It all started with a message on Twitter, thanking me for the follow. My reply back included a statement that I noticed he collects Ron Gant and if he needed a particular card of the former Braves outfielder. He did and a trade with Joey from Dub Mentality (or you can follow him on Twitter @DubMentality) was soon worked out.
I explained to Joey that I was a recovering Braves fan/collector and had some other Gant cards I thought he might like, and all I was looking for in return were Topps and Upper Deck Seattle Mariners cards. He seemed more than happy to oblige. A few days later a package arrived with over a dozen cards to add to my team sets.
We'll start with one of my favorite cards from what is my favorite Topps set of the 90s: a 1991 Ken Griffey, Jr.
There are a number of reasons why I'm so fond of this set, one of which is that I returned to the Hobby in April of 1991 and the Topps packs were the first I had opened since about '84. The set also featured a great design and top-notch photography. And there is this Griffey card, which captures one of my two favorite swings of all-time (David Justice being the other).
But Joey didn't stop at just one card of the Kid, he included three others as well. One of those cards was from another favorite 90s set: 1993 Topps.
Another Seattle icon- Ichiro, featured on this 2012 Topps. Does anyone else immediately think of 'error card' when they see that empty black name plate? I know that threw me for a loop. I also had to check my set to make sure this wasn't some sort of photo variation, as this is the kind of photo the manufacturer likes to use for short-prints.
It's my opinion that 1989 Topps was the last of the flagship sets that were reminiscent of designs from the 50s or 60s. The end of an era, if you will. Future sets would recall the '70s (think 1990=1975 or 2004=1976) and beyond. And if something did cause a flashback (like, 2003 Topps), the gloss, foil, colored borders and fancy backs reminded us that they are "modern". These two aren't from 1989, but were a part of the 2014 '1989 Die-Cut Minis' insert set.
One set I didn't care for upon its release was 2014 Topps. I thought it looked too much like some of the Bowman designs from 2011, 2012 and 2013. It has grown on me (even if ever so slightly), and it could have been a little more attractive if they had not used all that silver foil. Blasted foil! Anyway, the future (at the time, at least) looked really bright with Zunino, Paxton and Walker. Now, Walker's gone and Mike Z is trying to find some consistency at the plate. He has made some adjustments in the offseason and hopefully they'll pay dividends for the team. Hopefully this is the season that Mr. Paxton will stay healthy and fulfill all that promise he's shown over his career.
Finally, there's Danny Tartabull, a player who was traded to Kansas City following the 1986 season. The son of a former major leaguer (Jose Tartabull), Danny would go on to a pretty solid career, finishing with 262 Home Runs and a .273 average. Sadly, he would become a wanted fugitive after failing to appear for a 180-day jail sentence for outstanding child support (reportedly at $275,000) and was on the Most Wanted List for Los Angeles County Child Services Department. Yes, from All-Star to Deadbeat Dad.
Thanks again, Joey, for the trade. I'll try to find some more Gant cards for your collection.
And if anyone has any Mariners (flagship Topps, Upper Deck flagship, Stadium Club) to trade, hit me up and I'll see what I've got for you.