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.
#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.