Archive for Frank Thomas

Thrift Treasures 90: The Kid, The Big Hurt, and more

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on July 25, 2015 by Cardboard Icons

It’s kind of funny, for a long time the baggies of cards at my local thrift stores held nothing but base cards. But recently I have been finding baggies with autos and/or memorabilia, even even rookie cards of guys whose legacy’s have been cemented in stone.

Earlier this week I found two baggies, shown above, which intrigued me because one had a few Ken Griffey Jr. Cards showing and the other had the rear of 1990 Topps #414 easily visible.

What I found inside was actually much better than I expected.

First, there were three autographs. THREE!  One certified NBA auto, one certified basketball draft pick autograph and what appears to be an in-person signature of former Detroit Tigers third baseman Travis Fryman.

Oddly enough there was a good amount of basketbal items in the bag. Here’s a pair of Jason Kidd rookies, and a rookie-year Ultra series 2 card.

Here’s the left overs from a Hoops Draft Lottery Redemption Set.

And leftovers from a gutted Collector’s Choice Draft Lottery set.

Pretty cool to see some of the basketball redemption cards in the Baggie. Here’s a stick of football and baseball stars, including a few 1990 rookies of two-time American League MVP Juan Gonzalez and National League Rookie of the Year David Justice. 

  As a kid growing up in the Bay Area, Mark McGwire was always in demand. The 1989 Upper Deck card has alway been a favorite of mine.

Barry Bonds was also a HUGE draw in the Bay Area after he came to San Francisco. Here are some cards from his time before he became a Giant.

Remember how I mentioned the 1990 Topps card #414? Yeah, that’s Hall of Famer Frank Thomas’ rookie card.

Now, when I saw the Ken Griffey Jr. Cards peaking at me from inside the mag I could see the 1990 Bowman and 1990 Topps cards. What I didn’t see was this 1988 Donruss Rated Rookie rookie card.


I know baseball cards aren’t what they were in the 1990s, but I always feel it is my duty to save rookie cards like these, which might otherwise end up in a trash can.


Total cost of these treasures: $4.98

You can see more Thrift Treasures posts Here

Before they were great … They were unproven

Posted in Instagram Portraits with tags , , , , , , on January 10, 2013 by Cardboard Icons


Project Prism: The Quest For `The Elite Series’ Set

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

(UPDATED 9/11/12)

Ever since I was a youngster, I’ve been fascinated with the flashiest insert set known to mankind:  The Elite Series.

When I was 13, I was fortunate enough to pull one of these seemingly impossible hits from a pack of Donruss at my local Target.

I remember picking three packs and handing them to my mother. After the cashier rang them up, I grabbed them back from her and started  ripping into them as my mother completed her transaction.

Seconds later, the neon lights struck the prismatic foil border of an Eddie Murray Elite card and the greatest sensation of a 13-year-old card collector came over me.  I yelled an expletive, one that caused multiple people to look at me.  I didn’t care. I was on top of the collecting world.

It may not be the best looking card in the set — actually, it might be the ugliest — but it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen to this point that didn’t have long hair, two legs and two … well, you get the point.

The Murray stayed with me for about a month or so.  I was offered $75 for it at a card show a week later but the deal never came to fruition.  I think the prospective buyer was reluctant to give me the cash.  I later traded it for a bunch of other nonsense.  Worst decision ever.

In recent years, I have my it my collecting goal — as if I really needed another — to acquire the 1992 and 1993 Elite Series sets.  I may chase the other years later.

If you’ve yet to see the most recent Beckett Sports Card Monthly (Pages 22-24 — that’s me!), you’ll notice that I listed this insert set as my favorite from the ’90s.  And while it goes against common knowledge to hype a set (which could drive up interest and prices) that I am still working on, it’d be a great disservice to everyone to forget the greatness of The Elite Series.

It is here that I will document my progress.  I’ve already acquired about two dozen from this legendary set.  And here they are. Remember, these rare inserts were limited to 10,000 copies of each. Way over-produced by today’s standards; super rare by those standards of the early 1990s.


1991 Donruss Elite Series Rickey Henderson #7

1991 Donruss Elite Series George Brett #2

1991 Donruss Elite Legends Series L1


1992 Donruss Elite Series Ken Griffey Jr.

1992 Donruss Elite Series Frank Thomas

1992 Donruss Elite Series Kirby Puckett

1992 Donruss Elite Series Tony Gwynn

1992 Donruss Elite Series Will Clark

1992 Donruss Elite Series Dwight Gooden

1992 Donruss Elite Series Howard Johnson


1993 Donruss Elite Series Ryne Sandberg #20

1993 Donruss Elite Series Eddie Murray #21

1993 Donruss Elite Series Paul Molitor #22

1993 Donruss Elite Series Barry Larkin #23

1993 Donruss Elite Series Don Mattingly #24

1993 Donruss Elite Series Dennis Eckersley #25

1993 Donruss Elite Series Roberto Alomar #26

1993 Donruss Elite Series Edgar Martinez #27

1993 Donruss Elite Series Darren Daulton #29

1993 Donruss Elite Series Larry Walker #30

1993 Elite Series Barry Bonds #31

1993 Donruss Elite Series Mark McGwire #33

1993 Donruss Elite Series Cecil Fielder #34

1993 Donruss Elite Series Dave Winfield #35

1993 Donruss Elite Series Juan Gonzalez #36

1993 Donruss Elite Series Legends Robin Yount L3

Rookie Card Showcase: 1990 Leaf Frank Thomas

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , on December 18, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

This is part 17 of an ongoing series. To see the rest of this series, click here.

Before there was Albert Pujols, there was the Big Hurt Frank Thomas. Laugh all you want, but when Thomas was healthy, there was no better first baseman in the game. He was the game’s premier power hitter, and arguably the greatest hitter (in terms of average) of the early and mid 1990s. Every time he stepped to the plate, he was fixin’ to put a hurtin’ on the other team. His on-field success lead to extreme hobby status and this 1990 Leaf card was THE card to have. In an era where card were produced in the millions (or close to that anyway) the Leaf product of 1990 was considered the elite brand due to its “limited” nature. The Thomas card rivaled the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. as the best active player rookie card to own at the time; each was being sold in excess of $75 at the time. To put that into perspective, boxes of basic cards like Topps and Donruss were still being sold for about $18 per. Thomas’ career was marred by injury starting in the late 1990s and his hobby status began declining as a result. (it should be noted that Thomas still has plenty of hardcore collectors willing to pay a pretty penny for the extremely rare cards) His Leaf rookie began showing up for discount prices; Gem Mint copies like the one shown here can be had for a little more than $20. That’s a hell of a collectible at a great price if you ask me.

New Additions Part VII: Back to the Future

Posted in New Addition with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

napt762marisIt’s been more than three weeks since I showcased some of my new additions. Since that last post, a few new envelopes have shown up, the majority of which have come from eBay sellers. There is a constant theme running through these recent envelopes: The contents within are at least 10 years old, and in some cases the cardboard is older than I am.

Continue reading

Card of the Day: 1993 Upper Deck “On Deck With …” Albert Belle

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

albertfrontLast week I learned something new about Hall of Famer George Brett, a fact that apparently has been common knowledge for nearly three decades. I’m embarrassed for not having known the info. But then again, should I be? I mean we’re talking about hemorrhoids.

Well, while flipping through my Albert Belle collection, I came across a 1993 Upper Deck insert card from the same set I learned about Brett’s pain in the ass. You know this one will be enjoyable.

Up front, I’ll say this: Albert’s card is not that controversial, but it is interesting. Continue reading

Card of the Day: 1992 Donruss Elite Series Frank Thomas

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

It’s rare that an insert set lives up to it’s namesake. But when it came to early 90s inserts, there was nothing better than the ultra rare Donruss Elite Series cards. They were unmistakable. When you ripped open a pack and saw that shiny goodness staring at you from the middle of the stack, you knew you struck it rich. During a time when most cards featured dull action shots set inside boring borders, the Elite cards had the wow factor. It had holofoil. It had gloss. It has serial numbering. Did I mention the cards had holofoil!? Today I look at the ever poplar set through the portal that is the 1992 Donruss Elite Frank Thomas card. Continue reading