I bet you thought I had forgotten about these, didn't you? Well, I kind of did for a while there. But a recent monster trade with reader Daniel has forced me to finish sorting and scanning the rest of my 1990 Topps baseball set. Since the set is so large I've broken them out into groups of 100 cards. In case you missed the earlier posts, which started all the way back in March, you can click these links to catch up on cards 1-99, 100-199, 200-299 and 300-399.
My apologies to those who despise this set, but I can't help when I was born and this is what was on the shelves when I was collecting as a kid. Here are my favorite cards from 400-499:
#400 - Ozzie Smith - All-Star - The first few cards in the 400's finish off the NL All-Star subset.
#403 - Tony Gwynn - NL All-Star - In 1990, Gwynn had his worst season as far as batting average goes (not counting 1982 when he had less than 200 plate appearances). That being said, he hit .309. Pretty good when that's a low point for you over a 20-year career.
#414 - Frank Thomas - #1 Draft Pick - Probably the single most-wanted card from the set. Most of the #1 Draft Picks that got cards in this set were a bust but at least they got Thomas right. To this day I've never seen the famous "no-name" error variation of this card in person.
#420 - Carlton Fisk - Carlton's starting to show some signs of age here (and he's playing for the wrong Sox!).
#431 - Randy Johnson - Randy's true rookie card came in the 1989 Topps Traded set, but this is his first card in a base Topps release. He hadn't exactly harnessed his power yet in 1990, walking 120 batters in 33 starts! 1991 was even worse, as he walked 152!
#440 - Alan Trammell - Trammell won a Silver Slugger award in 1990, racking up 170 hits, 14 HR and 89 RBI. Will he make the Hall-of-Fame this year? Probably not...
#444 - Kyle Abbott - #1 Draft Pick - Taken 9th overall by California in the 1989 Amateur Draft, I think it's pretty safe to say Kyle was a bust. After 5 appearances in 1991, he appeared in 31 games in the 1992 season (19 starts) and went 1-14 with an ERA over 5 and 20 homers surrendered. He didn't see Major League action in '93 or '94 and was out of baseball completely by 1996.
#450 - Rickey Henderson - Rickey was your 1990 AL MVP, batting .325 with a .439 on-base percentage, 65 steals and 119 runs scored. Unfortunately for A's fans that mattered little when the Cincinnati Reds swept them in the World Series!
#457 - Gregg Jefferies - All-Star Rookie - Gregg was a serviceable player for most of his career, but I don't think he really peaked as high as many people thought he would in the late 80's.
#469 - John Kruk - I watched the 1993 episode of Baseball Seasons on the MLB Network the other day, which included Kruk's humorous at bat against Randy Johnson in the All-Star game that season. Good stuff.
#485 - John Candelaria - I have to confess that until writing this post I had no idea that Candelaria had a 20-win season in the late 70's.
#493 - Jason Grimsley - Grimsley's name will forever be associated with the steroid era and the Mitchell Report.
#495 - Lee Smith - The Red Sox had two dominant closers on the roster entering the 1990 season, Smith and Jeff Reardon. That situation didn't last long, with Smith being shipped off by early May.
Well, that wraps up cards 400-499. 500-599 should be up later this week.
Surprise #2 finally revealed - I am* finally* ready to reveal the second surprise I had up my sleeve for the Cardboard History Gallery. I didn't expect it to take as long as it did, but ...