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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.



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



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…







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…


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


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!

Blog Bat Around: My Card Collecting Projects

Blog Bat Around

I’m not sure if I have ever participated in a Blog Bat Around before, but this one might help me organize my thoughts on collecting. Thanks to Night Owl Cards for starting the topic. Here goes…


Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: I know I will never own every Cincinnati Reds baseball card, but that doesn’t stop me from attempting to create a master checklist. It’s an ongoing project, as new sets are released every year and I discover older sets I never knew existed until some kind soul sends me a card from the set. I’m still working on crossing out my recent acquisitions, and I found a shoebox that had several other needs that have not been inventoried yet.


Kurt Stillwell: The former second-overall draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds has right around 100 cards. At one time, I had a good checklist and kept up with the collection. I was close to completion, and something went off the rails. I have several empty slots in the binder, and the checklist has disappeared, and I really have no idea which cards I still need. It’s not a huge project, and so close to finished, I really need to figure out where I’m at with it.

Shawon Dunston and Doug Dascenzo: As a baseball fan in the mid- to late-’80s and early ’90s, I saw a lot of Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN. I loved watching Dunston fire the ball to first base, nearly breaking Mark Grace‘s hand. I loved seeing Dascenzo hustle around the bases and take the mound on occasion. Both were fantastic “through the mail” signers to boot, so I have quite a few autographs of each. I would like to eventually acquire, at a minimum, all their Cubs cards from their playing days. Both moved on to other teams, and I do have some cards from those later years, but I remember them best as Cubs.

The Jacksons

Reggie and Bo Jackson: I think Reggie was my first favorite player. Or at least my first favorite non-Reds player. I don’t have a huge number of his cards, but one of my prized possessions since middle school has been his 1973 Topps card. I recently came into possession of his rookie card, which is now the pièce de résistance of my small Reggie collection. These are not organized at all, and I have no idea what I might be missing. Bo was an amazing athlete. For those who never saw him perform live—even if only on television—you truly missed out. Acquiring his cards from his playing days, even if including the football issues, seems a little more doable than Reggie.

Non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Buddy Bell, and Dave Parker: Davis and Sabo had their best years in Reds uniforms, while Bell and Parker were better known for their time with other teams. I don’t have checklists available for these collecting goals yet, but I like to pick up cards I don’t think I already have occasionally.

Stars and Famers

Stars and Famers: I used to hoard cards of Hall of Famers. I didn’t care how many 1986 Topps Ozzie Smith cards I had, they were never available for trade. Until recently. The cards were just taking up so much space, and I didn’t ever look at them. A much more manageable project is to keep one or two favorite cards of these guys. The rest have been shipped off to team collectors. Likewise with the likes of Don Mattingly, Ken Boyer, Dale Murphy, and a few guys that aren’t really should-be Hall of Famers, but once seemed to be on the right track, like Darryl Strawberry and Will Clark. Same rule as HoFers: one or two favorite cards of each is enough for me.


Horror-related cards: “Cereal Killers” is one of my favorite horror sets of all-time. I only have a handful of other horror-related cards, such as Eddie Munster and Freddy Krueger.


Music Cards: Pro Set Musicards, Yo! MTV Raps, Donruss KISS cards, and a very small selection of other brands. I have nearly the complete set of Musicards (missing only a handful of cards). Two of my favorite music cards came from Steve over a year ago, when he had Topps make custom cards of Vivian Campbell and John Sykes for me.

Miscellaneous: Here is the catch-all. If it’s something I like, I’ll collect it. Be it He-Man cards, Dukes of Hazzard cards, Star Wars cards, Superman cards, you name it. I may never chase the entire set, but I like to have a few cards of pop culture awesomeness in my possession. Come to think of it, I might be close on that He-Man set. No closer than I was 15 years ago when I first bought that wax box, mind you, but close still.

I look forward to reading all the other bloggers’ various card collecting projects.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps All-Star Shawon Dunston

What if Topps had made All-Star cards for every player on the All-Star roster in 1988? Then we would have had cards like this…


Instead, from 1984-1990, Ozzie Smith ruled the shortstop position for Topps. And for good reason…he is, after all, the Wizard. Another Hall of Famer, Barry Larkin, took over in 1991. But Shawon Dunston, who made the team in 1988 and 1990, was shut out.


Dunston didn’t play in the 1988 Midsummer Classic, but did get two plate appearances in 1990 against Bret Saberhagen and Chuck Finley.

Blind trades are often the best trades

I received an e-mail from Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life a couple of months ago proposing a trade. He had a stack of Reds cards that he didn’t need anymore, and he wanted oddballs in return. I was happy to oblige and purge a good number of 1988 Donruss Baseball’s Best, minor league cards, and department store issues from my collection. I also sent along some duplicate stadium giveaways Reds sets that I had, and we exchanged 300ish cards with each other. Below is some of the loot I received…


Bo hit several needs, filling in a bunch of 1990s cards that I had never seen before. I haven’t had time to update the want lists yet, but I know I’ll be crossing off several entries thanks to this blind trade.

You’ll notice at the bottom a few non-Reds. In addition to my hometown Cincinnatians, I also collect cards of Doug Dascenzo and Shawon Dunston, as well as non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Buddy Bell, Chris Sabo, Dave Parker and Kurt Stillwell. And if I ever get organized (ha!), I’ll probably add more names to that list. But Bo was kind enough to throw in some cards of these players that I had not yet obtained.

I love doing blind trades, though I don’t do it as often as I used to. It wasn’t very long ago that I gifted thousands of cards to a friend in the area, so I don’t have much in the way of non-Reds cards to trade anymore. Luckily, Bo was looking for some items that I just happened to still have and was more than happy to send away.

Thanks for the trade Bo!

Christmas cards

A few days ago, I posted a picture of one of my most prized baseball cards, the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey rookie card. But that’s not the only thing I purchased with my Christmas money…

Christmas cards

In those stacks, I have:

The Sabo, Dunston, Dascenzo, and Stillwell cards will all be displayed at some point on All-American Baseball Cards, which has not been updated since June (but that will change!). The Reds cards will be tucked away in my binders.

My Reds wantlists have been updated; my All-American wantlists should be updated shortly. I have a Diamond King wantlist as well, but I need to do some editing to make it prettier before I post it.

Happy birthday Shawon Dunston!

This won’t be a daily feature (or should it be?), but I can’t let Shawon Dunston‘s birthday go by unnoticed. One of my favorite players from my youth is 49 years old today. He was a great TTM signer during his tenure with the Cubs. Dunston was the first pick overall in the 1982 draft, ahead of notable players Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen, Jimmy Key, and Cecil Fielder. And Sam Horn.

Plus, who could forget the Shawon-O-Meter?

TTM Success…from 20-some odd years ago: Shawon Dunston

I was a bit of a Cubs fan back in the day, and Shawon Dunston was my favorite Cubbie. Between WGN games and visiting Wrigley (sitting in the bleachers!) in 1989, there was no hope for me.

Like Maddux, Dunston was evidently a fairly quick signer, making him a frequent target of my requests in the late 80s/early 90s. Here are ten signed Dunstons that I found a few nights ago while sorting through some cards. I’m pretty sure I have more…specifically the 1988 Topps team leaders card…but it wasn’t in the stacks on my table the other night.

The 1985 Topps is my favorite of these cards, with the 1988 Donruss coming in a distant second.

Gypsy Queen – Shawon Dunston

Growing up I watched a ton of Cubs baseball on TV. Twice I got to go to Wrigley with my dad, and one other time after I entered “adulthood” (that is, if I have even reached that stage now). One of my favorite players was Shawon Dunston, the rocket-armed shortstop for the Cubbies. He was a great TTM signer, and was always exciting to watch when the ball came his way on defense.

Re-evaluating my player collections

When I started collecting baseball cards again a few years ago, I was very unfocused. I bought a little of this, a little of that.

Over the past couple of years, I started refining my habits. I wanted Reds cards in general, and a few players in particular: Mario Soto, Kurt Stillwell, Chris Sabo, Shawon Dunston, Rob Dibble, Ken Griffey (both Sr. & Jr.), Pete Rose, and Eric Davis.

I got to thinking yesterday…why in the world do I need two of every Mario Soto card, except 1989 Score? Why do I need doubles of every Eric Davis Cincinnati card?

I think I’m going to discontinue my player collections of players who spent a majority of their careers with the Reds. I will still gladly accept Sabo Orioles cards, Dibble Brewers cards (of which I have none), Griffey Mariners cards, and Rose Phillies cards. Add to that Geronimo Royals, Foster Mets, Morgan Astros, Rijo A’s, Esasky Red Sox, Kluszewski White Sox, Parker Pirates…you get the point. I won’t turn them away.

I am going to continue (and maybe put a little more effort into) my pages for Stillwell, since he left the Reds early in his career, and Dunston, who never played for my hometown team.

If you are interested in the checklists that I have posted for Davis, Soto, Sabo, Senior Griffey, or Dibble, copy and paste them into your own text document now as they will be deleted in the coming days. I am going to absorb to Reds cards into my Reds collection and start a new binder of Reds wearing other teams’ uniforms.

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