Archive for Nolan Ryan

Elite Status: Iconic 1991-1996 Donruss insert sets complete with autos

Posted in Completed Sets with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2017 by Cardboard Icons

EliteLogo It’s been three decades since I opened my first pack of baseball cards. And less than five years into my hobby career, cards went from being just cards to being chase-worthy investments — at least that’s what we the collectors were being sold.

At the front of this movement was the almighty Elite Series insert set, which started in 1991 as one of the hobby’s most iconic chase sets to date.

Imagine if you will opening dozens, hundreds or even thousands of packs and see nothing but blue and green borders and then … bam, a bronze foil border card with a marble-like design embedded within and a serial number on back.

By today’s standards, Elite cards wouldn’t be much to gloat about, but in 1991, it was something most would only dream of.

My dream of pulling an Elite Series card actually came true in 1993 when I fished an Eddie Murray out of a pack at Target. As I’ve told people before, the story goes that I was opening a pack while my mom was paying for it and other stuff.  When I saw the shiny foil, I dropped an f-bomb that made everyone from my mother to the people in line to the cashier stop what they were doing and look my way. Hey, I was 13.

Anyhow, i eventually made it a goal to complete the first three Elite Series (1991, 1992 and 1993) sets including the autographs — a feat that was accomplished a few years ago and documented in one of my Beckett Baseball columns.

I’ve since moved on to the next three years. And while the passion to finish it came and went over time, I got the itch recently to put those next three sets to rest and with a little help from Tanner at CansecoCollector.com I was able to get the elusive 1995 Elite Series Jose Canseco that I couldn’t find.

And so, here is a visual look at the first six years of Elite Series Insert cards. You’ll notice that the dynamic of the set has changed over time. It started as an 8-card set with one legend and one autograph. Then next two years the base Elite set grew and continued to include a legend and autograph.  By 1994, the Elite Series set was scaled back to just 12 basic Elite cards — no more autographs or legends. Nonetheless, they were still special.

1991 Elite Series (base Elite’s /10,000; Legends Series /7,500; Signature Series /5,000)

1992 Elite Series (Base Elites /10,000; Legends /7,500; Signature Series /5,000)

1993 Elite Series (Base Elites /10,000; Legends Series /10,000; Signature Series /5,000)


1994 Elite Series (all /10,000)

1995 Elite Series (all /10,000)

1996 Elite Series (all /10,000)

Now that those sets are done, I’ll get to working eventually on 1997 and 1998, but I’m also turning my eyes to a few other insert sets from my youth that always intrigued me:

1992 Pinnacle – Team Pinnacle

1994 Score Cycle

1994 SP Holoview

1994 Flair Hot Glove

1996 Pacific Flame Throwers

 

Thrift Treasures 63: Topps Sticker Packs!!!

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2014 by Cardboard Icons

IMG_5120One of the first sections I hit in most thrift stores is the toy section.  Why? Because many times I find little baggies containing baseball cards … or in this case stickers. Unopened packs of stickers to be exact.ThriftTreasuresLogo

In 2012 Topps brought back an oldie but goodie in the sticker album collection.  The album cost roughly $2.99 if memory serves me right and each pack containing eight stickers cost 99 cents.  I bought an album.  I bought some packs and let me kids get after it.  But I always felt like I never got my fill.   Topps brought the set back again in 2013, but I never really got into it. That is until this  this nice little baggie.

As you can see from this picture, this baggie cost $2.99.  And a quick count from the outside of the package revealed that there were 16 unopened packs of Topps Stickers within. At roughly 18 cents a pack, it was a no-brainer purchase.

So, without further adieu, here’s what the packs contained:

 

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Chasing dreams: the 2000 Greats of the Game autograph set

Posted in Hall of Famers with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

For more than a decade, I’ve been drawn to the greatness of the 2000 Greats of the Game autograph set.  I think I’ve shared the story before, but the very first pack of this product that I opened in 2000 contained the ONE card I really wanted from the set:  Nolan Ryan.  Yeah, I called my shot.  And yes, you’ve heard this before because I know for a fact that I’ve written about it before.

YazI toyed with the idea over the years of collecting the set.  It’s a gorgeous set, I know it’s highly collectible, and in my opinion, the checklist is absolutely stellar.  There are a few “duds” but that’s beside the point.  Most of the least-desirable cards can be had relatively cheap.

Well, it’s official, I’m declaring my war on the 2000 Greats of the Game gold-border auto set … with one exception, that Derek Jeter autograph that is limited to 150 copies.

Here’s my issue with the card:  It was a redemption only and was not released until 2001.  And not only is it a year older, it appears to have been made with a glossy card stock.  Eff that!  Part of the charm of the 2000 set is the smooth non-glossy texture.  It’s hard to describe, but it kind of feels like vellum paper.

Anyhow, I’ve added an updated list and made it public so that you can see what exactly I am missing.  Surprisingly, I am already more than half way to the set … although once I get to the short prints, I’ll be looking at some pretty pricey cards.  Lucky me.

 

Icon-O-Clasm: Nolan Ryan Shouldn’t Have To Repeat Himself

Posted in Icon-O-Clasm, Instagram Portraits with tags , , , , , on February 23, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

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Thrift Treasures XLVIII: Count Your Lucky Stars

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , on July 3, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

And I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack with another Thrift Treasures you ya’ll.  And as you can tell from what you see below, I did it via video.  Had a problem though … I shot this with my iPhone and had a problem uploading it as one whole video to YouTube.

Anyway, this might work out better as it’s a lengthy one.

Enjoy.

 

To see more Thrift Treasures posts, click here.

Thrift Treasures XLV: 2012 San Francisco Tri-Star Show Haul 3/3

Posted in Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Well, I made it.  I managed to scan the remaining 200 cards that I bought at the Tri-Star show.  And if you thought Part One and Part Two of this special Thrift Treasures series were awesome, I’m telling you …

YOU

AINT

SEEN

NOTHING

YET!

1990 Score Bo Jackson FB/BB

This is Part Three of Three

I’ve been going to this annual card show consistently for the last six years.  And it was not until three years ago that I learned that the real point of going to these shows was to swoop in on the bargains that are hiding in the dime boxes.

I used to go to the show to look at cards I could not afford, buy some packs and supplies and leave with a handful of cards that really didn’t satisfy my appetite.

But over the years I have learned that I can pretty much buy any card I really want at any time; and a lot of the packs at the show might have been touched by a dozen too many hands if you catch my drift.  So why waste my money and time to go look at stuff that is always accessible to me?  What’s not always available are super cheap cards.  Now when I go, I spend 90 percent of my time digging through bargain bins, 5 percent looking for bargain bins that don’t exist, and 5 percent looking at the autograph area where the athlete’s are hidden behind a blue curtain hoping to catch a glimpse of a legend.

OK, enough of that diatribe.

The following cards are ALL from the same dealer.  The sign on the table said 25 cents each, or 100 for $10.

Do the math and that’s a dime each if you find enough.

Trust me, I found enough.

In the end, these all came out to 10 cents each.  I found 200 cards that had to come home with me.  There were probably another 100 I could have settled on owning, but this was the FIRST table I stopped at.  I spent 90 minutes here and I wanted to see what other treasures I could unearth.

Let’s kick things off in grand fashion.

1992-1993 Upper Deck Team MVP Michael Jordan

Meet Michael.  He’s kind of a big deal in the hobby.  Even his most basic card should not be in a dime box.  And now consider that this is an insert … and he’s holding the NBA’s biggest prize.  He’s no stranger to the trophy, and he’ll be no stranger in this post.  This card alone holds a Book Value of $25.

1959 Topps San Francisco 49ers Checklist

I was in San Francisco, right? Why was this card still sitting in this box?

vintage Fleer baseball A's sticker

I love these vintage stickers.  I still have all of the stickers from the Fleer packs I opened in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Maybe I’ll met my kids play with them when they are older.

Let’s stick with vintage for a few …

1974 Wonder Bread Paul Warfield

1974 Wonder Bread Larry Csonka

1971 Topps Game Inserts Frank Tarkenton

1970 Kellogg's (Blank Bank) Bill Nelsen

1978-1979 Topps Stan Mikita

1981 Kellogg's George Hendrick

1974 Topps Ron Santo

1974 Topps Larry Bowa

1974 Topps Eddie Mathews

1968 Topps Tony Perez

1970 Topps Tony Perez

1974 Topps Tony Perez

1970 Topps Joe Morgan

1972 Topps Joe Morgan

Some random old school Garbage Pail Kids stickers.  I still can’t believe my mom was buying these for my sister and I when we were 5. Crazy.

Here’s that Michael Jordan guy again …

2 1992-1993 Upper Deck McDonald's Michael Jordan Holograms

I remember when Upper Deck and McDonald’s collaborated for this set.  I never had the fortune of pulling one of these holograms, although I did wind up with a dozen Tom Gugliotta and Alonzo Mourning rookies. ugh …  Guess I got the last laugh though.

Who likes wrestling legends?  These two might look familiar from earlier in this series.

1987 WWF Topps Bartolo Colon Andre The Giant

1987 WWF Topps Hulk Hogan IA

And baseball legends?

1993 Topps Archives 1953 Series Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle

1991 Foot Locker Bo Jackson

6 1994 Action Packed Roberto Clemente cards

Some randomness …

1990 Leaf John Smoltz

1994 Mother's Cookies Rookies of the Year -- Tim Salmon / Mike Piazza

1994 Mother's Cookies Rookie of the Year -- Tim Salmon/Mike Piazza -- still in wrapper

1996 SPX Bound for Glory Mike Piazza

Hey, look, it’s Michael Jordan again …

1989 Hoops Michael Jordan and David Robinson IA

And some more randomness …

1997 Circa Super Boss Bernie Williams

1998 Donruss Diamond Kings Bernie Williams /10,000

1998 Topps Mystery Finest Borderless Greg Maddux

1998 Topps Etch-A-Sketch Greg Maddux

1990 Action Packed Barry Sanders

1995 Leaf Limited Gold Don Mattingly

1991 Upper Deck Holograms Emmitt Smith

1997 Upper Deck Power Package Barry Bonds

1996 Leaf Limited Steel Gold Hideo Nomo -- w/ Protective Coating

Look, it’s Mike again…

1992-1992 Upper Deck Holograms Michael Jordan #AW1

1991-1992 Upper Deck Holograms Michael Jordan #AW4

You know you love holograms!

1991 Upper Deck Holograms Hank Aaron

1989 Score Joe Montana

And now some mini player collections …

1989 Score Jerry Rice

6 1987 Topps Jerry Rice

1996 Summit Turf Team Jerry Rice /4000

The Iron Man …

1984 Topps Cal Ripken Jr.

1986 Fleer All-Stars Cal Ripken Jr.

1992 Fleer Team Leaders Cal Ripken Jr.

1992 Ultra Award Winners Cal Ripken Jr.

The Big Hurt …

1992 Donruss Diamond Kings Inserts Frank Thomas

1997 Topps All Stars Frank Thomas

1998 Metal Universal Language Frank Thomas

1993 Upper Deck Clutch Performers Frank Thomas

1998 Metal Universe Diamond Heroes Frank Thomas

1997 Topps Interleague Finest Frank Thomas / Sammy Sosa

1991 Stadium Club Frank Thomas

The Kid …

1987 Moeller High School Unauthorized and 1988 Spirit Ken Griffey Jr.

3 1991 Fleer All-Stars Ken Griffey Jr

The Ryan Express …

6 1989 Upper Deck Nolan Ryan triple exposure

6 1989 Upper Deck High Series Nolan Ryan w/ Football

I know I am not the only one who remembers how hot these Nolan Ryan cards were.  Especially that high series card where he’s throwing a football.  You know you still love it.

And of course Jordan again …

Quick short story.

As I was digging through these boxes, the seller was sitting behind the table somewhat frantically shuffling through some stacks of cards.  I was doing the same, pulling out dozens of stuff as you can see.  Then I come across a little black box …

Just as I add it to my stack, the seller slumps his shoulders and is clearly dejected.  He mutters the following:

“Oh, you found it.”

He immediately stops shuffling and stands up.  From that moment on, he is watching me like a hawk as I am pulling out dozens more cards.

He didn’t say much else, and I was not about to offer to allow him to keep the cards.  That’s a bad precedent to start … and it’d be bad etiquette for him to ask me to give it back to him.  If we started down that road, there is no telling what else he might ask me to give back to him.

Here’s what was in the box … the 1991 Nike promotional set featuring Michael Jordan and Spike Lee.

Classic stuff.

Not bad eh?

Well …

THERE’S MORE!

While I would have been pleased to purchase everything shown above for a dime each, I would not have gone out of my way to pimp my finds on Twitter.  You know I had to uncover some rookie cards.

8 1988 Topps Traded Tino Martinez rookie cards

Another 1981 Topps Dan Hampton rookie card

1981 Topps Dwight Clark rookie card

1990 Action Packed Junior Seau Rookie Card

3 1984 Topps Roger Craig rookie cards

1980-1981 Topps Mike Ramsey rookie cards

1978-1979 Topps Doug Wilson rookie card

1974 Topps Bucky Dent rookie card

1974 Topps Gorman Thomas rookie card

1979 Topps Carney Lansford rookie card

1985 Topps Orel Hershiser rookie card

1981 Topps Kirk Gibson rookie card

5 1989 Upper Deck Randy Johnson rookie cards

1990 Bowman Frank Thomas rookie card

4 1990 Score Frank Thomas rookie cards

1989 Donruss Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card

2 1991 Topps Chipper Jones rookie cards

These Topps Chipper Jones rookies are some of my favorite cards of his.

But I like the 1991 Upper Deck rookie better.

I found a few of those …

BUT …  There weren’t just two of them …

… or four of them …

… or six of them.

Try 32!

32 1991 Upper Deck Chipper Jones rookie cards

Don’t ask me who needs 32 of these.  There is no way I pass on these when they cost a dime each.

Who wants to see more rookies?

That Barry Sanders guy was pretty good …

6 1989 Pro Set Barry Sanders rookie cards

Say what you want about Barry Bonds, but he is the Home Run King. Think I found any of his rookies?

Maybe one …

Maybe two …

Maybe three …

Nah.

How about 15!

15 1987 Topps Barry Bonds rookie cards

OK … now we’re hitting the home stretch.

I promise.

1977-1978 Topps Darryl Dawkins rookie card

4 1993 Bowman Andy Pettitte rookie cards

1971 Topps Dave Concepcion rookie card

Now the final three …

1993 Topps Derek Jeter rookie card

2 1977 Topps Bruce Sutter rookie cards

And lastly …

Is that a …

What the puck!?

Yep.

It may not be pretty, but that IS a 1980-1981 Topps Ray Bourque rookie card.

Did I mention these were all a dime each?

Total cost of these Treasures: $20

Simply put this was the greatest card show haul I’ve ever had. And I thank you for taking the time to view this post, as well as the other two parts of this series.  If you care to revisit them, or view them for the first time, click the links below.

Part One // Part Two // Part Three

Thrift Treasures XXXIII: Kiss the rings …

Posted in Newspaperman, Thrift Treasures with tags , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2011 by Cardboard Icons

Some people spent their weekend digging through bargain bins at The National Sports Card Convention in Chicago; I spent an hour digging through quarter boxes at a local flea market.  All the same, right?

It’s been a while since I’ve written a thrift treasures post.  I actually have three of them in the works, but this one is the most timely seeing as how I obtained these cards today.

I visited a local flea market with my kids on Saturday, and there were two guys who had a few 5,000 count boxes with everything inside priced at a quarter.

Suffice it to say I had a good time digging through the boxes, unearthing cards I hadn’t seen or thought of in nearly two decades.  But you know how I roll.  I’m always looking for a deal.  I wasn’t just buying cards because they evoked emotion.  I bought cards because I knew they were under priced.

In the end I came away with 32 cards that cost me less than the price of three retail packs. Enjoy.

Football season is just about here.  And now more than ever I am excited about the sport. For much of the last five to seven years I had become a one-sport guy.  But I am slowly starting to turn my attention back to the NFL, a league I loved so dearly when I was younger.  And for some reason, cards of Joe Montana have been catching my eye lately.  The Niners have been in Purgatory for almost a decade, but these two remind be of better times in the Bay.

1992 ProLine Gold Quarterbacks Joe Montana

Check out those rings ...

I had a total brain fart when I bought these next two.  I thought Chad Jackson was actually good (still like the card though), and for some reason I thought this 1992 Upper Deck Brett Favre was a shirt print.  Upper Deck is NOT Stadium Club. Doh!

2006 Turkey Red White Chad Jackson rookie

1992 Upper Deck Brett Favre

Funny thing about football.  I’ve often found myself marveling at the greatness of — not the Raiders — but NFL Films.  After I went to this flea market, I came home and watched a special on Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL Films. I was holding my son at the time because he was teething (F-U-N).  And for some reason, the sound of John Facenda’s voice soothed him for a bit.  Anyway, here are two old-time footballers were featured in many of those films.

2000 Fleer Greats of the Game Retrospection Collection Joe Namath

2000 Fleer Greats of the Game Vince Lombardi

And we’ll finish out the football section with a cheap, yet solid rookie card.  What’s funny about this Emmitt Smith rookie is that this one was in the quarte rbox, and the seller had another one set off to the side in a top loader for $3.  Um, yeah.  I’ll take this one.

1990 Pro Set Emmitt Emith Rookie

Before we get into baseball, I bought a few basketball and other sport/non-sport cards to sow off.  Here are a few Michael Jordan cards that I felt compelled to have at this price point.  Should be worth noting that the Jordan “Generations’ card also features Julius Erving on the back, and the card “books” at $10.

1998-99 UD Black Diamond Michael Jordan

1999-00 UD Century Legends Michael Jordan

1999-00 UD Century Legends "Generations" Michael Jordan & Julius Erving.

I chose this Wilt Chamberlain solely because it was an insert card.  It’ll be headed to CheckOutMyCards.

1999-00 UD Century Team "All Century Team" Wilt Chamberlain

This one, too. Meh …

2008 Topps Gold John Stockton #'d /2008

Another brain fart … I got Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee mixed up.  Must have been the heat.  This was a waste of a quarter.

2009 Donruss Americana Jackie Chan

Wrestling cards usually are not my thing unless they evoke emotion.  I mean, none of these things are worth anything anyway, right?  Well, this one stuck out because it is a Chrome/Finest insert from 1996.  It “books” at $10.

1996 Topps WCW/nWo Nitro Chrome Hulk Hogan & Bret Hart

And now let’s get to some baseball.

A few rookie cards to whet the appetite.

1982 Topps Dave Henderson rookie

1096 Donruss "The Rookies" Dan Plesac rookie

1999 Ultimate Victory Jim Morris rookie

A four pack of fun-ness:

1993 Classic "Superheroes" Ken Griffey Jr.

1992 Score "90's Impact Players" Ken Griffey Jr.

1992 Ziploc Bob Gibson

1988 Starling Line Up Ozzie Smith

A pair of cards from 2001.

2001 Fleer Greats of the Game Willie Mays

2001 Topps Heritage Red Back Alex Rodriguez

Love this one:

2002 T206 Mini Tolstoi Red back Joe Tinker

Sticking with 2002 Topps 206, here’s one of those meh inserts.  But it is Pujols.

2002 Topps 206 "Team 206" Albert Pujols

When Albert was hot, his cards were scorching.  And when people’s cards are scorching, people will try to do anything to get an extra nickle out of their sale.  For example this 2002 Stadium Club card.  So many people bought and sold this card under the premise that it was his rookie.  Why?  Well, it doesn’t help that Topps used a “2001” in their small print copywrite.  Nonetheless, the card is 2002, yet still collectible.  I hadn’t owned one until now.  Pretty cool card.  Book is $12; and one sold last week for almost $15.

2002 Stadium Club Albert Pujols

From a current Cardinal slugger to a former … here is another “$10” insert.

2000 Upper Deck "People's Choice" Mark McGwire

 

Generally I hate reprints.  That said, I was not passing up these 2001 Topps Archives cards for $.25 each.

2001 Topps Archives Jackie Robinson (1952)

2001 Topps Archives Robert Clemente (1955 - Rookie)

And we’ll close with some real vintage:

1978 Topps Pete Rose

 

1978 Topps Nolan Ryan

Pound for pound this was a solid flea market trip.  Not a ton to get super excited about, but at the quarter price point I am buying stuff all day long.  Seriously, where else are you going to find vintage Ryan and Rose cards for less than two pieces of Bazooka gum?

Total cost for these treasures: $8