14 January 2015

1991(?) Houston Astros Team Issue Photo Cards

    Yet another case of not knowing something existed until it turned up on eBay, these photos were given out by the Houston Astros in response to fan mail, usually fan mail asking for autographs, but not having actually provided anything to be signed.  I recently picked this up along with the original team envelope containing "Thank you for your interest in our team" letter, a pocket schedule and these two photos.  As far as I know, Houston still gives out these types of photo cards for fan pack requests.

    The black & white photos are blank backed and measure 3 5/16" x 4 7/8".  Based on this particular arrangement of player name and fielding position, along with the assortment of players I've seen in this design on eBay, the Astros issued these from about 1987 to 1993.  Below are the other players I have seen recently in this same design:

Larry Andersen
Eric Anthony
Jeff Bagwell
Kevin Bass
Andujar Cedeno
Benny Disteafano
Doug Drabek
Steve Finley (different photo, with normal undershirt instead of turtleneck)
Luis Gonzalez
Pete Harnisch
Billy Hatcher
Chuck Jackson
Darryl Kile
Mark Portugal
Dave Smith
Harry Spilman
Gene Tenace (Coach)
Eric Yelding

    All of the above I lump together because all the players are wearing the same style jersey.  I've also seen a Julio Linares (coach) card in the same card style, but wearing the newer uniform the Astros introduced in 1994.


  1. Ooh! Oddball, please! Great find. Team-issued photos are probably the least-documented "cards" of the '90s.

    1. I needed to start an "oversized" pile for your type collection anyway, so I'll make this the first item.

      These cards drive me nuts because they are still being produced, in some form, by most teams, yet most collectors still ignore them. The yearly Giants Fan Fest is coming up again in February, where they are almost definitely going to be passing out another series of their black & white photo cards, which means another super obscure Meulens and Kelly for me to chase, yet I find it nearly impossible to enlist anyone to snag copies for me. 30,000+ people attend Giants Fan Fest each year, yet I can't seem to get in contact with anyone who is going, and the cards don't show up on eBay in any quantity.

  2. Drabek didn't join the Astros until 1993, so your range needs to be expanded a year. Although what it sounds like is that they did/do them every year...