As you may or may not have noticed, I've been in a bit of a posting funk lately. Partially attributed to Maxwell (child #3), partially to it not quite being baseball season yet (although it's coming soon!), and partially to just not having much to write about.
While some people doodle when they're bored, I tend to make lists. So, to get myself out of the funk, I'll be posting some lists, hopefully on a more frequent basis.
Today's list is my top ten favorite Fred McGriff cards. I'm focusing only on his Padre cards, though I dig some of his Blue Jays cards as well.
#10 - 1992 Score
I have an irrational love for lots of card sets from 91-94, which were my prime card collecting years (I was 7-10 years old during that span). Score was one of the first sets that I remember getting a lot of. I love the neon colors and the way the image pops out onto the frame, and (though I love the Padre brown) the blue Padres pinstripes look killer here, along with a smooth McGriff follow-through.
#9 - 1993 Upper Deck "Homerun Heroes"
Normally, a card with a kid on it would've landed a lot higher, but that's how much I dig the rest of these. I imagine that this is little Erick McGriff, Fred's son. Making the bat look small, even as a kid!
#8 - 1993 Donruss "Long Ball Leaders"
It's a little detail, I guess, but I like that Donruss added (what I can only assume is) the length of his longest home run in 1992. Plus, it's been so rare that a Padre has been among the league leaders in home runs that I really like cards that make mention of it.
#7 - 1993 Pacific
This selection has little to do with the actual photo or design, and more with the fact that it is in Spanish. Being fluent in Spanish (though a little rusty since I don't get a lot of practice), I always enjoy reading something in español, even if it's as short as "Primera Base". This was before the people at Pacific fired all their boring designers and hired people who were certifiably insane.
#6 - 1992 Topps Kids
Topps Kids was such a great set! I love this card more than probably anybody in the world, if only because I can't imagine anybody else getting worked up over it. Pink! Purple! Yellow! Green! More colors!
#5 - 1992 Leaf Black Gold Preview
Not a big fan of extra color? Hard to go wrong with a sleek, black border. Even though it seems like a set named after four random nouns, I really love this card. One of the "harder to find" cards from the early 90's, though that's really not saying much. Anyways, yeah, Leaf's preview cards are pretty rad - one of my favorite Gwynn's is from the '91 Leaf Preview set.
#4 - 1993 Select
My opinion of the '93 Select set kinda varies from time to time. Some cards look great with the green border, but other times… I dunno, it doesn't do it for me. But this is a flat out great card, can't think of any way to improve it.
#3 - 1993 Topps Marlins Inaugural Set
Again, like Topps Kids, I probably love '93 Topps (and '92, for that matter) more than most collectors. It's one that I cut my teeth on, and blah blah blah nostalgia, etc. Anyways, like the Leaf Preview cards, it's a little more on the "harder to find side", though again, it's far from impossible. There's also a Rockies Inaugural set that I wouldn't mind adding to my collection, but I need to take a break from eBay for a bit because I've been splurging on 2015 Topps Series 1 parallels (gotta chase those Cashner's).
#2 - 1993 Triple Play "Nicknames"
It feels weird not having this one at number one overall, to be honest, but it was pretty close. As far as I'm aware, this is the only card that ha's Fred's nickname on the front. Nice and big, too, and in foil that's not hard to read. While the photo leaves a lot to be desired (also, only the second one on the countdown to feature him using his glove), uh… it has CRIME DOG WRITTEN ON IT. Case closed.
#1 - 1993 Topps Black Gold
If I'm talking about treasured baseball cards, this is easily in my top ten in my whole collection. For one, this card has only had one owner - me, when I pulled it out of a pack as a nine year old. Secondly, scoring a card like this was a pretty big feat for me - I know it seems like inserts ran amok in the early 90s, but to pull one of my favorite player? I was over the moon. I love the combo of black and gold here, and heck, this is even a card I used in my first post on this blog. Love. This.
Well, there you have it. Of my 79 Fred McGriff as-a-Padre cards, these are my favorites.
Probably not a lot of Padre fans who have McGriff as one of their all-time favorite players, due to his short stint in San Diego (coupled with the fact that he was traded away literally one of the worst trades in baseball history), but that short stint coincided with my formative years, so it is what it is. If he had been here longer, no doubt he would've been the greatest first baseman in Padres history (sorry Nate Colbert, Adrian Gonzalez, and… uh… Ryan Klesko?)
Long live Fred McGriff, Hall of Famer in my heart.