Saturday, November 5, 2016

(Prime Nine minus 2) times 2

My effort to get my remaining cards of the Griffey/Gwynn/Maddux/Ripken quartet really ramped up this week as I took advantage of a couple off days to go through my box housing their PCs, weed out the duplicates and already-posted cards, and sort out what still needed to be scanned.  I finished the sorting portion yesterday, so now a bunch of scanning awaits.  That's fine, I'm up to the task!

While going through each player's cards, many of which hail from the glory years of the 90s, I found a couple groups I thought I'd scan and show off now instead of waiting until everything else was done.  One's a single-player-focused insert set you'll see next time, and today's content represents two of my biggest PC guys and their portion of a larger insert set.

One of Upper Deck's many inserts available in its 1998 flagship product was Prime Nine out of Series 2.  As with many of the other inserts of the time, the fronts went heavy on the foil, as they included a regular portrait or action shot combined with an unrelated smaller photo to the left.  The backs, meanwhile, delve into one or more years of each player's career along with a specific highlight of that span, which is accompanied by a third unique photo.

Eschewing the idea of picking a starting nine squad, UD just went with nine of the most popular guys at the time.  It ended up as a 60-card set, and even someone like me who doesn't have a strong aptitude for math knows that nine doesn't go into 60 evenly; as it turns out, Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux were the two players to get shorted at six and five cards, respectively.  The other seven guys each got seven, including Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas, Mark McGwire, and Juan Gonalez.  I don't have any of Griffey's cards yet, but I do own all seven each for Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr.

First, here's a look at all seven of Gwynn's cards:
No surprise here as UD focused on Gwynn helping the Padres get to the '84 NLCS, winning lots of batting titles, piling up the hits, and making a run at .400 in '94.  Had this set come out the following year the seventh card could have added Gwynn's San Diego team making its second World Series instead of devoting a pair to 1997.

And now, Ripken's cards:
The list of accomplishments UD used for Ripken make plenty of sense as well, including his '82 ROY award, '83 and '91 AL MVPs, '83 World Series win, and eclipsing Lou Gehrig's streak in '95.

Both players enjoyed a few more highlights in their four seasons after these cards came out, including the aforementioned World Series trip for Gwynn, more All-Star appearances (two for Gwynn, four for Ripken), and of course their joint entry into the Hall of Fame in 2007.  Clearly Upper Deck was right to add them to the Prime Nine roster!

With these posted, stay tuned for one more fun insert set, and then who knows as I continue to work on the great scanning project of 2016!

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