps #564

I don't get excited seeing 1987 Topps in a repack since I have the entire set. One hazard of early Topps cards is gum stains. I think this may be the worst gum stain I ever saw. It not only ruined the back of the card but the front as well.

1990 Star #98
Nothing special here except he's a player I never heard of. I like to look guys like this up on Scruggs appeared in 6 games, getting 6 at bats in April 1991. He had no hits or walks but managed to score a run as a pinch runner.

1992 Topps #430
I'm guessing that Sax is going into a slide at second. Look at where the ball is relation to Sax. Sailing into center field.

1993 Ted Williams #96

Let's get excited about a checklist. I only have 30 cards from this 160 card set and I didn't have a checklist. This goes into the reference books.

1994 Leaf #221

I have over 500 Jeff Bagwell cards, but I didn't have this one, and I like this year of Leaf as well. Like many glossy cards from this era, the card shows some damage from being stuck to other cards.

1996 Collector's Choice

Another card for the reference books. 1996 Collector's Choice was a 730-card set with a lot of subsets. I didn't have any of the postseason cards from the set.

1996 Finest #139

Does anybody remember the great peel or not to peel debate of the mid-1990s? My advice, peel 'em.

1997 Pinnacle Certified #30

Another card with a peel. This is only the second card I've ever seen from this product. I have a red mirror parallel of a Phillies rookie I got in a trade a few years ago. This is one of those cards that are impossible to scan. It's basically a mirror on the front. And get a load of the pinwheel o' stats on the back.

2002 Topps 206 #45

Here's a set I wish I had bought more of when new. Hobby boxes of this product are going on eBay for $146.

2002 Upper Deck #92
What a mess. Upper Deck MVP was produced from 1999 to 2005 and I didn't like any of them. Especially this year. you can get 2 hobby boxes of this product on eBay for about $25.

2003 Fleer Splendid Splinters #29

In the early 2000s, Fleer produced a bewildering number of sets.