Card of the Day: 1994 Score Cycle Frank Thomas

Believe it or not, this was at one time the best card in my collection. At perhaps the height of the insert craze, I managed to pull this “beast” from a pack of 1994 Score after borrowing $10 from my cousin. It was worth $75 at the time, and has since decreased in value, but the 1994 Score Cycle Frank Thomas will forever have a special place in my collection.

It started with a trip to my father’s home in Newark, Calif., when I was 14. Me, my sister and cousins were in town visiting, and one of the things I would do is head to the card shop down the street. This was 1994, but if you had been to this shop (it no longer exists), you’d think it was several decades earlier. The owner was a big cigar smoker — at the time there were no laws about smoking inside buildings, or even worse around kids — so when we walked in, there was always a haze in the room. But on this day, the familiar smell was gone, the air was clear, the flourescent bulbs shined brightly down on the showcases, and instead of the crotchedy old man, it was a woman about his age, only nicer than he. I decided that I would buy 10 packs of the 1994 Score product with the money I had borrowed, and when she went to count out the packs, she realized there were 12 and decided to give the extra two for free. At some point during the next few minutes my card collecting dreams were fulfilled and this story was born.

When I showed my cousin what I’d pulled with the money she lent me, she laughed and immediately told me that I should sell it and give her the money. But that didn’t happen. This Thomas was placed in a screw case a day later and anchored my collection for several years.

I think the book value on this card — these cards were inserted 1 in every 72 packs, tough pull at the time — now is about $15, and it wouldn’t cost anyone much more than $5 to snag one of these on eBay. But regardless of what Beckett says the card should be worth, there are lots of memories tied up in this piece of cardboard, thus making it one of the most valuable cards in my collection.

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