Sometimes, you just have to ride the hype wave, even if you know you’re sort of on the backside of the thing.

Take the 1986 Donn Jennings Southern League All-Stars set, for example.

There in that 25-card issued that looks like an early Photoshop creation, we find some of the biggest then-rising stars in the game: Mark McGwire, Gary Thurman, Bo Jackson, Tom Glavine, Mike Yastrzemski, Terry Steinbach.

Not all that surprising to find those guys there, considering this set celebrated the 1986 Southern League All-Stars, the best of the Double-A Southern League who that summer played against the Triple-A Nashville Sounds in the July exhibition.

Of course, when you read the box score from that game, you’ll find that Jackson and McGwire didn’t see the field … still neat to have those pre-rookie cards out in world all these years later.

A more glaring inclusion, though, could be found on card #14 …

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Now, by midsummer of 1986, everybody knew who Jose Canseco was.

After all, he and Wally Joyner were locked in a battle chasing down the rookie home run record, and vying for hobby supremacy.

The thing about Jose and his ascent, though, was that everyone also knew it was coming, at least by the end of 1985.

The young outfielder had debuted in September for the A’s and proceeded to smack five home runs, drive in 13, and hit .302 in an even 100 plate appearances. That all but guaranteed he would stick with the big club in 1986, especially after he had tattooed Double- and Triple-A pitching to the tune of .333, 36 HR, 127 RBI in 1985.

Oh, and part of that 1985 minor league resume Canseco put together included winning the Southern League MVP award.

All of that probably made it an easy decision for Donruss and Fleer (but not Topps, apparently) to include Canseco rookie cards in their 1986 base sets.

And … for the Donn Jennings set to make room for one more card, one honoring the 1985 Southern League MVP. You know … just because.

So, while Canseco was busy tracking down the 1986 American League Rookie of the Year Award without so much as a sniff of minor league action that summer, he also became the subject of one of the year’s most sought-after baseball cards — even if it seemed something of an afterthought.

There’s always room for last year’s MVP, it seems, especially if he’s driving his own wave.

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1986 topps baseball cards complete set

140.jpg $29.00
End Date: Tuesday 05/11/2021 20:49:19 EDT
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