Sunday, November 21, 2021

Back into Beckett

I got a kick out of the Night Owl Cards post from last month titled Ego trip. Not only was it the high quality blogging that Greg's known for, but also there was a cool little easter egg in there for me. See, he was talking about his latest article to be published in Beckett, one showing off highlights from his impressive Dodgers collection, and a custom card I made for him made it in there.

"Hey, I made one of those cards!"

I printed 3 of these cards that Ron Cey was nice enough to sign and return through the mail. I surprised Night Owl with one, traded one to Stealing Home Oscar, and kept the above for myself. Not my best custom or anything, but I like the celebratory image even if it's not very sharp.

The iconic June 1990 Beckett with football/baseball Bo Jackson photo was the first one I bought as a kid. I feel like that transaction pinpoints the moment I officially became a full-fledged baseball card collector. "Alright, let's get serious about this stuff!"

This copy of the magazine is actually my second, picked up later. The original got cut up. I remember I had this 2-page Bo Jackson collage taped up in the little "card room" area of my bedroom.

(Ernest P. Worrell on a Todd Worrell card, lol!) I made a few "fun cards" like this back then, though never got around to mailing anything in for publication consideration.

I don't think I ever ponied up for a subscription, but seems like I would buy the new Beckett from the local card shop every month for the next 3 years, eventually cooling on the hobby for other teenage interests around mid 1993.

Jump a couple more years, and I ended up in a bookstore or something in 1995 and decided to buy a Beckett for old time's sake and take a curious check-in on the hobby and the prices for some of my inactive collection. I got rid of most of my old Becketts over the years, but saved this Kenny Lofton since it was the most recent one I owned and therefore had the most accurate price guide. (LOL)

So anyways, very cool for me to kinda sneak into Beckett, even if just in a tiny way. Me from 1990 got his mind blown, for sure. 

Now let's hit a few incoming cards I've been meaning to post about. Not many (ungraded) Topps baseball cards from 1990 sell for more than a buck each these days, but I've got a few to show off.

I love these "Kmart greenies" as I call them. The quirky blue gloves and fat trophy are just awesome. 1990 Topps Batting Leaders.. basically inserts only available through special Kmart rack-packs of '90 Topps. They're pretty rare, as far as Topps cards from 1990 go. The red ones from 1989 are ever rarer, but I prefer the green. Found an eBay seller with these 3 big names for a good price.

Little easter egg I noticed with these is that they're numbered by rank on the active career batting leaders (going into the 1990 season). So like, Boggs' .352 batting average earned him the #1 spot on the checklist, with Gwynn's .332 placing second (though Tony would pass Wade later in the decade, which I must point out as a Padres fan). I now have 6 of the 22 total Kmart greenies. Completing the set isn't a priority at the moment, but I'd at least like to keep an eye out for the rest of the guys I collect if I can find them for a decent price.

It's a sentimental "twofer" for me, being from the year I started collecting, plus I worked at Kmart for a year in high school.

I still have/use the mug I got the time I made employee of the month! Reads "Safety & Shortage Control" and pictures a dog giving double thumbs-up. I think it also came with $50 store credit or something like that. I wasn't collecting at the time, and I don't recall cards sold at the Kmart I worked, so that store credit didn't go to cards. But this was circa 1995, so hey, maybe I bought that Kenny Lofton Beckett with it? We had a pretty decent magazine selection; could have carried Beckett then.

More Topps cards from 1990 that manage to rise above the "junk" classification of the era. The same seller I got the 3 greenies from also had this pair (1990 Topps TV Glossy All-Star Set) cheap with combined shipping, so I added them to the order.

As far as non-normal backs go, these are pretty cool. MLB Service time isn't a stat you see listed on cards very often!

Now let's do a quick Topps Retired Triad. Got three 2005 Retired refractors lined up.

Paul O'Neill is better remembered as a Yankee, but cool to see him pictured with the Reds from the first half of his career. Teacher supply store billboard in the background gives the card some extra character.

Part of the Reds team that won the World Series in 1990, keeping with the loose theme of the post. And who did Cincinnati vanquish that October to claim their title?


Tony LaRussa lead the A's on an impressive run back then. Nice photo of the skipper helping out with defensive drills.

But really though, Mrg. LaRussa didn't really have any business in a set called 2005 Topps Retired Signature Edition. He was still active at the time, not retired. The year after this card came out, he won the World Series with the Cardinals. Crazy that he's active again now, keeping the White Sox in the thick of the pennant race this year. I can't think of any other cards in the three-year run of Topps Retired where the career stats on the back advanced after the card was made. (Bob Brenly has a 2005 Retired card, though 2004 was his last year of managing, so he came close. Brian Cashman got a card in 2005 Retired despite being an active front office person. I guess Topps Non-Active Player Signature Edition wasn't quite as catchy. Oh wait, I found another Retired card with old career stats: Grady Little was in 2005 Retired and then went on to manage the Dodgers for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Oh, and one more: Jimmy Leyland has a 2005 Retired card and then managed the Tigers from 2006 through 2013.)

Jay Buhner closes out today's trio of recent pickups. A bigtime Buhner collector was liquidating some PC cards and actually had two of these refractors. I called dibs on this one because it had a more pleasing signature-- just enjoy it for a moment; beautiful, right?!-- and another buyer snagged the other, less beautiful one a little while later.

Fine career for Junior's bash brother in Seattle and cause of consternation for Frank Costanza.

That'll do it for this time. Thanks for reading!


  1. Yeah, I didn't even think of that when I sent in the photo. Just another autographed Cey card for me!

    Good luck with that Kmart Batting Leaders. All I wanted were the Murrays from each year and that was difficult enough.

  2. I just reread Greg's post and realized that two of the things I sent him appear on the title page of the article. Portland represents. I am going to bring a box of cards by next Saturday.

  3. Kmart definitely carried cards in 1995, in fact they had one of, if not the best, card sections amongst the big box stores during the mid to late 90's. I've mentioned it in a few blog posts, but they used have shelves of hobby and retail boxes that were tiered by price, which included everything from around '87 to current releases. I bought so many $4.99 boxes there over the years. My biggest problem was that new boxes were added to the shelves every single week, or at least they were at the one that I lived by in Gresham, and there was only so much money that I good get ahold of at the time. The good news was though that not very many other people seemed to be buying them, so the boxes that I wanted would often sit there for weeks, or in some cases, months, until I had enough money again to get them.

  4. Congrats on making it into Beckett! There are more Kmart memorabilia collectors than you might think; you could probably get $10-20 for that mug if you chose to sell it.

  5. That's a fun way of making it into Beckett!

  6. Very cool that one of your customs made it into an issue of Beckett. I haven't bought any recent issues of the magazine, but I'll grab cheap issues from the 90's whenever I can. It's fun to flip through them and see what was popular back in the day. The Bo issue is one of my all-time favorite covers.