14 February 2013

1991 Tucson Toros Jones Photo set confirmed

     Based on the existence of a few other undocumented Jones Photo sets from the 1990s, I had theorized that there were likely Tucson Jones Photo sets issued each year from 1987-1999.  Beckett and SCD had previously catalogued parts of the sets from 1987-1989 and 1998.  I later found photos from the sets for 1993, 1997 and 1999.  This morning, a listing appeared on eBay of a lot of Tucson-related cards and photos (baseball and college basketball) and it included 8 photos from the 1991 set, including a very rare Kenny Lofton.  Here is a cropped version of the image from the listing, focusing on the Toros photos:

     Based on this photo, the checklist for the 1991 Tucson Toros Jones Photo set currently stands at 8.

Ryan Bowen
Dean Hartgraves
Butch Henry Huskey
Blaise Ilsley
Larry Lasky (trainer)
Kenny Lofton
Andy Mota
Dave Rohde

    I place the set at 1991 based both on the seller's description and the fact that 1991 is the only season all 7 players shared a roster in Tucson.  Larry Lasky had been the Toros trainer since at least 1989, having also served as trainer at Columbus, Asheville, Osceola and Daytona Beach before that.

     This is the status of the Jones Photo Toros and Sidewinders sets, for the moment.

1987 (24 photos)
1988 (24 photos)
1989 (27 photos)
1990 (unconfirmed)
1991 (partial, 8 confirmed)
1992 (evidence found)
1993 (partial, 17 confirmed)
1994 (partial, 5 confirmed)
1995 (evidence found)
1996 (unconfirmed)
1997 (partial, 10 confirmed)
1998 (partial, 21 confirmed)
1999 (partial, 5 confirmed)

    Assuming they exist, the most popular (and therefore likely the most sought-after) photos from these years would likely be:

Craig Biggio
Kenny Lofton
Darryl Kile
Karl Rhodes (mainly just me)
Bobby Abreu

     Despite spending his entire major league career with Houston, Jeff Bagwell came up in the Red Sox farm system, so he never played in Tucson.  I'm not claiming to be any kind of expert, but there just don't seem to have been many great players to come through Tucson from 1987-1999.  Lots of brief stops (Billy Wagner spent brief parts of two seasons there, Matt Williams a few game on rehab assignment), but aside from Biggio, Abreu and Lofton, no other big Astros or Diamondbacks stars hung around long enough to get a photo.  This may go a long way to explaining why these photos are so elusive.


  1. Another tough Tuffy for you to find?

  2. Tuffy played in Tucson for most of 1990-1992, so I suspect there might actually be three more extremely tough Tuffy's for me to dig up.

  3. Hi...just wondering what info you might have on the 88 Tucson set with Biggio. How rare is that set?

    1. The 1988 and 1989 sets are pretty rare, but they do turn up. I've seen at least two of the 1988 and two of the 1989 sell on eBay in the past 6 months, but before that I hadn't seen either set in a couple of years. That said, the 1987-1989 do seem to be the most common. The later years rarely turn up, and when they do, it is only a few photos from any one set. As a result of that scarcity, full checklists aren't even available for the 1990-1999 sets.