A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tribute To The Top Ten Tony's

This weekend, I finally finished the complete overhaul of the Tony Gwynn binder.  Before, I just put the cards into whatever slot happened to be open, as I got them.  I would consult with the list on the blog before adding it to the binder, but apparently I've been slipping, as I found five duplicates in the bunch.

Now, all 462 Gwynn cards in the binder are organized by year, then alphabetically by brand.  Didn't take as long as I thought it would, either.

So, that's where most of my Gwynn cards are, although I still have 30 in the Team Set binder, 28 in the Rad binder, and 1 in my 1991 Fleer set.  All in all, that tallies up to… 521.  It goes without saying that is easily more than any other player.

Anyways, out of all of those great, glorious Gwynn's, which ones are my favorites?  Well, here are the top 10 (for today, at least), though there were a lot of great ones that missed the cut.  For another great Top 10 Tony's list, check out Nick's over at the Dimebox blog.

#10 - 1994 Donruss (checklist)
While not a conventional choice, this is the only card that I am aware of that commemorates Tony's 2,000th hit.  I happened to be at that game, and it is easily one of my all-time top baseball memories.  It was also my 12th birthday.  Tony would hit his 3,000th hit on my birthday again, six years later.

#9 - 1992 Topps/O-Pee-Chee
Again, another nostalgic pick.  1992 was the year that I got into collecting, and Topps' '92 card of Gwynn was most likely my first of his.  I did and still love that set.  This one, however is the "O-Pee-Chee" brand, which is a little tougher to find than the run-of-the-mill Topps edition.  Looks like Tony is taking some batting practice hacks, which is an appropriate card, since the dude was a batting cage beast.

#8 - 1993 Topps Black Gold
Speaking of firsts, the gold craze that Topps started in the early 90's led me to my first experience with "card lust".  I pulled a "Black Gold" card of Fred McGriff (one of three Padres included in the insert set), and it was instant love.  It would prove to be the only one I'd ever own as a kid, but I was able to snag this one after I started the blog.  Eight year old me would've been stoked.  Almost-30 year old me is stoked as well.

#7 - 1994 Fleer "Pro-Visions"
If Lisa Frank was into baseball art, then elementary school Marcus would've had a bunch of school supplies that looked like this.  As it stands, this is easily the best painting I have seen/will ever see.  The Padre pinstriped robe (because he plays for the "Friars"), the book that is creatively titled "Baseball" that is apparently the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, and the group of baseballs orbiting Tony's head, ensure that this card sits comfortably in the top 10.  I mean, I didn't even mention the "Fleer" batting gloves (with hands that seem a little larger than Gwynn's), the bat slung over his shoulder like a sword, or the beautiful San Diego Bay in the background.

#6 - 1994 Topps Stadium Club
The '94 Stadium Club set was one of my favorites as a kid.  I mean, check how cool it looks.  The great Stadium Club photography is even more pronounced without a border, and the scrapbook/labelmaker nameplate was right in the wheelhouse of the "extreme" trend that was all the rage then.  But what really makes this card is the contemplative look by Mr. Padre and the way the orange and blue pops from his jersey and wristbands.  Man, those wristbands.

#5 - 1992 Topps Stadium Club
Alright, Stadium Club with back to back spots!  You thought the last card was a close up of Tony?  Ha!  You could hardly even see his stubble!  Here, on the other hand, Gwynn's face takes up about 80% of the card.  Again, the minimalist design brings the focus on the subject, and the photography is top notch.

#4 - 1984 Topps
I have long loved this card.  First off, when I got into collecting, I was all about the newest stuff.  "Vintage" didn't really appeal to me.  "Those guys have already changed teams by now!" was my main thought.  But the idea that I could have a card of Tony Gwynn (who was still a Padre) from the year I was born was pretty intriguing.  While I'm not a huge fan of the pink background for the inset, this is decidedly a better photograph of Tony than his rookie card, and it's from the year the Padres went to their first ever World Series.

#3 - 1985 Fleer (autographed)
While I've had the chance to get a few Tony Gwynn autographs in my days in San Diego, I never had any of them on cards.  This is kind of a bummer to me, but thanks to Rod from Padrographs, I was able to remedy this.  I especially love the yellow batting practice jersey, and purple sharpie isn't one that you see too much.  The main reason this card made the list is the autograph, but hey, that's a pretty good reason, right?

#2 - 1983 Topps/O-Pee-Chee
While the photography for Gwynn's rookie card isn't spectacular, it's still his rookie card, and while that doesn't really mean a lot to me for most players, it does for Tony.  I now have three of Gwynn's rookie cards (other ones being his '84 Fleer and '84 Topps), but this was the first one I had, the O-Pee-Chee brand.  It's slightly off center, but not as bad as this particular scan would have it seem.  Anyways, like I said, not great photography, but still a great card.

#1 - 1985 Topps "All Star"
I don't know, there is just something marvelous about this card.  The clear blue sky, the colors on the nameplate, the simple design, the casualness of the pose.  I just love it.  This would be Gwynn's first All Star card, though he would go on to be an All-Star fifteen times over.  I guess that even though I more closely relate Tony to the blue, white, and orange uniforms of the 90's, the brown, yellow, and orange combo from the 80's is still a pretty good look, especially here.

Well, I don't think it's a perfect list, but as of today, that's the best I can do.  If you've got any killer Tony Gwynn cards that I don't have on this list, go ahead and send them to me.  Thanks for reading any/all of my Gwynn posts the past week.  I don't think I'm done with the exclusively Gwynn posts, but I'm ready to post about some other stuff, so look for that soon.

Take care, have a great week.


  1. Great list. You have more than five times the amount of Gwynns I have. I really need to find a copy of that '94 Fleer "Pro-Visions" insert. '90s wackiness at its finest.

    RIP, Mr. Padre.

  2. Dig the personal connection to #10, and I love your choice for #1. Easy to look for something flashy or offbeat, but then you forget just how perfect classic simplicity can be. Great list.