30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Jumping on the Bandwagon

When it comes to baseball, most of us weren't amused by the 1994-95 MLB strike.  I was pretty devastated, because my favorite player was flirting with .400 about a third of the way through August.  Odds are he wouldn't have accomplished the feat, but we'll never know thanks to a bunch of rich people not being able to see eye to eye.

The Oakland A's and San Diego Padres didn't help turn my frown upside down either.  Neither performed well when play resumed.  Sure Gwynn started off the 1995 season where he left off... with a 12 game hitting streak and a batting average well above the .400 mark.  But neither team was really considered playoff bound by the start of June.

Thankfully there was this rookie pitcher imported from Japan setting the league ablaze named Hideo Nomo.  Okay there was also the whole Iron Man streak, but for the sake of today's post I'm going to focus on The Tornado.

At the time, I hadn't really gotten in touch with my Japanese heritage obsession.  However that didn't stop me from jumping on the Nomo bandwagon.

1995 Skybox Emotion #144

At the time I was in the process of getting my teaching credential at San Jose State University and sometimes I'd walk over to a card shop about two blocks away from campus.  This wasn't your typical 90's LCS.  It was super tiny with only one long or maybe two small display cases.  They didn't really have a lot of singles.  Their focus was selling overpriced packs and snacks.

But when you're addicted to sports cards, you're willing to overpay if you need a fix.  One day, I purchased a pack of Skybox Emotion and was pretty stoked to pull Nomo's rookie card.  I'm sure I pulled a few of his other rookie cards that year, but this was one of those rare occasions where I actually remember pulling a specific card.

A few years later, I sold off the bulk of my collection and any Nomo I owned went with it.  Since I returned to the hobby in 2008, I've built up a decent collection of his memorabilia including that Emotion rookie card.

Most of my Nomo collection was purchased between 2010 and 2013.  According to my eBay and COMC records, I didn't purchase any of his cards in 2017.

With that being said, I did receive a very generous care package from Dennis over at Too Many Verlanders that included this bobble head of Mr. Nomo:

2002 Los Angeles Dodgers SGA Bobblehead (8/24/02)

And this super cool die-cut insert:

1998 Paramount Special Delivery #10

When it comes to edges, it doesn't get anymore die-cut than this.  Pacific inserted these in 1 out of every 37 Paramount packs, which almost breaks down to one per box.  Although this insert set isn't considered rare, it'd be a challenge to build since there are twenty cards in the set.

Rounding out this Nomomania care package were these two Hideo Nomo Becketts:

I really miss the simplicity of the early to mid 90's Beckett covers.  The issue on the left is from November of 1995 and is truly something to see when shown in its entirety:

The Becketts didn't stop there.  He also sent these which feature other Japanese imports:

Plus these Oakland Athletic covers:

And a few Sports Illustrated issues as well:

Last... but certainly not least... Dennis wrapped things up with this Tony Gwynn jersey card:

2001 Upper Deck All-Star Heroes #ASH-TG

Although this blog post focused on Hideo Nomo, I am always excited to add a new Gwynn card to my collection.

Thank you Dennis for this very generous (and super heavy) care package.  I've been having a lot of fun flipping through all of these Becketts.  The 90's issues have taken me down Memory Lane, while the early 2000's issues have been helping me fill a hobby void created when I took a break from the hobby.

Happy Saturday and sayonara!


  1. I love looking through old Becketts......back when collecting was a lot simpler for sure!

  2. I distinctly remember that four photo Beckett cover. Pretty sure I owned a copy at one point.

  3. Awesome stuff! That Nomo Beckett is fantastic!

  4. Pacific did such fun stuff. That Special Delivery insert set is one of my favorites of theirs. That and Card-supials.

  5. Oh man now I want to go make an animated gif of the Nomo Dennys motion hologram.

  6. I got to see Nomo his first year on the Dodgers in 1995. One of the cooler games that I have ever attended. Very electric crowd. Unfortunately, I also got to see him up close at the end of his career. He ended up on the Charlotte Knights for part of the 2006 season. Nomo was throwing a bullpen before the game, there are seats next to the bullpen in Durham, so I went to watch before the game. The White Sox had some pitching instructor watching him trying to figure out his mechanics. Brutal conversation.

  7. I have blacked out the strike myself-I am trying to visualize a card shop near campus-way too expensive downtown now, but when you are addicted and they have snacks, I am in. I can imagine condition on the die-cut is tricky, but is indicative of the 90s Pacific inserts-super cool

  8. SumoMenkoMan - It's been tons of fun reading all of these old Becketts. It's awesome to see what was once super hot in the hobby.

    Bru, TLC, and Daniel Wilson - It's awesome. If I had a man cave, I'd probably go out and find a mint condition copy and frame it.

    Adam Kaningher - Card Supials rule too! Forgot about them.

    Nick Vossbrink - Do it! Love the Denny's issues from the 90's.

    Snorting Bull - I watched him pitch at Candlestick at least once... and I vaguely remember seeing him pitch against Oakland (although that one could have been televised).

    B Man - Yeah. I don't think it remained open very long. Maybe a year or two. These days there's like one card shop left in San Jose... and I don't even know if it's actually within city limits.

  9. Nomo was fun to watch. Loved the wind up