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Fun Cards: 1988 National League All-Star Shortstops

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz

Say what you will about the ’90s shortstop revolution, I’ll take the ’80s defensive wizards any day. Ozzie Smith was the no-brainer fan pick, starting his sixth straight All-Star Game; he would start the next four straight before passing the mantle to Barry Larkin. Lark would end up starting five ASGs in his career, and being on the roster for seven more. The other backup in 1988, Shawon Dunston, was only named to two All-Star teams in his career, but man he had a rocket for an arm.

Larkin

Larkin

The players poll showed that those who shared the field with the Wizard agreed wholeheartedly with the fans’ choice.

Dunston

Trammell

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Come on Topps, you can do better

As I mentioned yesterday, I bought a Topps TBT card on eBay. I knew what I was getting, and have no complaints about the transaction; however, that doesn’t mean I’m entirely happy with the card itself.

Look at the back of the card…

2019 Topps TBT Puig

I could ask, “Could it be more generic?” But I don’t want Topps to see that as a challenge.

I would like to see more on the TBT cards. At least a line of stats? How the player was acquired? Does he have a dog, and if so, what’s his name? Perhaps, if you want to relate the design selection to the text on the back, who the player’s favorite wrestler is?

A few months ago, Barry Larkin appeared in a Topps TBT set.

Larkin Topps TBT

Great photo (from 1988…check out the All-Star Game patch on his sleeve). Good concept of showing team captains on a Star Trek design. But the execution on the rear…

Larkin back

When was Larkin captain? Why? List a couple of career highlights. Mention his 2012 induction into the Hall of Fame. Something. Anything.

There have been four Reds cards included in the TBT series so far this year: Puig, Johnny Bench, and Larkin twice. I did not purchase Bench or the second Larkin. Partially because of the price, partially because of the lack of execution on the card back.

You really can do better, Topps. I believe in you.

(PS — For those who are curious, Larkin was named captain before the 1997 season. He was the first Reds captain since Dave Concepcion‘s retirement in 1988. Speaking of Concepcion, it sure would be great to see him included in a Topps product again.)

The weekend is made for fun

If you are a student (which I’m not), or if you work a “regular” job (which I don’t), then you probably look forward to each Friday. For me, as a 911 dispatcher that works 12 hour night shifts, it’s every other weekend that I look forward to. I actually love the schedule because of all the time off we get. When I don’t have any overtime, I only work half the days in a given month. One week I only work Wednesday and Thursday; the next week I only have off those two days.

In general, though, for most people, Friday is the goal each week. “If I can just make it to Friday, then I can have some fun.” Maybe that’s what Upper Deck had in mind in 1992 when they released “Fun Packs.”

Okay, probably not.

I picked up the Reds team set from the 1992 series from Matt of Red Cardboard a few weeks ago. He’s decluttering, jettisoning much of his non-vintage, non-Topps-flagship Reds collection. If you’re in the market for some Reds goodies, check out his list and shoot him a message.

Let’s take a quick look at the 1992 Fun Pack Reds cards.

Larkin

Barry Larkin looks like he just got a base hit…maybe one of his 441 doubles. That’s fun.

Boone

Bret Boone in Spring Training. Trying to make the team. I hope he was having fun, but probably not. Rookies are under a lot of pressure. Plus, it looks like he wore #5? Johnny Bench‘s number was retired by the Reds shortly after his retirement. Maybe this was a minor league game instead of Spring Training. The uniform pants look a bit different, and the red helmet and jersey may be a little darker than what Cincinnati wore.

Greene

Willie Greene looks like he’s concentrating hard on a high bouncer. Concentrating is not necessarily fun.

Rijo

Jose Rijo peers into Joe Oliver for the sign. Fastball? Curve? He doesn’t look like he’s not having fun, but doesn’t look like he is having fun either.

Sanders

Finally…THIS is a picture of a ballplayer having FUN! Reggie Sanders yucking it up as he plays catch. Look at that smile. Sanders had a fine major league career with 305 home runs and 304 stolen bases. For a long time he was one of only four players in the 300/300 club, with Willie Mays, Andre Dawson, and Bobby Bonds. I’m sure that club has grown exponentially since I first learned that fact, but it’s still fun to think of Sanders in a club with a couple of Hall of Famers.

I’m off work this weekend. I got home early this morning, went to bed, and tonight I’m to catch Avengers: Endgame with my youngest son. We love going to the movies together. It’s fun. I am going to miss having a movie partner when he goes off to college in just over a year.

Still discovering junk wax treasures…27 years later

The above Tweet from Tanner, noted Jose Canseco superfan, started a frenzy among a small group of baseball card collectors. What in the world are those cards? Customs? Nope. Real deal. But where are the name plates?

As it turns out, a few Topps Gold cards from 1992 got out the door without the gold foil…and they ended up on eBay a few weeks ago. I snagged a handful, as did a few other Twitter users that were following the thread. I have never seen these before, and never knew they existed until Tanner’s Tweet. I am, however, happy to add them to my collection.

I am now the proud owner of six 1992 Topps Gold “missing foil” Reds cards…

Larkin

Oneill

Charlton

Duncan

Morris

Sabo

That’s Barry Larkin, Paul O’Neill, Norm Charlton, Mariano Duncan, Hal Morris, and Chris Sabo.

Turning the cards over plainly shows that they are from the Gold parallel series, albeit without the gold on front…

Sabo

I also picked up a Shawon Dunston card, who was another favorite player growing up.

Dunston

It’s amazing (in a great way) that we can still discover things from the junk wax era today, and that we have ways to easily add them to our collections. Thank you Tanner for the heads-up!

Reds announce stadium giveaway bobbleheads

2019 Reds Bobbleheads

Yesterday was National Bobblehead Day, and the Cincinnati Reds celebrated by announcing the bobbleheads scheduled for giveaways during the 2019 season. All six bobbles will feature Hall of Famers who spent time with the Reds.

  • Ernie Lombardi – May 18. “The Schnozz” was a Veterans Committee selection in 1986. A slow-running catcher, Lombardi twice led the NL in batting average.
  • Joe Morgan – June 1. “The Little General” was a first-ballot selection by the BBWAA in 1990, receiving 81.8% support. He led the NL in offensive WAR every year from 1972-1977, and won back-to-back MVP trophies to go with his back-to-back World Series rings in 1975 and 1976.
  • Barry Larkin – June 15. Larkin was a 12-time All-Star, 9-time Silver Slugger, and 3-time Gold Glover, and he won the 1995 NL MVP. It took three tries, but the BBWAA finally elected him in the 2012 Hall of Fame vote.
  • Tony Perez – July 27. Perez appeared on nine Hall of Fame ballots before finally getting the call in 2000. He was inducted with his Big Red Machine manager Sparky Anderson and 1975 World Series rival Carlton Fisk.
  • Johnny Bench – August 17. When Bench’s name appeared on the BBWAA ballot, there was no doubt that he would be inducted. The question was how many would vote for him. As it turns out, only 16 voters declined to check Bench’s name.
  • Ken Griffey Jr. – September 7. Junior is different than all the others on this list because he is more known for his time with the Mariners. But he has always been a hometown Kid, and I’m glad to see him included.

I love all these players, but already have bobbleheaded likenesses of at least four of them, so I am not sure if I will try to attend any of these games. If I do, it will likely be for Lombardi…wait…nope…gotta work that day. Maybe Griffey? Nope…working that day too. Maybe I’ll try to swing a shift trade with a co-worker.

Since I already have the other four in one fashion or another, I doubt I will attend those games. It costs a lot of money to go to a big league game, even at the cost-friendly Great American Ballpark. I will peruse the rest of their promotional schedule and pick another game or two to attend.

If I had my druthers, I would have chosen Bid McPhee, Edd Roush, Eppa Rixey, and Tom Seaver. The team is celebrating the diversity of uniforms throughout the year, why not show some more diversity of uniforms through the bobbles? I already know the answer. Bench and Griffey will sell more tickets than Roush and Rixey, and it’s always all about the money.

I’m anxiously awaiting the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum’s giveaway announcement. I have not been a member for a couple of years, but if the giveaways appeal to me, I may join again in 2019.

I’m trying to think of something nice to say about the Cleveland Indians

Sorry, I can’t come up with anything at all.

At least they have some fans that are willing to trade stacks of Reds for stacks of Indians. Last week I was introduced to @cjbosu2000 on Twitter, and we agreed to a blind trade. I shipped a padded envelope of Tribe up his way, and he sent some Reds south…

Reds cards

Most of the cards were very modern, but there were a handful of junk cards, including this needed Chris Hammond card…

Hammond

I was a big Hammond fan back in the day. I was certain he was the next big thing and “invested” in a stack of his Upper Deck rookie cards. Fortunately, my investment was small to begin with, so I didn’t lose that much. This Leaf card is one that I never got a hold of, though, so it’s nice to add it to my collection.

Most people in the blogosphere don’t care about those ancient junk wax cards, though. You monsters just want to see the shiny stuff. So take a look at these goodies from 2016, all of which I think will be new to my binders…

Platinum Votto

2016 Bowman Platinum Joey Votto

DK Frazier

2016 Panini Diamond Kings Todd Frazier

Archives Bruce

2016 Topps Archives Jay Bruce

Heritage Iglesias

2016 Topps Heritage Raisel Iglesias

Then, moving into 2017…

DK Votto

2017 Panini Diamond Kings Votto

Optic Votto DK

2017 Panini/Donruss Optic Diamond Kings Votto (purple parallel)

2017 A&G Larkin

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Barry Larkin

2017 Fire Duvall

2017 Topps Fire Adam Duvall

2017 Gallery Finnegan

2017 Topps Gallery Brandon Finnegan (Maybe canvas parallel? Need clarifcation on these.)

2017 Heritage Storen

2017 Topps Heritage Drew Storen

2017 Opening Day Finnegan

2017 Topps Opening Day Finnegan

There were so many great cards in this package. Chuck has definitely earned a spot on my permanent “send his favorite team’s stuff to him when I get it” list. Thanks for the Reds goodies, Chuck!

A one in a million trader

I don’t post the cards I receive in the mail very often anymore on here. I usually post them to Twitter then put them in the stack to be sorted. I think I will change that, because this blog needs some lovin’. So here is a trade recently completely with Beau of the One Million Cubs Project, who I met via Twitter (@onemillioncubs). I sent him a handful of Cubbies recently, and he loaded me up with Reds and Reggies.

Reggie Jackson is one of the non-Reds players that I collect, and Beau hit a few holes in my collection here. I don’t have an official wantlist, but I believe there are at least four cards in this lot that I didn’t previously have.

Reggie

Then there were the Reds. From Eric Davis to Tucker Barnhart to Pete Rose to Mario Soto, Beau scattered the selections throughout several eras of Cincinnati baseball.

Reds

And he sent over a few 2014 Allen & Ginters, which I don’t even have on my wantlists yet! I need to change that soon. I got a Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, and a mini Billy Hamilton rooooooookie card…

BHAM

And it’s always cool to get an autograph, even if you’ve never heard of the guy. Tanner Rainey was a second round draft pick in 2015 and split last year between Dayton and Pensacola, so he’s not a washout yet. Hope this guy can get to the bigs and help out the Reds…they sure need it on the mound.

Rainey

Eric Davis is another guy I collect everything of, whether Reds or not. It’s hard to find a Reds card of Davis I don’t have (though there are a handful), but when you send me Dodgers and Tigers and Orioles and Cardinals cards…there’s a good chance I don’t have it yet. Like Reggie, I don’t have a wantlist up yet, but maybe I’ll be able to change that this summer? (HAHA yeah right)

Davis

But what is this? Yes, it IS a Reds card of #44 I didn’t already have! From Baseball Cards Magazine…

Davis

Beau posted this and several more Reds from Baseball Cards Magazine, and I knew I had to ask if they could be included in the trade. Fortunately no one else had spoken up yet. If you need any of the non-Reds from the panels, let me know and they are yours (except for Darryl Strawberry, he’s already spoken for). The other Reds besides Davis were Barry Larkin, Randy Myers, Scott Scudder, Rosario Rodriguez, and Joe Oliver (sharing a card with John Wetteland of the Dodgers)…

Larkin

Myers

Scudder

Oliver

All of those came on uncut panels with other players, but they will be freed and bindered at some point.

Thanks Beau for an awesome trade!

Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals” Barry Larkin

Larkin

Barry Larkin‘s initial showing on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2010 was disappointing, but not overly surprising. What surprised me was how quickly his support rose; he received 86.4% of the vote in 2012 to gain induction into the Hall of Fame. Larkin was on the 1990 World Championship Reds, won the 1995 NL MVP award, was named to 12 All-Star teams, and collected three Gold Gloves and nine Silver Sluggers.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps All-Star Barry Larkin

In the era of free agency, it is rare to find a player remain with the same team for his entire career, but there are a few Hall of Famers that refused to desert their devoted fans. Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Jim Rice, Tony Gwynn, and Cal Ripken are a few of the lifers in the Hall. Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter will join them in future elections. And, of course, there is the Cincinnati-born Barry Larkin, who was one of three shortstops on the 1988 National League All-Star roster.

1988 All Star Barry Larkin Cincinnati Reds

Yesterday, we featured Shawon Dunston, the hard-throwing shortstop of the Cubs. Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (who was not a lifer) was featured in the actual 1988 Topps set. But Barry Larkin was forced to wait until 1991 to make his All-Star cardboard debut.

1988 All Star Barry Larkin Cincinnati Reds

As I said last week, I would love to see Topps actually do this next year, either as an insert set or in Archives. Give every 1988 All-Star a 1988 All-Star card. I have two more lined up this week, and am trying to track down usable “mugshots” for more. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Happy Reds birthday, Barry Larkin!

Larkin

April 28, 1964

One would think that it would be difficult to find a shortstop to replace the fan favorite Dave Concepcion in Cincinnati in the late 1980s, but Barry Larkin confidently stepped into the hole left by #13 and quickly established himself as one of the premier offensive and defensive shortstops in the majors. Twelve All-Star games, nine Silver Sluggers, and three Gold Gloves—a number that likely would have been higher had his career not overlapped with Ozzie Smith’s. Larkin was the 1995 NL MVP and waltzed into the Hall of Fame on his third ballot in 2012.

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