Archive for Mariano Rivera

Baseball Hall of Fame `Class of 2019′ in rookie cards

Posted in Hall of Fame Rookie Cards with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2019 by Cardboard Icons

For the first time in several years I’ve been excited to see the announcement of the newest class of Cooperstown. I’m not going to dwell on the fact that my guy, Roger Clemens, still didn’t make it — although I appreciate that he is trending upward.

That said, Tuesday afternoon it was announced that Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was the first unanimous selection to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and joining him in the Class of 2019 are pitchers Mike Mussina and Roy Halladay, and designated hitter Edgar Martinez. Those four players were elected by the Baseball Writers of America and join the previously announced closer Lee Smith and Designated Hitter Harold Baines who were elected to the Hall in December by committee vote.

I’m a Red Sox fan and I cannot deny the greatness of Mariano. While I hated seeing him close out games against my team, I appreciated his pure dominance. And he was humble and emotional at the same time. One of my favorite scenes is watching him crumble on the mound after winning one of his first World Series titles. I’m proud to say I own a BGS Mint 9 copy of his 1992 Bowman rookie card. Also, one of my favorite inserts in my collection is his 1997 Bowman Best International Preview Atomic Refractor.

Mussina is one of the guys I pulled for in 1992, a year after his rookie cards actually hit the market I distinctly remember seeing his 1992 Ultra card — that set was super premium quality at the time — selling for $3 to $5 at my LCS, and remember the first time he was on the cover of Beckett Baseball. Moose was filthy, and it was a joy to watch his career. My favorite of his rookie cards is the 1991 Fleer Ultra Update, which I own in a BGS Mint 9. In terms of inserts, his 1996 Pacific Flame Throwers sticks out in my collection.

“Bad Ass.” That’s how I liked to think of Roy Halladay, both in real life and as a fantasy player. This guy was so fun to watch; and in our fantasy league was a source of controversy as there was at least one guy who thought he was overrated. Nope. Not one bit. One of my favorite memories of Halladay is that no-hitter he threw in Game One of the NLDS. This was four days after my son was born, and I remember sitting at home on the couch with him in my arms when the final pitch was thrown. I was genuinely sad when I learned Roy had died in 2017. I was at work driving around when word started to spread. The only graded rookie card I own of Roy is his 1997 Bowman, BGS Mint 9, which holds a special place in my heart because that 1997 set is the first Bowman set I actually built. I do own a few copies of his Bowman Chrome rookie in raw condition, however it is the International version of that Chrome rookie card that I like to think of when it comes to my favorite inserts or parallels in my collection.

I loved watching Edgar Martinez play, especially on those mid to late 1990s Seattle Mariner teams with when he had other hitters around him like Ken Griffey Jr, Alex Rodriguez and Jay Buhner. The DH position is often shunned in baseball circles, but this dude could hit. I really enjoyed his batting stance and watching him make solid contact with the ball. He has two rookie cards, and only one of them actually pictures him. I have several copies of his 1988 Fleer card, which I sadly do not own in a graded case. It’s shown here in a one touch solely for display purposes. I’ll have to add a Mint 9 or better BGS copy at some point — but I will not overpay for one right now. When it comes to inserts, Edgar’s Elite Series card is the one that catches my eye.

Whether or not you believe Lee Smith or Harold Baines belong in the Hall of Fame, fact remains they are in and were good players. I remember Smith being the closer for the Red Sox just as I was really getting into the sport — and he was dominant. Maybe not Dennis Eckersley dominant, but a stud nonetheless. When I think of Harold Baines I do think of a very good hitter. I LOVED his batting stance and often emulated it in Whiffle Ball games in the parking lot of my apartment complex — I got to watch him a lot in the early 1990s when he played in Oakland. I own a 1982 Topps Lee Smith in BGS Mint 9, and a 1981 Topps Harold Baines in a BGS 6 — which is comical, but was a must-buy when I found it for $2 at the LCS. I’ll probably update at some point.

2012 Bowman “International” Mariano Rivera is going to be a fan favorite

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

2012 Bowman Baseball just hit shelves this week and in the product are “International” parallels of the player cards.  They resemble the basic cards only they have the flag of the player’s country of origin emblazoned in the background.  We’ve seen this before, but these are gorgeous.  They remind me of the 1997 release, my personal favorite set.

Last week, Yankees legend and perhaps the games’ greatest closer of all-time Mariano Rivera suffered a torn ACL, an injury that could end his career.  He’s been on record as saying that he doesn’t want to go out like that.

But if it is the end of the line of “Mo,” then this 2012 Bowman “International” card could be one of the best Rivera cards we’ve ever seen given the context.  It’s almost like a farewell shot posed in front of the flag of Panama.

This card immediately jumps into the discussion for one of my five favorite Mariano cards to pass through my collection.

Hats off to Topps for the design, and hats off to The Sandman for a stellar career.

Mariano Rivera tears ACL in knee, career might be over

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , on May 3, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

1997 Bowman’s Best International Preview Atomic Refractor

For more than a decade and a half, Mariano Rivera has made a living throwing one type of pitch in one inning per game.

And in the end (maybe) all it took was one batting practice session to end his career.

Rivera reportedly suffered a torn ACL Thursday night before the Yankees game against the Royals. The games’ greatest closer was hurt fielding fly balls during batting practice, according to multiple reports.

Yeah, batting practice.

If this is the end of his career — he previously stated that this would be his final season — it’s perhaps the saddest way for things to end.  His career would not have ended on the mound, but on the warning track before a game.

Over his 15-plus years of dominance, Rivera has not only collected hundreds of saves, but many  fans, including those who enjoyed his baseball cards.

I am a Red Sox fan.  I have said this for years. Fans of my team are supposed to hate all things associated with the Yankees. But I cannot say that I hate Mariano Rivera. You cannot hate greatness.

Anyhow, here are my five favorite Mariano Rivera cards to ever pass through my collection:

#5 – 2004 Playoff Honors Prime Signatures


#4 2012 Topps Highlights Target Red


#3 – 1998 Upper Deck International Pride


#2 – 1992 Bowman Rookie Card

#1 — 1997 Bowman’s Best International Preview Atomic Refractor




An iconic card for this generation’s Yankee dynasty

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

While digging through my boxes the other day looking for stuff to sell, I came across this card, which struck me as being a pretty neat, affordable collectible. It’s a relatively worthless 2010 Topps Heritage card, but it essentially encapsulates the greatness of the last 15 years of the Yankees. Whether you love the Yanks or hate them, there is no denying that Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte were the faces of excellence for many years.

In another time and era of this hobby, a card like this would be in high demand. Nowadays, cards like these — even though they are awesome — are worth almost nothing because they don’t contain game-used fabric or signatures of the men pictured on them.

Card of the Day: 1997 Bowman’s Best International Preview Atomic Refractor Mariano Rivera

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

Refractors are a beautiful thing. In their basic form the refractor coating on the card catches the light in a certain way, and suddenly every man has an appreciation for the colors of the rainbow. OK, that’s a little fru-fru, but you know it’s true. Refractors look awesome. But in 1997 the Topps company started a new refractor, the Atomic Refractor, something very similar to today’s X-Fractor. Continue reading