Saturday, July 26, 2008

Topps Finest Jumbos

Ever since the new little one arrived, it seems that everything around here has been in miniature; tiny shirts, tiny socks, tiny fingers, tiny toes... So, I thought for my first Rickey Henderson related blog post-baby, I'd write about something bigger, or Jumbo even!

When Topps released their Finest brand in 1993 the cards brought the hobby to a new level. Covered in bright colors and shiny foil, they were arguably the biggest advancement in cards since Upper Deck was released in 1989. But, not only did Topps release regular version of the cards, but Jumbo ones as well.

The 1993 Topps Finest Jumbo is shown compared to the base card, and is about 6" x 4 1/4". It really is a nice card, and looks even better in such a large scale. If only I could get my hands on a reasonably priced refractor from 1993, the set would be complete!

I have had the 1993 Jumbo for a few years, but I just recently acquired the 1994 Finest Jumbo in a trade with another collector, which allowed me to check off one more of his cards from my Priority Want List. Unlike the 1993 version, the 1994 Jumbo measures at a smaller 4" x 5 1/2".

Here's a side by side comparison of the two Jumbo's. I had no idea that they were different sizes until I put them both together. I would say that this is "interesting," but that would be true to only the most hardcore of collectors.

While on the subject of Jumbo cards, I have a few more recent additions that I'd like to share. I've mentioned in the past how much I like the Topps 3-D cards released in both 1985 and 1986. I just found another set of these cards, but the reason I got them was because they also came with the envelopes/packages that they were found in.

The above blue "pouch" is from the 1985 set, which includes Rickey playing for the A's. As can be seen in the checklist, future Hall of Famers such as Mike Schmidt, Eddie Murray, George Brett, and Cal Ripken, just to name a few, were also included in the set.

The 1986 pack features the same graphics as in 1985, but in orange instead of blue, and with an updated checklist. New additions to the 1986 set includes players such as Wade Boggs, Bret Saberhagen, and Darrell Evans.

The blog will be updated less frequently than usual for the next few months, but I'll try and get up at least one new post a week. If anyone has any Rickey cards they'd be interested in trading, or even showcasing on the blog, please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's a Boy!!

If there are any regular readers of this blog (I think there might be a few of you out there), you may have noticed the lack of posts the past few weeks. It wasn't from lack of trying, just from lack of sleep and spare time. My wife and I (well, she did all the hard work) just recently had a new baby boy, Henry Carter Abbott.

He was born on July 16th at 5:57am. He weighed a healthy 7 pounds 13 ounces at birth, and measured 20 3/4 inches long. He's the first child for us, and we both couldn't be happier. The lack of sleep is taking a little bit to get used to, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

As far as the blog is concerned, the posts will probably be a little more sporadic than usual until we get into a new routine, or I can learn how to blog one-handed. Speaking of "hands," I think he might be a lefty like his dad, but we'll have to wait a little longer to figure that one out.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rickey's in the Mail

I've been doing quite a bit (for me, anyway) of trading lately, and have received some pretty awesome Rickey cards in the mail. I've been having a lot of fun trading cards with other collectors, so that in the end we both end up with cards that we need.

These four 2006 Topps Sterling's are part of a trade that I just completed with Randy, a fellow Rickey collector. This is the first time I've seen these cards in person, and they really are impressive. They're about an 1/8" thick, and I don't think I could bend one if I tried (not that I'd want to anyway).

Above are more cards from Randy. The top picture includes two great oddballs that I was missing, the 1995 A's Mother's Cookies on the left, and the 2000 Mariners Keebler on the right. The bottom picture is a 2004 Leather & Lumber Rivals insert with Ivan Rodriquez, and also a 2002 Donruss Making History.

Rounding out the trade with Randy were these two game-used cards. The top one is a bat sliver from 2001 Private Stock, and the bottom is a jersey swatch from 2003 Leaf Certified, which is also serial numbered to only 50 copies.

I've completed a few trades on the Bench recently, and I just got this nice 1991 Holsum disc. The Holsum discs from the 1990 series are fairly common, but the 1991 versions must have had a much smaller print run, as they are a lot harder to find.

I also just recently received this A's jersey in a trade with robe024, the owner of the Pacific Prisms variations I recently blogged about. What I liked most about the card, and didn't even realize when I got it, is that the jersey swatch is from one of his #35 jerseys, which he wore during his first stint with the A's. But, since they did use a vintage jersey, it would have been nice to have put it into a vintage inspired card, instead of one featuring him wearing a modern A's jersey.

This next set of cards I just received in the mail today, a generous gift from dayf. Since I've started the blogged, I've never had someone e-mail me and offer to send me free Rickey cards, which I thought was pretty cool! He had mentioned the two unopened packs in his initial e-mail, but the other oddballs were a nice surprise! I've already set aside some Braves cards for dayf in return, as I know I can come up with something that he'll be interested in.

Despite the 110 degree heat in Sacramento lately, I can't wait to run (Okay, walk slowly) to the mailbox lately, to see what new surprises might await!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rickey's Still Stylin'

UPDATE: Looks like Rickey was at the game to help with a clinic for some local youth baseball kids. According to Susan Slusser, the A's beat writer for the SF Chronicle, he also threw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game. The announcement on the scoreboard speled his name "Ricky." Blasphemy!!

For the second time in the past few weeks, I turned on the A's game, only to be greeted by Rickey Henderson. The A's were playing the Mariners tonight at the Oakland Coliseum, and I turned on the game about 5 minutes late. Well, what do I see when the TV turns on, but this:

There aren't too many 50-year-old former Major Leaguers that can get away with wearing white pants, a white shirt (only halfway buttoned of course), and a brimmed black hat. Since it was probably in the low 90's at first pitch, it was a smart and "stylish" choice of clothing.

It really is great to see Rickey back in Oakland, and he'd probably suit up and play tonight if they asked him too. I'm not sure exactly why he was at the game, but he was visiting with some players in the Mariners dugout, and he definitely caught them by surprise. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't know anyone on the current A's roster, other than any of the coaches that he might have played with.

Rickey is now working as a special instructor with the Mets (he coached first base for their AAA team a few weeks ago), but it would be great too see him back in the A's organization. A position with the AAA River Cats here in Sacramento would be awesome, but I don't want to be greedy. No matter where he goes, you can tell that he's definitely excited to be around the game.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cadaco Discs

There have been quite a few baseball games in the past that have included cards of the individual players. Most of these statistics based games, such as Statis Pro, Strat-o-Matic, and Replay Games, had cards with just the players name, and a bunch of "random" numbers. The Cadaco game discs started out the same way, but in 1989 they started putting the players pictures on the discs, which made them much more interesting.

This first disc is what the Cadaco discs used to look like, with the players name and position on the front, and the game related numbered section around the rim. These discs were blank-backed, and I was told that this was the 1984 version, which I don't really have a way of verifying. I've already shared my disdain about Rickey's name spelled "Ricky," but I think this is the only card I have where it's spelled "Rickie." I actually find that to be quite amusing for some reason.

This next disc is the 1989 version, the first year that Cadaco started putting the players pictures on the cards. The cards are also no longer blank-backed, and do contain the typical stats and biographical information. Although the copyright on the front of this card says 1988, the stats on the back include 1988, which would make this the 1989 version.

Speaking of the back of the discs, there are actually two different variations to this disc. The one on the left is the initial version, which contains the team name and league underneath the player's name. Subsequent releases of the 1989 set omitted this information, which was also omitted in later years. My guess is it had something to do with a licensing issue with Major League Baseball.

Unlike the previous years release, the 1990 Cadaco discs copyright on the front actually corresponds to the stats on the back. Rickey was traded to the A's in 1990, hence the new "A's" (at least, that's the color jersey and hat he's wearing) picture on the front of the disc.

The 1991 discs features the same picture as the 1991 version. The only difference being the copyright on the front, and the new year of stats on the back.

According to Beckett, there's also a 1993 Rickey Henderson Cadaco disc, which I don't yet have. But, if anyone out there does, I'd love to get a hold of one.

As far as Beckett is concerned, they only recognize the 1989 version, the 1991 version, and the 1993 version. I can understand why the earlier years weren't included, as the player's pictures really make them a "card." I can also understand why they would leave out the 1989 variation, but it really doesn't make sense that the 1990 version isn't included. There's no point in trying to make sense of it, however, as they leave out a lot of Rickey cards that I think should be on their checklist.