Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cardboard appreciation: 1993 Topps Stadium Club David Nied insert

(On my last post, I sang the praises of the want list. I would be remiss if I didn't include a link to a website devoted entirely to the want list. Got It. Got It. Need It. is a storing house for bloggers' want lists. All you need to do is leave a comment about your wants and they will be listed on the site! It's also a great place to go if you want to get that hard-to-buy for collector something special. So here's to appreciating Got It. Got It. Need It. Got it? This is Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 116th in a series):

When it comes to the junk wax era, I'm not one to wax poetic. I know a lot of people spent their formative years collecting cards during the era of overproduction. I did not. By the time the 90s hit, I was a grown adult, trying to find my way in a confusing adult world.

I did purchase a lot of cards during this time, but it was very sporadic. I bought almost none in '90, a lot in '91, a ton in '92, a moderate amount in '93. The cards came in such a disorderly, frenzied state that they seemed connected to something ... moods or logarithms or the cycles of the moon. The thing is I can link almost all of my card collecting during this time to one thing:


I didn't like my life then. My job, my place of residence, the general uncertainty of almost every single thing in my life, from my closest relationships to the stranger on the street, made me look for a release. And that release came in the form of cards that everyone said were going to make us rich. Or at least "comfortable."

I needed comfortable.

It's a pretty common phenomenon. Shopoholics are everywhere. Fortunately, I can confine my experience as a shopoholic to a specific moment in time that is becoming a long time ago. And I enjoy the hobby again because I learned how to handle stress differently (although it remains an issue to this day).

But because of that brief period, I don't like the cards that came out during that time very much. Some, for reasons that only a few sessions with a professional would uncover, I downright despise. The overwhelming negative feelings for that era and those cards often blanket everything. And I overlook the good in cards during this period.

Younger bloggers have helped me appreciate some cards from this time period. I have come to consider sets like 1993 Upper Deck and 1991 Topps as classics. I have grudging respect for a few others.

Every once in awhile, I'll remember some cool event that happened between 1990-93 that had to do with cards.

For example, do you remember the 1992 expansion draft for the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies?

It was an exciting, interesting time for a baseball fan. I was too young to pay attention to who the Blue Jays and Mariners selected in their drafts, and I'm sure their picks weren't televised. But the '92 draft was. I don't remember what station covered the draft -- I'm assuming ESPN -- but I remember sitting down in front of my television in our tiny apartment ready to take it all in.

The only thought I remember from the draft is hoping that the Dodgers didn't give up anyone good. I didn't have much of a handle on prospects then, but I do remember that when the Marlins selected pitcher Jamie McAndrew, I wasn't pleased because I had pulled his Line Drive card the year before and thought he'd be something special.

The Rockies would draft Eric Young and Roberto Mejia from the Dodgers. No great loss.

Perhaps the best part of the draft were the great cards that came out of it.

The David Nied card was part of what I think was a four-card insert set in Stadium Club in '93. One of the other cards was the Marlins' first pick, Nigel Wilson. The other two cards were Robin Yount and George Brett cards recognizing their entrance into the 3,000-hit club. What 3,000-hit veterans have to do with No. 1 draft picks, I'll never know.

I don't have the Wilson card, but I'm sure it's similar to the Nied card. I think the backs of these cards are very cool to this day:

This one gives a rundown of everyone drafted by the Rockies on that day. It's fun to see players like Joe Girardi, Vinny Castilla and Jody Reed (traded later to the Dodgers for Rudy Seanez). I'm pretty certain that I knew very few of the players picked in the draft (embarrassingly, Kevin Ritz was later a member of my fantasy league team).

Another interesting element of that time period were the number of cards that featured players with one team and listed with another. It was like the '60s all over again, except without the airbrushing! It can be a little frustrating now, especially for a set-collector. There are cards out there not listed as Dodgers, but you can bet they're wearing Dodger gear, because of all the transacting that was going on in 1992-93.

As an example, there is this card:

It's a card of pitcher Tom Edens. He's shown pitching for the Twins, which makes sense because he pitched for the Twins in '92. He's listed as being with the Astros because, OK, he pitched for the Astros in 1993.

But, wha? Down there in the corner? He was traded from the Marlins? How can he be traded from the Marlins when he was with the Twins?

Answer me that '92 expansion draft!

Well, expansion draft (through baseball-reference) says that Edens was selected as the 43rd pick by the Marlins in the '92 expansion draft. On that same day, he was traded to the Astros for two players.

And that's how you get references to THREE teams on the front a single card.

The cards from 1990-93 really do have some fun moments. Because of my experiences then, those moments might be difficult for me to find, and I'm sure David Nied doesn't care to look back on them all that much (or maybe he does, I don't know), but they're there.

You just got to lose all that baggage. All those expectations and all that stress.

They're just cards. Enjoy them.

Except that infernal '91 Donruss. I'm using that as stuffing in my punching bag.


  1. Man, I love Expansion drafts. To date one of my all time favorite video games is Madden 2002 for the Gamecube, only because you can do the expansion draft for the Texans. It plays out just as any expansion draft does, and the result is lots of terrible players on your team. But it's so cool to me to think of a team made up of other teams, at least at its inception.

  2. I went all out for the Rockies and Marlins expansion draft. I have a giant binder full of every card released from that year (that I could get my hands on). One of these days, I'll have to post what I need on my blog and see if someone can help me out with what I still need. There's some pretty cool stuff in there.