30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nifty 90's: The Chase

What were you doing fifteen years ago?  Anyone else entranced by Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and The Chase?

Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of Sammy Sosa hitting his 66th home run of the season.  And for a brief moment, he took the lead in the home run race against Mark McGwire.

Forty-two minutes later, McGwire tied it.  Over the next two days, McGwire would hit four more to end the season with 70 home runs.  History had been made.

In hindsight... many of us look back to this event as a reminder of the steroid era.  There are those who want to forget it ever happened.  There are those who want to ban all PED users.  And there are those who defend them.

But this post isn't about PED's.  It's a showcase of my memorabilia relating to The Great Chase of 1998 and how they remind me of those exciting days of checking Sports Center every night for updates the epic battle between these two beasts with bats.

Let's kick things off with these sweet inserts from 1998 Topps Gold Label baseball:

1998 Topps Gold Label Home Run Race #HR2, HR1, and HR4

I'm a huge fan of the dual image design, refractor like technology, and high quality card stock that this insert set delivered.  I'm still missing the Ken Griffey Jr. from this set.  Luckily these inserts are very affordable.  All four cards in the set range from $1.25 to $1.75 on COMC.  It probably has to do with the fact that they were very easy to pull from packs... seeded at a rate of two per box.

Are you a fan of 90's inserts?

If so... here's another beauty:

1999 Finest Split Screen Dual Refractors #SS1

These were relatively tough pulls back in the late 90's... inserted into one out of eighty-two retail and hobby packs.  There are fourteen cards in the set, so the odds of pulling this specific card was pretty bleak.  These days you find them in the $4 to $6 range, but back in the day these booked for $90 (Tuff Stuff September 1999).

It's hard to write a 90's sports memorabilia post without at least mentioning Kenner Starting Lineups.  Kenner... like every other collectibles company... jumped on the McGwire/Sosa bandwagon:

1998 Kenner SLU Classic Doubles

These were super hot in the late 90's.  If I remember correctly, the card shop I worked at sold these for $25 to $35 when they had them in stock.  These days you can find them on eBay for around $8 delivered.

And it's impossible to mention sports figures without showing off these:

1999 Headliners XL

These aren't your standard 2" Corinthian Headliners.  These are the XL's!  These boys are big.  Probably around 6"... maybe 7" tall.  I thought they stopped making these in the mid 90's.  I'm pretty sure the last Headliner I purchased before these two... was a 1996 Brett Favre.

Finally, I'll show of some of my McGwire and Sosa bling, bling:

Danbury Mint 22K Gold Cards

As with everything else in this post... these haven't held their value.  These were originally sold for $125.  I paid 99¢ (+ $6.95 shipping).  These are actually pretty nice and I might have to track down other Danbury Mint cards in the future... especially if they're as cheap as these.

I'll wrap things up by showing off one more item related to The Chase:

1962 Topps #53

I've been collecting cards for over thirty years and only recently purchased this awesome card.  In fact, this post actually inspired me to buy it.

Anyone else hold onto their McGwire and Sosa collectibles from the late 90's?

Okay... I'm off to go watch 61*.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. 15 years ago...I feel very old all of the sudden! I was a relatively naive 16-year-old and was loving it that summer. I don't feel the same way about it anymore knowing what we all know now, but I can still recall how closely I followed the events that summer and how excited I was as the record was surpassed. Great post Fuji, and nice collection.

    1. Lol... I was a relatively naive 27 year old ;-)

  2. I used to own all the McGwire and Sosa SLU specials back when I originally collected. I still have a Mark McGwire Commemorative card that My aunt bought off QVC.

    1. Those were awesome. If I ever have a ton of disposable income... I might just chase after all of those special Shop at Home and QVC cards. I know they were massed produced... but they're sort of the 90's oddballs.

  3. I still have the Wheaties box of McGuire in the closet behind me as I type. It's buried under the first Bulls 3-peat boxes and the 1980 Olympic hockey team box. Not sure why I haven't just recycled the thing.

    1. I have a few Wheaties boxes myself. They're sort of a pain in the bottom... but I just can't get myself to recycle them. Maybe I'll have a few of them framed and matted... or something. Either way... they take up too much space.

  4. Those are really 22K gold cards!? WoW

    1. Lol... that's what they claim. But they're only gold plated... not solid 22k gold. Whatever it is... they're not very valuable.

  5. I've always liked the Corinthian figures.

    1. For years... I couldn't stand them. But I'm warming up to them again. They're sort of like bobble heads without the bobble.