A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Top 50 Padre Cards of the 90's: Final 5

Can you believe that it's already time to count down the Top 5 Padre Cards of the 90's?  It seems like it went so fast.  I'm already thinking of some other countdowns that I could do now that this one is over.  I'm leaning towards a shorter countdown, possibly involving Trevor Hoffman cards or something like that.

But today is not the day for that, it is a day for basking in the glory of 90's cardboard greatness, featuring Padre greats and Padre forgottens.  Blogger is telling me that "forgottens" is not a word, but if it's not, it should be.

Drumroll please...
#5 - Paul Faries, 1991 Upper Deck
I'd have to go back and double check, but I'm almost positive that Paul Faries has to be the most forgettable Padre on the countdown (though Jason Thompson gives him a run for his money).  This is not only the #5 best Padre card from the 90's, but it also is probably the best double play card featuring a Padre fielder.  Actually, is this a double play card?  Faries is definitely not throwing the ball, and the way he's jumping doesn't make it look like he just threw the ball, so I'd wager that the ball is in his closed glove.  Man, all this time I've been thinking that this was a sweet double play shot, and it's probably not.  Regardless, this is a very cool shot for a very unknown player.  Bravo Upper Deck.

#4 - Archi Cianfrocco, 1997 Upper Deck
While Archi Cianfrocco is one of my all time favorite Padres, he has been criminally underrepresented on this countdown - not because he's been snubbed by me, but because… his baseball cards aren't all that visually interesting.  Still, this is one of the best Padre cards of the 90's.  Hard not to look awesome when you're rocking the catcher's gear, but Archi definitely owns it (crap, I think I've been watching too much Project Runway).  Cool blurb at the bottom which says exactly when he was making his "rare appearance as a catcher".  I've written about this card before, and it's still great.

#3 - Benito Santiago, 1991 Score "Dream Team"
This is the second "Dream Team" card on the countdown, the first being Robbie Alomar's (#24).  All of the things I said about the Cianfrocco card are quintupled here.  I know it's a studio shot, but seeing Benito's deadpan stare while he's tossing the ball up in the air, as if daring the guy on first to just think about stealing?  It does not get much better than this.  When I started drafting the countdown, this was my early #1 pick, and it's hard to drop it down to #3.

#2 - Trevor Hoffman, 1997 Upper Deck Collector's Choice
As action packed as #5 was, and as serious as #3 and 4 were, this one is just fun.  I loved Picture Day with the Padres when I was a kid.  Very bummed when they moved it from Saturday to Sunday, since that is our day of worship.  Still, seeing Hoffy with arms outstretched, a throng of fans behind him, and the "Keep The Faith" sign in the background - very cool.  I also kind of see it as a cocky "bring it on" sort of card, which was definitely how the team felt in 1996, the year that Hoffman is being celebrated for being an All-Star (also the first year of my childhood that they won the NL West).

#1 - Gary Sheffield, Phil Plantier, Tony Gwynn, & Fred McGriff, 1993 Upper Deck "Four Corners"
Alright!  We've reached the top!  When I thought about this countdown, I realized that there is no way for me to take my own biases out.  I am a fan.  As a fan of the Padres, there is no greater 90's baseball card of the Padres than this one.  Tony Gwynn, the bedrock of San Diego baseball, along with two of the most talented players ever to wear the Padres uniform (Sheff & McGriff) set to a San Diegan background?  Love it.  Throw in Plantier, who (in hindsight) seems very out of place, though he did become the sixth Padre to have a 100 RBI season in 1993.  Growing up as a kid in the early 90's, there was no better trio than Sheffield, McGriff, and Gwynn.

Of course, it would all be short lived, and they wouldn't make the playoffs until that great '96 season.  But I now have this card to remember the early promise of greatness.

Well, there you have it, the Top 50 Padres Cards of the 90's.  There is one very popular Padres card from the 90's that I didn't show because… I don't have it.  If you think you know which one I'm talking about, go ahead and leave a message in the comments.  Then send it to me.

I'll post about the countdown contest winners tomorrow.


  1. Great countdown! I just picked up that '91 Score "Dream Team" Santiago at a card show, it's definitely a beauty.

  2. That Dream Team Santiago is awesome. His 1991 Topps card is pretty amazing too. As a Padres fan... I'm embarrassed to say I'm not quite sure I know which card you're referring to. But here are a few 90's Padres cards I really like that weren't on your list:

    1990 Leaf #154 - I love this design. You wouldn't believe the amount of money I dropped building this set back in the early 90's. Anyways... this card features a solid Gwynn photo. Get ready... this is the first of several Gwynns on my list.

    1992 Triple Play #138 San Diego Chicken - Has to be one of the greatest mascots in MLB history... right?

    1994 Bowman #232 Derrek Lee - Love the famous "up the bat" photo with the blue sky & clouds in the background.

    1995 Stadium Club #475 Tony Gwynn - Now that's a BIG bat!

    1996 Topps Gallery #147 Joey Hamilton - Huge fan of this very colorful subset and the cheapest card on my list.

    1997 E-X2000 #92 Ken Caminiti - Another card with clouds. Only this time there's acetate too. In all honesty... the Gwynn and Henderson are awesome too... but Caminiti had the best photo of the lot.

    1997 SPx #42 Tony Gwynn - I love holograms and die-cut cards. This card has both plus my favorite player.

    I'm not sure if we're allowed to throw in inserts, so I'll keep it to the lowend, affordable stuff:

    1995 Pinnacle Team Pinnacle #TP9 Gwynn & Puckett - Two chubby guys who could hit for contact.

    1995 Stadium Club "Ring Leaders" #RL7 Tony Gwynn - Best color for your money.

    1997 Topps Gallery "Gallery of Heroes" #GH9 Tony Gwynn - Stained glass looking acetate = Awesome. It's a shame that Studio didn't include him in their 1996 Studio Stained Glass Stars set.

    1997 Donruss Preferred "X-Ponential Power" #10a and 10b - Any insert set that combines two Padres to create one super insert definitely is on the top of my list. At the time of this post, I only own the Caminiti.

    1999 Paramount "Fielder's Choice" Tony Gwynn - What do you get when you combine the greatest Padre and die-cut technology? This card. Gwynn is also in the 1998 set too (don't own this one yet) Two more glove die-cuts featuring Padres are: 1997 Leaf "Statistical Standouts" #13 Ken Caminiti and 1997 Stadium Club "Patent Leather" #PL2 Ken Caminiti.

    1999 UD Choice Mini Bobbing Head #B24 Tony Gwynn - C'mon... the card features a floating head.

    And I'll wrap it up with a few cards that I don't own (YET). Although they're all pretty attainable, so I'm confident that they'll eventually land in my Padres PC...

    1991 Seven-Eleven Coins #4 Tony Gwynn - I drank a lot of Slurpees in the mid 80's collecting these lenticular discs. They're a huge part of my cardboard chronicles.

    1995 Sportflix Double Take #11 Gwynn & Puckett AGAIN - This time w/ lenticular action.

    1999 Topps Gold Label Class 1 #6 Tony Gwynn - I absolutely love Topps Gold Label's dual image design with the refractor background.

    1999 Flair Showcase Row 1 #9 Tony Gwynn - Another multiple image design that's refractory. Actually there are a bunch of 90's Flair cards that are pretty amazing.

    Wow... didn't think my comment would be this long. Sorry about that. I probably should have just created a post on my blog and left you a link ;-)

    1. I definitely appreciate the list! Most of these I'd never heard of, so glad to have some more cards to try to track down! The '95 TSC Gwynn card JUST barely missed the cut. From a quick Google Image search, the Puckett/Gwynn and the "Gallery of Heroes" are my favorites that you mentioned, I'll have to add those to the want list.

      And yeah, you should definitely draft up that post. The world needs to know. If your list doesn't include Paul Faries, I'll understand.

    2. Stay tuned. I might just have to do this.

  3. Cianfrocco caught for one inning in his career and Upper Deck has card capturing the moment. Simply. Awesome.

    Man, I wish they still had a MLB license.