Archive for Mark McGwire
Kellogg’s brand cereals? yep.
Mother’s Cookies? Damn right … HAD to have those iced Animal Cookies.
Pepsi or Coke? Depends on which one was offering my cardboard icons.
Today I present to you the food edition of Thrift Treasures.
My wife and I made a trip to some local antique stores about a week ago looking for whatever piqued our interests. The trip as a whole was fairly mediocre. Antique stores carry odd hours. We went on a Tuesday, and most of the stores are open Wednesday through Sunday. The result was only 3 of the 10 antique stores were open. This of course translated into slim pickings.
But not all was lost. Among the piles of organized madness was a small baggie of cards (pictured above) priced for a buck.
The first card in the baggie was one I had owned when I was a tweenager. I remember pulling it from the inside of a 12 pack of Pepsi cans in 1989. I remember that I creased the hell out of the card because it was attached to the box with a strip of hot glue. Yeah, the geniuses at Pepsi adhered these seemingly collectible cards to the inside of their boxes using hot glue! Naked! No plastic outer bag! Cardboard to cardboard with only a strip of glue between the two.
So yeah, this was a total sentimental purchase. Value? None, really.
Here are the cards that were within the baggie.
Mixed in with the Pepsi cards was a Mother’s Cookies card …
… and some 1994 Tombstone Pizza cards made by Score
Errors used to be all the rage, and there certainly was no shortage of them in 1988 Topps. There were the two versions of the Al Leiter rookie card, one of which didn’t even picture him. You had the Keith Comstock error, which featured the wrong color in the team name, and then there was the Eddie Murray Record Breaker’s error which featured a text box over the front of the card. But what about the Mark McGwire?
If you collected in the 80s and 90s, you know about this card because it was referred to as the “white triangle” error. Check out the picture I have here. See that white triangle under his left cleat?
Well look at it closer. There’s also a bow on the cleat, too. Now pull back a few inches from the computer screen and put it all together. What do you have? It’s a freakin’ high-heel shoe!
What’s debatable here is if that is really a bow or just the way McGwire tied his shoelaces. (Sometimes shoelaces can be fed through the toungue of a shoe, which in some instances could create this bow looking effect. What’s interesting is that his right cleat does not look that way.
Now, what is not debatable is the fact that this is a manufactured error card. There is no way this was accidental.
If there was a Mount Rushmore of the Steroid Era, these guys would take up three of the spots on the side of the mountain. All three at one point were considered to be the greatest slugger in the game. Sosa crushed more than 60 homers in three straight seasons, Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single-season dinger mark (as did Sosa) and set the new mark at 70. And then just a few years later, Barry Bonds came along and bested McGwire’s mark by pummeling 73 balls over the outfield fences at various ballparks throughout out the country. Of course he later would surpass Hank Aaron’s all-time home run mark.
They were the best. They were the three guys whose baseball cards you wanted to own. They were the three players whom even novice collectors wanted to invest. And then things changed.
I came across this lot on eBay yesterday and it spoke to me like a whisper from down a dark alley reminding me of years past. Not only reminding me of the recent history of the sport, but also of our hobby.
It’s a time capsule from when things were simpler. A time when everyone enjoyed the good and didn’t want to discuss the negativity. Steroids? Pssssh, next question. A time when simple, meaningless rookie cards garnered attention. Not because they were signed or contained a swatch of game-used material, but simply because they were “rookie” cards featuring one of the game’s greats.
Sosa’s most desirable rookie card was/is his Leaf, but his Upper Deck garnered enough attention to pull close to $10 each. The 1987 Donruss McGwire and Bonds cards are iconic of this mildly popular release. The set features all dark borders, which caused fits among those looking for good-condition raw copies. The McGwire is a rookie-year release — not an actual rookie card — featuring the “Rated Rookie” icon, which drew about $25 worth of attention to the scrawny slugger dressed in yellow. And the Bonds was a solid true rookie that from time to time saw bursts in activity driving it to nearly $25. And of course, all of the aforementioned cards were worth even more if they were graded high.
Which brings me to the next observation of this lot: These three cards were graded by Beckett Grading Services under the guidance of the “old label” … and none of them earned high marks.
These cards were graded sometime before 2003, which I believe if when BGS changed their labels to feature the grades on front. These cards were submitted by a collector who believed that their copies of well-cared-for but well-loved cards were worthy of slabbing, even if they had some chipping along the border, a slightly folded corner or a scratched hologram. These cards were collected in a time when anything that was encapsulated by any company was thought to have increased in value, even if the grade was less than desirable.
A BGS 7 can carry a premium with older cards. For those released within the last 20-25 years, all it means is that you’re admitting to the buyer that your card is not of mint quality. In some cases, the value of your raw card decreased because of the grade it received. None of this mattered when these cards were submitted.
Now many years later with a clearer vision and a better understanding of the circumstances, collectors aren’t pouring money into any of these three players with the same fervor they once did. Even the most desirable rookie cards of these guys can be had at heavily discounted levels.
Nonetheless, the three cards offered for sale in this auction are iconic of the era when the players depicted on them were giants, a time when the hobby was simpler. A time when the sport was much more innocent. Or so we thought.