Author: Adam Hughes

The Last Phil Niekro Baseball Card Where He Didn’t Look Like Your Grandfather

(Check out our other player card posts here.) If your first exposure to Phil Niekro came through his baseball cards in the 1980s, then you probably think of him as an old man. Heck, you may have even thought — upon first laying eyes on his cardboard — that the card companies had taken to making pasteboards of pitching coaches. I mean, that can’t be an active player on Niekro’s 1987 Topps card, right?     If not a coach card, then maybe a Senior League issue? Maybe MLB finally go tired of the Cleveland Indians‘ losing ways (back...

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These Donruss Rated Rookies Just Didn’t Rate the Hype

(Check out our other “just-for-fun” posts here.) If there was a single trend that defined baseball cards and the hobby in the 1980s, it was the explosion of the rookie card. We began the decade with the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle (not-really-a) rookie card stirring long-dormant poetry in the hearts of thickening and balding Baby Boomers, and we ended it drooling over the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr., (true) rookie card. In between, the 1984 Donruss Don Mattingly rookie lit the hobby on fire and stoked our imaginations … how great would Mattingly become? How high would his...

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You Can Tell This Eddie Murray Baseball Card Is Fake … Because He’s Smiling

(Check out our other player card posts here.) Pick up almost any Eddie Murray baseball card and you’ll be reminded of two things: Murray could hit a baseball like few other players in history, and he was (almost) always intense on the field. Murray’s card backs tell you his Hall of Fame story … 3255 hits, 504 home runs, 1917 RBI, 560 doubles, 128 sacrifice flies (a record), .287 batting average over a 21-year career with five teams. More than 20 years after his retirement, it’s easy to forget just how good Murray was. I have some suspicion that’s...

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Chasing Future Hall of Famers with 1986 Fleer Baseball Cards

(Check out our other posts about oddball baseball cards here.) In 1986, after five full years of producing (mostly) progressively better baseball card sets, Fleer was ready to press the issue. For one thing, there were the card borders. Fleer had experimented with their borders in both 1983 and 1985, opting for gray or gray-brown those years. But the success Donruss had with their black-bordered beauties in 1985 must have fired Fleer’s daring synapse, because they went with a darkish blue for their borders in 1986 — groundbreaking! They also ramped up their offerings to include a mini set,...

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This 1974 Dave Winfield Baseball Card Sure Is Good to Have Around

(Check out our other player card posts here.) It must have been really tough to be a San Diego Padres fan in late 1973 and early 1974. Not only had the team just finished off their third 100-loss season in five years of existence, but they were headed out of town. After watching his team draw fewer than 2.5 million fans total in their first four years in the sunshine, owner C. Arnholt Smith, a local banker, had had enough and put the team on the auction blockĀ in 1973. The winning bidder was a group from Washington, D.C., headed...

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