Friday, September 4, 2015

1988 Procards AAA All-Star Game Set

The 1988 AAA All-Star game was played in Buffalo, New York on July 13, and this nifty set of 55 cards was on site in time for the event. That's right, these sets were available right at the ballpark the day of the game. Featuring player statistics that were current through June 28 of that same year, the information given on card backs was just over two weeks old from the day of the game -- something that was quite a feat for any card maker in 1988. Only three players who participated in the game are missing from the set, as they were late replacements and not added to the rosters until just a few days beforehand.

The set was printed on thin, white cardstock and features glossy fronts. Large color photos across the fronts are flanked by dark blue borders and a large All-Star Game logo at the bottom left. Short player bios and hitting/pitching stats are found across the backs, which are numbered AAA-1 through AAA-54. A header/checklist card is included in the set, but is not numbered.

Several promising youngsters were featured in the set, and most of the players would go on to spend at least a short time in the Majors. The biggest name by far (at the time) was Tidewater infielder Greg Jefferies, who would go on to have a productive fourteen year career in the bigs, but didn't really hold up to the superstar tag he was given early on. Iowa outfielder Dwight Smith would go on to place second in the 1989 NL Rookie of the Year race, just behind fellow Cubs teammate Jerome Walton. Rochester outfielder Steve Finley is perhaps the most underrated player in the set, as he went on to play an incredible nineteen seasons in the bigs. Finley collected 2,548 hits during that time, and also clubbed 304 homers, smacked in 1,167 RBIs and stole an impressive 320 bases. Sandy Alomar, Mike Bielecki, Joey Cora and Mike Devereaux are four other players who enjoyed productive careers at the major League level.

In a nutshell, the 1988 Procards AAA All-Star set features several solid names that would impact Major League Baseball throughout the 1990s and beyond. The design is good, the photos are okay and the overall effort is ambitious. A complete set still sealed in plastic should cost a collector no more than five dollars today.

Click here to find Procards AAA Sets on eBay

AAA-1  Mike Devereaux, Albuquerque
AAA-2  Chris Gwynn, Albuquerque
AAA-3  Tracy Woodson, Albuquerque
AAA-4  Benny Distefano, Buffalo
AAA-5  Tom Prince, Buffalo
AAA-6  Eddie Jurak, Tacoma
AAA-7  Phil Ouellette, Calgary
AAA-8  Luis Medina, Colorado Springs
AAA-9  Bob Geren, Columbus
AAA-10  Mike Kinnunen, Columbus
AAA-11  Scott Nielsen, Columbus
AAA-12  Lavell Freeman, Denver
AAA-13  Tim Pyznarski, Denver
AAA-14  German Rivera, Denver
AAA-15  Urbano Lugo, Edmonton
AAA-16  Bill Bathe, Iowa
AAA-17  Bob Sebra, Indianapolis
AAA-18  Mike Bielecki, Iowa
AAA-19  Dwight Smith, Iowa
AAA-20  Sandy Alomar, Las Vegas
AAA-21  Mike Brumley, Las Vegas
AAA-22  Joey Cora, Las Vegas
AAA-23  Greg Harris, Las Vegas
AAA-24  Dick Grapenthin, Louisville
AAA-25  Mike Shelton, Maine
AAA-26  Marty Brown, Nashville
AAA-27  Hugh Kemp, Nashville
AAA-28  Tom O'Malley, Oklahoma City
AAA-29  Steve Finley, Rochester
AAA-30  Luis de los Santos, Omaha
AAA-31  Steve Curry, Pawtucket
AAA-32  Tony Perezchica, Phoenix
AAA-33  Roy Smith, Portland
AAA-34  Joe Boever, Richmond
AAA-35  Bob Milacki, Rochester
AAA-36  Geronimo Berroa, Syracuse
AAA-37  Eric Yelding, Syracuse
AAA-38  Lance Blankenship, Tacoma
AAA-39  Mark Carreon, Tidewater
AAA-40  Gregg Jefferies, Tidewater
AAA-41  David West, Tidewater
AAA-42  Mark Huismann, Toledo
AAA-43  Rey Palacios, Toledo
AAA-44  Cameron Drew, Tucson
AAA-45  Donn Pall, Vancouver
AAA-46  Sap Randall, Vancouver
AAA-47  Terry Collins, Albuquerque (Manager)
AAA-48  Carlos Ledezma, Buffalo (Trainer)
AAA-49  Bill Plummer, Calgary (Coach)
AAA-50  Joe Sparks, Indianapolis (Coach)
AAA-51  Toby Harrah, Oklahoma City (Coach)
AAA-52  Ed Nottle, Pawtucket (Manager)
AAA-53  Randy Holland, Syracuse (Trainer)
AAA-54  Mike Cubbage, Tidewater (Coach)
(NNO)  Header Card/Checklist


  1. I love these old ProCards sets. The company was based in Pottstown, PA, in between Reading and Philadelphia. In 1985 they put out only a Reading Phillies set, and then in 1986 they jumped up to somewhere around 100 sets. The 1985 Reading set had some really oddball (unnumbered) cards available, notably the owner of the team, Joe Buzas, and the President of ProCards, Jeff Rogovin! Rogovin's card didn't have the Reading Phils logo on it, but it was taken on the field and fits in with the rest of the set. A year or two later, the PC set had bonus cards issued of the Stadium Commissioner (an employee of the CIty of Reading) and others in the front office which were given away at the stadium's beer stand. I think Reading was ProCards's laboratory for trying new ideas.

    A great oddball PC set is their 1989 "Diamond Diplomacy" set, featuring about 25 Eastern League players and 25 Soviet players who met for a series of games in the Soviet Union. It shows up on eBay on occasion. No great stars in there, but it is pretty fun to look at the set and especially the Soviet players.

    At some point ProCards was bought by Fleer and then faded away after 1994 I believe, but it had a good run.

    1. I have an uncut sheet of the '85 Reading set, which contains two different Rogovin cards (I believe the second type may have been handed out by Rogovin like a business card). I love ProCards and would love to do many more posts on 'em... I was just thinking about that Diamond Diplomacy set the other day, and it would be nice to track down more info about them in order to write up a thorough post.

      In my opinion the golden era of minor league sets ended around 1994, right around the time ProCards went away like you said. The cards kinda lost their quirky feel. I still collect any and all minor league sets, but my primary focus (and budget) is on the TCMA and ProCards era.

  2. There is an excellent 10-minute 25th anniversary video about the tour on YouTube if you search for "Curtain Call: Diamond Diplomacy". I am with you on the "Golden Era" of minor league cards being around then. At least if the Reading Phillies are typical, from around 1989 to 1995 teams had some 2, 3 or 4 sets from different manufacturers each year! I also prefer the quirkiness of the early years of minor league cards--especially the 1970s and early 1980s.