Product Highlight: 1997 Topps Genuine Issue Tiger Woods Photos

In case you haven’t heard, Tiger Woods was involved in a bad car accident. Luckily it sounds like he’s going to be ok. Whether or not he’ll play professional golf again is totally undecided. Its way too early to tell, and by the look of what is left of the SUV he was driving we’re just lucky that he’s still alive. This is Tiger Woods we’re talking about here. A comeback isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. We’ve seen it happen before. He surprised the world when he came back and won the Masters Tournament in 2019. Anything is possible.

When it comes to cards of Tiger Woods the first company that comes to mind is Upper Deck. That makes perfect sense since he’s had an exclusive deal with them going all the way back to 2001. But that wasn’t always the case. Prior to 2001 he didn’t have a dedicated place you could go for his cards. They were kinda hit or miss, and all over the place. Two cards from this time that stick out to me the most would be his 1997-99 Grand Slam Ventures Masters Collection, and 1996 Sports Illustrated for Kids.

A product that I believe is drastically overlooked is the 1997 Topps Genuine Issue Tiger Woods Photos.  That’s correct.  Four years prior to his Upper Deck exclusive, Topps issued this small Tiger Woods-themed set after he won the Masters in 1997.

Its strange to see Tiger Woods pictured on a Topps product.  Topps isn’t known for their rich history with golfers. This set consists of six 8″ x 10″ photos. 10,000 sets were produced.  Each pack has the same six pictures.  There are no autographs and/or relics.

Here is the checklist:

  • #1 1996 US Amateur
  • #2 1997 USPGA Championship
  • #3 1996 Greater Milwaukee Open
  • #4 1997 USPGA Championship
  • #5 1997 Masters
  • #6 1997 US Open

With the recent amplified interest in sports cards and memorabilia over the last year, packs of these photos have seen a big jump in price. Sealed packs now sell for $100-$200.

None of the photos have any type of design to them.  No borders and/or fancy coloring. In a strange way it gives us a glimpse as to what a golf-focused Stadium Club set might look like.

Product Highlight: 1990 Classic Monster Trucks

SUNDAY!!! SUNDAY!!! SUNDAY!!! Lurking in the shadows, taking no prisoners, and prepared to give your kittens nightmares!!!

People are spending stupid crazy money on sports cards right now. Almost everyday another card reaches into the seven figures. This gets lots of people thinking everything printed on cardboard has the potential to hit those highs. Not true. But it certainly is fun to watch certain products, specifically mass-produced junk wax, rise in price for no other reason.

It wasn’t that long ago you could buy a box of 1990 Classic Monster Trucks for under $10. Now we’re seeing them sell for $50-$65 per box. This is absolutely insane. In no known universe are these boxes worth that much.

The 1990 Classic Monster Trucks set consists of (125) cards. Throughout the set you’ll find cards dedicated to both drivers and their trucks. You have all of the classics like Grave Digger, Bigfoot, and my personal favorite Thunder Chicken.

On the back of the driver cards is an empty white box meant to be used for an in-person autograph. I’ve always thought that to be a nice addition.

If you’re looking for chase cards there isn’t a single one. No short prints, photo variations, autographs, holograms, inserts, parallels, and/or 3D cards. You have a 125-card set, and that’s it.

Product Highlight: 1997 Pinnacle Denny’s

Denny’s distributed their final baseball card set in 1997. Upper Deck printed the cards between 1991 and 1995. Pinnacle got the job in 1996 and 1997.

There are (30) cards when it comes to the 1997 Pinnacle Denny’s set.  You’ll find a star player from each MLB team.  Card backs contain a hologram, small amount of stats, and key facts about that specific player. The front utilizes a lenticular 3D picture.

Two cards commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the desegregation of baseball.  One of them is of Jackie Robinson #29, which was distributed along with all the other cards.  The other is of Larry Doby.  His card was only available in Cleveland, which at the time made it more difficult to obtain. It was a promo made for the All-Star Game FanFest, and the National Sports Collectors Convention both of which were held in Cleveland that year. Its also possible that the Larry Doby card was available at certain Cleveland-based Denny’s restaurants.

If you look at the card number on Larry Doby it says “Denny’s 1 of 1”.  Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking this is a true one-of-one.  There are plenty to go around. I don’t know why they didn’t make it card #30. When looking at the checklist you’ll see two card #1’s. Tim Salmon being the other.

Purchasing an entree and non-alcoholic beverage allowed you to buy a single card for only $0.59. Most of the money went to Denny’s national charity, Save The Children.

I didn’t even know Denny’s served alcohol. Apparently certain locations do. Can you imagine a couple of drunk idiots just being fascinated with the moving image on these cards?

Product Highlight: 2006 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Baseball

A lot has changed for Upper Deck since 2006.  The company that revolutionized the industry with it’s first set in 1989 no longer makes licensed baseball cards.  Today they stick with their NHL, various entertainment properties, and memorabilia products.  They still make some of the best looking cards in the hobby. Later this year they plan to release some new golf products. Something we haven’t seen much of since 2014 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Golf.

Upper Deck didn’t issue 2006 Exquisite Collection Baseball as a standalone product.  Instead they inserted mystery redemption cards within five of their other sets.  The products you could pull one of these redemption cards out of includes UD2, Ovation, Legendary Cuts, SPx, and Fleer Tradition. Your best chance at pulling one was in a box of SPx (1:2 boxes).  The redemption cards have long since expired, but the cards which were redeemed still live on.

What did one of these mystery redemption cards guarantee you?  Collectors that redeemed them would most likely receive an autograph, relic, or autograph/relic numbered to no more than (65) copies.  Some lucky people received full-sized pieces of autographed memorabilia.  Upper Deck even threw in a meet and greet, custom Exquisite Baseball box, and a chance to win a free box of every Upper Deck/Fleer baseball product released in 2007.

It was a blast to pull one of these.  I got mine from a pack of SPx.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to sell the redemption or redeem it.  In the end, I couldn’t sell it thinking that someone might get a Babe Ruth Cut Signature.  After punching in the code, I got a really neat looking Manny Ramirez Exquisite Memorabilia/Maximum Patch #’ed/25.

When it comes to rookies, Justin Verlander and Cole Hamels are the most notable names that stick out today.

Product Highlight: 1991 Star Pics Football

For the short time that Star Pics was around they made quite an impact.  Star Pics, Inc. produced card sets for football, basketball, hockey, and various entertainment properties from 1990 to about 1992.  During this time in the hobby overproduction was in full swing, and cards limited into the thousands were considered rare.  Many of the key Star Pics signed cards continue to sell well today.  This is something that many flash in the pan card manufacturers would have killed for.

One of the most memorable Star Pics release has to be their football set from 1991.  Their 1991 football set consists of (112) cards.  Boxes and card borders are covered in footballs.  There are so many footballs in one area it reminds me of those magic eye pictures.  If you stare long enough at the footballs, you’ll probably start to see some hidden image.  The card that gets the most attention from the base set is Brett Favre #65.

Star Pics issued their 1991 football product in factory sets.  Randomly inserted within their factory sets were autographed cards.  The autographs look just like the base, except they have a signature on the front or back, and contain a gold authenticity sticker.  Stars such as Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Brett Favre, and Troy Aikman all have autographs.  It should be noted that the Star Pics autographs have been victims of counterfeits.  Since the autographs look exactly like the base cards, it wouldn’t be that difficult to take a base card of Brett Favre, forge his signature, and place an authenticity sticker on it which has been removed from a legit autograph of a less valuable player.

Product Highlight: 1996 Best Harrisburg Senators Team Set

Today I was planning to watch the Harrisburg Senators take on the Bowie Baysox on City Island in Harrisburg, PA.  I guess we all know that’s not going to happen due to COVID-19.  This was going to be my first bobblehead giveaway of the year too.  Fans were going to receive a bobblehead of Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner.

In early March I purchased three sets of tickets for some minor league games.  Two in Harrisburg, and one in Lancaster.  With MLB looking to play half of a season starting in July with no fans in attendance, I highly doubt MiLB would be much different.  It wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t play at all.  I’d like to get my money back for these tickets, but all I can do right now is exchange them for other tickets to a 2020 game.  This makes no sense because even if they do play fans most likely won’t be allowed in to watch.  I think they’re just holding out for as long as possible on giving refunds.  Its possible they’re holding on to the tiniest bit of hope that perhaps a certain percentage of fans might be allowed to attend.  You can’t blame them for doing so.  Tons of money has been lost already.  The last thing they want to do is dish out refunds.

In 1997 I attended my first professional baseball game on City Island.  The game was between the Harrisburg Senators and New Haven Ravens.  While sitting in my seat, a Ravens player walked by and gave me a broken bat.  To this very day I do not know who that player was.  I like to think it was Todd Helton as he was part of the Rockies minor league system at the time.

Heading in to the game, I remember stopping at a souvenir booth.  Team sets for the 1997 roster hadn’t been released yet, so I bought one leftover from the 1996 season.  The two most recognizable names on the 29-card checklist are Vladimir Guerrero and Jose Vidro.  Both players already had cards in nationally distributed sets prior to this team set release.

Product Highlight: 2002 Topps Commemorative Packs Collection

To quote the great Anchorman Ron Burgundy – “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”  This is exactly what comes to mind when I think back to the 2002 Topps Commemorative Packs Collection.

Topps consolidated all of their baseball products they released that year into a single product – 2002 Topps Commemorative Packs Collection.  Housed inside this fancy red binder is one pack of each baseball product Topps released in 2002.  That’s (27) total packs which include:

  • 2002 Topps Series 1
  • 2002 Topps Series 2
  • 2002 Topps Traded & Rookies
  • 2002 Topps Chrome Series 1
  • 2002 Topps Chrome Series 2
  • 2002 Topps Heritage
  • 2002 Topps Tribute: Milestones & Memories Edition
  • 2002 Bowman
  • 2002 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects
  • 2002 Bowman Chrome
  • 2002 Bowman Heritage
  • 2002 Bowman’s Best
  • 2002 Topps T206 Series 1
  • 2002 Topps T206 Series 2
  • 2002 Topps Opening Day
  • 2002 Topps Total
  • 2002 Topps 10
  • 2002 Topps Archives: Best Years Edition
  • 2002 Topps Archives Reserve: Best Years Edition
  • 2002 Topps Finest
  • 2002 Topps Gallery
  • 2002 Topps Gold Label
  • 2002 Topps Pristine
  • 2002 Topps Reserve
  • 2002 Topps Stadium Club: Relic Edition
  • 2002 Topps American Pie: Spirit of America Edition
  • 2002 Topps Super Teams

Each binder is limited to (500) copies.  Binder pages hold up to (4) packs.  A detailed write-up about each pack is also supplied.

The two most valuable packs would be 2002 Topps Tribute: Milestones & Memories Edition and 2002 Topps Pristine.  Those guarantee a relic in every pack.

Its all about the presentation here.  The packs are no different than the ones found in their traditional boxes.

Product Highlight: 1994 Fleer Baseball

A lot of collectors consider 1994 Fleer Baseball to be one of the company’s best products.  The base set consists of (720) cards, which was released all in one series.  When it comes to the base cards, the design is very simple.  Card backs have full stats, and a head shot of the player.  Nothing too fancy.

In addition to the massive base set, you’ve got a bunch of inserts to collect.  You’ll find an insert in every pack.  There are (12) different inserts to find, and none of them are that difficult to pull.

My favorite looking insert are the Pro-Visions.  Wayne Still is the artist behind these crazy looking fantasies.  There are (9) Pro-Visions in all, and every box should have (3).

Fleer made a 12-card insert set based on Tim Salmon.  Those come (1) per box.  If you were really lucky you could’ve pulled one of the autographed versions.  Fleer was able to get Tim Salmon to sign 2,000 cards.

The most difficult insert to pull are the All-Rookie Team redemptions.  You could redeem this for a 9-card set featuring some of the best rookies from 1994.  None of these players appeared in the main base set.

From a set collector’s perspective, this product has it all.  The cards were released in one series, the design is simple, (1) insert per pack, and its not expensive.  This product does have it’s share of rookies, but none of them are worth talking about.  Fleer released an Update set later on that has an Alex Rodriguez rookie.

Product Highlight: 1998 Upper Deck SP Authentic Baseball

Boxes can be expensive.  Sometimes an older product might take care of that pack busting itch for a much lower cost.  Just because that new box guarantees ten hits doesn’t mean you’ll come close to pulling something anywhere near what you paid.  One hit from an older set could easily be better than ten from that newer product.  Then again, making money shouldn’t be your #1 concern.  Cards are for fun, not investing.

If you’re looking for an affordable box from the 1990s that has an autograph checklist which hasn’t dwindled too much, I’d suggest 1998 Upper Deck SP Authentic Baseball.  Upper Deck introduced the high-end SP brand in 1993, but in 1998 they changed the name to SP Authentic.  This is mainly due to each box containing an autograph.

The 1998 SP Authentic set consists of (198) base cards.  They’ve got a foil-photo in the middle which is then surrounded by an all-white border.  Magglio Ordonez is the most notable rookie.  David Ortiz has a somewhat popular second year card.  As far as inserts go, there really is only one – Sheer Dominance.  These come in Silver, Gold #’ed/2000, and Titanium #’ed/100.

Autographs are the main attraction.  Glancing over the checklist you’ll notice its fairly solid.  Of course there are some duds, but what product doesn’t have those?  Key autographs include Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Gary Sheffield, Ivan Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Mussina, Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, Paul Molitor, Roberto Alomar, Roger Clemens, Scott Rolen, Tony Gwynn, Todd Helton, and Vladimir Guerrero.  Every Chirography autograph is signed on-card.

Upper Deck included various Trade Cards for oversized 5″ x 7″ jersey cards as well as full size autographed memorabilia.  If this were 1998, you could redeem them.  Given that they’re decades old, I highly doubt you would receive anything for them today.

On the bottom of the box Upper Deck lists how many of each Trade Card was made, and the approximate retail value of that item.

  • Ken Griffey Jr. Signed Mariners Jersey #’ed/30 – $399
  • Ken Griffey Jr. Signed Glove #’ed/30 – $449.95
  • Ken Griffey Jr. Life Size Standee #’ed/200 – $29.95
  • Ken Griffey Jr. Oversized Jersey Card #’ed/125 – $50
  • 5″ x 7″ Ken Griffey Jr. 300th Home Run Commemorative Card #’ed/1,000 – $10
  • Robin Ventura Signed Baseball #’ed/50 – $89.95
  • Raul Mondesi Signed Baseball #’ed/100 – $89.95
  • Albert Belle Signed Baseball #’ed/100 – $89.95
  • Brian Jordan Signed Baseball #’ed/50 – $89.95
  • Roberto Alomar Signed Baseball #’ed/100 – $89.95
  • Tony Gwynn Oversized Jersey Card #’ed/415 – $50
  • Greg Maddux Oversized Jersey Card #’ed/125 – $50
  • Alex Rodriguez Oversized Jersey Card #’ed/125 – $50
  • Gary Sheffield Oversized Jersey Card #’ed/125 – $50
  • Jay Buhner Oversized Jersey Card #’ed/125 – $50

Browsing over this price list is fun.  I certainly wouldn’t use it as an official guide though.  There is no way to know if everything on that list was even redeemed.  Quantities could be lower.

Product Highlight: Revolutionary Comics 1992-93 Baseball Legends

Revolutionary Comics had a short lifespan.  It was founded in 1989, and went belly up five years later.  They were known for printing unauthorized biographies of celebrities, specifically musicians.  Their line of Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics was very successful.  Some musicians were totally for them, while others took up legal action.  It seemed the more legal cases thrown at them, the more comics they sold.  But in the end, it was their line of sports titles that lead to their downfall.

During it’s reign, Revolutionary Comics issued four different sports titles.  It began with Baseball Superstars Comics in 1991.  They then went on to print Baseball Legends ComicsSports Legends Comics, and Sports Superstars Comics.  Much like their Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics, these told the unauthorized biographies of popular sports figures from the past and present.  Sports fans didn’t find these as entertaining as they thought.  I don’t think they caught on because you know how the story was going to end.  Their sports titles racked up a lot of debt.  Losing a lawsuit to the Pittsburgh Penguins over the use of their logo, and having to settle another suit brought on by Joe Montana certainly didn’t help.

Some of their sports issues contained cards.  In March of 1992, Revolutionary Comics started their Baseball Legends Comics.  This particular series ran until September of 1993.  In total there are (19) issues.  The issues about Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner, and Willie Mays all contained (3) cards each.  You would need to tear apart the cards as they came in an uncut strip.