Saturday, October 10, 2015

Antique Mall Mystery Pack: Mets

The other night, my girlfriend and I stopped into The Brass Armadillo, an antique mall in West Denver. While you might think that's not the most likely sentence to begin a baseball card hobby post, you'd be surprised.

The place is absolutely overwhelming, packed to the gills with old furniture, signs, cookware, books, salt and pepper shakers, coke bottles, you name it.

1999 Stadium Club #256 Bobby Jones
And of course baseball cards. It wasn't exactly like going to a card show, as I had to do a bit of digging to even find some, and even then, more digging was required to find good values. I found a page of 9 cards from the 1993 Rockies Team Stadium Club set which had one of my Eight Men Out needs, but I passed on that at almost $6. I even saw a box of 9-card pages priced at $9.95 each, but when the top page exclusively contained 1991 Donruss, I moved right along. Vendors simply rent space and leave their wares, precluding the opportunity of negotiating (or even giving them a simple heads-up that this isn't 1993 anymore).

Still, I found a few values, including a couple vendors that had team bags (appropriately filled with a single team) for under a buck. There were some singles, too, including a 1962 League Leader card for a mere $4. But I'll get to those later. I'm planning on delaying gratification and opening these team bags one at a time, starting with the Mets, as you can see by that Stadium Club beauty of Bobby Jones above.

There were lots of overproduction cards around, but I think I found some gems in these team bags. Not much recent stuff, but everything from this Mets bag was 1994 or later, so it's a fairly rare glimpse at late-'90s product.

2002 Upper Deck MVP #239 Roger Cedeno
And even early 2000s. This 2002 example from Upper Deck MVP is one of my favorite black-bordered sets around, and the thin copper lines work very well with the Mets' colors. I didn't realize Cedeno was such a journeyman; the back of this card documents his appearance on four teams in four years, not counting his return to the Mets for 2002. Unfortunately, he missed the last Mets' World Series appearance in 2000, spending that year on the Astros.

1998 Pacific Online #488A Mike Piazza Hitting
Mike Piazza, of course, didn't. He was involved in that infamous altercation with Roger Clemens and a broken bat during 2000's Subway Series. What Clemens was thinking there, I'll never know.

This was one of a few Pacific Online cards, the always-enjoyable Geocities Set, as I like to call it. Note the intact baseball bat and absence of Roger Clemens.

1998 Stadium Club #164 Chris Hoiles
Somehow, an Orioles card or two snuck into this bag. It's 1998 Stadium Club, so no objection there, but I am curious how this happened. I'll never turn down a card with that embossed baseball stitching (just like that Dante Bichette card from a previous post), but Chris Hoiles only played for Baltimore. I am guessing that whoever packaged these had the teams arranged alphabetically, and after the Mets cards ran out, picked a couple off the Orioles stack to fill the bag. Prior to the Expos moving to D.C. to become the Nationals, the Orioles come right after the Mets in alphabetical order. I should know, as there is lots of alphabetizing in my card organization habits.

Based on the other team bags I purchased, I might see a few rogue Rangers, Braves, Indians, White Sox, A's, and Giants. Watch this space.

1998 Metal Universe #148 Bobby Jones
Bobby Jones was never a Mets superstar, but here he is on his second card of this post. This card is from 1998, a year after his best season and only All-Star selection. We'll see how the Mets do when the NLDS gets to Queens. The home team has not fared well at all in the playoffs so far.

I've posted about this set before, although the Rockies cards are quite a bit less urban than this New York card showing the Twin Towers, the Statue of Liberty, and Lower Manhattan (trust me, that's what's on the card). I love New York, but my home state is called Colorful Colorado for a reason.

1997 Donruss #350 John Olerud
I lost track of the hobby when this was printed. Turns out I have exactly one other base card from 1997 Donruss (not counting a whole bunch of cards from that subset-heavy set). But I know that era well enough to recognize 1996 Leaf when I see it.

1996 Leaf  #164 Kurt Abbott
Never a good idea to knock off your own product.

1994 Leaf #31 Bobby Bonilla
1994 Leaf was the most common set in this team bag, when Leaf was firing on all cylinders. The 1993 card backs featured a cityscape (or naturey landscape photo, in the Rockies' case) of the team's home city (much like 1998 Metal Universe above), but 1994 Leaf changed this just a little, including a shot from the team's home stadium.

1994 Leaf #31 Bobby Bonilla (Reverse)
For the Mets, of course that means the Home Run Apple. I'd love to see an updated version of this set, and I can see the train in Houston, the slide in Milwaukee, the Rooftop in Denver, and the Whatever-it-is-Fountain in Miami being great subjects for such a set. Or even a Topps insert set called "Ballpark Oddities".

1995 Fleer #384 Ryan Thompson
Now that I think about it, I wonder if the same designers that worked on 1995 Fleer came up with the Marlins' home run fountain. The Marlins, an NL East team, carried the same design in 1995 Fleer (which had different card fronts for each of the six divisions), although the card backs look positively tame in comparison.

1995 Fleer #384 Ryan Thompson (Reverse)
So that's what baseball cards look like when you go antiquing, provided you avoid the $10-a-page 1991 Donruss. Next up will be the already-eliminated Pirates, and I don't know if I'll get to the Astros before they conclude their playoff appearance. There's lots of baseball left before it all wraps up for the year, so enjoy it while you can!

1 comment:

  1. To Infield Fly Rule:

    My name is Mark and I write the blog My Best Friend collects Chipper Jones.

    I've got a couple of the cards on your eight men out list. They are:
    4. 1991 Bowman #411 Bobby Thomson / Ralph Branca (I believe this is card number 410)
    5. 1991 Stadium Club #493 Scott Coolbaugh

    Contact me at and you can provide info on how I can get these cards to you.