Friday, February 9, 2018

2017 Sportlots purchases: a Barry nice finale, part 1

The final player I'll be showcasing in this feature (with the exception of one more over on TMM, possibly even tomorrow) is HOF SS Barry Larkin.  I decided to save him for the big finish because I scored the most new cards of him out of all the PC guys involved in this enormous purchase--so many, in fact, that for my sanity I'm splitting his pickups into two posts!

There's a lot to see here so let's get down to it:
Starting smack dab in the heyday of junk wax we open up with some '88s and '89s.  Leaf and OPC issues from the earlier year are the sole base cards here, while an '89 Classic Travel Purple is one of many oddballs you'll get to see today.  The rest are boxed set-types from former heavy hitters Donruss, Fleer, and Score.  Card #9, from '89 Scoremasters, is a particular fun one done up in a very realistic artistic style.
Grabbing as many Larkins as I did (I'll reveal the total in the next post) allowed me to accumulate a totally wild variety of stuff, so get ready for a few more scans like this (until the more mainstream era of the mid-90s and later).  This time we're looking at items from '89-'91 with base from Sportflics ('89), Leaf ('90), and OPC and Score ('91).  Of course you already saw card #9 in Sabo's post, and I'm happy to repeat it here because it's a super fun issue celebrating the Reds' surprising World Series win the previous season.  Larkin shows some very Ozzie-like athleticism there!

A Topps Glossy Send-In and a couple more Classic issues from '90 and '91 join a pair of food issues from Jimmy Dean and Post cereal to round out another eclectic bunch.
We're still in the early 90s here for a few more scans--1991 and '92 to be specific.  The base cards hail from Studio ('91) and Bowman ('92) and there's also Score Cooperstown and UD Silver Sluggers from the earlier year.  The oddball side is populated by Score and Topps/Woolworth's boxed sets from '91 and Classic, Donruss/McDonald's, and Fleer/Citgo issues from the following year.  Notable for me here are the debut of the excellent Studio brand and the fact that Barry has a second card in '92 Bowman, a foil subset base I still need.
There's less odballness in this all 1992 scan, with Topps Kids and a McDonald's/Topps offering the only qualifiers.  On the mainstream end we have Leaf and its much better looking Black Gold parallel; a fun Score base subset starring big-head Barry; one of Larkin's appearances in the excellent sophomore year of Stadium Club; a pair of Topps Gold Winners; and a hint of things to come from Ultra with an All-Star insert.  Those Leaf Black Gold cards really do look nice and I think every time I mention them I say the same thing about just ditching the plain gray borders!
Now it's time to move up to 1993, the year I turned 10.  There are base cards from Donruss, Flair, Fleer, OPC, Pacific Spanish, and Pinnacle.  The Flair card--one of two featuring Larkin in the set--is the most notable as it includes a cameo from Barry Bonds.  We also continue the early-ish run of inserts with Pinnacle's Cooperstown, which was obviously right on the money by included the super-talented Larkin.  Meanwhile, Classic pops up once again with another Game card, and Duracell adds to the litany of retail brand oddballs.
1993 bleeds into '94 here with the latter claiming the last six cards.  Regular issues can be seen from '94 brands Bowman, Donruss, Flair, and OPC, with the Donruss card including a fun turn-two photo.  That seems to be longtime SS Rey Sanchez getting doubled up.

Inserts include a '93 Triple Play Action game card, '94 Collector's Choice's You Crash the Game (also a scratch-off), and '94 Donruss' Special Edition parallel.

The oddballs are the Post food issue and Upper Deck Fun Pack from '93.
Fun Pack makes its second appearance in a row here as it closes out 1994, and it's joined by yet another different food issue, Tombstone (anybody else that used to enjoy those mini deep dish pizzas besides me?).  A better Pacific design (other than the still-awful logo) and an SP look that's much nicer than the card to its left are the '94 base representatives, and they're joined by 1995 examples from Topps' Bazooka, Collector's Choice, and Fleer's EMotion.  The pair of inserts are both 1995 parallels:  Bazooka's Red Hot and Collector's Choice SE's Silver Signature.  I like how both Collector's Choice cards use excellent action photos!
I believe from this point onward we're pretty much done with oddballs until the next post.  This scan takes us through the rest of the '95s before starting back up with 1996.  There's a lot of solid and above cardboard with base from Pacific, Select Certified, SP, Stadium Club, and Ultra, plus a below-average Fleer design and a stinker called Topps Embossed.  That middle row is a great representation of the better stuff available in the middle of the decade.

The lone '96 entrant is an appropriately red Fleer Circa on a decent design that ended up going in the wrong direction as the brand evolved into Skybox Thunder, but was solid for its debut.

Our one insert here is a Leaf Limited Bat Patrol, a set with a design that might've been a bit better if they hadn't put the insert title at such a weird angle.
Now we're really getting into one of my favorite card eras:  the decade that began in the mid-90s.  We continue our '96 run with Donruss, Finest, Fleer, Pacific, Select Certified, and Studio base, and all of those feature at least pretty good designs, with Finest, Fleer, Select Certified, and Studio near the top of their game.  I am, of course, a shameless promoter of 1996-97 Fleer, the best two-year run of the brand's flagship product.

There are two inserts you can spot here:  a Collector's Choice You Make the Play game card and a Score Dugout Collection parallel, which was a nice copper-colored version of the solid base set.

The card I haven't mentioned so far is somewhat but not completely odd: a Stadium Club Members Only 50 of the guy who was named MVP that season.
1996 finishes up with an excellent Upper Deck flagship design (I love the award/achievement stamps) and Zenith, for which I'll always be grateful thanks to its awesome Mozaics insert.

1997's base in this scan is represented by Circa (see what I mean?), Donruss Limited, Fleer's E-X2000, and a twofer from Leaf.  Limited definitely had a higher-end feel at the time, plus Larkin shares his card with another SS who was popular at the time,
Rey Ordonez.  And the E-X2000 has an even more premium feel to it, which makes sense since just two cards came in each pack.

The pair of inserts you see in the middle row are Stick'Ums stickers from Collector's Choice.  For some reason these came in hobby and retail versions (left and right, respectively), though there's no difference in the stickers up front.
It's all 1997 in this scan, and aside from card #7--a Stadium Club Members Only issue again--everything is a base card.  Fleer's crazy Metal Universe product starts things off and is followed by another Certified product (Pinnacle Certified in this case).  Then we see a couple examples of the latter brand's experimentation thanks to Inside (the cards that came in collectible cans) and Mint (which included coins).  Then there's a pair of base Score on another nice, understated design, and typical strong examples from Studio and Topps Gallery.  Of course a double play photo like that should be framed!
The first two cards here close out '97 in style with Topps Stars (did the colors always look this faded on them?) and the beautiful photograph of Zenith.  There's a definite higher-end feel to their '98 counterparts thanks to Bowman Chrome, Donruss Elite, and Flair Showcase, and the latter there is one of the highlights of this whole scan.  The best of the rest is a very nice Fleer Tradition design, joined by another Metal Universe offering, Pacific's Paramount, and Pinnacle's out-there Performers.
The top row here is a fantastic finish to another good year of cardboard:  Sports Illustrated World Series Fever, Stadium Club, and Upper Deck Retro.  Fleer's collaboration with SI was always a highlight and UD's Retro was a short-lived but excellent product.

Half of the '99s can be claimed by Pacific in the form of Aurora, Crown Collection, and a not-so-ostentatious Prism set.  The others are base entries from Bowman, a very Certified-like Fleer Brilliants, and, yes, once again, Metal Universe!
This mostly 1999 scan contains another nice mix of brands that shows what the hobby was like almost 20 years ago.  It's interesting to look at the debut of Pacific's Private stock as it changed quite a bit the other years it existed (especially the relic-per-pack 2001 version).  Skybox's Molten Metal and UD's SPx are foil-infused eye-poppers.  Topps' contributions here hail from Opening Day and the third iteration of Stars.  Then another excellent Fleer Ultra base leads to a pair of UD products in Encore (a louder version of the base set) and Ovation, the product with the raised design that felt like a baseball.

Card #9 then begins the final year of this post with Upper Deck's Black Diamond.  While I'll always be a bigger fan of the '99 version, 2000 was another good year for that brand, one that had some very cool parallels.
Time to finish things off here before I get to part 2 soon.  This all 2000 scan is chock full of goodness so it's a great way to end this post.

The top row is an upper-end dream with Fleer's E-X, Topps' Finest, and Fleer Showcase.  That version of Finest happens to be one of my favorites and I can't think of a Showcase design I didn't like.

Meanwhile, the next four cards are all Pacific:  flagship, Crown Collection, Omega, and Private Stock (again, see what I mean?).  The flagship design is one of that manufacturer's best, and Private Stock was clearly a work of art that year.

Last up are SP Authentic and Stadium Club Chrome.  The former looks great as always, and the latter is a product I wish had continued.  That's probably because I pulled so many great cards from it, including a Derek Jeter I sold for good money and a Griffey Refractor.  I mean, really, Stadium Club cards are beautiful already, so why not Refractor-ize them as well?  That's Topps for you.

Congrats to all of you who made it this far!  After adding everything you see above, my Larkin collection sits at a very respectable 551 cards, so that's another fun milestone I can cross off.  Stay tuned for more of all Barry, all the time in my next post!


  1. I tip my cap to you for scanning all of these. I just can't get myself to ever do it. My scanner takes forever... and that's not including the cropping time. Anyways... I'm glad you did it though. It was nice to see all of these awesome Larkins. The 1992 Leaf Gold brought back memories of busting packs of that stuff in an effort to build that set.

    1. Thanks, Fuji! It does take time and effort but it makes collecting more fun for me (not to mention more organized). Did you ever finish the '92 Leaf set that way?

    2. No. But I probably had 40 to 50% of the set at one point. It's kinda sad that back in December a complete set of 528 cards sold for $35 (+ $5 shipping) on eBay.

  2. I started reading this post yesterday and took me until now to adore all the cards. The Barry card with Barry cameo is great; and the other's showing him turning two or sliding into home are wonderful baseball cards. They can't slide into second like that any more. Thanks for sharing these cards.

    1. Wow, thanks for putting in that much time, Peter--that makes me feel like the scanning/editing/writing were worth it. Yeah, the game's definitely different in subtle but important ways like that, for better or worse.