31 May 2010

Roberto...er, Bobby...uh, Roberto...um, just don't call him 'Joey'

A big mail day from CheckOutMyCards.com has given a nice 10-card boost to my collection of one of the Yankees most under-appreciated young players. Roberto Kelly, while easily the most accomplished and consistent of the crop of prospects to come up from the farm system since Don Mattingly, Kelly was promptly shuffled off to Cincinnati as soon as Bernie Williams was deemed ready for prime time. Sadly, despite making the All Star team both for the Yankees in 1992, and then for the Reds in 1993, injuries claimed pretty much the rest of SeƱor Kelly's career as he demonstrated what an unsuccessful version of Kenny Lofton's career would look like, playing for seven teams (nine of you count the minors) over the next seven years.

1993 Pacific Jugadores Calientes #29

I didn't even know what these looked like until they showed up on COMC. Fortunately, I was able to land the Kelly and Dave Winfield before anyone else noticed them. Shiny! Pacific would probably use this as the template for the Prisms sets later on.

1993 Stadium Club First Day Issue #632

1995 Stadium Club Super Team World Series #219

Topps, here, sets the stage for the endless onslaught of meaningless, artificially scarce variations that would follow from pretty much every other company over the next 15 years. Take a regular base card and stamp something on it and, VOILA!, you have a limited edition, short-printed variation!

1996 Flair Gold #115

This one bugs me because COMC listed it as "Gold", but it looked exactly like the regular Flair card I already had. At least I thought I had the regular version. I checked my Matt Williams collection to see if I had both versions there, and unfortunately didn't. My Williams also looks gold. Is it the whole card that's gold? What about the foil on the player's name? Winfield had just retired in 1995, so Fleer didn't bother issuing him a card in the 1996 Flair set.

1997 Pacific Latinos of the Major Leagues #12

1997 Pacific Prisms/Invincible #45

Interestingly, there is some disagreement between the Standard Catalog and the Beckett Almanac on this set. SCD calls it 1997 Pacific Invincible, which seems more likely since the 1998 & 1999 Pacific Invincible set also features the inlaid mugshot of the players in a little translucent window. ALL of the Prisms sets from other years feature backgrounds resembling the Jugadores Caliente set from 1993, so I tend to side with the Standard Catalog on this one and lean toward Beckett just labeling this set incorrectly for the last 13 years. I guess unless someone busts a pack in front of Beckett or SCD, this isn't likely to be corrected in either case.

1998 Pacific Red Threatt #189

Early, Wal-Mart only meaningless parallel. Aside from the red foil, there's nothing to indicate the set to which it belongs. SCD just calls it "Red", rather than Red Threatt, which seems to be a Beckett typo as their description for 1999 Pacific Crown Collection Red says "Randomly inserted into retail Treat packs at the rate of four in 37, this 300-card set is a red foil parallel version of the base set." So suspect that should have been "Red Treat" or something, but since "Red Threat" is a familiar Cold War term, I guess some sort of Freudian slip resulted in the odd (and misspelled, in either case) set name.

1999 Pacific Crown Collection Red #286

See above. The Standard Catalog calls the Red inserts an ANCO exclusive. What's ANCO?

1999 Topps Chrome Refractors #116

Looking at the refractors, I almost wish Topps would just abandon the regular Chrome cards altogether and only issue them as refractors. The refractors always look nicer and the definitely scan better.

2000 Topps Limited #88

My 2006 Standard Catalog doesn't even include this set, but Beckett refers to it as a special boxed set issued as a premium version of the 2000 Topps set, limited to 4,000 copies. I guess this was sort of the 2000 version of Tiffany, but since everything was already printed on glossy, white cardstock by default, they just resorted to stamping "Limited Edition" across the front of every card. Very creative there, guys. Oh, the curse of a player collector!

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