No break for baseball card manufacturers

MEMORABILIA Notebook

August 01, 1993|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Baseball is back from its All-Star break. Baseball cards have no such break.

Upper Deck's beefed-up 1993 set concludes with Series Two. Instead of one 700-card set followed by a 100-card set, its format in its first four seasons, Upper Deck went with two 420-card series. Second series packs, for the first time, had no first series cards.

Topps' Stadium Club keeps rolling along, with the 300-card Series II out and the 300-card Series III on display at FanFest.

Upper Deck keeps its promise for Series Two, but the collation leaves a lot to be desired.

A sample box (36 packs of 15 cards each, 540 cards total) yielded 354 different regular cards (85 percent of Series II) plus one hologram and seven insert cards. Upper Deck lists the odds of getting a pack with holograms and the various available inserts. The expected number of insert cards appeared. But the missing regular cards were missing in bunches -- six in a row here, 15 there, 29 another place. The only subsets sabotaged are top prospects (seven missing) and team checklists (15).

The fifth anniversary insert cards let Upper Deck toot its horn. Besides showing the original photos from 15 of its favorite cards, the company, among other things, takes credit for the insert-card craze.

Eye-catching cards include Juan Gonzalez (signing autographs for toddlers), Vince Coleman (during the national anthem) and Phil Hiatt (lunging for a sinking liner in multiple exposures). Albert Belle is shown sitting (front) and bunting (back), and American League pitchers Fernando Valenzuela and Jim Abbott are batting in their card-back photos. Orioles fans will note Damon Buford on No. 691.

Stadium Club II has cards to remember, too. It shows Glenn Davis sitting (something he's doing a lot). Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is showing off his grip (which has slipped noticeably since the picture was taken). There is also a profusion of shots of players in sunny but empty stadiums and in dugouts (by the helmets).

Score signed him, too

The NHL's top draft pick, Alexandre Daigle, has signed an exclusive agreement with Score. The Ottawa Senators' No. 1 selection thus can appear on Score cards even before he has played his first NHL game. Once he has played, all licensees can use his picture. Score's Daigle promo card shows him in a Score jersey on one side and in a Pinnacle jersey on the other.

Leaf Series Two

Leaf Series Two has 220 cards and has players from teams not included in Series One: Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, California Angels and Seattle Mariners. Random @inserts include Frank

Thomas cards, a Heading for the Hall subset and Gold Leaf Rookies.

Coming events

Aug. 8, card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.

Aug. 13-15, Tuff Stuff Summer Classic (expected signers include Jim Bouton, Catfish Hunter, Stan Musial, Tommy John and Joe Namath), Virginia State Fairgrounds, Richmond, (804) 266-0140.

Aug. 14, card show and auction to benefit Kidney Foundation of Maryland (expected signers include Baysox Gregg Zaun, Stanton Cameron, Terry Farrar and Brad Tyler), Memorial Stadium Designated Hitters Lounge, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 235-2526.

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