Yesterday, my wife and I stopped at Dollar Tree to look for some cheap cake decorations in advance of our niece's upcoming birthday. While standing in the checkout line, something caught my eye.
30 cards for a dollar? There's no way I'm not getting one of these. Flipping it over to the back:
Over 30 baseball trading cards from different years and manufacturers. Guaranteed one to five superstar trading cards.
That is great news because I love superstars. I'm actually excited to see what constitutes a superstar in the minds of Cardsone (www.cardsone.com). Since the plastic is clear, you can see 2 of the 30 cards already. The first one I picked up, I cheated to see who the first card was. It was Doc Gooden. He's probably a superstar. I didn't want a potential superstar to be spoiled, so I went with the one that had Craig Lefferts on the front. Let's see who else is included!
Since these are older cards, they're not going to have any meaningful stats on them but Craig, here, led the league in appearances in 1986. He was with the Padres then. I thought I remembered him as a Brave but, looking at his card, I think I must be thinking of the Padres or Giants. He was around a long time. He only threw 33 innings for the Orioles in his career, but he has a card to commemorate those innings. After this, he had one year with the Rangers and one year with the Angels.
I remember this guy. I'm almost certain I had at least 10 of these cards when I was younger. Not much of note on the back of the card. His K:BB ratio isn't very good (427:281 in 785.1 innings). After this, he pitched one more year for the Blue Jays before sucking for the Mariners in 1992 and retiring.
!!! I was hoping there would be some Royals in here. Despite being the most well known player so far, images of this card are scarce! No, this was not autographed. The back of the card makes it a point to tell us that Brian completed an unassisted double play from CF against the White Sox on 8/23/1992. His career was just getting started at this point, so we see a few minor league stats in addition to the tidbit about the double play. I didn't know the Royals had a AA affiliate in Memphis until now.
Are these all going to be 1991 Upper Deck and 1993 Topps? This better not be one of the superstars! I didn't realize how good of a career Kennedy had. He was a 4-time All-Star and got MVP votes twice. I kind of remember him from the 1989 World Series.
Well, these are some ugly cards. It is interesting that they have Day/Night and Home/Road splits on the back. 1987 was Bill's first year in MLB, so I guess this is his rookie card! He was 6-3 with a 3.84 ERA on the road. Quite a bit better than any of the other splits. He had the lowest BB/9 in the league that year (1.5). That's from bbref.
I guess we're getting doubles in here.
One of the Nasty Boys. I don't like this guy very much, but he did have the highest K/9 in history at the time. Looks like he may have been castrated sometime before this pitch was thrown. This is probably one of the superstars. There'd better be more!!!
Here's Roy Smith of the Twins. He has a World Series ring.
Of course this is in here! Everyone's favorite uncle spent three years with the Cardinals. He had 237 plate appearances this year. The most in his career. Three of them were for the Expos! Interesting that he hit 16 home runs in 1996...
Getting annoyed. If you're going to give me doubles, Cardsone, at least give me a different card of the same player.
I don't remember ever seeing this guy pitch, but I remember having tons of baseball cards of him! He was an All-Star in 1994 and pitched for the Royals in 1997 and 1998 before retiring as a Marlin in 1991.
Another pitcher. There isn't much to say about Willie. This is the first time I've seen that California Angels logo in quite some time.
This guy totally looks like he was born to wear the White Sox uniform. If I'm not mistaken, this is a Topps "Black Gold" card (the picture, not the one I actually got). This dude played until 2001. Seems gritty. In the photo, I think he is looking at strike three. He did go 5-for-5 with 2 RBI against the Indians on 7/1/1992.
Another Black Gold photo. Autographed this time! Again, I just got the regular card. Navarro had some pretty good years and made almost $31,000,000 in his career. He threw three shutouts in 1992 (7/27, 8/16, 9/12)
More Terry Kennedy bullshit.
Thigpen had 57 saves in 1990. A record at the time. It's a pretty impressive number and still ranks second on the list (K-Rod had 62 in 2008). He finished 4th in the Cy Young voting that year and 5th in the MVP voting. He had two more okay years after that and was done after 1994.
Another pretty good reliever. He played 21 seasons and until he was 44! He bowed out after one season in Houston in 2005. He led the league in saves three times. For some reason, the back of the card mentions that he had a 1-2-3 inning in the Mets 10-inning Opening Day victory against the Cardinals in 1992.
I thought this guy was good, but I guess not. He had 374 plate appearances in his career. The back of the card tells us that he batted .286 as a pinch hitter with 1 home run and 2 RBI in 22 appearances. Fascinating stuff.
Chris was the Mets first round pick in 1987. He did not live up to that stock, but he did make it to the Majors, so kudos to him. He did make over $1,000,000 in his career.
Mike Moore had a pretty good run with the A's. Most notably 1989 where he finished 3rd in Cy Young voting. He's another player I remember from the 1989 World Series. I only remember him as an A, but he played for the Mariners before that and the Tigers after.
Finally some variety in terms of card manufacturer! It's too bad that Daryl's career didn't pan out. This ROOKIE PROSPECT card could have been my ticket to early retirement. Unfortunately for Daryl, he did retire early. At the age of 27 after three middling years in the Red Sox bullpen.
Stan Javier was around for a long time. I feel like I should more about him, but I really don't. Looks like he was also around for that '89 Series. His dad played with Stan Musial and that is who he is named after. This would be a perfect thing to put on the back of a baseball card, but Upper Deck doesn't really do this. I got that from Wikipedia.
So far Royce is the most "recent" player in this pack. He retired after 2007. He had accumulated only 347 AB at the time this card was printed. I find it that I'm getting annoyed that AB is on the back of these cards and not plate appearances. I've been looking at bbref way more than these cards by now. This card does say that Royce graduated from St. Bernard High School in 1988. That summer, he posted 75 putouts, 166 assists, and 34 double plays. Great job, Royce!
Here's a dude I definitely remember due to WGN. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1989. It was pretty much downhill from there. He did have a decent year in 1993. Again, Upper Deck mentions pinch-hitting stats on the back. 8 hits in 41 AB with 7 RBI. He also hit.270 on the road with 9 SB. Cool.
Whoa! We have been transported into the future. 1996 to be precise. Chris Gomez was Alan Trammell's successor as Tigers SS. He didn't have a horrible career and did play until 2008. The back of the card says that he was the second player from the 1992 draft to make it to the majors. It doesn't say who the first was. That would have been interesting to know.
I had to take my own photo of this one because who the hell is going to scan in a checklist? Actually, there were a few out there, but not this one. I actually liked getting checklists when I was younger. I would actually use them to see if I could get the whole set. I never did. I'm not as excited to see a checklist here.
I used this photo because Ted Power is a thinking man. He makes you think, "who is Ted Power, again?". Well, let me tell you. Ted Power pitched for 13 seasons. He had 27 saves for the Reds in 1985 and then threw 2 complete game shutouts for the Royals in 1988! That's actually pretty impressive because he only threw 80 inning for the Royals that year and had a 5.94 ERA.
Jack Armstrong started the 1990 All-Star game for the NL. That's great for him because he didn't really do much outside of that. He was done before he was 30. I noticed on his bbref page that Scott Boras was his agent.
Upper Deck didn't put a lot of effort into making sure their 1992 set was a lot different than their 1991 set. There's a little shadow behind the picture and an image of a incredible fastball in the upper left. The back is almost untouched. They put a space in Paul's name, which is really annoying. "Paul Mc Clellan". At age 25, Paul threw 71 innings in 1991 and then never played in MLB again. His Wikipedia doesn't say much either. What happened to you, Paul?
Well, here is a superstar. There weren't many pictures of this card out there. Very odd. Jose hit 42 HRs in 1988. The card tells us that 24 of them were before the All-Star break. 1988 was the second of six All-Star appearances for Jose. He won the MVP that year as well. 40-40 forever!
Ah, Tim Salmon. You will forever be linked to J.T. Snow in my mind. I must have had dozens of rookie cards for both of these guys. I thought they were going to help me strike it rich. Salmon had a pretty good career and finished just one HR shy of 300. He got some MVP votes in 1995, 1997, and 1998. The back of the card says that he was signed as a 3rd round Draft pick on 6/10/1989 by Joe Madden. That Joe Madden? I imagine that it probably was... even if Topps did spell it wrong.
The last card of the pack belongs to Danny Darwin. Danny retired the first 4 batters he faced in his major league debut. This was on 9/4/1978. Danny had already made quite the name for himself before this card had been printed. He had accumulated 49 complete games and led the league in ERA in 1990 (with the Astros). He ended up pitching more than 3000 innings in his career. His HR/9 rate was 1.0 and he lead the league in WHIP a couple of times. This was the other card that I could see before opening the pack.
And that's it! There ended up being 32 cards in the Ultimate Super Jumbo Pack, but there were three Terry Kennedys, two Rob Dibbles, and a checklist. So 28 different cards (and a checklist). The stupid thing is that the checklist was from 1990 and most of the Upper Deck cards were 1991. But, wait... if I flip over the checklist.
I am tempted to go back and see what other cards are in these packs. What could be in that Doc Gooden pack that I picked up and put back? Are there packs out there that have 30 versions of the same Terry Kennedy card? How many Ultimate Super Jumbo Packs would I have to buy to complete my brand new checklist?