I used to buy Baseball Cards magazine and Baseball Card Price Guide Monthly fairly often, and they would usually have these cards inside for you to cut out. Early on, I would actually cut them out, and later I saved them intact. This was before Archives or Heritage or anything like that, and it was my first exposure to the idea of resurrecting old designs. For 1989, the cards used the 1959 Topps design, and I feel sure that seeing these at age 13 is what led me to set a long-term goal of collecting a 1959 Topps set.
Keith Hernandez card back.
We'll kick off our view of these with card #1 in the series, Keith Hernandez. You see on the card back that these don't have stats, but if you overlook that major change, then the back design is similar to the 1959 card backs. You also see these are different from the cards included with Baseball Card Price Guide Monthly (I posted November 1990 and July 1991 cards before), in that those cards were "mini price guides," giving card values on the backs.
The 1959 Topps set had a special design for Sporting News Rookie Stars, although the most important rookie from the set, Bob Gibson, had the regular card design. I posted another of these Rookie Stars, Ricky Jordan, earlier, in the early days of this blog. Gregg Jeffries was a hot property back then; I remember in 8th grade at the lunch table, one of the guys misplaced his 1988 Donruss Gregg Jeffries card and accused me of stealing it, until he found it (right where he left it) a few minutes later. Tensions were high around this guy's cards. Then we have Don Mattingly, Donnie Baseball, who was at his peak back then. The summer of his grand slams was a recent memory, and he seemed like a sure thing for the Hall of Fame. Things don't always work out.
Cal Ripken, Jr.
I can't look at a Ryne Sandberg card without thinking how things might have been different in Philadelphia if they hadn't traded him and Larry Bowa for Ivan DeJesus. The period between Phillies pennants from 1983 to 1993, as Schmidt and Carlton faded away, and until Dykstra, Kruk, and Daulton got up to speed, was pretty uninspiring. Having a rising Hall-of-Fame infielder to watch would have been a definite improvement. On the other side of Delaware is Baltimore, where Cal Ripken and the Orioles were in residence, winning that 1983 World Series. Afterwards, I always felt like those Orioles teams should do better than they did in the 90s -- with Ripken, Brady Anderson, Mike Mussina, Gregg Olson, Ben McDonald, and others, it seemed like there was a lot of talent. Looking it up now, I see they did finally win the division (after I stopped watching baseball) in 1997, losing the ALCS to the Indians, who went on to give Jim Leyland and the Marlins a World Series win.
Here we have two other great shortstops, Barry Larkin and Ozzie Smith. Anytime I saw Ozzie Smith play it was a good day. His love of the game was infectious. Barry Larkin was one of many rookies in the 1987 Topps set, and a key part of the Reds' surprise championship over the powerhouse Oakland A's in 1990.
That's it for this time; I have some more of these that I'll show in a future post. Thanks for reading!