30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Set Showcase #17: 1990 Starline Long John Silver Set

When I woke up this morning, I was faced with quite the dilemma. Should I publish today's post in the Flea Market Finds series, the Nifty 90's Nostalgia series, the Cheap Cool Cards series, or the Set Showcase series.

I purchased the nifty, little oddball set, which was produced in the 90's... at the Delta College Flea Market yesterday in Stockton. These cards sell for a handful of change, and are definitely cool looking. But in the end, I added it to the Set Showcase series, because I wanted to focus on the actual "set" in particular.

Set: 48 Cards (Eight "6" card subsets: each subset has one header card & 5 player cards)

These cards were distributed by the Long John Silver restaurant chain back in 1990 over an 8 week period. Each week, the restaurant would handout a different cello pack that contained 6 cards: a header card plus 5 player cards.

The header card was actually a poster order form and showed collectors a checklist of the 18 players in the set. Fourteen of the players were distributed in two different cello packs, which means that they each have two different cards. Mattingly, Boggs, Grace, and McGwire were given the red carpet treatment... and were included in three series, instead of two... which means they have three cards each.

Hall of Famers: 16.6% (3 players)

Surprisingly, the checklist only includes three people enshrined at Cooperstown: Tony Gwynn, Wade Boggs, & Nolan Ryan. However... in 1990, the player selection was probably pretty popular... since it had a bunch of names that were prominent on hot lists at the time: Chris Sabo, Bobby Bonilla, Bret Saberhagen, etc.

Beckett Value: $6

This is one of those rare occasions where Beckett is actually pretty accurate in terms of their pricing. They list the complete set for $6, which is pretty close to what I actually paid. Originally the guy at the flea market wanted a buck for each 6 card set, but ended up selling me all 48 cards for $5.

eBay Value: $2.50 (+ $2.99 shipping)

There's currently a eBay seller who has sets of these (still in their cello packs) listed for $5.49 ($2.50 + $2.99 shipping). You can also find singles on eBay and COMC, which will set you back $.25 to $1.00... depending on the player.

Overall... I'm pretty excited to add this to my collection. I've been a huge fan of oddballs since the 90's and this set definitely fits the bill. If you grew up in the 80's and 90's, then there's a chance you're probably familiar with the card's design... since Starline posters were pretty popular back then.

But it's the card backs that really impressed me. They feature a well thought out design that gives collectors the player's basic biography, a few career highlights, a portrait photo, and the player's full career statistics.

I'd take this set over a few packs of 2011 Topps Baseball any day of the week. The only downside is the lack of Hall of Famers. In fact, a bunch of players in this set seem to pop up in debates when their names are mentioned with Cooperstown: Trammell, Mattingly, Raines, Smoltz, and of course McGwire.

Which leads me to this morning's question:

Do you think any of the remaining 15 players on the checklist will make it into Cooperstown? If so, who?

Okay... I'm off to watch some football. Today's a big day for me in terms of fantasy football. I'm sitting in first place in my work league... and Antonio Brown gave me a decent head start on Thursday.

But in my Blogger League... I finished the regular season in 3rd (8-5... after starting off 1-3). Today is the first round of the playoffs and it's a brand new season. If I win, I move on... lose and I'm done. Sadly... I'm already losing by 87 points.

C'mon football gods... show me the way. Happy Sunday everyone... and sayonara!


  1. I'm not sure why I had so many of these; it's not like there were any Twins on the checklist. I still have a handful I haven't traded away yet, actually.

  2. Smoltz is a lock HOF'er...

    speaking of which... I now know of two more Smoltz cards that I'm missing.

  3. mmmrhubarb can send one of his extras to me. I just saw this set the other day and thought "what a cool oddball set this is!"

    Smoltz is headed to the HOF. Raines will get in eventually, too. I think in the distant future McGwire will be there, too.

  4. I'll be the third, I guess, to vote Smoltz into the Hall of Fame. He was a highly successful pitcher both starting and in relief, he was part of the Braves dynasty that was generally pitching-focused, and he is just an overall great person. I'm surprised he's in broadcasting instead of an MLB pitching coach, but maybe he prefers that job.

    As for the others, McGwire will probably get his nod eventually, and I would like to see Mattingly in the HOF. Perhaps he'll have a successful managerial career and that will give him enough popularity to be voted in. While he had only about 2200 hits, he has a career average of .307, and he's a multiple All-Star, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger, an AL MVP, and the Yankees retired his number. That says a lot - Mantle's average was lower, though in a few more seasons he managed a couple hundred more hits, and he just hit lots of homeruns. If the Hall of Fame these days is based purely on reaching milestone numbers, then it loses its meaning as a Hall of Fame and becomes more a Hall of Statistical Excellence.

    Raines may have played for 23 years, but he never reached 200 hits in a season (2600 career), never hit 20 HR in a season (170 career) and his career average is under .300. If he's good enough to be a Hall of Famer, then certainly Mattingly is.

  5. mmmrhubarb - according to Beckett after the promotion was over, more than 100k sets were released into the hobby (which is why these sets are so affordable).

    captain - for under $6... you can have to nice additions... plus a bunch of extras.

    night owl - i sure hope raines does... loved that guy in the 80's.

    ryan - wow... some serious in-depth analysis... awesome!

    that braves dynasty was simply amazing... one of the reasons maddux is one of my favorite pitchers.

  6. John Smoltz and McGwire had a HOF career