Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"The Dime Boxes Top 100": Cards 90-81

Welcome back.

Tonight, I'll be revealing the next ten cards on my comprehensive "Top 100" list.

I've been getting more and more excited about these posts as the days go by. I knew I'd have a blast with both creating and posting my own personal "Top 100" list. There wasn't any doubt in my mind about that.

However, the feedback I received from fellow bloggers on the first grouping of cards got me even more psyched to reveal the rest of my results in the future. It's fantastic to know that others are enjoying these posts.

By the way, if you missed that first post, you can see it here.

Which reminds me...I have unfortunate news for all you Diamondbacks, Nationals, Padres, and Pilots fans out there. (And Colt .45s fans, if any even exist these days.)

No cards from your franchise cracked my list. Sorry.

Going in, I told myself that I'd do my best to represent every team at least once. If I would've made a "Top 125" or "Top 150" list, that definitely would've happened.

Yet, as much as I wanted to, nothing from those teams was able to make it. Not even this terrific card of Jim Bouton as a Pilot.

So, again, sorry to all fans of those teams.

On that note, let's dive into card numbers 90 to 81 on the "Dime Boxes Top 100".

I can feel the anticipation already.

#90 -- 1992 Topps #261 Tom Lasorda MGR

As far as my list goes, this is a one-of-a-kind piece.

It turned out to be the only manager card in the countdown.

I've seen this one turn up on various blogs many, many times in the past. Not surprisingly, this isn't the first time I've shown it on this blog, either. 

In one of the greatest "gems" of the overproduction era, we have a gray-haired Tom Lasorda going for a morning jog with a few of his Dodger players. From left to right, we have Gary Carter, Kevin Gross, John Candelaria, and Orel Hershiser. There's some doubt as to who is pictured on the far right, but the consensus seems to point to Bob Ojeda.

I'm a big fan of managers on cardboard, and there certainly have been some fine specimens over the years.

As far as I'm concerned, though, this is the all-time greatest in that department, hands-down.

#89 -- 1991 Topps #530 Roger Clemens

Yes, a Roger Clemens card actually made the list.

I was amazed that a Manny Ramirez card found its way into that "Top 100". I'm much, much more surprised that one of the "Rocket" managed to eke into the #89 slot.

It's nothing against the Red Sox or anything.  Card companies have just happened to grant superb pieces of cardboard to a couple former Sox who I happen to despise.

I know I'm not the only one who hates Clemens, though.

Still, even if you're similar to me in that frame of mind, you have to admit that this is one terrific card.

Can you really blame me for including it?

#88 -- 1992 Donruss Triple Play #173 Wrigley Field

Here's a basic breakdown of my "Top 100":

98 players, one manager, and one stadium card.

You just saw the manager card a couple slots ago. Here's the only other non-player card to find its way onto the list.

From here on out, it's all between the white lines.

I came close to putting a second Wrigley Field card on the list. In order to not be a complete "homer", I decided to omit the outstanding 2010 Upper Deck stadium issue.

In the end, I just couldn't pick against this one. 

Such a beautiful night shot of my favorite ballpark in baseball needs to be recognized.

#87 -- 1994 Conlon Collection #1029 Buck Weaver

It's not too often you see a card with a four-digit number.

Obviously, that's not why this one made the "Top 100". I just thought it'd make for a fun observation.

No, this one makes the list because it features my favorite figure from arguably the most interesting event in baseball history.

The infamous "Black Sox" scandal.

One of my "pipe dreams" as a collector would be to build a "team set" of the eight Black Sox. As it stands, though, I'm a few thousand bucks short.

For now, I'll have to appreciate what little exists of the Black Sox. Since they were banned from baseball, there haven't been a whole lot of cards of the players involved.

This is one of just two cards I own of "Buck" Weaver, the most tragic of the group. Although he repeatedly insisted that he never took a dime from the gamblers, Commissioner Landis banned him with the rest of the Black Sox.

He devoted the rest of his life trying to get his name reinstated by baseball, to no avail.

Anyone with that kind of story needs to have a card in my countdown.

#86 -- 2003 Topps Heritage "Flashbacks" #F-4 Stan Musial

There are night cards, and then there's this one.

I have never seen "darkness" more prominently featured on a piece of cardboard. In fact, I'm almost inclined to think that this shot was taken in candlelight.

All cards of "Stan the Man" are awesome. This one is on an entirely different level, though.

It's pretty much a testament to how good of a hitter he was.

Even in complete darkness, he was still able to make perfect contact with the baseball.

#85 -- 2010 Topps #220 Randy Johnson

Usually, I prefer to see the player's face featured on the front of his baseball card.

However, card companies have managed to provide a few exceptions to that over the years.

That's exactly what you see here.

Understandably, there just aren't a whole lot of cards that feature pitchers in "fielding mode", much less one of "The Big Unit".

On top of that, this is easily one of the all-time greatest "sunset" cards in my collection. Since he'd pitch his last game in '09, the back of it features Johnson's career stats as well, something that's always a huge plus in my book.

And if that weren't enough, this particular shot is a historic one for both "The Big Unit" and baseball as a whole, as it captures a moment from his 300th victory against the Nationals in June of '09. 

I'll forgive Topps for not using a shot of Randy Johnson facing the camera.

They more than made up for it.

#84 -- 2000 Greats of the Game #103 Dick Allen

This one doesn't really fit into any categories within my "Top 100".

As far as I know, there isn't a personal story attached to it, other than the fact that it had to be one of my first cards of Dick Allen.

It's not overly "flashy" in any way.

The action shot is neat, but it's not mind-blowing or anything.

Allen played in Philadelphia for quite a while, so we can rule out the whole "unfamiliar uniform" thing.

Like I said, it doesn't exactly fit in anywhere. In a way, though, that's typical.

Neither did Dick Allen.

He hit everywhere he went, but he refused to conform to anyone or anything. Because of that, he jumped around quite a bit during his career.

Unfortunately, Allen just doesn't have all that many recent issues. Seeing as how 2000 Greats of the Game is one of my personal favorite "legends" sets ever released, I thought this one would make for a more-than-fitting inductee into my "Top 100".

Besides, I had to include something of Dick Allen.

My list just wouldn't have looked right otherwise.

#83 -- 1999 Topps Traded #T66 Josh Hamilton RC

I throw the word "iconic" around a lot on this blog.

It's one that can be applied to so many cards from the "vintage" era. The '75 Herb Washington. The '76 Kurt Bevacqua "bubble gum" card. And, of course, the '77 Mark Fidrych rookie card.

Every time I look at this one, I ask myself something.

"Is there such thing as an 'iconic' card from my generation?"

I'm still not sure. 

If such a thing does exist, I'd tend to say that this is it.

As we all know, the term "rookie card" has dominated the last twenty years of the hobby. For better or worse, I'd have to believe that an "iconic" card from my generation would have to carry that "rookie" label.

Given Hamilton's amazing story and nearly unmatched talents on the baseball field, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more coveted piece of the last couple decades.

Even I, the self-titled "low-end collector", forked over six whole dollars for this card. I had a good reason, though.

It's a zero-year card.

Probably the most famous one I own, too.

#82 -- 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #94 Marv Throneberry

Get used to these '94 UD All-Time Heroes cards, because you'll be seeing them quite a bit in this countdown.

To date, this is the only card I own of Marv Throneberry in a Mets uniform. However, that's not the reason this card slots in at #82 on this list.

"Marvelous Marv" was an awful fielder, especially during his later years. Mets fans once cheered him for successfully handling a wind-blown hot dog wrapper. (True story.)

It's ironic, then, that Upper Deck would use a shot of him making what looks to be a highlight reel play, saving a possible extra base or two for the runner. 

Speaking of which, that runner is Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson.

What more do you need?

#81 -- 1988 Donruss #40 Mark Grace RC

We close out this installment of the "Top 100" with a rookie card of one of my favorite Cubs.

I doubt you'd see this one mentioned in many other lists of this sort.

True, in terms of design and photo quality, Grace's 1988 Topps Traded and Fleer Update rookies may outrank this one.

Personally, though, that's irrelevant. 

Why, you ask?

This is one of the first baseball cards I ever owned. That's why.

I don't remember what my absolute first card was, but there's a chance that this was it. At the very least, it was one of the first cards I can recall getting excited about.

I'm only now starting to realize that the blue borders of 1988 Donruss actually work quite well with Grace's blue Cubs jersey.

The personal story had always gotten in the way.

That's all that will ever really matter to me, anyways.


Another ten cards in the books.

As far as what I consider the "overproduction era" to entail (1987-94), six of these came from that time period. 

See? They aren't "junk" after all.

It's just a guess on my part, but I'd imagine that there are close to fifty thousand cards sitting in my binders at the moment. 

Somehow, I managed to trim it down to my hundred favorite ones. 

If you're a math person, that means that for every thousand cards I own, roughly two made the list. For every Lasorda and Hamilton, there are 998 others.


As far as my collection goes, these are the cream of the crop.


hiflew said...

I think you need time to decide iconic cards. My old history professors use to say that you can't accurately judge historical significance until around 90 years after the event has taken place to remove the bias of those writing about it.

I think that is also true (on a smaller scale) with iconic cards. Most collectors that I have met took some time off (usually their teens and early 20s) and then came back to collecting. The cards that stand out as memorable from the earlier collecting period could be considered iconic if they were common to enough people.

In 1991, I wouldn't have considered the 1991 Topps Benito Santiago an iconic card, but I definitely do today.

JediJeff said...

I need that Dick Allen. Not want - need. Ok, wanty-need.

Bo said...

There was a set of cards from the Eight Men Out movie. Looks like you can get them pretty cheap.

The Junior Junkie said...

That Randy Johnson card is fantastic, and I have always loved that Mark Grace rookie.

I have to say that the photography of Topps took a step in the right direction in 1991 and on into the mid-90s. I don't know if the 1989 Upper Deck set is to blame for this, but I have always wondered why card companies don't have credits. Like who was the photo director for this year vs. that, when did they make major changes, who did the editing, cropping, even choosing of the pictures themselves. This is a whole other level of baseball card nerddom I think we'd all like to explore....