I remember thinking as a kid that "artist's portrait" cards were pretty lame. I wanted actual photos! Not some artsy-fartsy rendering! I wanted to see the real action shots, the real uniforms, with all the grass and dirt stains.
Looking back, some of those portrait cards have a place in my collection now, and I like the variety that they offered in the different sets they were in.
This is my favorite sketch card that I currently have. I don't him listed on my "Player Collection" list, but I definitely hold onto all the Benito Santiago cards that come my way. I became a Padres fan right around the time that he was on his way out of San Diego, so it's not because he was a favorite of mine. It's mostly because he must have a friend in the card industry, because he had some really cool cards.
Of course, when I think elaborate paintings of baseball players, I think of Donruss' "Diamond Kings" cards. I did not like these as a kid, and I can't say that I'm particularly in love with all of them now. I do however, like these Padres representatives. Check out those mustaches! Whitson actually had a great year in 1990, going 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA. Goose's mustache is tough to beat as well, and despite the downright ugly 1986 Donruss set, this card looks pretty good to me.
Ok, ok, they're not all Padres cards. Seriously, how cool are these 1992 Fleer cards? Fleer followed up their 1991 yellow bordered set with this offering; a green-faded-to-white concept. The base set is pretty bland looking, but these cards are stellar. Not sure that Ripken or Ryan are in many bad looking cards.
Okay, right back to the Padres, as in "Mr. Padre" himself. I considered showing an ugly version of a Gwynn Diamond Kings card (or a really ugly version of a Gwynn DK card), but I'll go with what I believe is hands down the best Diamond Kings card ever, this one from 1985. This Upper Deck Masterpieces card is awesome, featuring two of my favorite childhood stars on one card. Very fitting that they entered the Hall of Fame on the same day.
Upper Deck's checklists from the early 90s are pretty awesome. I had more of these when I was younger, but I included them in a lot of trade packages early on. I made sure to keep this one though. I still get goosebumps watching Fisk's homer for the Red Sox, even though I only knew him as a member of the Pale Hose.
Alright, so these last two cards are a little hokey, but I still love 'em. I got the "Error Card" guy from a Walgreens repack. Did a triple take when I saw it. Should've included the back of the card as well, since it is also pretty ridiculous. If you've never seen the "Sidelines" cards from the 1992 Pinnacle set (aka "my favorite set ever"), you're missing out. Apparently Bob Tewksbury is quite the artist. Others include Nolan Ryan as a rancher, Tom Glavine as a hockey player, and Jim Gott as a martial artist.
Anyways, I'm sure there are plenty of other worthy candidates, but these are the selections for this round of "My Hall of Fame". Any others that need to be included, feel free to send 'em my way!