Thursday, February 28, 2008

1980 Scottsdale Charros Spring Training Program

Today's post is going to feature my most interesting find from the San Francisco TriStar show last weekend. It's a 1980 Spring Training (Rickey's first with the A's) program produced by the Scottsdale Charros, welcoming the Oakland A's to town. The cover features a watercolor of a very "western" A's fan, who I think bears a slight resemblance to Tommy Lee Jones.

Some of you may be wondering, as I did, who the heck are the Scottsdale Charros? When I first saw the program, I figured that they were some minor league or independent league team that let the A's use their stadium for spring workouts. But, they're actually actually a group of local businessman from the Chamber of Commerce, who basically organize local events and activities.

Now that the most pressing question has been answered, we can get back to Rickey. Even though he did play for the A's at the end of the 1979 season, I guess he was still too much of a rookie to warrant a picture in this program. He does get a mention, however, right below Dave Heaverlo and his enormous wad of tobacco!

Most of the program contains advertisements for local businesses and restaurants, with bits and pieces of A's information spread throughout. There is a nice summary of the current A's, mentioning that "21-year old Rickey Henderson and young Dwayne Murphy [had] take[n] over regular outfield positions" the previous season.

Near the middle of the guide they provide a very "modern" looking spreadsheet of the A's winter roster as of 11-30-1979. It lists Rickey as the only switch-hitting A's outfielder, and also provides his 1979 stats from both the Ogden and Oakland A's.

In 1980 the Cactus League consisted of 8 teams, the Angels, Cubs, Indians, Brewers, A's, Padres, Giants, and Mariners. Of these teams, only the Indians no longer play in Arizona, who moved to Florida in the early 90's.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Few Rickey Oddball Cards

My initial plan for today's post was to show the rest of the items I got at the TriStar show this past weekend. But, a recent post on Wax Heaven showcasing the Top 5 Oddballs of All-Time has caused me to change course. Since I knew that Rickey was represented in a majority of these sets, I figured it was a perfect time to feature these cards.

5. Drake's Big Hitters

Rickey was in the 1986, 1987, and 1988 versions of the Drake's Big Hitters set. The first scan below includes the 1986 version of the card, which is number 5 of 37 in the set. Rickey is included on the uncut panel along with Pedro Guerrero of the Dodgers.

The next picture includes both the 1987 (#12 of 33) and 1988 cards (#7 of 33)

Along with the cut-out version of the 1988 card, I also have a complete box of Yankee Doodles (I wonder if all the Yankees were featured on Yankee Doodles, and if they did it on purpose?), with the Rickey and Guerrero cards on the back. The Big Hitters set was spread across the different brands of Drake's snack cakes, all with rather interesting names. For example, the Chocolate Donut Delites featured Cal Ripken and Will Clark cards, while the Sunny Doodles contained cards of Kirby Puckett and Eddie Murray.

4. 1982 Kmart Box Set

Because this was released rather early in his career, Rickey was not included in this 20th Anniversary Kmart set. But, he was included in the 25th Anniversary set (card #27) in 1987, which had a design that resembled the 1982 set, so I've used my artistic license, and included that instead.

3. 1988 Panini Stickers

Rickey makes up for his lack of inclusion in the #4 Kmart set, with 3 different stickers in the 1988 Panini set. The picture on the left is his "base" sticker (#158), followed by an action shot in the middle (#434) and finally a dual star sticker on the right (#231) which he shares with fellow Yankee Dave Winfield.

#1 1983 Donruss Action All-Stars

As you probably noticed, I skipped the #2 set (1988 Pacific Legends), since it featured "legends" of the game, of which Rickey was still making his mark at the time. I have to agree that Rickey's card in the All-Star set (#22) really is one of his best. Featuring two full color shots, one being an action shot in the A's classic early 80's jersey, you really can't complain.

Finally, I've included an unopened pack of 1983 Donruss All-Stars, with the Rickey card prominently featured on the back (Carlton Fisk is on the front). The unopened pack at the bottom of the scan shows you what the front of the packs looked like, with this one featuring White Sox DH Greg Luzinski in a classic Sox jersey (and a Nolan Ryan card on the back).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

San Francisco TriStar Collectibles Show

As I mentioned at the end of my last blog, I went to the annual TriStar Collectibles show held at the Cow Palace in San Francisco (well, it's actually in Daly City).

I hadn't been to a large card show in about 10 years, and I was actually quite disappointed. I'd been to quite a few TriStar shows during the 90's, and a remember them being a lot larger than the one this weekend, and it's not just because I was a lot smaller at the time.

I'd estimate that over half of the dealers specialized in pre-1950's cards, with another large percentage focused mainly on high dollar modern inserts and autographs. There was not one dealer that had any Rickey cards set aside. But, it wasn't just Rickey, but base cards in general, as it would have even been hard for A-Rod and Iricho fans to add to their collections (for under $50 a card at least). If I remember correctly, Beckett lists at least 2,500 (correction: it's actually 2,997) different Rickey cards produced from 2002 to the present. Since I've been out of the hobby for awhile, I only have about 50 of those, so I came to the show with high hopes of increasing my collection. Boy, was I wrong!

The card on the left is the ONLY non-autograph or game-used Rickey card that I was able to find at the show. There were a handful of pre-2002 cards that I already had (which I found by searching through a few stacks of "A's player" cards), but this 2005 Donruss Diamond Kings Legend card was all I could come up with. I did come across probably a dozen or so game-used cards, and decided to add these two relatively cheaper ones to my collection.

The middle card is a 2004 Donruss Timelines "Boys of Summer" #21, serial numbered 4 out of 100. The card on the right is a 2004 Donruss Diamond Kings "Flashback" #153, serial numbered 12 out of 30. These cards both featured dual game-used pieces, including a bat chip and swatch of gray jersey. I have a few game-used Rickey cards, some featuring bat pieces, and others jerseys, but none featuring both, which is why I decided to add these to my collection.

Although I struck out on the card front, I did manage to add a few nice oddball items to my collection.

I have about 10-15 postal cachet's featuring Rickey, but all have been postmarked and stamped from inside the United States. I therefore found this cachet from the 1991 All-Star game in Toronto, Canada rather intriguing. The cachet was stamped in Toronto on "9.VI.91," which I'm assuming is Canadian for July 9, 1991.

I also picked up a few 1980 Topps cards that I had been wanting, the backs of which I've shown here. On the left is the A's team card for the year, which I already have, but someone had already "checked off" the cards that they had. On the right is the Topps checklist for cards #364-484, which includes Rickey's rookie card, #482. I don't normally collect checklists featuring Rickey's name, but wanted to make an exception for his rookie card.

I also picked up two magazines that I'd never seen before, and am really excited to have, as well as a couple postcards, but I'll save those for my next post.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

TV Sports Mailbag 8X10 Photos

TV Sports Mailbag of Yorktown Heights, NY produced a serious of collectible photos in 1989 and 1990. These 8X10 photos are on cardboard-type stock with a glossy front.

The 1989 photo features Rickey in a Yankees jersey, and is number 83 in the set. He sure is sporting some trendy shades!

By 1990, Rickey had been traded back to the A's, and is shown in a more typical batting pose, on card number 90 in the set. For some reason, this picture seems like it could be from the late 1990's, while the first picture is definitely from the 80's!

On a more personal note, I'm really excited about this weekend, as I'm going to go to my first big card show in over 10 years! Tristar is having their annual show in San Francisco, and I hope to come back with a few good additions to my collection. If I do find anything good, it'll definitely make it's way on to the blog.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

1998 EnviroMint Bronze Coin

In 1998 EnviroMint (a producer of commemorative coins) released a collection of bronze medallions, featuring 82 of the days current baseball stars. The coins each came in a little black box, and were incased in a plastic coin holder.

The Rickey coin features a close-up of Rickey wearing an A's hat. The A's hat looks nice, but the picture doesn't look anything like Rickey. Under the picture is the limited edition stamp, with my coin being number 65 out of 1,998.

The back of the coin is pretty basic, and I'm assuming it was the same for all coins in the set. It says "Major League Baseball 1998 Season" around the rim, and includes both the American League and National League logos. At the bottom, it states that it is "one of 1,998," and also claims that it is "fine bronze," whatever that may be.

Included in the box was a Certificate of Authenticity, that contained a checklist of the entire set. There are some pretty big names included (Ripken, Gwynn, Boggs) but also some less than Hall of Famer worthy "stars," such as John Jaha, Pat Hentgen, and Henry Rodriguez (who?).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

1986 Beckett Price Guide

Like all kids starting out collecting baseball cards, I always wanted to know how much my current cards were worth, and how much it would cost for me to buy more. So, in order to do that, my parents bought me the 1986 Sport Americana Baseball Card Price Guide, Number 8, by Dr. James Beckett. Surprisingly, I still have that price guide today, and Rickey is very well represented inside.

This price guide was 502 pages of collecting enjoyment! I remember flipping through the pages, wishing I could buy some of the more "expensive" cards. If only I had, as they are almost all a fair bit pricier today.

Rickey (via his 1983 Topps card) is first represented in the "Determining Value" section of the guide, which is basically a tutorial of how to collect baseball cards.

Rickey's cards are used to promote both the 1981 and 1982 A's Granny Goose sets, the earlier of which I don't actually have (but wouldn't mind obtaining). His card is also used as an example of the 1981 Kellogg's set, which were actually fairly interesting cards for their day.

Not surprisingly, the front and back of Rickey's rookie card is used to showcase the 1980 Topps set. At a mint price of $12.00, I really should have picked up a few of them at the time (which of course I didn't).

Speaking of things I should have done at the time, I wish I would have taken "The Tenth Inning" up on their offer for a few 1979 Ogden A's team sets. With a complete set going for the low price of $19.95, a nice stack of these would be nice to have right now. But, I guess I'll have to stick to the one I do have, which not surprisingly cost significantly more.

Fittingly, we'll end this post with the back cover of the price guide. Although not "prominently" displayed, you can make out Rickey's 1981 Fleer card, peaking out from underneath a Nolan Ryan on the right side of the page.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Topps Cards: 1985-1993

Following up on what I started a few weeks ago, here's a continuation of Rickey's Topps cards, this time from 1985-1993. We begin with his 1985 Topps Traded, his first card as a Yankee. We also get to the cards that began my collection, and my first ever Rickey card! The two cards in the bottom left and right corners of this picture are box bottom cards, carefully cut from the bottoms of wax boxes.

The second scan starts with a 1988 Topps Record Breaker, which although is technically a Don Mattingly card, prominently features Rickey. We then get to 1989 Topps Traded, where he has once again become a member of the Oakland A's. The 1989 and 1990 Topps card on the left side of the middle and bottom rows have once again been cut out from wax boxes.

The final photo begins with another box bottom card (from 1991 Topps), and ends with his base and gold cards from 1993 Topps, with more from this set to come later. In between, you can see three different versions of his 1992 Topps base and record breakers cards. First there's the base cards, followed by his gold cards, and finally the gold "winners" cards.

With this post I've come to the first Rickey cards that I'm actually missing from my collection, some common, and some not so common. I don't actually have a wanted list put together, but I plan on starting one at some point in time, and getting it put up on the blog somewhere.

To get things started, I'm missing Rickey's 1991 Topps Desert Shield #391 and #370. I'm also missing 1991 Topps Gallery of Champions #7, but to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what this card is. Finally, there's an error card (1992 Topps Record Breakers #2) that says 1.991 on the front, instead of 1991. It's sort of a silly error, but I know it's out there, so of course I have to get a hold of one. If anyone has any of these lying around, let me know, and I'm sure we can work something out.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Amazin' Mets Cereal and Promo Card

When Rickey was playing for the Mets in 1999, a company named Famous Fixins produced a line of Amazin' Mets Frosted Flakes. The box was labeled as a Premiere Box, and as a "Limited Collector's Series" with only 250,000 printed. That seems like a lot of cereal to me, but it was limited in their eyes.

The Mets box also featured other Mets, including Al Leiter, Mike Piazza, John Olerud, Edgardo Alfonzo, Robin Ventura, Rey Ordonez, and John Franco. The Famous Fixins company produced a wide variety of collectible sport themed cereals, including Cal Ripken's "Cal's Classic O's" and Alex Rodriguez's "A-Rod's 40-40 Crunch."

The following picture is from the back of a 4" x 6" card promoting the cereal. The front of the card features the cover of the box (so there was no need to show it again), while the back of the card features information on a sweepstakes that you could enter by purchasing the cereal.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Readin' about Rickey - SI Oct. 1990: Part II

I hope everyone enjoyed the first part of the Sports Illustrated article that I posted earlier this week. Here's the remaining four pages to finish it off. I started back at school last week, and work has been pretty hectic, so I haven't had much time to delve into my collection. Next week I promise to return to my usual postings about oddball Rickey memorabilia.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Readin' about Rickey - SI Oct. 1990: Part I

As my Rickey collection grew over the years, I amassed a fairly large selection of magazines in which he was on the cover and/or featured in an article. I thought I'd start a new series of posts called "Readin' about Rickey," where I could share some of these articles.

If you know anything about Rickey, and you probably do if you're reading this blog, then you know that you can expect to find quite a few "Rickeyisms," and some forays into the third-person, spread throughout the articles.

This first article, from an October 1, 1990 Sports Illustrated, features Bobby Bonilla on the cover, attempting to lead the Pirates to the NL East crown (he succeeded). Rickey won his one and only MVP award in 1990, so this article was written near the end of one of the best seasons of his career. Titled "Man of Steal," the entire article is 9 pages long (pages 60-68 in the magazine), so I'm going to break it up into two different posts. Enjoy!