It's been quite a while since I showed off some of my favorite Cal Ripken cards, other than a couple stray pickups of relics and autographs. So long, in fact, that I can't easily find that post. The point is, it's time for me to do it again, so here's nine more of my favorites from my Cal Collection:
This is definitely a good place to start: Cal's second-year Topps card. The Iron Man was fresh off his first full season, during which he won the AL Rookie of the Year. He'd easily top that in 1983 by winning the AL MVP (one of two in his career) on the way to the Orioles' most recent World Series title. Besides all that, I chose this card since it's the year in which I was born. so basically, lots of reasons to like it!
Leaf Preferred Staremasters (#0876/2500):
Some of you remember I bought a decent amount of '96 Leaf Preferred because you'll recall my posting the complete Steel insert set. Well this isn't a card I pulled from those packs (they were really, really hard to pull at the time, as you can see from the numbering) but I ended up with one all the same, which is great because it's such a cool card. Fact: If you stare at the card long enough, his eyes move.
1996 Studio Stained Glass Stars:
I can't imagine anyone not liking this sweet die-cut card. At least as far as I see it, my inner child sees it and goes "OOOH COLORS!" and I'm instantly entranced. Just another great example of a creative (read: not Topps) insert from the 1990s in the years before things shifted to "HITS OR GTFO."
1997 Donruss Franchise Features (with Scott Rolen) (#1572/3000):
This is another product I bought a lot of, and I might have actually pulled this from a pack, but I can't remember for certain. 1997 Donruss Rookie Update featured some awesomely entertaining inserts, including Diamond Kings, Press Proofs, and these two-player inserts featuring the oft-used conceit of pairing a star with an up-an-coming player. Rolen never became Ripken, but he's been a very good player in his own right, so this pairing isn't the usual Topps insanity. The design is very pleasing to the eye, making for an excellent total package.
Here's another fun, unique 90s insert, in which Leaf took a die-cut, faux wood piece and placed it over a great photo. Baseball is the sport that probably does the most to emphasize its history, I'm sure because it's been around so long, and the "knothole gang" hearkens back to a more innocent time when you could sneak in a game for free. I chose this one because of the great look and the fact that for whatever reason I love shots of Cal in the field.
Here's another one that I'm pretty sure I pulled from a pack even though I didn't buy a whole lot of the set. I'm not 100% in love with the design, but it's a cool parallel (the scan makes it a stranger color than the copper or so it really is) that's serial numbered and it features a sweet shot of Cal's swing, so up it goes.
And our second Upper Deck numbered parallel in a row. I really liked the look of the 2000 Black Diamond and Rookie Edition sets, especially the red and black (my high school colors!) of the base set. But this Gold insert is numbered and has a great look of its own, plus another good shot of Cal at the plate.
As I was grabbing cards to scan I knew I had to include this one since I just scanned the base version on Wednesday as part of the complete set. The Chrome look definitely enhances what's already a very nice looking card.
Our only non-insert today besides the '83 Topps, this one's special because it was a short print. I'm very sure I pulled it from the one box I grabbed of the product, along with a Jason Giambi SP that's now in my trade bait. This is kind of a busy card front but there's a lot I like: the shot of him fielding, the excellent close-up, the two key moments mentioned and a perfect design to use on a horizontal card. This was a great base set and I'm glad to have the short-printed Cal as part of my collection.
I promise I won't wait as long next time to put up some more of these for my fellow Ripken fans to enjoy!