Thursday, November 17, 2016

Griffey/Gwynn/Maddux/Ripken scanning update: offseason oddballs

As I continue my great Griffey/Gwynn/Maddux/Ripken PC scanning project, I thought it would be fun (and productive!) to show off a few of the more oddball-ish items I have of each player.  In this case I'm not referring to food issue stuff or items found in boxed sets; everything below was made between 1997 and 2000.  That's not a huge surprise as that's when I really got back into collecting and didn't have much of a focus on what I wanted.  That meant I tried at least a little bit of many products and was a big-time box- and pack-breaker--back when boxes were actually good values!

The decade between the mid 90s and mid 2000s was a great time to be a collector as there was a ton of choice (remember being able to buy something other than Topps?), and each manufacturer tried all kinds of tactics to get us to buy their stuff.  That resulted in some really fun stuff that gives me the warm fuzzies every time I look back on it.

I found a total of 12 such items of the four players mentioned above, and as luck would have it, it works out to three per collection.  Rather than group them by player, I sorted them by product instead.  Enjoy!

1997-1998 Pinnacle Inside cans:
I think I touched on these in a post a while ago as I already had Ripken's '98 can in his album.  Regardless, a quick refresher:  in 1997 and 1998, Pinnacle sold "packs" in the form of these cans, which you actually had to open with a can opener (top or bottom didn't matter, though my brother and I eventually decided that they looked better with the bottoms being the opened part).  The cards inside were stored in shrink wrap, though that didn't necessarily prevent damage from the cards getting tossed around.

While the base set was pretty standard Pinnacle fare--along with some pretty great inserts, and one dud--it was fun getting to keep the "pack" as an extra collectible, especially since these are so easy to display.  You just had to make sure to get to wherever they were sold quickly enough to get your favorite player since the cans weren't obscured in any way.  This is one of the few times I recall buying cards at a drug store as my local Rite Aid had them (along with the football and hockey versions) in abundance.

I actually have quite a few I'd be happy to unload from all three sports, so you may see those available soon.  But as for these, it's fun to own pieces of cardboard history as Pinnacle tried something new to tempt collectors.
1998 Donruss Preferred Tin Packs:
In another example of "I get to keep the pack?!" I have a pair of the double-wide versions of these tins from 1998 Donruss Preferred.  The higher-end Donruss set was already a draw thanks to its beautiful base cards and outstanding inserts, but these added even more value.  Not only were they very collectible by featuring two stars up front, but they were also useful as a means of storing and transporting cards as well!

It's been almost 20 years since they came out so I can't remember all the details, so I don't remember if each tin was covered to the point that you didn't see who was on them when you purchased them individually, but I do know they came in both this double-wide format (retail) as well in singles (hobby), and that each "box" was a larger tin in its own right (hobby again).  Also, there were Silver and Gold versions of the hobby packs.

My collection includes two of the best pairings in Gwynn along with the Big Hurt, and Ripken plus rising star A-Rod.

I believe I have a couple football versions of these I may be looking to unload as well, so stay tuned.
1999 Topps Action Flats:
Going away from collectible packs for a minute, here's a one-off set of not-quite-action-figures/cards Topps produced in 1999.  As the name suggests, these Action Flats" were flattened figurines that mimicked the photos of the specially-stamped base cards that accompanied them in each package.  Facial details aside, these do a pretty good job of capturing the action on the cards, and they're very easy to display in these packages.

Years ago at a card show, quite a while after these came out, I bought a box of them for a ridiculously low price.  I want to say something like 20-24 came in a box, and I believe I landed one each of the 12 "base" versions; Away and Classic Uniforms versions could also be had, and I'm not sure if I landed any as they were tougher pulls.

I didn't intend to make this post into advertising for a future cleaning/giveaway event, but I should have a few of these guys up for grabs as well.
1999-2000 Topps Oversize:
Here we have a pair of items that are the most "card"-like out of today's bunch.  I mean, they're certainly cards, they just happen to be oversized versions that came one per hobby/HTA box in 1999 (Ripken) and 2000 (Maddux).  Here they're shown actual size, although that scale may be a bit confusing since I tend to blow up most of my scans to this size.  Rest assured that they're larger than your normal 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 trading card, but that's the main difference as they use the same photos.
1999 Upper Deck Retro Lunchboxes:
And lastly we return to collectible packaging.  Remember how I mentioned that '98 Donruss Preferred was sold in small and large tins?  Well in 1998 and 1999, Upper Deck's amazing Retro product arrived in theme-appropriate lunch boxes.  The '98 versions were bright and colorful in a 60s/70s sort of way while UD went with a more austere look the following year.

In 1999, a total of 17 were available, with nine featuring a single player on each side, and another eight in the style of mine, shown above, pairing up Griffey or Mark McGwire with each other, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, or Mickey Mantle.

In this case I do recall that the boxes were covered--I think I remember cardboard--so you didn't know what you had until you bought and uncovered them.  Needless to say, my brother and I were pretty happy with how we did here.  Plus we loved the set and its inserts, so that helped.

I'll continue scanning the rest of my stuff for the four big PCs as I find time, but I had a blast digging through this stuff and remembering how much fun collecting was before it became a one-horse town, and I hope you've all enjoyed a look at some of the odder stuff I own.  This post has also given me the inspiration to include and show off a few other non-card items of each player, though I think you'll find these to be a bit more mainstream.  What are they?  Stay tuned for a future post!


  1. Ah, I too miss these days - competition breeds innovation, after all.

    1. Just wait until I get to the posts showing off a lot of that 90s goodness. Inserts: inserts everywhere!