A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Friday, May 31, 2013

Encarnaci-Oh Oh Ohn!


I don't have this card.  I normally don't like having to pirate pictures to use for the blog, but watching the Padres play the Blue Jays tonight (currently tied at three in the bottom of the 6th, Pads just got out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the inning), and I had to post about Edwin Encarnacion.

"Encarnacion" is a fun word to say.  It makes me think of this song from Nacho Libre, a movie that I actually started watching a few days ago before my daughter made me put The Princess and the Frog back on.  Good songs in both, but this one makes me laugh more than any other songs by Disney.


By the way, the Padres three runs so far have come on a two RBI double by legit Rookie of the Year candidate Jedd Gyorko, who took third on the throw home, and then scored on an error by Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, who tried to throw him out at third.

Incidentally, Encarnacion is 1 for 2 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored.

Matt Mieske, I Never Knew Ya

I received an envelope from Pat at Hot Corner Cards a while back.  Though he sent a trio of great cards, I already had two of them in my binders.  Don't worry, they'll be put to good use.  The one that I didn't have, however, was by far the oldest of the bunch, from way back in... 1991.

Matt Mieske was born in Pat's home state of Michigan.  He was drafted by the Padres in the 17th round of the '90 draft.  In his first two minor league seasons with the Friar organization, he hit .340 (low A Spokane) and .341 (high A High Desert).  Before he ever made it to the majors, the Padres included him in a trade in March of 1992 that brought a player named Gary Sheffield to San Diego.

I'm not aware of any other Matt Mieske cards that have him pictured in a Padre uniform.  Actually, from looking closer at this card, I'm not sure that I can really say that he's even "pictured" in a Padre uniform here.  Instead of airbrushing players into uniforms that they've never worn (as Bowman and many others are wont to do), this is appears to be a card that is 100% artwork, as evidenced by the picturesque seats in the background and the awkward looking "SD" on the cap.  This doesn't make me dislike the card; on the contrary, I like it even more.

Mieske ended his eight year career with a .262 batting average, 56 homers and 226 RBIs, none of which happened with the Padres.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Attack of the 90s!


I recently received my end of a trade from Bert over at Swing and a Pop Up.  Dude writes a great card blog, good variety, plenty for everyone to enjoy.  Unlike my blog, which is primarily used to showcase Padre cards.

He sent me a good variety of Friar cardboard, including recent stuff and a few vintage-y cards.  Most of the good stuff, though, for me, was from the 90s.  None of that "junk wax" business, no, this was the "good stuff", as evidenced by the Wiki Gonzalez card above (hey, I'm being serious, the man's about to get trampled at the plate!) EDIT:  I realize that the above card is actually from the early '00s, but that's close enough to the 90s for me.

Flair always seemed like a set that took itself a little too seriously.  Still, these cards look super nice, and Benes and McGriff are two of my all time favorite Friars.  Something about the way the Benes images come together makes him look like a Siamese twin (is that PC to say?).

Ahh, there was once a time when there were multiple Padres who would be among the league leaders in offensive categories.  To be honest, Sheff and the Crime Dog didn't lead the league in slugging percentage in '92 - that title belonged to Barry Bonds.  Still, Sheff came in 2nd with McGriff right behind him.  In '92, Sheffield would become the only player not named Gwynn to win a batting title while with the Padres.

What is the deal with Ryan Klesko's bat?  I'm assuming it's some sort of warm up device, or some corked bat gone wrong.  Either way, it makes for an interesting baseball card.  Oh, and just in case the nationality of Fernando Valenzuela was ever in question, Collector's Choice puts it to rest.

Sometimes I am always selective about the Padre cards that make it into the "Miscellaneous Padres" binder.  It's full to the brim right now, and yesterday I cleaned out a few that I decided "didn't make the cut".  There are some players that aren't included in my "Player Collections" binder that still make it into the "Misc" binder every time.  Fernando is one of them.  So is Rickey.  I really like '96 Fleer, when it went away from the trend of "it has to be shiny and glossy" to moving towards a thinner stock with a textured front.  I wonder who Rickey is calling.  Probably Rickey.

Here were a few additions to the aforementioned PC binder.  Hadn't seen the Finley before, but it isn't the first time he's been shown intensely chewing some Double Bubble.

 A break from the slew of 90s cards.  Man, these Khalil Greene cards turned out kinda blurry.  Still, no denying how awesome Khalil Greene cards are.

Last but not least, a trio of 1993 Topps Gold.  I've been thinking about going after the team set of '93 Topps, but I wasn't sure if it was a set that I "loved".  Well, seeing these three Gold cards has me wanting the parallel set, which would be cool.  I think these are my only three, though I'll have to dig to verify that.  Something new to add to the want list!

Thanks a lot Bret!  Hopefully I'll have a stack of Red Sox on the way to you over the weekend!  Six days of school left (I know it's unrelated to this trade, I just feel like celebrating)!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Doubling the Autograph Collection

I'm not sure how many Padre card bloggers there currently are, and I'm not sure how many were before me.  I do know that the first one that I was aware of was Padrographs.  Rod, the author and huge Padres fan from Oregon, has a massive amount of autographed Padre cards, the majority, if not all, of the "through the mail" variety.

Though he hasn't been as active on his blog as he has in the past, he had a post a while back about trying to save up some money for his first ever trip to Petco Park.  To do so, he was selling some of his cards on eBay.  Well, I have "Padre autographs" as a saved search on my eBay profile, so when there was a sudden influx of on card autos from the 80s and 90s, I knew that the sale was in full swing.

I was only able to nab two of the autographs, which I saved for the end of the post.  However, being the awesome guy that he is, he tossed in a few "bonus" cards.  I can't remember exactly, but I believe it was about 15 or so.  Whatever it was, as the title of the post indicates, it doubled my autograph collection.  Here are some of 'em.

My favorite of the "bonus" cards was this Andy Benes card.  Benes is one of the best starting pitchers in Padres history.  He's 6th in all-time ERA and wins, 5th in innings pitched, and second in strikeouts.  I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that he was the pitcher for the first game I ever went to.  He was pitching in the first game that I remember, at the very least.  I'm a fan of 1990 Fleer, and the blue signature a classic pose really pops.

I am not a fan of 1988 Fleer design.  However, I can never have too many cards of Mark Parent in his catchers gear, and Mark Davis was a Cy Young award winner.  These are definitely keepers.

Garry Templeton and Bruce Hurst are always cool in my book.  The Hurst is from the Traded Set, not always easy to find.

I have a ton of Greg Harris cards.  You may or may not know that I'm not trying to track down all the Padre cards that have ever been made, so there are plenty that I don't have that I still send off to other bloggers or pass out in my classroom.  But, for whatever reason, I hold on to all the Greg Harris cards that come my way.  Very cool to have his autograph.  And, of course, if you've ever listened to a Padres TV broadcast, you've probably heard Mark Grant calling the game.  He's not the best, but he's goofy and entertaining, most of the time.  Hey, we can't all be Vin Scully.

Here are a couple of guys who were probably better known on other clubs.  Calvin Schiraldi went to high school in Austin and later became a Longhorn, and later became the losing pitcher of games 6 and 7 in the 1986 World Series for the Red Sox.  And he played for the Padres.  Man that sounded really negative - I'm sure he is a great guy.  Kevin McReynolds also went to the World Series, once in '84 with the Padres, and in '88 with the Mets.  Spent most of his career in New York, but man, he looks sharp in that yellow.

Jerald Clark is another Texas boy, born in Crockett.  Autographed rookie card!  Score!  I had never heard of Eric Nolte, but one of my buddies as a kid had the last name of Nolte, and they were pretty athletic; pretty sure they aren't related, though.

Alright, onto the two cards that I bought, still saving my favorite for last.

TONY GWYNN SIGHTING!  Yes, an autographed Gwynn card from 1985 Fleer.  Sweet card, sweet autograph.  Brian from 30 Year Old Cardboard did a sweet post on the "ever changing signature of Tony Gwynn", but he posts so frequently that I wasn't able to find it.  This doesn't look like a "classic" Gwynn sig, but still matches some other ones that I've seen.  Obviously, knowing Rod, I know it to be authentic.  I've mentioned before that my family got a Tony Gwynn autographed ball when we saw him at the Little League field when I was a kid, but very cool to have his sig on a card.

The Gwynn was awesome to get, but this was easily the crown jewel (in my opinion) of the cards that I saw for sale (though that Benito that got away was right behind it).  First of all, if you collect baseball cards, chances are you've come across Bip Roberts' name.  From having a term named after him to appearing on some pretty awesome cardboard, the dude is already a mainstay in the collecting community.  Aside from sporting some awesome brown and orange on this card from '90 Fleer, the signature says it all.

"The Bipper".

If your signature begins with the word "The", I think you've made it.

Thanks again Rod, these were all awesome.  Wish I had the means to make a bigger contribution to the trip fund, but at least these great deals will be going to a good home.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Remember


Happy Memorial Day to everybody!  A day when the flag is at half mast in the morning to honor the dead, and raised back up at noon, signifying that our country is still alive.  A heartfelt thank you to those currently serving our country, and especially those with families and friends who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.


May we all find ways to honor those who put their lives in harms way to protect our way of life.

God Bless America.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

First Look At 2013 Bowman

As I stated yesterday, I picked up a rack pack of Bowman to take my mind off waiting to hear back from my recent job interview (still haven't heard anything, BTW).  To be honest, I bought a pack of the stuff a few days prior to this one, but there wasn't anything worth posting about.  Not that this was an amazing pack rip or anything, but it had enough of a variety to write about.

I'll start off with the only card that I'll be keeping for myself, which was also the first card that I pulled out of the pack.

In the rack packs, there is a bonus three pack of purple cards.  I have never heard of Matt Stites, and the  airbrushing on this card is glaringly obvious, but it's still a keeper.

Here are two of the best pitchers the Padres have had in the last decade.  The Latos trade was the better of the two, though the Peavy deal wasn't horrible.

Is Shelby Miller the next Bryce Harper?  The dude is 5-3 with a 1.74 ERA, and even though he couldn't beat the Padres, he's still pretty good.  Seems like a good early choice for NL Rookie of the Year, though hopefully Jedd Gyorko can give him a run for his money.

Here are two prospects that I've never heard of.  Wilfredo Rodriguez makes the blog because his catcher's mask has been tossed off as he tries to keep the base paths clear of would-be thieves.  Adalberto Mondesi is the son of former Dodger Raul Mondesi, one of the few Dodgers who I liked as a kid.

Here's the lone "Ice" card I pulled from the pack.  Never heard of Ismael Guillon, which is a theme that I'm sure most people are familiar with when they're looking through Bowman cards.

I've heard mixed reviews on the Bowman minis, but I really dig 'em.  Only looking for the Padres ones, though, so this one is up for grabs.  I have actually heard of Kolten Wong, though I'm not sure where or  when.

In case you were wondering, here are the "Top 5 Players in St. Louis Cardinals organization".

Hmm, I think some of the pictures I took on my phone didn't work out or something, but here's the back of a purple bordered chrome card of Edwin Diaz.  Thought it was cool that it was numbered 199 out of 199.

There were a few of the gold bordered parallels that come one per pack, but nothing that was worth re-taking a picture of, since something happened to the first one.  Adam Dunn, Matt Harrison, and some Yankee, I think.

Anyways, not a great pack by any stretch, but it served the purpose to take my mind off of "other stuff".  Like I said, everything besides the Padre card is up for grabs, and I'll work on adding the rest of the packs to the trade list soon.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Nub

On our trip up to Fort Worth, we stopped in a town called Alvarado so the kids and adults could stretch and get a break from the monotony of the car, and the gas station that we stopped at happened to be across the street from a house that had a horse grazing in the yard.  Seriously, on this trip, we saw a ton of horses.

Anyways, on our way across the street to see the "hosey", my wife snapped this picture of me repping the Padres as I crossed the street with Harper and Foster.


It's been so awesome and rewarding to see Harper learn to sit, crawl, stand, eat on her own, walk, and talk.  My heart still melts when I hear her say "daddy" and "I love you" (which still kinda sounds like "I nub you").  Those came with a lot of coaching.  The most recent additions to her vocabulary (un-coached, mind you): "Padres" and "baseball".

I nub her.

Mini Report

As I mentioned previously, I had a job interview on Thursday up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  The Fort Worth area to be more precise.  Anyways, I have a pretty good feeling about how it went, but of course, the longer it takes to hear back from the school, the more I'm going to be second guessing myself.  Ah, the joys of job hunting.

Anyways, the day before the interview, I got this beauty in the mail, a steal off eBay for a whopping 77 cents!  I'm not a huge fan of the Bowman brand, but these minis are pretty sweet.  They have them for the top five prospects of each team, and while two of the top five Friars are on the shelf for the year due to surgery, I'll gladly take stud catching prospect Austin Hedges off somebody's hands for a few quarters.

Besides the interview, the highlight of the trip up to Fort Worth was being able to eat at In-N-Out.  Aside from really liking the principal and the school, a huge bonus to making the move up there would be being able to eat there whenever we wanted.

I don't know if I've ever written it before, but I know I've said it; when we moved to Texas, away from family and friends in San Diego, the biggest thing I missed was In-N-Out.  

I mean, c'mon, you can write, call, and Skype with people.  The only way to experience this deliciousness is in person.  Am I a bad person for saying that?  Whatever, it's true.  They've finally made their way out to the Lone Star State, but have only a few locations, and they're all in the DFW area.

I hope I get that job.

If I don't, I know I'll be okay.  I've already signed my contract for next year at the school I'm currently teaching at.  It's a good place to work, and everybody there knows me and likes me (well, for the most part, at least).  We don't plan on staying where we're at forever, though, so it'd be nice to get moving in the direction of where we'll be permanently settling.

To give myself something else to think about (that's the purpose of having hobbies, right?), I bought a rack pack of Bowman to do a post on, I'll post that tomorrow, probably.  Spoiler alert, I pulled a mini, but not a Padre, so if anybody's got any of the other four, let me know.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Playin' Hooky


Won't be at school today since I'm on my way to a job interview at a school in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area!  Wish me luck!

BTW, in Nolan's hometown of Alvin, TX, there is a Nolan Ryan Elementary School.  Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

GWYNNsday Jr.


Happy GWYNNsday to everybody!  This week has been wearing me out, but hopefully it all pays off in the end.  Just wanted to do a quick post and say thanks to everybody who takes time out of their day to read this blog.  Here's hoping the next half of the week goes well for you, and that you have smoother sailing than Anthony Jr. here.

Take care, God bless.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fostering the Collection

After reading the many card blogs out there, I've become intrigued as to why collectors search out cards of specific players.  Some player collections are results of personal interactions.  Others have interesting names.  Still, others stem from unique stories or anecdotes about the player.  The list of reasons is endless, I suppose.

Being that my collection is made up primarily of Padres, the rare non-Padres that make it into a binder usually have a pretty good reason.  Well, I guess it's at least a good enough reason for me.

If you've been reading since the end of last year, you'll know that my son's name is Foster.  He's been a handful since he got here at the beginning of December, but he's able to sit on his own now and he's got his first teeth in, and he seems to be mellowing a bit.  While he was named for an ancestor of mine, I've been interested in acquiring baseball cards with his name on them.

This is half of my George Foster collection.  Both are from the end of his career, when he was with the Mets, and this one happened to be pulled from a repack box.  Gotta love the mustache-sideburns combo that are almosttouching.  '84 Donruss seems like it was a pretty decent set.  The other Foster I have is from the '83 Topps Traded set.

This is my most recent addition to my Foster collection, and is probably my favorite Foster card.  Roy Foster (he's a "Junior" according to his facsimile signature) was a rookie with the Tribe in 1970.  He received just one vote for the AL Rookie of the Year, coming in second to Thurman Munson, but The Sporting News chose him as their AL ROY.  His career was cut short due to injury, and his rookie season was the best of his three in the bigs.  Love the rookie cup on this card.

This was my first Foster card, a fitting Friar.  Alan Foster spent his last two seasons in the pros with the Padres, after spending time with the Dodgers, Indians, Angels, and Cardinals.  Gotta love the '77 set, the brown and yellow looks sharp.

Anyways, I realize that there are other guys named Foster that have played and have cards, and being a George Foster "collector" without having any cards from his Reds days is probably pretty weird.  So if anybody has any Fosters that need a good home, feel free to send 'em my way!

Oh, I've also mentioned before that my daughter's name is Harper, but I'm not going to drive myself crazy snatching up Harper cards, because the ones with "Bryce" as a first name will start getting out of hand.  There are some vintage cards of Tommy Harper that would be cool to pick up though, I guess.

Monday, May 20, 2013

1973 Topps Padres - Team Set Complete!

At the beginning of the year, I made a few goals.  One of them was to lose 30 pounds (as of yesterday morning, I'm halfway there).  Another was to complete a Padres team set from either 1969, 1971, or 1973.

Consider the 1973 Topps Padres team set in the books!

Now, I guess I need to preface this post by saying that I only went after cards that featured 100% Padre players, no multiple player cards.  I know that there are those who need to have every card that features a player from your team, but when the John Hilton rookie card is as expensive as it is, you learn to compromise.

Without further ado, here is a post dedicated to my first Padres vintage complete set.

First off, here are my top 5 favorite cards in the set:

First up, Clarence "Cito" Gaston.  Gaston was the Padres last pick in the 1968 Expansion Draft.  Went on to become a decent player and a heckuva manager, becoming the first African-American manager to win a World Series title, which he did with Toronto in 1992 and 1993.

There are times when I think about changing the color scheme with the blog.  This is a card that shows why I've kept it.  Look at all that yellow!  Team cards rule.

Coming in at number three on the countdown, Nate Colbert.  Gotta love Nate the Great, the first Padre star.  In 1973, he batted a career high .270 and had 22 homers and 80 RBIs.  His last year with the Pads would be in 1974, being traded to Detroit in 1975.

For a long time, I thought this would be my favorite Padre from the 1973 set.  How can you not love the full mustard uniform, the Wrigley ivy in the background, the diving third base silhouette, and the All-Star Rookie Cup?  Combined with a cool shot of Dave Roberts tracking down a pop fly, and it's a recipe for a classic card.  Roberts hit .244 with 5 homers and 33 RBI in his rookie season in '72, which was apparently good enough to be labeled an "All-Star Rookie".  Must've been a slow year for rookie third basemen, but I'll take it.

Is there a better looking Padre card than this one?  I'm not sure there is (trust me, that countdown is still in the making).  This was the second to last card from the set that I needed, one of the high numbered ones.  This is the first ever "play at the plate" card to feature a Friar backstop.  From a very reputable source, the Cub featured at home plate is pitcher Fergie Jenkins, and he was out.

After looking at all those fronts, lets check out the backs.  I am probably in the minority of people who prefer the cards to have vertical backs, and these are examples of cards that look good doing it.  I particularly liked that you could see the players' full names (not every day you see a guy who's middle name is "Elixbet"), though the cartoon headings steal the show here.  The Padres seem like a pretty interesting bunch, who's hobbies include "volunteer dentistry", "hypnosis", "amateur middleweight boxer", "playing checkers", and "building miniature racing cars".  Good stuff.

Here's a last and final look at all all 23 cards in the set...

Gaston and Fred Kendall are the only two Original Padres on page one.

Vicente Romo's awesomely airbrushed hat would've come in at number six on the countdown.  Colbert is a good fit as the centerpiece of the page.

Not quite a full page for the high numbers in the set.

Pretty pleased that it didn't take too long to get this mission accomplished.  '73 Topps is one of my favorite designs, and has some great photography.  It was also a pretty good year for Padre uniforms, though there wasn't a lot of star power in the checklist.  I'm still a ways away from completing the inaugural Padres team set from 1969, but I'm only one card short of completing the 1971 set, so if you've got an extra Preston Gomez #737 sitting around, let me know.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Go Padres!

The Padres have been hot and cold lately, seemingly either sweeping or being swept.  Last night they gutted out a 2-1 victory against the Nationals, behind the solid pitching of Eric Stults, a solo homer by Yonder Alonso, and an error by Nats pitcher Jordan Zimmermann.  Huston Street, fresh off a night where he gave up a go ahead solo homer in the 10th inning, came in for the save, though he walked two batters in the ninth.  John Baker threw out two baserunners, including one in the ninth to bail out the Padres.

Hasn't been a great season so far, but they're doing better than they did last season, and they're not in last place right now, so that's nice too.  With some good play and a little luck, I think .500 baseball is getting to San Diego soon.  Hopefully.

Anyways, speaking of heating up, I got the last card I needed for the 1973 Topps Padres team set over the weekend as well...

Clay Kirby #655 is the last Padre in the set, and fittingly, the last Padre I needed to complete the set.  It looks like he's pitching in a spring training game or at a high school field.

Anyways, I love the 1973 Topps design, look for a full write up of the team set tomorrow.  Hopefully the Padres can salvage a split of the series against Washington tonight as Andrew Cashner faces big money Dan Haren.  Go Padres!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Padre Backstops Vol. 5: Brad Ausmus

Haven't done a "Padre Backstops" post in a while.  Next up is a Padre catcher that I looked up to as a kid, and the first of the "Backstop" series that I ever got to see play.

Ausmus made his MLB debut for the Padres in 1993, but he spent time with two organizations prior to that.  He was originally drafted by the Yankees in 1987, and the Rockies selected him with the 54th pick of the '92 Expansion draft.  He made his way to San Diego with Doug Bochtler and a player to be named later in a trade that sent Greg Harris and Bruce Hurst to Colorado.

The PTBNL turned out to be a pitcher named Andy Ashby, who would go 70-62 with a 3.59 ERA over eight seasons in San Diego.  He was a back to back All-Star in 1998 and 1999.

Anyways, despite the five year gap between the time he was drafted and the time he made his MLB debut, Ausmus had an 18 year career with four different teams (Padres, Tigers, Astros, and Dodgers).  He was with the Padres from '93 to '96, when he was traded midseason to the Tigers in exchange for Chris Gomez and his replacement, John Flaherty.  As bummed as I was that he was traded, those two players were big contributors to the '96 NL West Championship team.

No borders here, just full bleed photos of Ausmus and the tools of ignorance.  I loved these uniforms.  I obviously love the vintage Friar unis from the 70s, but the orange and blue look sharp.  In most of our family pictures as a kid, my parents asked us what we should wear, and I suggested that we wear Padre colors, orange and blue (because, apparently you have to wear matching clothes to take a family picture).

Brad was a three time Gold Glove winner ('01, '02, and '06) and an All-Star in 1999.  He had a .251 career average, which was slightly higher with the Padres (.255).  His first three offensive years with the Padres were pretty good, but he hit .181 with a homer and 13 RBI in '96, which prompted the Pads to send him elsewhere.

But he wasn't known for his bat.  He was known for his defense.  When he retired, the only two catchers with more putouts than him were Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Kendall.  He led the league in fielding percentage five times and twice led the league in percentage caught stealing.

In his time with the Padres, he threw out 105 runners, good for a respectable 35.7% caught stealing percentage.  As a kid who wanted to be a catcher, I thought that was awesome.  Nobody else thought he was cool, though.  Kids dig the longball.

Ausmus ranks first all time among Jewish players in games played with 1,938, and is fifth in hits and eighth in RBI.  He was the manager for the Israeli national team that lost in pool finals and failed to qualify for the World Baseball Classic.  He is currently a special assistant for the Padres and has been working with their minor league players, most notably stud prospect Austin Hedges.

Other trivia:
On August 2, 1997, he was the first catcher to wear the FOX mini-camera in his helmet during a game.
He has also played every other infield position (besides pitcher) and never had an error.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

21 Years Later...

I'm not sure that this is always the case, but if you run a blog about cards, chances are, you enjoy "showing off" a little.  I think most of us are prone to it in our everyday lives as well, but when you come across something that's rare or cool or a super-refractor-relic-parallel-serial-numbered-autograph card, well, you want others to check out how awesome it is.

Some posts from you guys have made me a little jealous.  I've read posts about finding Hank Aaron's and Mickey Mantle's in bargain bins, ripping autographed Stan Musial's out of packs, etc, etc.  All very cool stuff.

But there was one particular post a while back that made me think, "Man!  I gotta get that!"  Fortunately, my tastes are a little on the simpler side, so it was a purchase that didn't break the bank.

The cards I'm referring to are the ones from the 1992 D.A.R.E. Safety set.  I mean, I think that's what they're called.  I'm not sure that they have a technical name, since there aren't even numbers on the back, and the card stock is only slightly thicker than paper.  A post by Duff at Bleedin' Brown and Gold made me think about how much I liked this set.

Sure, it's nothing fancy.  Plain white borders, simple name and position at the bottom, team logo at the top.  But I remember getting one of these when I was a kid!  The D.A.R.E. police officers came to Garden Road Elementary and told us not to do drugs (D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education), and to hammer their point home, they passed out Padre cards.  How awesome was that?

Of course, I didn't get anybody good.  I wanna say it was Kurt Stillwell or Kevin Ward.  Tried to trade around, but didn't have any takers.  As a kid with good taste in cardboard, it was kinda hard to take such a flimsy card seriously, especially since there weren't any stats on the back.  "Fake" cards I believe I called them at the time.

I mean, how can you take something serious that has a mascot named "Bluepper" on it?  I need baseball players, none of this childish garbage!  I was in second grade!

Of course, as I've retraced my card collecting steps, I've fallen in love with all those things that I wasn't as excited about at first.  The brown and orange uniforms from earlier Padre days.  1991 Fleer.  And oddball sets that I didn't consider to be "real" cards.

I will say that I have always kept my D.A.R.E. pledge not to abuse drugs or alcohol, so that middle aged lady cop with the curly hair would be happy.

The Benito card at the top is the easy favorite of the set, but the "Padres Relievers" card is a close second.  The backs of the cards were a kick to read, between headlines like "BE A CHOOSER, NOT A LOSER" and lines like "Drugs are everywhere.  They're easy to get, easy to use, and even easier to get hooked on".  I mean, I get the idea of saying that it's easy to get hooked on, but easy to get?  I dunno, maybe I'm running in the wrong circles.

Or the right ones, I guess...