18 August 2023

More Tucson Jones Photo Fun! (1996 Toros)

Recently, a Tucson-based eBay seller of all kinds of random items posted a large lot of Tucson Sidewinders memorabilia.  The lot consisted of several programs (mostly with at least one player autograph within), a 1999 MultiAd Sidewinders team set, but also an assortment of the Jones Photo "Player Cards".  The photos were mostly obscured, and while I could make out several players that I'd seen before, there were just so many I had to grab it to see who might be lurking under that pile.

The pile of stuff was sent priority, so it was here in two days, and after it was on its way, the seller told me they'd found some other Tucson Toros items and threw those in.  So I'll start with those gems.

I'd seen that Jones Photo had issued some larger player photos, sold in white "Collector's Edition" holders, and I lucked out and received this beauty:

Collector's Edition photo cover 1991 Kenny Lofton photo

Jones Photo issued these 5"x7" Collector's Edition photos across a few years.  Not always the most obvious players, either (Ed Vosberg in 1990?).  I don't think they issued these for every player, given I've only found a few over the years.  I have to assume they were sold at the souvenir shop at the ballpark.

The other group of Toros items were two envelopes of six photos from 1996, and these also included a little insert that gave the dates of all the photo giveaways.  

Photo schedule insert

These were particularly welcome as I had found evidence of the 1996 set, but had never seen any reference to actual players.  The photos were still in the envelope, along with the note about the photo night dates, but curiously there were 6 photos per envelope, ratiher than 5.  

Jones Photo Player Cards envelope

As there were 6 giveaway nights, I'm not sure if that means there are actually 36 photos.  That would be the most of any of these sets.  The checklist so far:

Eric Bell
Jay Davis
Jerry Goff
Michael Groppuso
John Johnstone
Doug Mlicki
Eddie Pye
Ken Ramos
Tim Tolman
Charley Taylor
Billy Wagner
Donnie Wall

As usual, there is a smattering of silly photos mixed in with the usual standing around poses.

1996 Tim Tolman photo 1996 Jay Davis photo

1996 Michael Groppuso photo

20 July 2023

1998 Tucson Sidewinders Jones Photo - Hensley Meulens



     Pursuing a player collection of a lesser known, yet widely traveled slugger can be a challenge.  What makes that pursuit all the more satisfying is when something like this turns up out of the blue.  Not only was I not looking for this photo, I had no idea it even existed as none of the main hobby resources have any record of this set.  A little research reveals that in 1998 (and presumably all the other years these were produced), these photos were given away at Sidewinders games, at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson, in packs of five photos.  The photos I received came in these envelopes:

     Given that there are sixteen photos here , I'm going to assume there are at least four more to the set, possibly eight (previous sets contained 24-25 photos).  These are the photos from the lot I received:

Bryan Corey
Nelson Figueroa
Tim Florez
Ben Ford
Hanley Frias
Karim Garcia
Ron Hartman
Danny Klassen
Peter Kolb (Trainer)
Garry Maddox
Barry Manuel
Hensley Meulens
Chris Michalak
Vladimir Nunez
Stephen Randolph
Mike Robertson
Rob Ryan
Jeff Suppan
Ephrain Valdez
Neil Weber
Bob Wolcott

     The same seller also had another lot of Tucson Toros photos.  After receiving everything, based on when the various players coincided on Toros rosters, there were 17 photos from 1993 (another undocumented set) and 5 from 1997.  The 2000 (and final) edition of the Standard Catalog of Minor League Baseball Cards only listed 5 photos from the 1997 set (presumably a single game's giveaway), so those, plus the photos in this lot make at least 10 in the set.  Here are the players in each:

1993    1997
Mike Brumley
Jim Bruske
Mike Capel
Steve Carter
Fred Costello
Ed Dixon
Dave Engle
Tony Eusebio
John Hudek
Jim Lindeman
Terry Mathews
Joe Mikulik
James Moulton
Luis Quinones
Jeff Robinson
Donne Wall
Bruce Walton
Rodney Windes
     Joel Adamson
Brian Banks
Ron Belliard
Jarvis Brown
Mark Davis
Matt Grott
Greg Hansell
Jeff Huber
Bobby Hughes
Geoff Jenkins
Frank Kellner
Travis Lee
Norm Montoya
Tony Phillips
Al Reyes
Sig Roberson
Tim Unroe
Jack Voigt
Al Williamson
Doni O'Bryan & Peter Kolb

     I've added checklists for all three to the SportsCardForum.com Inventory Manager (updates are only being posted to TCDB unless someone else is adding them to SCF, these days).  The photos are unnumbered, so I alphabetized and numbered based on that, so if I find more photos in the future, the "card numbers" will be adjusted.  As usual, these are all available for trade or sale, except for the Karim Garcia which has already been claimed.  All photos have now been sold.

-----UPDATE (14 December 2011)-----

     I have now found references to Toros sets from 1995 and 1996 (given away to the first 500 lucky fans) and a second Sidewinders set from 1999.  This helps lend a little credence to sets having been issued each year from 1987 to 1999.  Now I just need to find evidence of sets from the missing years and begin the extremely slow process of building checklists.

-----UPDATE (19 January 2017)-----

     According to the 28 July 1998 Arizona Daily Star, at the Sidewinders game that night, the first 500 fans would receive photos of Edwin Diaz, Tim Florez, Danny Klassen, Neil Weber and Bob Wolcott, which combined with the list above brings the set total to 21.

-----UPDATE (21 October 2017)-----

     Another batch of Sidewinders hit eBay recently, confirming the previously reported five names to the checklist: Chris Michalak, Neil Weber, Bob Wolcott, Tim Florez and Danny Klassen.

-----UPDATE (2 March 2023)-----
     Four more photos turned up on eBay this week; Tim Unroe, Jarvis Brown, Antone Williamson and Al Reyes.

-----UPDATE (19 July 2023)-----
     A lot of items from the 1997 Toros hit eBay today, including the following new additions to the checklist: Joel Adamson, Greg Hansell, Geoff Jenkins, Norm Montoya, Tony Phillips (the pitcher) and trainers Doni O'Bryan and Peter Kolb sharing a photo.  There were some larger photos, including Travis Lee (with facsimile autograph) and a team photo.  Also included was a large photo of Ed Vosberg, labeled as from 1990, though he only played for the team in 1989.  Currently I have found no evidence of a 1990 set, or at least no actual photos have surfaced.