30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Vanilla Ice, 90210, Beckett, and Bo Jackson

It's hard to believe that I graduated from high school thirty years ago.  Time sure flies by.

1991 Pro Set Yo!  MTV Raps #88
1991 Topps Beverly Hills 90210 Stickers #7

The year was
1990MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, and New Kids on the Block were all over MTVGhost was the highest grossing film of the summerBeverly Hills, 90210 was born.  So were Jose Altuve and Gerrit ColePresident George H. W. Bush was running the country.  And baseball card collecting was as popular as ever.

I spent that summer going to concerts, playing pick up games at the park, and working at the local card shopLife was good.

Bo Jackson was on the cover of Beckett when I walked across the stage to receive my diploma:

Beckett #63 (June 1990)

He had just knocked Will Clark out of the top spot on Beckett's Hot List:

Pete Rose and Sportflics were supposedly the coldest things in the hobby.

1986 Sportflics #50

Rose had been banned from baseball the previous summer and it definitely impacted the sales of his collectibles.  As for Sportflics, I'm guessing that newer companies like Upper Deck and Score , as well as the original Big Three companies drew most of the attention of collectors by the time the 90's rolled around.

Thirty years later, I enjoy both again.  Not sure the majority of the hobby feels the same way.

One of the hottest cards at the time was this card of Bo:

1990 Score #697

In that
issue of Beckett, the high book value of this card had risen to double digits:

Believe it or not... that's actually a pretty accurate price range for sales of this single the past weekWho knew that Beckett's values were so accurate?

What about other sets?  Here's a look at a pair of my all-time favorite Topps sets:

While flipping through the price guide, one of the best bargains was the 1982 Topps Traded set:

1982 Topps Traded #98T

Not sure why, but I thought that this set's value had already exploded by 1990... but the Ripken was still very affordable at the time.

Right now the 1985 Topps Mark McGwire Olympic card is very popular.  Let's see where it was at thirty years ago:

1985 Topps #401

According to completed listings on eBay, this card currently sells in the $12 to $25 range for raw copies... so kudos to Beckett for being so accurate again thirty years after the fact.

Since Bo and Will were so hot back in 1990, let's look at their two most popular rookie cards:

1987 Fleer #269
1987 Fleer #369

And here are their values in Beckett 30 years ago:

It looks like neither of these have held their values over the past three decadesBo's 1987 Fleer rookie card sells in the $3 to $10 range, while Clark sells in the $1 to $5 range.  That's still pretty good, since I've seen both of these cards sitting in dollar bins on numerous occasions over the past ten years.

Speaking of cards that haven't quite held their values... back in 1990, the 1988 Score Traded set was heating up and the Mark Grace rookie card was on fire:

1988 Score Traded #80T

These days you can find the Grace on COMC for a few bucks.  I picked up my PSA 10 copy for $14.39 on 4 Sharp Corners back in 2017.  I always liked Grace... and this is one great looking rookie card of him.

I'll wrap up the price guide portion of this post with one of the most iconic cards of the era:

1989 Upper Deck #1

Upper Deck made a huge splash in our hobby just eight months before this issue hit the news stands and card shops.  Like the Ripken, I thought this card was selling for much more than $13.50 back in the day.

In addition to the price guide, there were plenty of articles too.  However by this point, I was getting tired of scanning.  But here's a quick peek inside of this issue:

Alex Fernandez was the highest collegiate player taken in the 1990 MLB Amateur Draft.  He was taken with the 4th pick by the Chicago White Sox and had a pretty solid career.  However the most successful guy on this list is Mike Mussina.

1992 Leaf Gold Rookies #BC12

He was chosen by the Baltimore Orioles with the 20th pick in the draft.  As of right now... him and Chipper Jones are the only two players from this draft class to get the call from Cooperstown.

The blogosphere is filled with Los Angeles Dodgers fans, so I scanned this for all of you:

And I'll close things out with an article on Tony Fernandez, who sadly passed away back in February of this year:

Well that's it for today.  Congratulations to the graduating Classes of 2020!  This sure has been an interesting year for all of you and the rest of the world.  It'll be interesting to see what you remember thirty years from now... and whether or not card collecting will still be as popular as it is today and back in 1990.

Okay, it's time for you guys to chime in...

What are your favorite memories from 1990?  Were you collecting?  Did you pull the famous black and white Bo out of a pack of Score?  Did you go watch Ghost at the local drive-ins like I did?  Were you listening to MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice on your Sony Discman?

Looking forward to reading and responding to your comments.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. My favorite 90s memories all involve pick up baseball games.I was still collecting cards. Mainly Canseco cards. Never did drive- ins and Loved Vanilla Ice's hit single up until he lost his street cred.

  2. Great cards and review of those times. Really get the thrill at seeing those exorbitant prices for those cards. 1990. I think it was a good year. I collected cards in 1990 for sure and it was probably the last year I really did. Never pulled that Bo, no. Didn't have a discman for a few years but definitely was listening to the Ice and the Hammer.

  3. I was in 1st grade in 1990...so, um...I don't really know. I was into Ninja Turtles, for sure. I definitely collected cards, although I couldn't tell you if I had a focus or anything. Although I certainly enjoyed getting Yankees cards, even then.

  4. This is so wild. I was planning on doing a spin on the hype train the 80s and 90s cards are gaining. I was definitely collecting back in 1990. I was doing the Hammer dance with friends and did in fact own the 90 Score Bo.

    The thing I find very comforting about you showing that Beckett article is that people were starting to calm down slightly on Ben MacDonald and gain more attention for Ken Griffey Jr. I don't understand how Jose Canseco moved up the Hot List the same time he moved up the Cold List.

  5. I'm surprised you went with the Fleer Bo over Topps.

  6. I wasn't born until 1993, so it's a bit tough for me to answer these questions :0 My dad was collecting cards and Beckett Magazines in the early-90s though, and I eventually inherited it all. The magazines and most of the cards are gone now unfortunately, but it's still cool to look back at what remains. I spent so much time with those late 80s and early 90s cards growing up, it seems weird to think they were printed years before I was born.

  7. I was working at my first full-time job (started during the previous year), at a small radio station in Claremont, New Hampshire. It was a pretty good time in my life, I guess. I wasn't collecting at all--I don't even remember being aware that the card business was booming.

  8. I was in heaven collecting Sportsflics back in 1990....living the dream working part time at the card shop. Never did pull a Bo out of a pack, but that is a sweet looking card and very iconic!

  9. 1990 was an even bigger deal for me, that was the year I got hitched (still am) and landed a job with the company I still work for.

    I barely collected. Didn't pull any of those cards and I celebrated my 30th high school reunion seven years ago. Thank goodness it was then. I don't need Vanilli Ice playing at my HS reunion.

  10. Ice Ice Baby! It was my first year in an elementary school job and it was eye-opening! My best memory is having a group of my fifth graders to a jump rope demo to that song at the annual district PE demo Day at the mall.

    I was collecting Pro Set football and had decided that I'd give up collecting Orioles team sets after the UD Ben McDonald fiasco.

    1. LOL my sister opened one pack of 1990UD that year. No idea why. But she pulled that McDonald "error."

  11. Oh wow, that brings back memories, 1990 was the year I entered High School. That was also a major year for me and collecting as my dad and I started selling cards at shows that summer (and we opened an actual store the following year). That Score Bo FB/BB card was the hottest item that summer, an easy sell for 10$ whenever we could lay our hands on one. Score also achieved a major coup in Canada that year by signing an exclusive contract with Eric Lindros who appeared in their hockey set (and also the baseball update set for some reason), which we could also instantly sell for 10$ or so each.

    Its been a long time, but I do miss the day each month when the new Beckett came out. I remember being so excited to get it an then look for those up and down arrows next to cards I had and 1990 was the first year I did that.

    One thing I like looking back with hindsight at the 1990 sets is that there is a really strong crop of rookie cards in most sets, but almost none of the guys who "made it" got much hype when the sets were released. Frank Thomas, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez and Mo Vaughn all have rookie cards in those sets, but none of them got much attention (not a single one is on that Beckett Hot List from June 1990).

    Instead, everyone was buying Ben McDonald (8 on the hot list), Eric Anthony (10) and Todd Zeile (5) rookie cards! And that included me. How wrong we were.

  12. 1990. I went to the College World Series. Successfully prospected Mike Mussina with an autograph while he was in college. joined the Baseball Card Club at my junior high. Ripped a ton of Topps for god knows what reason since I should've realized that was going to be my Christmas present.

    Oh and as far as I've seen, Sportflics was ALWAYS on Beckett's cold list. If someone can find a Beckett with Sportflics on the hot list I will probably go into shock.

  13. I was 10 collecting Pro Set football cards in 1990. I notice how easily you can peak the back of the wrapper. I got five Deion Sanders cards out of it that way. Also Marvel Universe cards were a thing and my first introduce to Spider Man, Hulk, X-Men, Punisher to name a few before I got into comics. I thought Foolkiller was a thing when I saw back of the cards he have 4 wins and 0 losses.

  14. 1990 I was collecting ,pulled Bo from a pack,saw Ghost at a walk-in,and was listening/watching ice ice baby ,and you cant touch this on the radio/mtv.

  15. I was collecting in 1990, but not extensively and focusing mainly on topps baseball. I did see ghost, but not at a drive-in. I had friends who had the mc hammer and vanilla ice cd's but I did not. I was listening to new releases from midnight oil and the replacements that year. We still had a lot of fun listening and dancing to ice ice baby and u can't touch this, along with groove is in the heart by dee-lite.

  16. Great post Fuji! I graduated exactly ten years after you, but your 1990 summer sounds absolutely awesome. Going to concerts, playing pick-up sports, and working at a card shop? Sounds like heaven to me!

  17. I stopped collecting after 1984 (and HS graduation), finished college and was into comics pretty heavily by then. Junk wax has always been junk wax to me. Didn't see any of it until about 2003.
    Had been into metal since the early 80's...Vanilla Ice & co. were entertaining, but not my thing.

  18. I remember buying one pack of Sportflics in 1990, was disappointed it had only three cards in it, and didn't buy another.

  19. 1990, I had been out of high school for fifteen years, married for five years (still am), had two sons (four and one). Started work at Baseball Cards and More. at that point I was trying to collect every Padres team set. I remember so many of those cards and the discussions with customers about Beckett pricing. I worked there for five years and then at Portland Sports Cards for two years. It was a fun time

  20. After seeing the title of this blog post, how could a person NOT click to read more?

    I was still collecting in 1990, but didn't find any of those Bo Jackson cards. As for Hammer/Vanilla Ice on my Sony Discman, well, I think I was still in Walkman stage at that point. But I do remember both guys being huge at the time.

    Great memories from those "Hot" and "Cold" lists that Beckett used to put out. Thanks for sharing those images!

  21. 1990 was the year I started collecting. Ripped a lot of what was on shelves that year.. trying to sample at least a little of everything. That Bo Beckett was the first one I got. My best friend had the big MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice cassettes and we would listen to them often whilst hanging out after school.

  22. big tone - pick up baseball? that never happened in my area. i played organized baseball until high school, but there were never any pick up games in between. i wish we did though.

    peter k steinberg - i'm really bummed i didn't keep my walkmans and discmans. i feel like they would make a great display in my office as well, right next to my hammer and vanilla ice trading cards

    collecting cutch - i think the hot/cold thing was that canseco was popular in some parts of the country while unpopular in other parts. that's my guess at least

    ellptical man - i like the topps bo way more than the fleer... but the fleer's values were way higher than topps back then... and even now

    alex markle - it's crazy. 1990 to you is 1969 to me.

    brett alan - i can't speak for the entire country but there were card shops all over the place here in san jose. good times.

    sumomenkoman - glad to meet another man who appreciates sportflics. as for the score bo, i only have one left... but there was a time when i had snap cases filled with that card

    night owl - happy 30th anniversary buddy! yeah... to make matters worse... our 30th hs reunion will probably be on zoom. doesn't matter... i never attend those things

    commishbob - man... i miss teaching 5th graders sometimes. i'd actually steal that idea and do it with them (well... when we're not distance learning anymore). as for mcdonald... i remember you talking about that before.

    nick vossbrink - nice pull by your sister. and i'm so jealous your junior high had a card club. as for sportflics... i think you'd have to go back to 1986 to not find it on beckett's cold list.

    sean - wow... you owned a card store? that's awesome! i remember the 1990 score lindros card in the traded set. i still have my set sealed somewhere. sounds like you and i would have been friends, because i went straight towards those up and down arrows too. you're right about that rookie class. frank, sammy, mo, and juan all eventually had their hobby moments... but i feel like larry walker was always undervalued in our hobby.

    rebel coyote - so... you were a pack searcher. you rebel. lol. i wasn't innocent either. i searched upper deck packs for holograms and 1992 leaf packs for the gold leaf rookies. and those marvel universe cards are awesome. i'm down to needing only one base card and a few holograms for my master set

    sg488 - you, me, and a bunch of other guys around the country

    gcrl - i love me some midnight oil. but i definitely was into mc hammer. saw him in concert... pretty sure that summer.

    shoeboxlegends - there's no way i'd be able to accurately rank my summers, but i'm sure it's up there in the top 25 percentile. and the drive-ins and concerts played a big part of that summer

    gca - lol. yeah, i'm not proud of the vanilla ice thing. but... i can say the same thing about milli vanilli too ;D

    bo - sportflics was the first high end product i ever opened... and i loved it.

    padrographs - ahhh... conversations with customers about beckett pricing. those were the days. just curious... does portland still have any card shops?

    gregory - i was sort of a sony snob in the 80's. i had a few walkmans, a few discmans, and even a couple of watchmans. wish i would have kept them. and the hot and cold lists are always fun to check out when i open up old issues of beckett baseball

    defgav - by 1990 i had switched to cds... but i still used cassettes to make mix tapes. i actually found a box of unopened cassette tapes about a month ago sitting in a storage box. sure brought back memories.