|1994 SP Holoviews #10 Andres Galarraga|
The card number looks like a fraction: 10 over 38. I was wondering if this was some kind of a fractured set, as I haven't seen this one before, Then I thought it might be something to do with the uniform number, but that was clearly not correct, as he wore #14. It's simply card 10 out of 38, the total size of this insert set. Simple.
The Big Cat shows up again on a similar card a few years later, but this one is die-cut. The write up mentions that in early 1997, he became the all-time home runs leader among Venezuelans, with 252. He'd end up with just shy of 400, still a monster number. And he only played five seasons as a Rockie, so he had plenty of power outside of Denver.
There are lots of holograms on this one, even more than in 1994. The areas of the X contain a bunch of SPX logos, and the arc in the middle contains a nearly identical headshot of Galarraga against a backdrop of Rockies logos. It's even got a bit of color to it, both in Galarraga's skin tone and in the purple areas of the team logo. And there's even the familiar Upper Deck hologram on the back, this time in gold.
Shiny at its best.
|2011 Topps 60 #T60-11 Troy Tulowitzki|
The back of the card gives the top ten players in this stat. There are some familiar names on here, like Bonds, Berkman, Fielder, and others. And tied for 6th was Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg. He had a relatively short-lived career, but put together an all-star season in 2005. I even picked him for my fantasy team one year (probably the year after). He didn't have lasting power, but he was definitely part of the conversation for a while.
|2011 Topps Diamond Duos Series 2 #DD-22 Troy Tulowitzki / Ubaldo Jimenez|
The back also offers a statistics comparison between Tulowitzki and Jimenez, except comparing a pitcher's stats to a position player's doesn't seem that relevant. For example, Tulo had 338 RBIs by then, compared to Ubaldo's 655 strikeouts.
|2011 Topps Target Red Diamond #RDT-12 Carlos Gonzalez|
This insert set spanned 30 cards over two series, and contained a pretty even mixture of active players and retired greats. Carlos' two-homer performance on August 29th, 2010 is the subject of the paragraph on the back. That sounded familiar, making me wonder if I was at that game. But I wasn't. He just does that sort of thing a lot.
|2008 Upper Deck Heroes Beige #55 Jeff Francis /299|
Like other cards in this set, and that purple Todd Helton card from my previous post, the background has a matte finish, while the photo and logo are glossy. And it's definitely reminiscent of 1959 Topps. More on that later.
|2014 Topps Update Power Players #PPA-TT Troy Tulowitzki|
Say that ten times fast.
|1999 Topps Power Brokers #PB9 Vinny Castilla|
In 1995, the sport of baseball, and its related card industry, was trying to recover from a disastrous strike that cut the 1994 season short. Topps came up with the idea to include computer-simulated statistics on some 1995 cards, such as Topps Cyberstats, and also this Virtual Reality partial parallel set in Stadium Club. Freeman had 10 wins in 1994 as the Rockies ace, but Topps thought it likely that he'd win another four for a total of 14.
|1995 Stadium Club Virtual Reality #204 Marvin Freeman (Reverse)|
Virtual Reality, and the Web itself were just getting off the ground in 1994, barely past the concept stage. Over twenty years later, Virtual Reality still isn't quite mainstream, but it's certainly moving that direction, and rapidly. Perhaps in another 20 years, cards (or something like the Bunt app) will have an actual VR component, allowing us to see video highlights at a glance.
Hopefully it's more like that and not another prediction of what might have happened without a labor dispute.
|1995 Topps Embossed Golden Idols #112 Walt Weiss|
It's a very texturey card. Weiss' images are raised from the card surface both front and back, and each of the concentric layers of the border has a different pattern. Furthest out are baseballs, further in are diagonal ridges, horizontal ridges, what looks like ice cream sprinkles, etc.... Lost in all that is some letting at the bottom that reminds us that Weiss was the 1988 Rookie of the Year, and there's a little more detail about that on the non-gold back.
|1995 Score Gold Rush #338 Andres Galarraga|
Score also used a different, darker shade of gold on the border than Weiss' card. This one looks less like actual gold and more like a slightly reddish alloy. The foil is a tiny bit dinged up on the edges, as whatever Score used for this product, I've always found to be easy to nick.
Moving fully into the green color theme, Matt Holliday's Chrome parallel from 2008 Topps Heritage is serial numbered to 1959, matching the design of that year. Remember that Jeff Francis card? Now it should be pretty obvious where Upper Deck got its idea for Baseball Heroes. Not that a circle is a hugely unusual shape or anything, but the diameter and placement are almost identical.
Being from 2008, this is from the year after the Rockies went to the World Series and Holliday won MVP honors in the NLCS against the Diamondbacks. He also led a bunch of categories in 2007, including two Triple Crown categories. They didn't mention his memorable slide at the end of the 2007 regular season (hi, Padres fans!), but any green card always has a welcome spot in my collection.
|1994 Finest Refractors #72 Joe Girardi|
This isn't nearly as rare as refractors from the debut 1993 Finest set, but it's still a great card, and a fairly scarce variation of one of my favorite sets. I have none of the refractors from 1993 in my collection, and only Kevin Stocker's from 1994, besides this. It was a trade package full of shiny cards from start to finish, covering all the great periods of Rockies history.