Every collector has that one team or player that got them collecting. For me, and a lot of collectors my age, that player was Jose Canseco. Chasing his cards was what got me hooked on card collecting. I thought he was so cool, and more importantly, I thought I was so cool for collecting his stuff, wearing t-shirts with him on them, wearing Oakland A's hats, and changing my batting stance to look like him. I was 9, don't judge. There may or may not have been a replica A's batting helmet that I would wear over my other A's hats, in public. Ok, there was. My collection of him made me so proud at the time. I still remember where I was when I got special cards of him, and how I felt when I got them. I still get that feeling when as I pursue my Manny Machado PC. I think my favorite part of my Jose Canseco collection isn't the cards or keeping them all these years, it's how I feel now when I see certain cards of his. It's an instant time warp to a time in life when I was a kid and my biggest worry was what packs I should buy with my allowance or paper route money.
This post originally was going to be another one of my Top 5 lists, but who was I kidding? As I was going through all my stuff, I quickly learned this would be impossible to limit to five. Too many cards shot me back and time and I couldn't narrow it down. So now it's going to be a Top 10 plus way too many Honorable Mentions.
Number 10: 1991 Leaf #182
1990 Leaf was a huge hit and it was a cool design, but I really liked Leaf's follow up set in 1991. I really like the gray border and overall design. Another slick design from Leaf. Gray and Black is a favorite combo of mine, so this card has always stuck out to me.
Number 9: 1991 Score Master Blaster #690
Score was usually my least favorite of the sets from this era, but I loved this card. I love the lasers in the background, reminds me of those laser school photos from the late-80's, but on steroids.
I remember getting this card in a pack at the local drive-in movie with a friend. That's right, cards were everywhere at this time, including movie theaters.
Number 8: 1990 Classic Baseball #T32
Not one of the main stream brands, I don't even remember ever buying Classic packs or anything. But I always thought this card was great. The yellow border to go with the Oakland colors made the card pop for me. Too bad the blue on the border wasn't done in green. Classic always felt like a special get to me because they seemed to much harder to find than the main brands. The simple look always appealed to when it comes to card design, Classic was normally always simple and basic.
The back of the card looks like a Donruss back, has some trivia, and a spot for a player autograph.
Number 7: 1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier #18
I could almost duplicate the reasons for the previous card as to why I chose this card. "Canadian Topps" AKA O-Pee-Chee was tough to find where I was. Green border to match team colors? Check. This card felt special when I got it, and going back through it was still one that sticks out to me.
Unlike the Classic card on this list, the back of this card is not good, other than some French words on the back.
Number 6: 1992 Studio Heritage Series #BC-4
Aside from a terrible border color, I love everything about this card. Sepia pictures are always my favorite and combine that with the throwback jersey and this card hold ups after all the years. Studio was always an interesting set for me, it was always very unique from the other sets that were coming out.
Number 5: 1992 Upper Deck #333
"Slow Motion" effect. Multiple frame photo. That's it. For a base card, it doesn't get much better than this, for me.
Number 4: 1987 Topps Mini #68
The base 1987 Topps All-Star Rookie Trophy card could have made the list. Admittedly, that card is the equivalent of a played-out song. To switch it up I chose this mini version of that card which features the same image and border, but different layout for the nameplate. Back of the card is completely different than the regular version.
It would be awesome if this card was the exactly like the full size more like they are in todays sets, but this still a great card. I love that v-neck green and yellow 80's style jersey.
Number 3: 1989 Upper Deck #371
I don't have to discuss the importance of the 1989 Upper Deck set that revolutionized the hobby. This card is one of many from that set that stands the test of time. A great posing photo with great colors popping of the card. This card is clean in every way and shows a confident Canseco coming off his 40/40 season. You can see him really starting to bulk up here. It's too bad he took it to the levels that he did, IMO.
Number 2: 1991 Score Dream Team #441 (1 of 13)
Can't really explain in words why I liked this card so much. As I kid, I always liked seeing personal sides of players and this was just a cool image on a baseball card. It was the 90's and I thought this was bad-ass. I am sure my pre-pubescent man-crush had nothing to do with it.
Number 1: 1991 Fleer Pro-Vision #6
The insert boom had officially begun and in 1991 Fleer introduced my favorite subset/insert set to come out of the wax-era. This set featured Bo Jackson, Mattingly, Gooden and Strawberry. Henderson and Bonds came in the factory set. Would love to get a hold of those some time. I was big into drawing at the time and these images used were just so fresh and fun. These cards look just as good now as they did 27 years ago.
The artist obviously used the pose from his 1989 Upper Deck photo as a guide. No complaints here, it works well. I remember drawing this card when I was younger. I may still have it actually.
There were a lot of choices that didn't make the list. It would have been easy to put 1986 Donruss Rated Rookie, or 1986 Topps Traded Rookie but I wanted to show off some other great cards that may have been forgotton about. I could have easily added the inaugural Leaf and Stadium Club sets as well. But there were a few more cards I wanted to highlight. Canseco had some really cool cards during his travels with different MLB teams. Especially for the Rangers in my collection. Here are some nice ones that always stuck out to me.
One card that missed the list simply because for some strange reason, I don't have it...yet! 1991 Upper Deck Silver Slugger. I can't explain why I liked that set so much, but I did. The Hometown Heries card is similar but with a gold bat along the side, but that first silver slugger set from Upper Deck was a fun card. That card is currently on order from comc.com
Hope you enjoyed this entry and much as I enjoyed writing it. Who was your first favorite player to collect? Do you still collect that person?
If you want to read more about a great Canseco blog, visit Wax Heaven.