Featuring a world series winner. Man, those Rays uniforms were pretty awful, weren’t they? Yikes.
Tag Archives: Tampa Bay Rays
Well, here we go again, folks. I think I’m more prepared for this, though, as I learned a lot from the 88 project.
There was no bigger-deal rookie in 1989 than Jerome Walton, bar none. It’s a testament to how weak that class was, however, that a guy who hit .293/.335/.385 was the ROY. But it was 89, and WGN was still king for us guys…so the Cubs were still as hot as when Mark Grace made his debut the previous year. Which meant Walton cardboard was scorching hot as far as we were concerned. Never mind that I thought Dwight Smith was the better player, I needed Walton cards.
Walton made his major league debut on April 4th after a torrid Spring Training, especially on defense, where he earned rave reviews. He also hit .284 that spring and stole seven bases, living up to the Cubs’ hopes for him.
I think what really won “Juice” the ROY, though, was his hitting streak. From July 21st to July 31st of that year, he hit in 30 straight games (a Cubs record), and it was a big deal. Capital letters Big Deal. It was written about quite a bit, and of course there were always questions of whether he could match DiMaggio (as if). The streak ended as these cards started hitting the market, and he was red-hot. We all had to have his cards.
July 13th was arguably the high point of Jerome’s 1989 season. He went 4 for 4 with a double, 2 RBI. Of course, he also stole four bases on June 18th, and drove in three runs on July 7th, so he had some high-water marks that year. Marks he would never again live up to, but we were eating it up.
The rest of Walton’s career is depressing. He started falling off in 1990, and only hit .219/.275/.330 in 1991. The Cubs let him go after a .127/.273/.164 1992, and he bounced around the league, managing a decent year with the Reds in 1995, when he hit .290/.368/.525, but fell off another cliff after that. He landed with Tampa Bay in 1998 for his final season, and it was just as odd a sight as you might think:
His last team was actually the Yankees, though, as he tried out for the team in 1999 Spring Training, but got cut:
This was the crown jewel of the Jerome Walton experience in 1989. Believe it or not, there was a time when this was a $20 card. I had it entombed in plastic like my Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck card, and figured it was a solid long-term investment. These days it’s a quarter. Sad coda to the whole affair. But there were better long-term rookies in 1989.
I mentioned in several posts this weekend that I busted some Topps Value Boxes…four, to be exact, as I was looking to get the entire Chrome set that comes exclusively in the set and was lacking only the Ruth at the end of the day. This was the also the first time I’d gotten Topps Million Card giveaway redemptions, so I was giddy about those.
Here’s some of what I scored in the boxes:
Didn’t get to scan the Ruth card yet, but yes, I have the entire set now. And I’m very pleased with it. I’m a complete refractor whore, so I knew these were a must-have, especially with a National involved.
I also got a “hot box”, comparatively. The following all came from one box, the one with the Strasburg:
These copper cards are kind of cool, but the edges chip VERY easily, so they’re going to be incredibly condition sensitive as time goes on. But yeah, that was a pretty great box.
My other copper was a Paul Maholm:
I also got a big handful of Turkey Red, always welcome:
All in all, I give the Value Boxes an A+. I feel like I got more than $15 worth of material in those boxes, and the chrome cards are a nice addition. I’ll eventually cover my Million Card Giveaway stuff, but I’m in the process of trying to convert what I got to Senators, Expos, and Nationals. I have, however, already requested delivery on this card:
That card began its life as a Jose Vidal 1969, then was transformed into a Denny Lemaster 1967 and ended up here. I’m always happy with a new 68 card! Thanks for these, Topps.
I haven’t disguised my love for this set, that’s for sure, and yet I’ve always found the boxes tantalizingly out of reach, either too expensive or difficult to find, so when I found a box going for an obscenely cheap amount on Ebay, I bid and sat on that auction. Yesterday the box finally arrived.
Stated odds, as you can see, are 1 in every 16 packs. The box is obviously meant to echo the 1989 box design, as everything in this set is a loving homage to that original set. Including the setup when you open the box:
As you can see, they’ve used that same paper material that UD used in their 1989 issue:
The whole thing gave me nostalgia goosebumps, down to the authentic (heh) feel of opening the first pack.
Now, as to the actual content of the box. Well, first, I should note that I was supposed to get two reverse-negatives card in this box, but I only got one, this Jason Johnson:
And that’s A-okay by me. The reverse negative gimmick is easily the crappiest, most annoying thing about this set, as I’d have preferred to get the base Johnson, which I still don’t have. Sigh. Oh, I’m also okay with it because I not only beat the odds for relics on this box, I pulverized them. 1 in 16 packs, right? 18 packs in the box, so maybe, tops, I could have gotten two if I was extremely lucky. Yeah, I got four, including a reverse-negative game-used card and a gold reverse-negative game-used card. I didn’t even know the latter existed. My first ever hot box!
Very, very cool stuff. I love it. Oh, I also got two inserts: their version of the Baseball Heroes, numbered to 1989
And a 1989 Flashback Mark Grace, numbered to 4225 (though that Cubs picture is more recent than 1989, he didn’t have that facial hair until the 90s).
I also got a mess of base cards that I needed; only two doubles in the whole box, and a small stack of cards that I already had. Look for those cards to wind up in some trades in the near future.
I’m still quite a bit short of the set, so I may pick up another box when I have some money. Overall, I give the box an A for the presentation, the hits, and the collation. Totally worth the money and exceeded my expectations. Oh, and all these cards save the base cards/reverse negative are available.
It’s a mouthful, that’s for sure. Being a sucker for a certain era AND baseball card design elements, my ears perk up anytime something is done with the designs from my collecting heyday. As such, you’re going to see a lot of these kinds of things appear here, and I’m trying to put together a set of the 2008 Upper Deck Timeline 1992 Flashback cards. 1992 Upper Deck was one of my least-favorite design of the early 90s Upper Deck sets, but a lot of that had to do with the bizarre effect they put on their photographs, as seen here:
To be sure, some cards in this set still have this effect, and most don’t. It certainly improves the design a bit. Oh, and I have a few Tyler Clippards that I think I’ve shown before, so let’s look at the non-Nationals.
Here’s an example of the effect used in this set, but compare it to the Ryan and you can see they’ve toned it way down. I love the composition here; the colors work really well together, and the blue in the background really pops. It’s also just a great picture of the one Yankee player that I can still stand (albeit not a Yank here).
Poor Scott Kazmir. I’ve liked the guy for a long time, but he’s really fallen off the cliff thanks to injuries. It sucks, and it also sucks to be an Angel because…well, Angels and all. Anyway, I like the picture, I like the card.
Okay one last guy for today. I knew nothing about German Duran before picking up this card. Looks like he hasn’t played in the majors since 08, when he knocked out a mindnumbing -0.9 WAR. That’s right, a random AAA player would have done better. So what’s he done since then? Oh, had a .167/.233/.215(!) slash across three teams in 2009, but has rebounded somewhat as a 25-year old in AA this year. I’m willing to bet he never makes it back to the Majors, but at least he got a lot more than most players.