Photo Essay: Let’s Open, Like, 1700 Baseball Cards

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Part I

At the risk of losing a considerable amount of ‘Net cred, I feel as if I need to make a confession; I haven’t bought a baseball card in about 20 years. There are lots of reasons for this, the main reason being that my friends stopped doing it first. As an adolescent who strove to be accepted, I had no interest in doing anything which my group of friends had no interest. I considered this to be, at the time, a form of self-betterment. I wanted nothing more than to hang on to the small group of friends I had, and therefor the “childish” activity of opening, sorting, and saving baseball cards was done away with.

I am now older and wiser. I understand that having hobbies and interests that are my own within my group of peers is acceptable and healthy. I embrace it. I also am on a different kick of self-improvement, related directly to baseball. As a young baseball fan, I was really only interested in the best players. I did not pay heed to the men I deemed unworthy of my attention. Superstars were it for me. This has led to a considerable knowledge gap when it comes to players of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Too many players have slipped through the cracks – players that weren’t very good or perhaps were good, but I failed to recognize their contributions since I had yet to fully understand player value.

This all being said, I decided to resurrect my baseball card hobby as both a pleasurable exercise, and as a vehicle for reacquainting myself with forgotten players. I therefor decided to purchase a collection of baseball cards from that time. Deploying the services of eBay and my local team’s fan festival, I acquired approximately 1700 baseball cards for what I consider to be a very reasonable price.

I set aside a few cards that caught my attention, and have decided to share them with you, fair NotGraphs reader. I hope you’ll join me in this trip down memory lane. I’m sure many of you remember these cards and players, but, this is about me. It always is. Shall we?

 

Bill Buckner grew replacement mustaches above his eyes, just in case.

Bill Buckner grew replacement mustaches above his eyes, just in case.

 

Speaking of ... Check out that lip caterpillar.

Speaking of … Check out that lip caterpillar.

Remember when Craig Biggio was a catcher?

Remember when Craig Biggio was a catcher?

Interesting find on the '91 Topps Stadium Club. There appears to be a primitive Pitch F/X system featured.

Interesting find on the ’91 Topps Stadium Club. There appears to be a precursor to Pitch F/X involved.

They also applied an early heatmaps system to hitters.

They also applied an early heatmaps system to hitters.

Jose Lind amassed 4.5 fWAR for his whole career.

Jose Lind amassed 4.5 fWAR for his whole career.

What Dan Gladden lacked in slugging ability, he made up for in mullet.

What Dan Gladden lacked in slugging ability, he made up for in mullet.

Holy Hell

Holy Hell

The Donruss '90 set featured dumb fonts, making it hard to read the player's names.

The Donruss ’90 set featured dumb fonts, making it hard to read the player’s names.

This is just cool lookin'...

This is just cool lookin’…

With a face like that, you're gonna want to enshrine it in chalk or whatever that is.

With a face like that, you’re gonna want to enshrine it in chalk or whatever that is.

This is a picture of Fred Lynn, because I love Fred Lynn.

This is a picture of Fred Lynn, because I love Fred Lynn.

That’s all for today. More to come tomorrow. Thanks for taking this trip with me.




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David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.


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Dan Rozenson
Guest
Dan Rozenson
3 years 8 months ago

Neat.

The Rajah
Guest
The Rajah
3 years 8 months ago

I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.

Toasty
Member
3 years 8 months ago

I think I have that Biggio card! The best non-HBP-related fun fact about Biggio is that he was the first player to be an All-Star at both C and 2B.

Illinois glass M. Michael Sheets
Guest
Illinois glass M. Michael Sheets
3 years 8 months ago

At first glance I thought you found baseball cards from the 1700’s. Then I was sad, then slightly happier reading the rest of the entry, then mad at Donruss’s font choice, then sad again when I came here to write this comment.

AC of DC
Guest
AC of DC
3 years 7 months ago

I also did not think it was about baseball cards from the year 1700 but upon seeing the headline was going to post a comment to suggest that I had. Then I would have struggled for an apt closing gag in the realm of a “Queen Anne rookie card” or somesuch, so we can be thankful to you for arriving here first and saving both the audience and me the trouble.

Fredward
Guest
Fredward
3 years 8 months ago

Did you come across any Rusty Kuntz cards? I used to hang those in my locker. I think Rusty is still the 1B coach for the Royale’s, but I’m too lazy to double check. Fuckin Rusty Kuntz!

Birdlander
Guest
Birdlander
3 years 7 months ago

I have a theory: the smaller the Incavilia on the card, the higher its value will be.

BRAVESFAN
Guest
BRAVESFAN
3 years 7 months ago

Did you eat the gum?

Aaron Murray
Member
3 years 7 months ago

I remember that awesome Dunston card. Thanks for the good time down memory lane.

Drakos
Member
Drakos
3 years 7 months ago

Wow, I forgot how ugly those Donruss cards were.

Dave
Guest
Dave
3 years 7 months ago

I definitely had that Biggio and the Dunston. I might’ve been peer pressured out of baseball cards when I was younger, except there was no way that I was going to give it up for Pokemon. Even as an adolescent I knew that was a dumb phase.

olethros
Guest
olethros
3 years 7 months ago

I’m fairly certain I own all of those cards. They’re in a box in my dad’s basement.

SeanTronX
Member
SeanTronX
3 years 7 months ago

The one guy doesn’t have a mullet. You had to have gotten a better mullet card.

filihok
Guest
3 years 7 months ago

Jose Lind had 4.6 fWAR in his first 850 PA’s. -.1 the rest of the way…

I should bust out my old baseball cards. Haven’t looked at them in years

RA Rowe
Guest
RA Rowe
3 years 7 months ago

When I was a kid, my mom would take us to the carpet/flooring store. They always had a box of ’90 Donruss there and the guy would let us open a couple packs. Then we’d go shopping for furniture and other stuff that’s boring for kids, and I would be just insulted they didn’t have any free baseball cards.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
3 years 7 months ago

Did it ever strike you as odd that your parents needed to purchase flooring on such a regular basis? What went on in your home?

existing
Guest
existing
3 years 7 months ago

This was awesome…I wonder how accurate those pitch percentages are.

thirteenthirteen
Guest
thirteenthirteen
3 years 7 months ago

I have the 1990 Donruss season set! I mean, I think I have it still! Somewhere!

Carl Spackler
Guest
Carl Spackler
3 years 7 months ago

Smooth shag rug, is it “game used?”

West Coast Hardball
Guest
West Coast Hardball
3 years 7 months ago

Rusty Kuntz, Dick Pole…names even better than Albert Pujols, Charlie Furbush and Josh Reddick.

KCDaveInLA
Guest
KCDaveInLA
3 years 7 months ago

You got a pack of those Studio cards in there? The players all look like they’re trying to get a part on Simon & Simon.

http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&source=hp&q=donruss+studio+1991&gbv=2&oq=donruss+studio+1991&gs_l=img.3…1891.8641.0.8875.23.7.2.14.16.0.109.656.6j1.7.0…0.0…1ac.1.B-b2N6X2BL8

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
3 years 7 months ago

Re: Sammy Stewart

Which is the male and which is the female?

jcxy
Guest
jcxy
3 years 7 months ago

yes yes yes

Greg Wisniewski (@coolhead2010)
Guest

I have gone through my collection recently, and even started collecting again. I understand baseball cards will never be the desireable things they once were, but I do find it interesting when the most identifiable images of older players are the same 4 or 5 from their baseball cards.

And, as a side note, the ’93 Leaf set is still one of the most aesthetically pleasing to look at, ever, despite manufacturers having has 20 years to come up with something better.

wpDiscuz