Monday, August 19, 2013
The Gems of Junk Wax, Pt. 61: 1991 Upper Deck #554 Jim Abbott
Up until now, we haven't seen any repeat offenders in this theme.
Today, though, I've decided to change that. After 61 posts, we finally have a two-time "Gems of Junk Wax" nominee.
Quite fittingly, the first repeat player is none other than Jim Abbott, a man who was no stranger to awesome cardboard during his career.
The first Abbott gem I posted about was his '89 Upper Deck piece, one that I believe is the greatest rookie card of the modern era.
Two years later, however, UD once again struck gold with Abbott's spot in their 1991 checklist. It's a card that's just as famous (if not more so) than his '89 rookie.
In what must've been a confusing shot to a lot of collectors, Abbott is actually seen hitting on the front of his 1991 Upper Deck issue. Keep in mind, this was a good six years before interleague play became a "thing" in baseball. (Or a slightly tired "thing", depending on who you ask.)
Apparently, this shot comes from a Spring Training "Freeway Series" contest against the Dodgers. I'm no stadium expert, but I'm pretty sure that's Dodger Stadium in the background.
Even more fascinating is the fact that, despite the shot UD used for this card, Abbott never took a single at-bat during his six seasons with the Angels.
Even more fascinating is the fact that Abbott somehow got on base during that contest.
Because it came during Spring Training and all, I'd guess that it'd be fairly impossible to find out exactly how Abbott reached first.
Did he walk? Was there a misplay on his bunt attempt? Did he swing away for a hit? Catcher's interference, perhaps?
We'll probably never know.
However it happened, Abbott seems to be all smiles. As he should be. Like I said, he never got the chance to take an official at-bat with the Angels.
This is a rare specimen, in that the back is nearly as famous as the front. As a blogger, it's tough to show one side without the other.
For what it's worth, Abbott would go on to have a handful of plate appearances in the bigs, all coming during his "sunset" season with the Brewers in 1998. He went 2-for-21 with three RBIs.
But, to a lot of collectors, his most famous moment at the plate came on his 1991 Upper Deck bubble gum card.
It's a more-than-fitting second "Gems of Junk Wax" nomination for Jim Abbott, our first repeat inductee.
And it probably won't be the last.