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Junk wax-opening newbie

I've opened a lot of baseball card packs in my life. But I am well aware that I haven't opened as many as some people.

That's because for a good portion of the junk wax era, which is around 1987-93, I wasn't opening a lot of packs. Well, let me qualify that. Between 1987-90, I wasn't opening a lot of packs. In 1991 and 1992 I was opening anything that came in size 2 1/2-by-3 1/2.

So, for example, I have never opened a pack of 1987 Donruss. Can't even say I ever saw it on a shelf. The same for 1989 Upper Deck. Or 1990 Upper Deck.

Even years later, when some of those packs continued to reproduce, I never bothered with them. Why, on earth, for instance, would I want to open 1991 Donruss? (I actually did open a pack for this blog, though. For the greater good, of course).

So, when my wife stumbled across some 3-for-$1.00 junk wax packs at the dollar store the other day and brought them home for me, I was elated. "Finally," I thought, "a chance to open 1988 Score."

I never opened '88 Score in 1988. I wasn't even aware Score existed until 1989. As for the other two packs up there, it's possible I opened a pack of '89 Donruss and '90 Donruss at some point long ago. But if I did, it was just one pack. And I was not impressed enough to retain the memory.

So, let's document this for posterity: My first official openings of 1988 Score, 1989 Donruss and 1990 Donruss.

You've seen all these cards before, so I'll make this as quick and painless as possible.

1988 Score

#64 - Luis Polonia, A's
#76 - Dave Stieb, Blue Jays
#84 - Tom Herr, Cardinals
#215 - Oddibe McDowell, Rangers
#120 - Dale Sveum, Brewers
#125 - Curt Young, A's
#36 - Magic Motion Great Moments in Baseball
#259 - Ed Romero, Red Sox
#261 - Tom Niedenfuer, Orioles
#279 - Willie Upshaw, Blue Jays
#369 - Mike Birkbeck, Brewers
#371 - Dave Collins, Reds
#389 - Pat Clements, Yankees
#464 - Mike Moore, Mariners
#476 - Ron Robinson, Reds
#484 - Rich Yett, Indians
#568 - Eric Nolte, Padres
#572 - Donnie Hill, White Sox

Stuff to note

First, I have this entire set already (I think the fact that I collected the full set without opening a pack speaks for itself).

Secondly, I wasn't aware that the cards were sorted in packs by the various colors. In this pack, it was three purple, followed by three blue, three red, etc., until there were two yellow at the end. By the way, it's always annoyed me how '88 Score is front-loaded with stars.

Biggest deal in the pack: Not too much excitement, but I'll go with Dave Stieb.

Best-looking card in the pack: I'm a sucker for the red borders in this set. And I'm a sucker for mid-swing bat shots.

Favorite card in the pack: Anytime there is a Giant being retired on a card, I hold a little party. There is cake and balloons and everything. Maybe if you stop being a Giants fan, I'll invite you. Also, if that Giant happens to be Will Clark, this is now my favorite card of the entire '88 Score set.

Special added value: In '88 Score it was these "magic motion" things, which were basically boring history lesson versions of Sportflics. At least this one recalls Sandy Amoros' catch.

1989 Donruss

#215 - Dave Schmidt, Orioles
#567 - Willie Fraser, Angels
#211 - Doug Drabek, Pirates
#657 - Jerry Reed, Mariners
#266 - Bobby Thigpen, White Sox
#264 - Jim Gantner, Brewers
#444 - Jerry Don Gleaton, Royals
#560 - Pat Borders, Blue Jays
#440 - Jeff Montgomery, Royals
#598 - Hipolito Pena, Yankees
#596 - Steve Ontiveros, A's
#BC-24 - Gerald Perry, Braves, MVP
#539 - Tom Bolton, Red Sox
#537 - Randy Bush, Twins
#535 - Eric King, Tigers
Warren Spahn puzzle piece

Stuff to note

This set has a bit of a hold on me, but after opening this pack, I don't know if it does anymore. The usual dark photos that plague '89 Donruss seemed to overwhelm this pack. Also, the green-yellow borders, which I don't enjoy, dominated this pack.

Biggest deal in the pack: I'll be blunt: this pack blew. I'm going with one of the MVP insert cards. And it's a really boring one.

Best-looking card in the pack: One of only three non-shadowed cards in the pack. Why else would I select Jerry Don Gleaton?

Favorite card in the pack: Have to go with some large '80s glasses.

Special added value: Warren Spahn puzzle piece. There is a landfill somewhere that includes only Warren Spahn puzzle pieces.

1990 Donruss

#564 - Felix Jose, A's
#558 - Jim Acker, Blue Jays
#552 - Mike Davis, Dodgers
#547 - Luis Polonia, Yankees
#541 - Wes Gardner, Red Sox
#535 - Doug Strange, Tigers
#530 - Jeff Peterek, Brewers
#524 - Dave Schmidt, Orioles
#8 - John Smoltz, Braves, Diamond King
#200 - Checklist
#279 - Vince Coleman, Cardinals
#275 - Mitch Williams, Cubs
#269 - Kirby Puckett, Twins
#263 - Andres Thomas, Braves
#257 - Todd Benzinger, Reds
#251 - Roger McDowell, Phillies
Carl Yastrzemski puzzle piece

Stuff to note

Both Dave Schmidt and Luis Polonia appeared in two out of the three packs I opened. I know that's not exciting. We're talking junk wax here.

Biggest deal in the pack: Always nice to pull a Kirby Puckett card. Even all these years later. Even from 1990 Donruss.

Best-looking card in the pack: The only players that look good in '90 Donruss are teams that wear red.

Favorite card in the pack: I actually pulled this card of Mike Davis on his birthday.

Special added value: Carl Yastrzemski puzzle piece. At least I have fewer of these.

So, now I can say it. I have opened 1988 Score, 1989 Donruss and 1990 Donruss, although I'm pretty sure I like all three sets less now than I did before I opened them.

I will store away the wrappers just so I can be reminded and not be tempted to return to that dollar store and open any others.


Tony L. said…
You gotta love the Jim Gantner auto-tint glasses. Truly 1980s. I cringe when I see him in those glasses -- he looks about 50 there already. And, he was only in his mid-30s.
hiflew said…
I have opened literally hundreds of 1988 Score and every single pack had 3 of 5 colors and 2 of the 6th color although the color with two was random. I always felt like green was the short stack more than any other color. I don't have any solid data to back that up, but it's how I remember it.
BobWalkthePlank said…
Jim Gantner looks like my high school history teacher.
JediJeff said…
Must. Have. Hurr. For. DP. Binder.
Stealing Home said…
The wrappers were the real prize, N.O.
88 Score gives you the disco-neon font. And the "cartoon" - i can't in all seriousness refer to it as an illustration,now, can I? - is priceless. Not only is it the strangest PATP ever, but it seems each participant was lifted from a completely unrelated play and shoved into the mash-up.

90 Donruss at least gives us a legitimate illustration, but who is that pitching, and what about that "L" logo on his cap? Does it stand for the Losers? Maybe the Lefties? And where did those million prizes end up? I've been blogging a while now and haven't heard about one person who took home one of those million.

89 Donruss - well, it was junk wax.
Commishbob said…
Happy Fathers Day.

I think all three of those '90 Donruss cards are pretty sharp. The Puckett photo is great despite the fact that the lighting it looks like it was shot at about 6:15 in the morning.
Matt Runyon said…
Hopefully Clark's takeout slide prevented a double play and allowed a run to score. :)
Rob said…
Wow - you took me back 26 years with those Score wrappers - forgot all about how different they were...

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