Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Another completed set: 1998 Studio Portraits 8x10

Here's a nice tie-in with my previous post discussing why eBay is terrible and stupid and likes to kick the puppies of its sellers:  I originally found the last three cards I needed for this set on eBay (from separate sellers) and almost pulled the trigger thanks to my eBay bucks, but instead, luckily, I found all of them on Sportlots, along with most of the other wantlist cards I previously blogged about.  Therefore, by eschewing eBay (which couldn't be reached for comment as its mouth was busy biting the hand that feeds it) I discovered the benefits of Sportlots and the rest is history.

And there's my transition to more positive content.  1998 Studio continued the tradition of the previous year's set as packs contained a few normal-size cards plus an 8x10 portrait in a big envelope-type package.  As has generally been the case with Studio over the years, the design and photography are big draws with this set. 

The Portraits--which are ideal for autographs, though I've never gone that route--actually have different photographs from the base cards, which I thought was a nice touch.  The basic design is a studio portrait in front of something more like an action shot, with a representative team color in the lower right corner, all surrounded by a thick white border.  36 players (some of which weren't Yankees, apparently to Donruss' chagrin, and you'll see what I mean) comprise the lineup, and here they are:

 Travis Lee:  Money doesn't buy happiness, or talent, apparently

Todd Helton:  They were right on getting this guy in the set at this point in his career

Ben Grieve:  Another prototypical regrettable Rookie of the Year winner...

Paul Konerko:  I still hate the White Sox, but this guy's a winner

Jeff Bagwell:  Like the rest of America, I loved that batting stance, and the goatee was pretty awesome too

Derek Jeter:  The most deserving Yankee in the set, I think Derek's holding his breath waiting for a baseball card set that doesn't feature 200% more Yankees than deserve to appear in it, which I wouldn't advise

Ivan Rodriguez:  One of the three I got from Sportlots; thumbs up for his brief Detroit career

Cal Ripken Jr.:  Classy move making the Iron Man #8 in the set.  I added this to my Cal PC scans because it's a great card, plus my favorite Cals feature shots of him in the field

Mike Piazza:  Mike was in the midst of a great career with the Dodgers here, rocking the mullet as always

Chipper Jones:  My favorite modern-day Brave, just a great player.  He was the second of the Sportlots three

Frank Thomas:  What, you passed on a hitting pose for a guy nicknamed "The Big Hurt"?

Tony Gwynn:  This guy wasn't a bad hitter.  Too bad he had to deal with the steamroller that was Detroit in '84 and the '98 Yankees

Nomar Garciaparra:  Yep, Nomah would have been pretty popular right around this time.  It's a shame he never really lived up to his huge potential, but he got Mia Hamm, so he's got that going for him

Juan Gonzalez:  So, so very glad he idiotically rejected Detroit's extremely ill-advised enormous contract offer after the mistake that was trading for him; just another '90s steroid slugger I guess

Greg Maddux:  I don't get it, why do they call him "The Professor" again?  Definitely one of my two or three favorite pitchers all-time

Hideo Nomo:  Nomo was still pretty popular a few years into his American career, but since I'm closer to the Atlantic coast I never really got into the Nomo fever.  He was the third of my Sportlots purchase, by the way
Scott Rolen:  The '97 NL Rookie of the Year has gone on to have a pretty nice career and won the 2006 World Series against my Tigers

Barry Bonds:  As my Michigan hockey fan colleagues and I like to say, "WHO CARES?!"

Ken Griffey Jr.:  If a healthy Junior wearing his hat backwards and taking a signature pretty swing isn't a symbol of 1990s baseball, I don't know what is

Alex Rodriguez:  Go ahead and have a seat over there with Bonds...

Roger Clemens:  You too, if you can pull yourself away from stabbing Pettitte in the back, jackass

Mark McGwire:  Wow, 13 years later this run of players is kind of infuriating to look at, isn't it?
Jose Cruz Jr.:  Wow, the Mariners sure didn't waste any time trading his ass, did they?  I still don't get that to this day, and I'm curious if his career would have been any different hitting in a lineup with Griffey, A-Rod, Edgar, et al

Andruw Jones:  A couple years removed from his breakout World Series against the Yanks, Andruw was living large--now he's just large and not hitting much

Tino Martinez:  This is where I started to get pissed off with the Yankee count--nothing against Tino, but he clearly doesn't belong here, especially at the expense of a more deserving guy like the aforementioned Edgar Martinez, Tino's former teammate

Mo Vaughn:  I never got sucked into his hype (or gravity) either

Vladimir Guerrero:  I'm glad he got to experience a World Series eventually because he sure wasn't going to with Montreal...

Tony Clark:  I guess they felt they needed to include a Tiger, and maybe Tony was the best we had at the time.  Around this point he started putting up better numbers, but never could do it consistently, and he left town a few years later

Andy Pettitte:  See what I mean about way too many Yankees?  Pettitte's a reasonable choice, though, but things get ridiculous with Tino and an upcoming player

Jaret Wright:  Jaret never made it back to the World Series after the fateful 1997 affair (damn you Marlins for selling off the team and spoiling a great upset) and only won 15 games once in his career

Paul Molitor:  This card was produced in the final year of Molly's storied 21-season career, six years before he'd deservedly enter the Hall of Fame

Darin Erstad:  I'd have preferred Jim Edmonds, who I think had a better '97 season, but I guess Erstad was more popular at the time (maybe, I have no clue)

Larry Walker:  Canadian mullet power activate!

Chuck Knoblauch:  This is where I drew the line.  If it was the early 90s and Blauchhead was still with the Twins I'd let it go, but we've already had about 50 Yankees, and last I checked, there's 29 other teams

Barry Larkin:  Get this Wolverine to the Hall of Fame, STAT!

Kenny Lofton:  We close out with his generation's closest analogue to Rickey Henderson, or Willy Mays Hayes, or something

Another great set and another feeling of accomplishment finishing it.  I hope you all enjoyed a look at another of my conquests (especially this one; scanning, touching up and uploading 36 8x10s takes a WHILE, man).  I'll work on finding something else to show off soon!


  1. Mo Vaughn will make you mo' better.

    That's some Backyard Baseball 2000 for ya haha. I love the Hit Dawg though...good man.

  2. I'll respectfully disagree on the Tino. I'll completely admit that the Yankees are always over-represented, but this set came out in 1998, and in 1997 Tino hit .296 with 44 HRs and 141 RBIs and finished 2nd in the MVP vote...numbers that made him well deserving of being included in 1998 insert sets.