Well, I didn't want to go through all the Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's countdown all at once, but I didn't anticipate the countdown going along this slowly. Things've been busy at work, but the end of the grading period was yesterday, so I finally plowed through that big stack of papers that I've been meaning to grade for a while. One of these days, I won't be scrambling to finish my report cards at the last minute.
Anyways, on to the countdown...
#35 - Tony Gwynn 1997 Zenith
Of all of the shots of Tony Gwynn batting, this is probably one of the most unique. Gwynn's face is hidden (for the most part), and in the background, we have the ball heading towards the plate against the blurry background of the Jack Murphy fence. You can still make out the fuzzy palm trees in the background as well. As much as I normally don't like the "nonexistent design" look of those cards that are basically just a picture, this one looks sharp.
#34 - Steve Finley 1996 SP
One of my best Padre memories was when I was a kid and we were able to go down onto the field to take pictures with the players. It was crazy and crowded, but I still got photos with Trevor Hoffman and Rickey Henderson, among others. My favorite picture of the day, however, was of me pretending to leap at the wall like my hero, Steve Finley. I could only make it up to about the orange line, not quite able to "rob" somebody of a home run, but still very cool as a kid. This is not the last card you'll see of Finley flashing the leather.
#33 - Tony Gwynn 1999 Stadium Club
Here is the youngest card on the countdown, from 1999. This is not my favorite Stadium Club release, but this is still a good card. Can't hide that great photography. Back to back "at the wall" shots - can't beat that. I feel like this is an underused card shot - well, at least it's not used as much as I'd like it to be. Much like the card at the top, Tony's face is mostly obscured here as well. Who knew he was so mysterious?
#32 - Wally Joyner 1998 Pacific Collection
I'm not sure that I've ever seen a card featuring a "play at the plate" with so little contact. Future Padre Mike Piazza seems to be stretching as much as he can to perhaps graze the pant leg of Joyner, who has tiptoed around to the other side of the line to avoid the tag. As much as I truly dislike the design of the majority of Pacific cards (including this one), this is a great photo here, especially with the colors of Dodger Stadium in the background. Doesn't hurt that it involves scoring a run against LA, and I feel like I haven't seen that many Piazza cameos on baseball cards.
#31 - Benito Santiago 1991 Score
Some of the cards from 1991 Score were kind of a miss with me. The different colors that they used for the borders means that there are some (like this one) that look awesome, while other players were stuck with blue or white, or teal borders. This one is obviously black and is obviously awesome. Great use of a horizontal catchers' card, which looks great even without the catcher's gear.
Closing in on the halfway mark of the countdown. When we get to the middle, I'll do a list of the players featured so that those who put their guesses in at the beginning of the countdown can see how they're doing so far. Hope that I'm not the only one enjoying this, but even if it is just me, it's still fun to count it down.