Monday, August 1, 2011

1978-79 Liga Mexicana del Pacifico Sticker

As a Rickey collector for almost 25 years, it's not too often that I'm surprised by an item that I've not only never seen before, but never even heard of, especially one as significant as the card below. Fortunately, thanks to the help of fellow collectors, it still does happen, which is one of the reasons that makes player collecting that much fun!

After being drafted by the A's in 1976, Rickey played for the Boise A's in 1976, and then the Modesto A's in 1977. It was his time in Modesto that produced his first baseball card, the ever elusive 1977 Modesto A's Chong.

Rickey then played for Jersey City in 1978, followed by Ogden in 1979. But, before the 1979 season began, he played winter ball for the Navojoa Mayos (Mayos de Navojoa) of the Mexican Pacific League (Liga Mexicana del Pacifico or LMP). Prior to this weekend, the only picture of seen of Rickey's time with the Mayos is the one shown above.

I have never been able to find any other items from Rickey's days in the Mexican League, until now...

The above images are of a sticker album produced by the Liga Mexican del Pacifico for the 1978-1979 season. It was quite a surprise to see a young Rickey featured, along with the rest of his Navojoa Mayos teammates. It's not often that an unknown "pre-rookie" card of a Hall of Famer surfaces, but that seems to be exactly what happened here. It's possible that others have known about this cards existence, but all of the other hardcore Rickey collectors I've talked to have been just as shocked as I was.

The cover of the album is shown above, and is officially titled "Album Fotografico de Beisbol," with the rays of the sun on the right indicating the other teams in the league. You can view the rest of the pages here, filled with stickers of the other players in the league.

The pictures of the album are all courtesy of Arturo, a collector of Mexican born baseball players, who was recently selected by Beckett to be featured in an upcoming SuperCollector issue. Thanks again to Arturo for scanning all of the pages of this album, if you hadn't, the Rickey card might still be a mystery today!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

20th Anniversary of Steal #939!!

Edit: This post was originally from May 1, 2008 (the first year that I started the blog), but I figured it would be appropriate to repost in honor of the 20th anniversary of the event.

May 1 is an important date to any Rickey Henderson fan, it's the day that he stole his 939th base, and passed Lou Brock on the all-time list. Today's post will be a fairly picture heavy showcase of some of my items that commemorate that memorable day.

The first few pictures are some of the cards that were produced commemorating Rickey breaking the record. Most were produced in 1992, but some, such as the 1999 Upper Deck Epic Milestones in the second picture, came many years later.

The next two pictures depict a 1992 Starting Lineup Headline Collection. These collections contained a figure as well as a stand that contained a newspaper headline from a local paper commemorating the event, which in this case was the Oakland Tribune.

This picture of Rickey hugging Lou Brock was cut from the front page of my local paper (the Daily Republic) on May 2, and I have no idea what happened to the rest of the paper. The caption also mentions the other historic event that happened on that day (Nolan Ryan's 7th no-hitter).

There were quite a few pins produced depicting Rickey's 939th steal. The top one was given away at the Oakland Coliseum on the day he broke the record.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pepsi Max Commercial -- Rickey Wins Again!!

Although I'm a Coca-Cola guy myself, Rickey has always had a relationship with Pepsi, and has done quite a few promotions with them in the past. It has been awhile since he's done any work for them, but the new Pepsi Max commercial "Clubhouse in the Corn" more than makes up for the delay.

The commercial is set in a Field of Dreams-esque setting, starring CC Sabathia searching for the whispers he is hearing, which eventually lead him to a cornfield in Iowa filled with retired baseball stars.

You have Jim Thome spelling out his name to get an autograph from Babe Ruth autograph, Lou Pinella apologizing to an umpire, and Ozzie Smith doing a patented backflip.

Although I'm obviously biased, I think Rickey steals the show. The commercial features three different "Rickey's," in A's, Yankees and Mets jerseys. They are playing Rock, Paper, Scissors amongst themselves, when one exclaims, "Rickey Wins Again!" Classic!

The commercial also includes Carlton Fisk, Mike Schmidt, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley and Randy Johnson, among many others. I never thought I'd say this, but nice job Pepsi!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1997-98 Fleer Million Dollar Moments

Spanning two years of sets, and included in 1997 Fleer Series 2, 1997 Flair Showcase, 1998 Fleer Series 1 and 1998 Ultra Series 1, the Million Dollar Moments cards were basically sweepstakes promotions, inserted one in every pack.

The cards include both modern day and retired stars, with the fronts including the description of a specific moment in the players career. Not surprisingly, they chose May 1, 1991, the day he broke Lou Brock's all-time stolen base record.

The backs of the cards included the official rules of the sweepstakes, as well as a place to fill out all of your personal information in case you managed to complete the entire set. It is the information on the back of these cards, however, that makes what should be a throwaway card into a player collectors treasure hunt! As can be seen above, the text in the white box on the box of the cards states "You're One Step Closer to Winning $1,000,000." This is the message that was found in all of the cards that were inserted in packs, and is the version that you can readily find for sale.

There are certain cards on every player collectors want list that don't seem like they belong. For me, the 1997-1998 Fleer Million Dollar Moments Redemption was one of those cards. For the longest time, I had no idea what the card even was (Beckett lists it as "1997-1998 Fleer Million Dollar Moments Redemption," with a price of $0.25), and yet I only know of one other Rickey collector that has one, until now that is! I managed to track down a few complete sets of these redemption cards, which were given to collectors as a prize for sending in the first 45 cards of the 50 card set (the last 5 cards were extremely short printed, and it's with these that you had a chance of winning $1,000,000). Unlike the cards found in packs, the backs of the redemption cards state "This is Not an Official Game Card." This should be the end of the hunt, but there is still a third version that exists.

This last version is the same as those found in packs, but has been stamped "1-45 VOID" on the back. I'm not 100% positive how these can to be, but my guess is that when a collector would send in his cards to get the redemption set, Fleer would mail back the redemptions, along with the initial 45 cards that were submitted. It makes sense that Fleer would void these cards, as they wouldn't want everyone turning right back around and submitting them again for another set.

It's also possible that a fourth version of the cards exists. There were supposedly 10,000 "Instant Winner" cards inserted in packs, which I'm assuming would also be noted in the white box on the back. I've never seen or heard of a Rickey (or any other player for that matter), but that doesn't mean they aren't floating around out there somewhere.

Shameless plug alert: To attempt to recoup the cost of the sets, I've currently listed some of the redemption singles on eBay. The checklist card above shows the entire set, but I've also included a complete list below. If any player collectors are still looking for their players card, send me an e-mail, and I'm sure we can work something out.

1. Checklist (with all cards listed for you hardcore player collectors)
2. Derek Jeter
3. Babe Ruth
4. Barry Bonds
5. Brooks Robinson
6. Todd Hundley
7. Johnny Vander Meer
8. Cal Ripken Jr.
9. Bill Mazeroski
10. Chipper Jones
11. Frank Robinson
12. Roger Clemens
13. Bob Feller
14. Mike Piazza
15. Joe Nuxhall
16. Hideo Nomo
17. Jackie Robinson
18. Orel Hershiser
19. Bobby Thompson
20. Joe Carter
21. Al Kaline
22. Bernie Williams
23. Don Larsen
24. Rickey Henderson
25. Maury Wills
26. Andruw Jones
27. Bobby Richardson
28. Alex Rodriguez
29. Jim Bunning
30. Ken Camminiti
31. Bob Gibson
32. Frank Thomas
33. Mickey Lolich
34. John Smoltz
35. Ron Swoboda
36. Albert Belle
37. Chris Chambliss
38. Juan Gonzalez
39. Ron Blomberg
40. John Wetteland
41. Carlton Fisk
42. Mo Vaughn
43. Bucky Dent
44. Greg Maddux
45. Willie Stargell
46. Tony Gwynn
47. Joel Youngblood
48. Andy Pettitte
49. Mookie Wilson
50. Jeff Bagwell

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Random Inserts and Game-Used from February

Here's a few of my favorite Rickey additions from the past month or so.

I missed out on 2006 Triple Threads when it was released, so these are the first two that I've been able to pick up, they just happened to arrive in the same month. You can't beat a card with Rickey and Reggie!

The 2009 Triple Threads at the top helped "complete" the set for the year. I now have all three variations numbered to /36, /27, /18, and /9.

This one is obviously not a Rickey card, but is a nice oddball addition to the collection, as you can prominently see him celebrating on the front.

Another oddball card is this 1991 Tuff Stuff Jr. cut-out. Although it is on magazine stock, and not card stock, it does actually have a back to it, so it was meant to be cut out.

The multitude of 1990's Pacific parallels seem to be never-ending, so it's nice to cross a few off the list whenever possible. I used to despise these parallels, but they've actually started to grow on me.

We'll end with a couple of more recent cards, as although he's in the Hall of Fame, Rickey's cards just keep on coming. The first is from 2011 Topps, while the second is from 2010 Topps Sterling.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Additions for the New Year (and the end of the old one)

I seem to only have time to post cards when I get a bunch of them scanned at once, but I guess that's better than nothing. Here's some of my pick-ups from back in December, as well as some from early January as well. So far late-January and early-February have been epic in terms of finally tracking down a few hard to find 1990's inserts and parallels, and I can't wait for them to finally arrive. Stay tuned in the coming weeks, once I get them all in hand, for a post highlighting my newest additions.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

2011 Oakland A's Bobblehead Giveaway

When the A's announced their promotional schedule last month, it included a Rickey Henderson bobblehead giveaway during the Saturday April 30th game against the Rangers.

They have now released a picture of the bobblehead, along with a few more details. It will be distributed to the first 15,000 fans, and will be sponsored by Kingsford Capital Management. While I could live without the Kingsford Capital logo on the front, it is a pretty nice looking bobblehead.

Although I can't imagine the game actually selling out, single game tickets go on sale this Saturday (January 29th) for those looking to get the best seats to the game. I have not seen it posted yet on the official A's website, but I did recently read on that Rickey was going to be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch, which would be a nice bonus to go along with the bobblehead.