(This is the 28th in our series of posts about the best baseball cards from the 1980s. Check out the rest of those posts here.)

If the 1988 Score baseball card set had no soul — a fact we’ve already established — then what can you say about the 1989 Score set?

That it had no face? That it was never born at all?

Maybe.

After all, 1989 Score is kinda like rocks or dirt. You can find it everywhere if you want to, though you hardly ever want to. And no one really knows how it got anywhere in particular.

It’s just always been there.

1989 Score Nolan Ryan

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And while the brightly colored borders of 1988 Score at least give that set an identity, 1989 Score is about as anonymous as they come.

White borders.

Tiny fanned diamond at the center of card fronts to list player name, position, and team. Score logo in the upper right-hand corner.

The photography is decent in general, though many images came out dark or blurry. They certainly pale in comparison to what Upper Deck gave us in their inaugural set that same year.

And, yes, Score treated to us card-back color photos again, along with plenty of stats and verbiage.

Beyond the “need” to collect one of everything that came out, though, there was little that compelled collectors to stock up on 1989 Score, so we didn’t, for the most part.

When faced with such an uninspiring set, then, how do you go about picking the best card?

Even more than usual, it’s a subjective exercise, though you can apply a few principles …

  • Look for a great photo.
  • Look for a pleasing color scheme.
  • Keep history in mind.
  • Give some credence to player selection (i.e., star power is important).

With all that in mind, my choice for the best card from the 1989 Score baseball set is … Nolan Ryan, at #300.

This card offers a strong shot of The Ryan Express right at the end of his drive as he is releasing the ball. Some poor batter stands less than 60 feet away and has a split second to reconsider his career choice as the spheroid of doom rockets toward his body.

The orange diamond used for the Astros designation at the bottom of the card complements Ryan’s rainbow sleeves, and the purple bottom border works well with the crowd in the background.

And, by the time this card was issued, Ryan was gearing up for his first season with the Texas Rangers after having left Houston as a free agent in the off-season.

1989 Score Nolan Ryan (back)

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In case you have forgotten the early 1990s, Ryan cemented his legend in Arlington and, in the process, pushed the value of all his cards toward the top of the heap for whatever set he appeared in.

So, yeah, this card checks all my boxes and is as good a choice as any for best card in the 1989 Score set.

Damning with faint praise?

Maybe, but the worst baseball card I ever owned was still better than the best bill anyone ever sent me. So, as paper goes, this one is pretty solid.

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(This is the 28th in our series of posts about the best baseball cards from the 1980s. Check out the rest of those posts here.)

 

 

 

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