Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pack Seven

Pack 7 +12
293 Vance Law
42 Mike Witt
385 Keith Hernandez
454 Sandy Alomar, Jr.
198 Carney Lansford
304 Danny Jackson
121 George Brett
73 Charles Nagy
456 Jack Clark
346 Eddie Murray
222 Bobby Witt
82 Bud Black

I've got a lot to talk about today with this pack.

First we're going to look at the sweepstake card. It amazes me beyond belief that people are selling these things on ebay. Fortunately I haven't seen any auctions claiming that it's a real card. I can almost see selling the Tiffany version, but not really. Have a look.

Even though they have a nice picture on the front, they're not much more than the Spring Training cards inserted into base Topps. I've got a stack of those from 1987, maybe I should sell some of them.

That said, I do like them, but I'n not going to claim they're worth anything at all, and the sweepstakes replica card in today's pack is particularly nice.

This is a very nice looking reprint of a 1950 Bowman Jackie Robinson card. The card features a color painting of an actual photograph and it looks great. 1950 Bowman was a small set at only 252 and it was the only nationally available set produced that year.

After some rooting around on ebay, I found this. Sad.

Ok, now let's leap foward in time to 1989 and talk about what we're all here for.

In this day and age of hits and misses, an old wax pack is deemed a success in my eyes if it contains a Hall of Famer. This one (not counting the Robinson reprint) contains two.

The first Hall of Famer in this pack is one of the greatest third baseman to ever grace the field. If it weren't for Michael Jack Schmidt, Brett would be the best, period. .305 lifetime average, 3154 hits, 317 home runs, 13 All Star Selections and a fielding percentage sitting right at league average. A pretty complete package.

I'm curious about that dot on the brim of his helmet. It looks a bit like a penny, but I think it's too red for that. Maybe a manufacturer's sticker on a new helmet that he forgot to take off? Who knows.

Our second Hall of Famer is one of the greatest switch hitters the game has ever seen. Second only to Mickey Mantle.

That's right. I'm talking about Steady Eddie Murray, pictured here in his first year in a Dodger uniform.

In 1989, Eddie batted only .247/20/88 in 160 games. But by 1990 he'd figured out National League pitching and led the majors with a .330 batting average (though he didn't win the NL batting title because Willie McGee hit .335 with St. Louis before being traded to Oakland where his season average dipped to .324).

Eddie's number 33 has been retired by the Orioles and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Lately I've been posting some cards to show the interesting placement of signatures. But here are two where Topps failed miserably at making the signature readable.

They're there. And at least Jack Clark's is readable (barely), but Alomar's is actually much easier to see on the scan. On the card it almost disappears. I will concede that in the case of the Alomar card, there really isn't a better place to put it, but they could have used a different picture where he wasn't wearing the dark brown jersey.

But Topps and the occasional photographic blunder go hand in hand.