Friday, December 17, 2010

Guinea pig post

I was up early this morning to do a little Christmas shopping. I like to get out there before regular, everyday people start doing insane things that make me never want to interact with humanity again.

It worked very well. I only got into two AAAs (almost auto accidents), both totally related to the stupidity of the other party. And there was only one person-leaning-on-their-cart-and-steering-while-totally-oblivious-to-anyone-else that I wanted to tip over.

But while in Target (yes, I am high-class when it comes to gift-giving) I felt the need for a little "me time," and I stopped by the card section. It's quite the disaster these days, eh? First, there's way too much non-baseball. Stop it. Secondly, you can't get me to buy yet another Bowman product. We all know they're practically the same cards that were in Bowman in June. Thirdly, unless I want to engage my inner shiny, everything else is dull, dull, dull.

That is when I looked to the anonymous baseball player on the rack pack advertising "Jumbo Pack! 100 Baseball Cards." You know the pack. Your mother told you to stay away from those packs.

I'm a semi-smart consumer. I ignore time-share offers. I tune out mattress commercials. I refuse to buy clothes for my dog. A pack of cards in a wrapper that screams "10 Hall of Famer Cards Inside!" seems like something I should report to the Better Business Bureau.

But instead of calling a consumer watch dog, I said, "what the hell, it's 5 bucks" and bought it. Why not? I can't be the watch dog all the time. It's time to be the guinea pig.

What I received was what I expected. Lots of junk wax. Lost of '80s stuff. But I have to admit, that for 5 dollars, it sure is a lot more interesting than anything made in 2010 that's out now.

At the end of this post, I will document everything I got in the pack, so you can decide if you want to try it yourself. But here are what I consider the highlights:

1984 Topps Mike Schmidt: Come on! It's a 1984 card of Michael Jack! It was just hanging out in a pack in Target! That's awesome.

1990 Post Mike Scott: Getting 20-year-old unlicensed cards in any form is well worth the purchasing effort.

1999 Pacific Prism Ben Grieve: This would have attracted a mob of screaming girls back in the day. Well, a mob of sniffling nerdy collectors, anyway.

1989 Topps Rookies set: Another card worth having 20 years ago.

1985 Fleer Art Howe: If these packs were filled with '85 Fleer, I would buy them all day.

1991 Bowman Colin Powell: I had no idea Colin Powell had a baseball card. Or his Secret Service agent.

1992 Pinnacle Team 2000 Gregg Olson: Team 2000! I don't think I saw a single one of these when I was collecting Pinnacle in '92. They were sweet.

1991 Score No-Hit Club subset Langston/Witt: The no-hit subset from '91 Score is one of my favorite subsets of the early '90s, and I did not have this one yet.

1995 Megacards Babe Ruth: I know less about this card than anything else in the pack. It's not a bad-looking card.

1991 Bowman Jimmie Reese: From Ruth to the last living teammate of Ruth. This is my first Jimmie Reese card, which is also fantastic.

1989 Bazooka Rickey Henderson: There were five different Rickeys in the pack.

1993 Score Select Dean Palmer: I'd buy packs filled with '93 Select all day, too.

OK, here's the rundown of the 100 cards in the pack:

12 - 1987 Topps (Bass, Boddicker, Brantley, Espino, S. Fernandez, R. Henderson-TBTC, B. Jones, Lopes-RB, Ryan, C. Walker, R. Williams, Wynegar)
11 - 1989 Topps (Bene, B. Larkin, Lombardozzi, Kittle, Melvin, J. Reed, Ruffin, Santiago, Stubbs, Witt, Worthington)
8 - 1989 Donruss (Bankhead, G. Larkin, Murray, Morris, Nezelek, Shelby, Sellers, Welch)
8 - 1988 Topps (Bosley, Blomberg-TBTC, M. Hall, D. Henry, D. Ramos, Trout, Whitson, Orioles Leaders)
4 - 1984 Topps (Francona, Gullickson, Renko, Schmidt)
4 - 1989 Score (M. Davis, Eckersley, D. Jackson, Lyons)
4 - 1991 Bowman (Mieske, D. Parker, Colin Powell, J. Reese)
4 - 1991 Score (McKnight, Moore, Stillwell, No-Hit Club - Langston/Witt)
4 - 1992 Pinnacle (Minutelli, G. Olson-Braves, Offerman, Team 2000-G. Olson-Orioles)
4 - 1993 Donruss (Fariss, C. Hernandez, Jacoby, Maurer)
3 - 1989 Fleer (Righetti, R. Santana, Sierra)
3 - 1991 Donruss (Alou, L. Gonzalez, M. Morgan)
2 - 1985 Fleer (Barfield, Howe)
2 - 1989 Bazooka (Grace, R. Henderson)
2 - 1990 Topps (Cox, Torborg)
2 - 1991 Topps (Montgomery, Sandberg-AS)
2 - 1992 Upper Deck (J. Guzman, Zosky)
1 - 1985 Topps (Whitt)
1 - 1987 Donruss (Clear)
1 - 1987 Fleer (Boone)
1 - 1987 Hygrade (D. Snider)
1 - 1987 Topps All-Star Set (Boggs)
1 - 1988 American Baseball (R. Henderson)
1 - 1989 Topps Rookies (Sheffield)
1- 1989 Topps All-Stars (Ripken)
1 - 1990 Classic (J. Gonzalez)
1 - 1990 Donruss (B. Anderson)
1 - 1990 Fleer (Sax)
1 - 1990 Kmart (R. Henderson)
1 - 1990 Post (M. Scott)
1 - 1991 Upper Deck (Royals sticker)
1 - 1992 Leaf (M. Leiter)
1 - 1992 MegaCards Ruth (Sultan of Swat)
1 - 1993 Score Select (D. Palmer)
1 - 1995 MegaCards Babe Ruth
1 - 1996 Stadium Club (Hammond)
1 - 1999 Pacific Prism (Grieve)
1 - 2004 Upper Deck (J. Wilson)
1 - 2005 Fleer (Clayton)

That's 100 cards and one sticker.

So, do I recommend buying a pack of these? Well, it depends on your tolerance for the most notorious junk wax sets of all-time. If you don't mind taking on 30-40 cards you never want to see again for 10-15 gems, then go for it.

I know this -- the next time I'm in the card section and tempted to buy a 2010 pack in which I get 3 cards for 4 bucks, I will look for the anonymous ballplayer selling 100 baseball cards for 5 bucks. That's my kind of deal, even amid the junk wax.


  1. The Powell card alone makes the pack worth $5.

  2. It's sad, but I think the re-packs are a better value too. (and I never want to see another card from some of those late 80s/early 90s sets)

  3. For a long time, I've assumed that 1989 Topps was the most overproduced set in history. The MCG and this post have me thinking that 1987 may take the taco... -Andy

  4. I've picked up two of these so far. They are a whole lot of fun to open up because its the thrill of getting the most random cards ever. I even ended up with a Bowman David Justice jersey card, which I think it says on the package that 'relics' fall 1 per every couple packs (I forget the exact number). Fun times!

  5. I love those $5 packs of mostly junk wax. When I'm on business out of town I like getting one of those to sift through while I'm in my hotel room watching cable TV (which is a treat in itself since I don't have cable at home.)

    Okay, maybe I'm a loser on so many levels ...