|2015 Topps Archives #38 Carlos Gonzalez|
This is definitely a photograph of Gonzalez, but somehow it looks ever so slightly painted, though nowhere near a Gypsy Queen card. Perhaps it's the unusual surface that gives it a different look.
|2014 Topps #290 Chad Bettis (RC)|
By now, this design is very familiar to me. 2014 marks the year that Infield Fly Rule debuted, and I was highly active on Topps Bunt that year. "The Wave Set" (or was that 2010?) wasn't universally loved, but the sets I spend the most time with tend to be my favorites. Whether one causes the other, I can't say, but I'll be able to place this one in the correct pile with barely a glance.
|1994 Score Samples #8 Andres Galarraga|
Except, of course, for the large black "SAMPLE" lettering, which appears front and back. Never saw one of those before. These pop up on occasion, though more often on Leaf/Donruss products, and occasionally Topps. But Pinnacle/Score was in the preview game too, providing cards for dealers to display. They're a relic from a time when the industry was hot, and the real thing had to be kept under lock and key.
Call it a Beta version, to use a modern tech term. I rarely see significant changes from a preview to a final release, but there are occasionally subtle differences. The card back of this sample card feels rougher than a standard 1994 Score card from the actual print run. 1994 Topps Pre-Production cards had the same basic design as the final product, but the fonts on the back and the background colors on both sides were changed.
|1994 Topps #180 George Brett|
|1994 Topps Pre-Production #397 George Brett|
|1995 Select Certified #68 Dante Bichette|
Rather than consolidated statistics, the reverse breaks out his performance by team in the strike-shortened 1994 season. That means we get a tiny logo of the other thirteen NL teams. Yes, this was before Interleague play, and before the Diamondbacks. Bichette loved to face the Cardinals that year, racking up 20 of his 95 RBIs, and 5 of his 27 home runs.
|2006 Artifacts AL/NL Artifacts Blue #NL-TH Todd Helton Jsy /325 (MEM)|
You can see it quite clearly on this particular photo of Helton, but this Artifacts card also lists the player's uniform number, always a nice touch. It's one of the pieces of information cluttering up the "loincloth" on 1996 Donruss, but the fact that the Rockies retired #17 in Helton's honor makes it just a bit more special.
Thank you, Brett, and welcome to the Cardsphere!