Daily Archives: May 15, 2011

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Iconic Rookie Cards From My Youth’

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Iconic Rookie Cards From My Youth’

When it comes to the greatest baseball cards from my youth, the ones that still hold memories with me more than two decades later are the rookie cards.  Sure, I have my favorites that are non-rookies, but the that I remember most vividly are the ones that capture a player’s debut.

For this week’s installment of my ‘Top Ten Lists’, I thought it would be fun to countdown the ten best rookie cards issued during the time that I was collecting like crazy. 

I started collecting baseball cards in 1985 and was strongly addicted for the better part of the next 8-9 years.  It’s no coincidence that many of the cards being featured below were issued during that time…

Let’s do this!!!

Honorable Mention – Greg Maddux’s 1987 Donruss, Cecil Fielder’s 1986 Fleer, Mark Grace’s 1988 Fleer, Wade Boggs’ 1983 Topps, Tony Gwynn’s 1983 Topps, Ryne Sandberg’s 1983 Topps, Darryl Strawberry’s 1984 Topps, Eric Davis’ 1985 Donruss, Roger Clemens’ 1985 Donruss, Barry Larkin’s 1987 Topps, Barry Bonds’ 1986 Topps Traded, and Will Clark’s 1986 Topps Traded.

10 – Orel Hershiser’s 1988 Topps – When Hershiser was setting records and mowing down the competition in 1988, his rookie cards got a huge spike in attention.  And like many others, I too went after picking up some more Hershiser rookies.  What could be had for quarters a season prior, all of a sudden each card was consuming dollar bills.

9 – Kirby Puckett’s 1984 Fleer Updated – Only for the wealthy, Puckett’s 1984 Fleer rookie card was and has never been considered obtainable in my eyes.  Kind of legendary, I have not seen too many of these.  Consider this card an urban legend, my ‘Bigfoot’ if you will.

8 – Rickey Henderson’s 1980 Topps – Truly great, this card was a three-digit card for most of the time I was collecting as a kid.  Still, I got one and I have it to this day.  And while it is considered to be a great rookie card of a legendary player, I sill find it to be terribly underrated and undervalued.

7 – Bo Jackson’s 1987 Topps – Man, I had enough of these to wallpaper a bathroom with at one point.  I remember attending a baseball card show with my dad back in ’87 where all we did was buy Bo Jackson rookie cards.  Spending anywhere from fifty cents to a dollar per card, we walked out with a nice stack and also had a ton of dealer’s eyes on us…

6 – Dwight Gooden’s 1984 Topps Traded – Another legendary card, but much more affordable.  I remember buying this one at a card show being held at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami.  And I also recall them having an autograph guest there too – Yaz!!  I still have the card, but not the ball that I had Yaz sign for me..  😦 

5 – Mark McGwire’s 1985 Topps – I have never seen a single card soar in desire and popularity like this one did in 1987.  As McGwire was crushing home runs at a record pace, his 1985 Topps Team USA rookie card was doing the same to the hobby.  I still have 2 or 3 of these, but at one time that investment could cover a car payment.  Now, just a DVD or two…

4 – Don Mattingly’s 1984 Topps – A classic card.  I had Mattingly’s Donruss rookie card, kind of treated like a red-headed step-child compared to his bigger, and better brother issued by Topps.  This is one of the cards from the list that I never owned.  And I still don’t!

3 – Jose Canseco’s 1986 Donruss – This card is the first card that I ever spent double-digit dollars on.  I paid $11 for it from a coach of my little league team.  A collector and a dealer, he was happy to sell me the card but he also spent a lot of time trying to convince me to pursue vintage cards.  I should have listened!!

2 – Cal Ripken’s 1982 Topps – WHOA – The Man!!  Everyone wanted this card.  I managed to score three of them, and I still have all three today.  A classic card – it is still not his most highly sought after one.  That honor would go to his 1982 Topps Traded card – one that I have not seen very much of…

1 – Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 Upper Deck – Simply stated, Upper Deck will always be linked to this card, and that is far from terrible.  Issued as card #1 from its debut set, this card should go down as one of the greatest baseball cards of all-time.  Not just because it features a future Hall of Famer in Ken Griffey Jr, but because of its impact on the hobby.  Everything changed after the release of Upper Deck in 1989 – baseball card collecting was never the same! 

So, do you like my picks?  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me hear it!!

And next week, I have another great topic – ‘Top Ten Signed Baseballs I Would Like To Add To My Collection’.  I can’t wait!!!

1998 Headline: Blockbuster Trade Sends Mike Piazza To The Marlins!!!

1998 Headline: Blockbuster Trade Sends Mike Piazza To The Marlins!!!

In 1998, the term ‘fire-sale’ and the Florida Marlins were linked like peanut butter and jelly.  Coming off of a World Series championship the prior season, the Marlins management team was dumping all of the players and salaries that took them to the pinnacle just a few months prior.

And on this day in 1998, the Marlins made a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Mike Piazza was traded by the Dodgers with Todd Ziele for Manuel Barrios, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenriech, Charles Johnson, and Gary Sheffield.

Piazza’s stay in Miami was short-lived as he was dealt just 8 days later to the New York Mets.

Piazza’s time as a Marlins’ player included 5 games in which he tallied 5 hits and 5 RBI in 18 at-bats.

Pete Rose Still Wants To Manage In The Big Leagues

Pete Rose Still Wants To Manage In The Big Leagues


Pete Rose questioned why he hasn’t gotten a second chance from Major League Baseball to get back into the game on Saturday, saying he’d still like to manage.

The 70-year-old hits king told an audience that he deserves another chance after acknowledging that he bet on baseball, something he denied for years.

”I’ve taken responsibility for my life,” Rose said. ”Baseball isn’t good for second chances — not for gamblers. They are for people who take drugs. They are for people who beat up their wives. They are for people who drink a lot of alcohol. I screwed up. I wish I could change it.”

The former Cincinnati Reds player and manager was banned for life in 1989 for betting on baseball games, including Reds games. He has petitioned MLB and commissioner Bud Selig has given no indication he’s leaning toward reinstating Rose, who holds baseball’s record with 4,256 hits.

Rose hoped he would be reinstated after he acknowledged in his second autobiography in 2004 that he bet on baseball, something he had vehemently denied until then. Instead, there was a backlash over the book.

Rose reiterated that he’s no longer focused on getting inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame.

”I want to be a manager, that’s the only role,” said Rose, who turned 70 on April 14. ”But I’m running out of time. I want to teach young players.” 

Rose was the keynote speaker at a gala of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. He said he has redeemed himself and is waiting for baseball to act.

”It’s a like a singer getting caught running a red light and not being able to sing again,” Rose said. ”That’s not America. I’m a baseball player. I can go on every talk show and say I’m sorry and some people don’t want to hear you. That’s not fair.”

One of the approximately 300 guests in the audience was the federal judge who sentenced him to five months in jail in 1990 for failing to report income from gambling on his taxes.

”I don’t go to many banquets where I sit with the judge that sent me to prison,” Rose said, drawing laughter. ”I’m not bitter at anybody. I made the mistake.”

The Ohio Justice & Policy Center is a nonprofit organization working for reform in Ohio’s criminal justice system. The theme of the gala was making Cincinnati a city of redemption.

Happy Birthday Josh Beckett!!

Happy Birthday Josh Beckett!!

Josh Beckett turns 31 years old today!!!

I cannot believe that Josh Beckett is turning 31.  It seems like just a few days ago I was watching this baby-faced fire-baller suit up for my Marlins team.  Man those were the good old days, huh??

Today Beckett is one of the game’s best pitchers.  He has dedicated himself to the art of pitching and the hard work he has put in has paid off immensely.  A 2-time World Series Champion by the age of 27, Beckett still has several quality years ahead of him.  And that should include many more opportunities to hoist more World Series Trophies as well!!

Happy Birthday Josh!!!  A baseball superstar today, and always a Florida Marlin in my mind!!!

Happy Birthday John Smoltz!!!

Happy Birthday John Smoltz!!!

John Smoltz turns 44 years old today!!!

One of the most versatile and team-oriented players to play the game in the last 20 years, John Smoltz is a rare breed.  A player that is willing to accept any role that the team wants him to perform in, Smoltz personified what the ‘Team-First’ mentality is all about.

Smoltz has 213 career wins alongside 154 saves.  Had he not spent 4 seasons in the bullpen during his days with the Atlanta Braves, Smoltz could have been in line to win 300 career games.  Instead, he did what was asked of him and saved an incredible 154 games in 4 years for the ‘Bravos’.

Happy Birthday Smoltzy!!! 

Happy Birthday George Brett!!!

Happy Birthday George Brett!!!

George Brett turns 57 years old today!!!

One of the greatest baseball players during the mid-1970’s through the 1980’s and a first-ballot entrant in the Baseball Hall of Fame, George Brett is a baseball superstar.  With a career resume that can be envied by all of his peers, Brett offered a complete offensive package for the Kansas City Royals. 

Boasting 3,154 hits, 317 home runs, 1,595 RBI, 1,583 runs scored, and a batting average of .305, Brett dazzled baseball fans for 21 years.  Amazingly, he also has 205 career stolen bases, and for a third baseman playing in the 70’s and 80’s, that is a rare feat.  In his 21 seasons, Brett was a 13-time All-Star, a league MVP, a Gold Glove winner, and a 3-time Silver Slugger winner.

Happy Birthday Mr. Brett!!!