(Hello on "Water a Flower Day," subtitled, "Things I Would Do If I Didn't Blog About Baseball Cards". It's time for Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 270th in a series):
The other day I came across a couple of Dodgers cards from 1988 that I didn't have or even knew existed.
I am always amazed when I find cards from the '80s that are brand new to me. The cards from that decade are so plentiful, so present, even to this day, that it seems I would have each set and card documented and numbered in my brain.
But, no, many years into this, I keep turning up stuff.
Like the P.R.E. Pete Rose set from 1985.
This was a set that the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards guesses was produced by something called Pete Rose Enterprises (the volume puts a question mark after "Enterprises"). It was distributed by the famed NYC dealer Renata Galasso, which is why it's referred to by her name in online listings. Those listings also mention Topps as a manufacturer of the set, possibly because several of the cards in the 120-card set feature puzzle pieces that display Topps Rose cards of the past.
The various Rose images in the set remind me of that all-black-and-white Pete Rose set produced by Leaf a few years ago. After seeing the P.R.E. cards, I'm even less interested in the Leaf cards. The P.R.E. set features many color photos (as well as black and white) and lots of famous moments from his career as well as old home photos. It looks a heck of a lot better than the Leaf set. If I was a Reds fan, I'd track down this one in a heartbeat.
But I stumbled across the cards for the very first time while hunting for items during COMC's spring cleaning sale. Card #102 popped up first and I was charmed instantly.
In this card, Rose has clearly delivered an opposite-field hit before a rapt Wrigley Field crowd that includes famed Cubs ballgirl Marla Collins (MLB's first ballgirl and the one who was fired by the team for posing nude in Playboy). It is a pure mid-1980s card. It practically leapt into my cart.
I don't know a lot of large sets devoted to a single player. I can think of Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Nolan Ryan off the top of my head and when you throw in all those Star sets from the late '80s there are probably a bunch more (in 1985 Renata Galasso also put out a set dedicated to Dwight Gooden).
I'm not a Rose fan at all, but given when I grew up with the game, if I had a little less self-control, I'd probably buy many more of these cards and maybe even the whole set. Like many 1980s oddballs, they're very affordable.
I have a feeling I will keep turning up 1980s cards that I didn't know existed for as long as I'm collecting.
That's actually a good thing. Because when it comes to the '70s and '80s, I never want those days to end.
(P.S.: The Greatest 100 Cards of the 1980s countdown will make its debut in August).