Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The decline of baseball cards in a single pack
Don't you love my overly dramatic post titles?
I'm afraid you'll be disappointed if you're expecting some great truth to be revealed here. I'm just cleaning stuff off my desk this week that's been sitting there too long. This is a pack that was sent to me by Shane at Shoebox Legends.
But the pack got me thinking. I have the entire 1991 Topps Traded set already. But I couldn't tell you how I got it. I probably bought the whole thing for 14 cents somewhere. And those three previous sentences, my friends, is a commentary on how far baseball cards have fallen in the eyes of its collectors.
The 1991 Topps Traded set was issued 23 years ago. And it's treated with a dismissive shrug by many collectors. I let this pack sit unopened for weeks.
But if you were to hand me cards from 23 years ago when I was, say, in high school, I would flip out. Cards from 1959? Are you kidding me? These are the most precious items in the world!
That, to me, sums up how far baseball cards have fallen off their pedestal. Sure, there are still precious cards being made and coveted cards being made, but I don't know if a mere 23 years distance is enough for anyone to care anymore.
So, after throwing cold water all over everything, let's open this pack of cards!!!!
I'll try to say something happy over the next seven cards.
#101T - Ivan Rodriguez, Rangers, rookie card
Well, well. I think this is one of the PROMISING ROOKIES that the pack wrapper advertised so enthusiastically.
Outside of the Jason Giambi USA card, Rodriguez is the most valued card in the set, and I pulled it right out of the gate. 1991 Traded's trying to show me what it's got after all that bad-mouthing up top.
#60T - Reggie Jefferson, Indians
This card always bugged me because you can't see his face. It's much worse in person.
#67T - Pat Kelly, Yankees
One of three Pat Kellys to play in the majors.
This will always be Pat Kelly to me.
#83T - Phil Nevin, Team USA
These USA cards bored me back in the day, and I haven't progressed very much because they still bore me.
But mostly what I notice is how skinny Nevin is.
Here is Nevin in 2004:
And let's compare the vitals on the back:
I need to do a study on whether a 50-pound gain between college ball and mid-major league career is normal.
#18T - Tom Candiotti, Blue Jays
Candiotti is hiding it, but there's a knuckleball coming.
#12T - Mike Boddicker, Royals
I can't say I remember Boddicker as a Royal.
#115T - Franklin Stubbs, Brewers
Don't remember Stubbs as a Brewer either.
Well, that pack went south quickly.
I suppose the best thing I can say about 1991 Topps Traded is it might be the last set ever made on traditional gray cardboard (yes, that's a challenge -- knock yourself out).
I probably should respect it more just for that reason.
I'm sorry I said all those bad things about you '91 Traded.
(Anybody need these cards?)