Monday, March 31, 2014

Mysterious glow-in-the-dark baseball card discovered

Back in September 2013, I posted a revealing exposé of every glow-in-the-dark baseball card variety I could find info on. All these months later, I've finally dug up another one. In a recent Just Commons shopping spree, I took a shot in the dark and searched the term "glow" hoping for maybe some '93 Fun Pack "Glow Star" stickers or something.

Brooks Kieschnick GLOW
Code: 1994 Classic Best Gold Rookie Express RE20

..This card popped up. Never heard of that guy, not very familiar with that set, and I wasn't certain that capitalized "GLOW" meant that the card glows in the dark or what, but for just a quarter (a mid-priced card by Just Commons standards), took a chance threw it into the cart.

I'm happy to report that after 3 or 4 Just Commons orders, this one was the first that I received 100% correct. Seems I always had 1 or 2 wrong cards in each previous order. I love the site and they were all low-cost cards I missed, so I never made a stink about it, but it was a bit of a letdown when it happened.

Anyways, back to the mysterious GLOW card. When it arrived, I grabbed that sucker, held it up to the window for a few seconds, then tucked into a closet with it. Lo and behold, it glowed! Nice.

Let's take a look at it in action:

Looks pretty cool, especially compared to the other glowing cards of the time. Not just a glowing border or whatnot, but the whole thing lighting up. One kinda weird part about the card is what appears to be some bleed-thru of the back. For example, you can sorta see the back photo "being stepped on" by the front photo, and the circle for the logo / card # is in the upper right. And other copies I saw picture of online seem to be the same way. The card is not very thin or translucent acetate or anything that would seem to explain it, so it must've been a weird manufacturing issue.

Oh wow, I just discovered that the back glows too! Very cool. None of the other glowing cards I've checked out so far (besides the lackluster 2013 Topps Chipz parallels, if you count those) glew on both sides.

That's a damn neat piece of cardboard. Minor bleed-thru issue or not, I'd definitely be up for hunting down more cards like this.

So now the trick is finding out more info on this set. What other glowing cards are in the checklist? etc.

Looks like Rookie Express is a 20 card insert set in 1994 Classic/Best. This card is #20. While I assumed all 20 were glow-in-the-dark, or at least had glowing parallels, I could not find any evidence supporting this theory. It appears to me that cards 1-19 are foil, with only #20 glowing. Weird! And I'm not sure if there's a non-glowing variation of this card. Can anyone shed any definitive light on this? Seems crazy that a company would put out a set of cards and have only one special card that glowed in the dark.

And Brooks Kieschnick isn't exactly a name that's going to resonate with most people, so why choose him to get the one super-special card in your set? To his credit, he was a 1st round draft pick (10th overall in 1993), and while his career stats won't jump out at you, he's notable for being a backup outfielder/DH/pinch-hitter and relief pitcher at the same time (not just used in desperate/blowout situations, but a legit option both in the bullpen and off the bench), going both ways for the Brewers in '03 and '04.

So that's pretty cool. I guess he eventually kinda justified that neat glowing card after all. But it still seems odd to me.

As always, if you know of other glow-in-the-dark baseball card varieties that I haven't mentioned-- or have some glowing cards to trade-- feel free to drop me a line.


  1. I had the dude on my roster in a simulation league. Couldn't resist a pitcher/hitter like that.

    By the way, "glew" is definitely now a part of my vocabulary!

  2. I've been working on past tense verbs with my students this past week. "Glow" was one of the ones that we weren't sure about. Then we sang "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and figured it out.

  3. I always knowed I had a knack for past-tense verbs. There've been many times that I blowed someone away with my knowledge of the English language.

  4. kieschnick played here at Des Moines in 1995, 1996 and 1997. He was an ok player. That's all I can tell you about hiim.

  5. I’ve got the full set of 20, the first 19 being foil, the last a glow-in-the-dark, they were a mail in redemption back when, not a lot of sets produced, I believe, hit my set redemption around product release time