Archive for Score

1989 earthquake commemorated on card, encapsulated and now in my collection

Posted in Commentary with tags , , , , , , on February 8, 2022 by Cardboard Icons

A funny thing happened last week. I was sitting at my kitchen table sipping my decaf coffee and out of nowhere I decided to check eBay for graded copies of some junk wax era cards. I wasn;t looking for stuff I normally collect like rookie cards. Instead I was looking for a handful of special cards that were released around the time I was 10 and 11 years old.

The very first card I looked up was the 1990 Score card 701, better known as the “Lights Out: Candlestick” card commemorating the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake here in the San Francisco Bay Area that disrupted the World Series between the local teams Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants. I’ve told my earthquake story here before. I wasn’t at the game, but I sure as hell remember every detail of that evening. And when this card was released the following year I found myself in awe. And truth be told, when I see copies of this card I tend to buy just for the hell of it since I’m not sure a lot of folks appreciate it. On a side note, I’m not 100% sure of this, but I’m betting Score made this card 701 because … the earthquake was a 7.1 on the Richter Scale.

Anyhow, as I looked, I located a copy of the card graded Mint 9 by BGS. I gasped, checked the pop report — I knew there couldn’t have been many slabbed — and then bought the card. This copy was graded in 2013 and is one of only five total cards submitted to BGS, and the only one that received the Mint grade. There is a single Gem Mint copy in existence, but I don’t need that one, this one does me just fine. And to make things even better, my purchase cost was less than what the grading service actually charges these days, which always feels like a win.

I own multiple raw copies of this card, including one my son pulled from a box we opened last year, but as I get older I tend to find myself looking for slabbed copies of certain cards that evoke memories. The kicker for me with slabbed copies is they just present so differently than those sitting in binder pages, all of which are beautiful in their own way. Owning slabs is not a necessary part of collecting these days, but it is something that brings me joy.

Baseball cards continue to mark the timeline of my life

Posted in Memory Lane with tags , , , , , on June 29, 2021 by Cardboard Icons

From a young age I found that baseball cards in some ways acted as hash marks on the timeline of my life. I can remember certain cards associated with events of my life, both good and bad. And this weekend, they certainly found their way into my timeline as we celebrated the life of my grandmother.

Trips to grandmother’s house, which was about 70 minutes away from where I grew up, almost certainly involved me asking, begging and pleading with my mom to take me to a card shop, or anywhere I could purchase new cards. Sure, I grew up (ages 7-10) directly across the street from a card shop, but trips out of my neighborhood always presented new opportunities to see new shops. And so each trip to Fairfield, California, involved me finding cards somewhere. At times it was packs of 1989 Topps at Target; 1989 Donruss at the local corner store, 1990 Topps at 7-Eleven; packs of 1991 Classic Best Minor League or Donruss from some car shop.

I have lots of memories bringing baseball cards to grandma’s house and spending hours sorting them while the adults talked, argued, and laughed.

Grandma passed away in February of this year due to health reasons, she was 81. Grandma lived in Fairfield from the early 1980s through 2002 when she and her husband uprooted and moved to North Carolina, where pace of life was much more to their liking as they grew older. Since then her trips to California have only been for major events, a few weddings and graduations, but in recent year it was deaths. In 2017 her first husband died; then in 2018 her husband passed — I called both men “grandpa.” She came to visit again in 2019 to see her husband’s tombstone and to celebrate her 80th birthday with family. Then COVID came and stopped all plans for a 2020 visit. I last spoke to her during Christmas of 2020, she was so happy to hear from me. She laughed and cried; as did I as I could tell her memory was starting to fade. The came the call in February that she had been admitted to the hospital and then passed rather suddenly from non-Covid related health issues.

We’ve had a few months to process the passing, but we knew we as a family would gather again here in California when restrictions loosened so that we could have her ashes buried with those of her husband. And that’s how and why we all ended up near Fairfield again this weekend. And as luck or fate would have it, there just so happened to be a card show at Solano Town Center IN Fairfield. I knew I had to make it happen even if it was just for an hour or two with my son.

We went and it was the first real show my son had been to in almost two years; it was my first since March 2020 — literally as the country began to freak out over COVID. I remember it vividly because all autograph guests canceled their appearances over growing health and travel convcerns.

Anyhow, my son and I went to the Fairfield show and I had no expectations other than to find at least one card that I could use to memorialize this weekend; also to watch my son again dig through boxes and find something he enjoyed. I’ll probably post the small haul in a different post because I want to dedicate the rest of this space today to the one card I found.

We dug through a few bargain boxes and in one of the boxes I located this 1991 Score “Bo Breaker” card and it made me stop immediately. I knew I had found THE card for the weekend. Here’s the story.

In 1991 my family took a trip to Fairfield and my cousin and I visited a shop called “Batter Up.” To my recollection this was the second location for the store, but I recall it being larger than the ones I frequented in my hometown. They houses a dozen oshowcases with lots of singles, and for 1991 they seemed to have every pack one could want. During one trip I remember taking a few dollars and buying a fistful of 1991 Score Series 2 packs looking for a certain card — the “Bo Breaker.” The card features black borders and showcases Bo Jackson snapping a bat over his leg after striking out in a game. The reverse shows Bo finishing his swing with a broken bat in his hand. It’s sort of silly, but at the time it was a big deal. Anyhow, as luck would have it I pulled the Bo! But it didn’t leave the card shop with me.

You see, I didn’t get a ton of money for cards as a kid, but I loved opening packs. Every now and again my mom would give me a few dollars, but more times then not I earned my card money by raiding garbage bins for cans and bottles to recycle. So when I pulled this Bo, I asked how much the shop could give me in trade and the guy offered $3, which meant I could rip six more packs of 1991 Score baseball! (Insert eyeroll emoji here)

In the genius state of my 11-year-old mind this deal made total sense so I took it and then walked away with six more packs of Score figuring I’d pull another and just enjoy the extra stuff as well. Of course those new six packs did NOT contain another Bo Breaker and I went home with a stack of commons, which I still enjoyed (I later built the set with them) but certainly didn’t celebrate them the way I did or would have with Bo Breaker in my collection at the time.

I’ve owned a few Bo Breaker cards over the years, and have a few at home at the moment. But this particular copy feels extra special. I realize not everyone gets sentimental over their cards. But for me, it seems certain ones have been placed in front of me, just for me in that moment. And to find this card in the same city where we used to visit grandma, in the same city where the aforementioned transaction occurred 30 years ago, feels like the workings of something from beyond. And now THIS copy is going home with me to mark this occasion, this weekend. Love you, Grandma. Rest easy.

“Live” reveal of 1992 Score Ser. 2 pack with a “Franchise” (auto) insert.

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2013 by Cardboard Icons

On Wednesday I made a quick run to my local card shop and picked up another 1992 Score Ser. 2 box in search of the super rare ‘Franchise” insert cards, hopefully one that is signed.  Well, as the title of this post suggests … I got one!  Check out the “live” reveal …

In case you missed the other one I pulled, check out this one I pulled five months ago …

And here are what the autographs look like, I own all three single-signed cards:



Can’t pull one, might as well buy one

Posted in Hall of Famers with tags , , , , on September 13, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Over the last three weeks, I’d been taking a step back in the time machine and reliving memories of my early collecting days.  This road down memory lane included the purchases of two 1992 Score Series 2 boxes to take an extremely LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG shot at pulling any of the four 1992 Score Franchise Autographs, cards that were signed by Carl Yastrzemski, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, or all three.

That quest included a very cool memorable pull of an unsigned Musial card, which was the same exact card I pulled in 1992 when I was 12.  You can see the “dramatic” reveal in this video.

But that fun and inexpensive jaunt through two decades of every-changing baseball card technology history really made me want to own the signed version of the Musial.

True, I am a rookie card collector, but I have a soft spot for once-unattainable cards of my youth.  One of my favorite sets (or series of insert sets) is the Elite Series cards from 1991-1993.  I’ve started my photo gallery of the ones I own here.

Anyhow, back to Musial.

Despite the horrific odds of actually pulling the autograph of Musial — or Yaz or Mick — the cards are pretty affordable considering they are one of the first true pack-seeded certified autographs. So I set out to buy a Musial and I did.  And when it arrived on Thursday, I was even more delighted to see this note attached to the interior packaging:

Amazing.  So I am getting this gorgeous card from the ORIGINAL owner?!  I’ve got to send this eBay seller a message asking him to write me a few paragraphs about his experience pulling this card. And when — if — he responds, I will publish it here.

A quick word of warning though.  If you’re out to buy one of these for yourself, please … PLEASE … make sure it is a certified copy issued through Score and not Score BOARD.  The REAL, pack-seeded cards look like this on the back.  They are hand-numbered in black calligraphy pen. Adds to an awesomeness if you ask me.

Finding that Loving Feeling in a 20-year-old pack of baseball cards

Posted in Box / Pack Break with tags , , , , , on September 13, 2012 by Cardboard Icons

Junk Wax — the stuff many of us grew up on.

I recently “discovered” that one of my local shops, South Bay Sports Cards had some of the 1992 Score Series 2 boxes — from the so-called junk wax era — sitting around for $9.99 a box.

A bargain? Not really.

But a fun gamble considering there is a long shot — and I mean looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong — shot at pulling inked cards of Baseball Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Stan Musial and Yankee legens Mickey Mantle. Heck, there’s even a triple-signed cards of all three guys.

The autographs were part of “The Franchise” insert set.  There are basic inserts that are reportedly limited to some 150,000 copies.  No, that’s not a typo. My”zero key didn’t get stuck.  That’s one hundred fifty THOUSAND.  But they are tough, probably harder than one per case.

The single-signed autographs are limited to 2,000; and only 500 of the triple autos exist.

Not scarce by today’s standards, but super-, mega-short printed for 1992 relatively speaking.

Anyhow, I bought a box last week, and lo and behold, the green greatness that is “The Franchise” was in my box.  But who was it?  Was it signed? Watch the video to find out.