Friday, July 24, 2015

1989 Phoenix Cardinals Police Set

The Oddball Card Collector never stops scouring the web in search of police cards. On any given evening, I'll have one eye on Master Chef and the other eye on eBay... Or maybe one eye on a Love Boat re-run and the other eye on eBay... And if I've ever learned anything from Chef Gordon Ramsay and head purser Gopher Smith, it is this: the 1989 Phoenix Cardinals Police Set is pretty tough to find.

The era of the modern-day police set was turning twelve years old in 1989 (if you consider the 1977/78 Trailblazers set the first), and many card collectors were already beginning to lose interest in this type of card. Add to that the addition of two new nationally-distributed football card sets being released in 1989 -- Pro Set and Score -- along with a bevy of good but not great players on the Phoenix roster, and this nifty Cardinals set was all but guaranteed to be a cold release.

A release that continues to be cold to this very day.

A complete set features twelve player cards, which are not numbered except for uniform numbers. Slightly larger than the standard card size, each features a beautiful on-field color photo and short player bio. The historic year of 1989 was when Pro Set and Score blew the football "action shot" doors off the hinges, whereas police sets like this were once the best way to find such photos (especially for linemen). The '89 Cardinals set holds it's own here in all the classic police card aspects, including the expected action photography. The typical childhood safety tip is found on the back of each card.

The card featuring Derek Kennard was short printed, having been recalled from the set after his arrest for drunk driving. (You'll never guess the safety tip printed on the back of his card... "Don't ride in a car if you think the driver has had too much to drink. Call someone you trust for a ride.) In the world of scarce, short printed police cards, my guess is that Kennard ranks  somewhere in the middle. It's probably worth just as much, and probably more, than all the other cards in the set combined. Tight end Jay Novacek is represented during his rookie card year, and would go on the win three Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys. Roy Green, a true Cardinals legend, is also found in the set. (Green played everything from defensive back to wide receiver, to kick returner, to punt returner, to rusher.)

According to published sources, a total of 100,000 sets were printed. My question is simply, "Where are they?" I consistently see other sets, printed in much smaller quantities, showing up on the web much more often than this. At the time of this writing, eBay has less than ten singles available, and not even one complete set. As elusive as these cards may be, a complete set including Kennard is valued in the ten to fifteen dollar range. A set minus the Kennard short print would probably set you back about five bucks.
(5) Gary Hogeboom, QB
(24) Ron Wolfey, FB
(30) Stump Mitchell, RB
(31) Earl Ferrell, FB
(36) Via Sikahema, RB/KR
(43) Lonnie Young, FS
(46) Tim McDonald, SS
(65) David Galloway, DE
(67) Luis Sharpe, OT
(70) Derek Kennard, C (SP)
(79) Bob Clasby, DT
(80) Rob Awalt, TE
(81) Roy Green, WR
(84) J.T. Smith, WR
(85) Jay Novacek, TE

Saturday, July 11, 2015

2008 Arizona Diamondbacks SGA Postcard Set

Postcards and baseball go way back. Waaa-aayyy back. A set of "Rotograph" postcards were released circa 1905, and featured at least eight New York baseballers including John McGraw and Clark Griffith (a decent example of these might cost you well over $1,000 each). Other postcard releases may even be older that this.

Fast-forward some 103 years later, to 2008, and a nifty set of eleven postcards were released featuring the Arizona Diamondbacks. Wait... There's a Major League Baseball team in Arizona? Does Clark Griffith know about this? He should, because a downright nasty Hall of Fame pitcher named Randy Johnson is in this set. 

This set of postcards consists of ten individual player cards and a team photo/schedule card. These are large-sized postcards, measuring a hefty 7 x 5 inches. The players are featured in beautiful, color action shots that are borderless and cover the entire fronts of the cards. Backs feature the all-business postcard look, assuming that one would actually consider jotting down someone's physical address and slapping on a stamp. Each player's name and position is found on the back in small font, but the cards are not numbered. The team photo card pictures the 2008 Arizona squad, but the reverse features the 2009 season schedule... This makes sense as the postcards were distributed at the September 27 home game, the next-to-last contest of the 2008 season.

I'm not sure how many sets were printed, but as is usually the case with SGA (stadium giveaway) cards, loads of sets are handed out to non-collectors and most are never seen again -- some probably didn't even survive the seventh inning stretch, thanks to hot dogs, mustard and flying cups of draft beer. Regarding their value, these gems were released long after the card market imploded and might be of interest to maybe a handful of collectors. Putting these in the $5 to $8 price range is probably on the mark.

Click here to find Diamondbacks Postcards on eBay

 (1) Arizona Diamonbacks 2008 Team Photo/2009 Schedule
(2) Eric Byrnes, Outfielder
(3) Stephen Drew, Infielder
(4) Dan Haren, Pitcher
(5) Orlando Hudson, Infielder
(6) Connor Jackson, Outfielder
(7) Randy Johnson, Pitcher
(8) Chris Snyder, Catcher
(9) Justin Upton, Outfielder
(10) Brandon Webb, Pitcher
(11) Chris Young, Outfielder