Friday, February 5, 2016

Antique Mall Mystery Pack: Twins

There's been a fair bit of repetition so far in the Mystery Packs from my trip to the antique mall last year, but this first card is from a set we haven't seen in some time.

1993 Studio #109 Chuck Knoblauch
It's 1993 Studio, which toned down the weird a bit from the previous year. Rainbow foil facsimile signatures are found on each card in this set, but Chuck Knoblauch's John Hancock, like most, is fairly illegible. I definitely can make out a "K" in the middle of the scrawl, though.

Not only does the back of the card tell us that the second baseman enjoys ice fishing and Vin Scully, but during my trip to German-speaking Europe last summer, I learned that "Knoblauch" is their word for garlic.

This is probably the simplest Studio design from their run. Not long after this, they took a pretty huge jump to a credit card theme, whose parallels even had rounded corners. But in 1993, we just got a portrait with a close-up of the team's hat logo.

Charles Garlic, second base for the Twins, who lost the ability to consistently throw to first base after joining the Yankees.

1992 Topps #164 Shane Mack
Full-sized 1992 Topps cards always look a little strange to me. One of my earliest-ever pickups was a set of 1992 Topps Micro, whose cards are barely bigger than a postage stamp. Seeing this design in a standard 2.5" x 3.5" always seems a bit...giant.

Nonetheless, it flew under the radar despite a solid design and good photography, though most would rank it a few steps below 1991. Outfielder Shane Mack is sliding safely into third here, and based on the opposing player's uniform stripes, I think he's in Cleveland. There's not a ton to go on to date this card, but I'll go with June 15th, 1991. Mack had just doubled in a run, and advanced to third on the next batter. This heads-up baserunning meant he'd go on to score on the following play, before Scott Leius got caught trying to advance to second to end the inning.

1993 Score Franchise #9 Kirby Puckett
Though you might not recognize it, this is an insert card from 1993 Score. I opened a few packs of that when it was new. I even remember getting a pack as a Hanukkah present one night. But inserts were few and far between.

This insert set features a player from each of the teams (then just 28), but many featured as "franchise players" played on several teams throughout their careers, even Ken Griffey, Jr. The late Kirby Puckett did indeed spend his whole career on the Twins, helping lead them to two World Series titles, and earning his way into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Those are quite a series of accomplishments despite passing away at the young age of 45.

1994 Topps #583 Chip Hale
Chip Hale never reached legendary status as a Twin, though his long fly ball in a 1991 minor league game comes up on blooper reels all the time. Someone had to hit the ball that led to Rodney McCray running right through the outfield wall. And that someone was Chip Hale, current manager of the Diamondbacks, and subject of a poorly-centered 1994 Topps card.

This card also predates the Brewers' move to the National League, as they're seen playing the AL Twins a few seasons before interleague play. That move has cemented itself in my mind much more firmly than the Houston Astros moving to the AL, but ask me again in 2034 which league the Astros are in and see how long I hesitate before I answer.

1993 Topps Gold #146 Scott Leius
Scott Leius, the immortal hero that advanced Shane Mack to third base four cards ago, is seen rapidly drifting to his left to catch an infield fly. Pitcher Scott Erickson is looking on to ensure nothing goes awry in his infield, and oh yeah, it's a Topps Gold parallel!

Though I haven't seen any in person yet, this 1993 design seems to have influenced the new 2016 Topps product, as I see definite parallels between the two. Name on top, team on bottom, 45-degree banner in the lower corner. Other than the border, its clearly a close cousin.

1994 Triple Play #260 Dave Winfield
Remember how I said in my previous post that Charlie Hough in a Marlins uniform didn't look that unusual to me since I found so many cards of him when I first started collecting? The same goes for Dave Winfield as a Twin. He was only a couple years from retirement by this time, his string of 12 consecutive All-Star selections had ended several seasons prior, and the seagull incident was long behind him, but he was still able to put up some decent stats for Minnesota.

This pack was a little on the light side. There were still plenty of good cards, but quite a few commons from 1992, 1993, and 1994 Topps, so it contained a bit less variety than past packs. But the Twins are a likable team, and they've forged enough of an identity in Minnesota that few remember they were once the (first) Washington Senators.

But the city they (and the Rangers) left meant the Expos had somewhere to go when they left Montreal. Come back next time to see the team that ought to have won the 1994 World Series, had it occurred.

1 comment:

  1. Call me weird but I actually bought a complete set of 93 Studio. I like the logo graphic and the personal tidbits on the back. I'm still curious why Craig Biggio's pet peeve is Casey Candaele.