Remember 1990 Collect-A-Books?

Thinking back to all the baseball card releases of 1990, some might forget about an “oddball” product that blew away every release of that year. ‘Collect-A-Books’ was exactly the standard size of a normal baseball card, used M.L.B logos but offered so much more than your typical ’90 Upper Deck or Topps base card ever could.

Wax Heaven reader, Jason, recently sent me a stack of Jose Canseco cards which not only included three cards that I needed for my collection but also had a double I have always wanted from a product I cherished since I first busted it almost twenty years ago.

Below is a full review of all 8 pages of 1990 Collect-A-Book. I challenge ANY trading card company to produce a better product than 1990 Collect-A-Books today. Honestly, it’s impossible because today it’s all about autographs, game-used relics, serial numbered cards and finding the next great High School Babe Ruth and not about quality products.

You can find the full set of ’90 Collect-A-Books on eBay for less than $4 dollars (link). I wouldn’t go anywhere near the ’91 release as I have never seen it but judging from a few scans it doesn’t look like they did much to fight off the “sophmore slump”.


A great photo and good design (by early-90’s standards) that won’t make you embarrassed to look at even close to twenty years later. Can’t say I feel the same about a few Topps Big releases.


There’s the action shot we kids loved, along with Jose’s bulging Steroid-filled muscles and a huge logo to remind you who the best team of that era was.


Here’s the personal information with yet another (mostly forgettable) photo. For the record, Jose’s nickname was never “Mr. 40-40” but I guess they needed to fill the spot with something.


Here is the bogus personal story which always makes me cringe when it involves Jose now that I know he was a cheater throughout his entire career. Still, you will love reading these stories if it involves your favorite player.

Be honest, how many of you called Jose’s 900-number back in the day?


You gotta love the career highlights, especially when it involves an M.V.P and Rookie of the Year award, a first-time baseball feat known as the “40-40” and much more!


This page I absolutely love. It not only includes Jose’s entire M.L.B stats but also every stat from each year in the Minors. Did you know Jose hit 36 home runs in the Minors in 1985 before being a September call-up? No wonder he was such a cocky son of a gun at such a young age.


Let’s be honest, if you were able to get a Jose Canseco autograph back during his heyday you were one of the lucky few. Much like today’s biggest stars, Jose did not sign much but every once in a while he did make one or two fans happy. Today, Jose is signing like crazy at card shows and book signings. That facsimile autograph is his real one and it has not changed much over the years.


The best part of the card as a kid, a very well-done caricature of a man who’s kind of a caricature today. If I ever get a chance to meet Jose again, this card needs to be signed. In case you’re wondering, there are 36 players in the set like legends such as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Lou Gerigh. There are also several stars from the 90’s like Ken Griffey Jr., Roger Clemens and Kirby Pucket to name a few and each card features 8 pages, including the caricature.

Also, each individual card fits in Ultra-Pro pages, penny sleeves and Top Loaders.

9 thoughts on “Remember 1990 Collect-A-Books?

  1. I remember this book, I saw a dealer once selling a lot of them for like 5.00. Something that is very rare with this book, actual stats and information on the player, don’t really see that today……..

  2. I loved Collect-a-books. I was just about to tell the Darryl Strawberry story (as told by Collect-a-books) on my site, too! I remember being real little and seeing Babe Ruth as part of the checklist for this set, which I still have somewhere, and thinking that there was no way I could possibly pass it up.

    Good choice by seven year old me.

  3. Collect-A-Books were cool. I bought a few and still have Mattingly, Gehrig, Ryan, Ted Williams, Warren Spahn, and Roger Clemens I think. If I am not mistaken, they were sold in lots of three.

  4. They were/are cool. Not necessarily accurate, but who’s keeping track.

    Orel Hershiser’s book has him listed as being a Mormon. Not quite.

  5. Collect-A-Books were actually a product created by former big league pitcher Jim Bouton (of Ball Four fame). He is also responsible for the creation of Big League Chew.

  6. I have found an album that has 36 Collect-A-Book baseball cards including Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. Is anyone interested in purchasing
    these cards.

  7. I actually just have a question… I found my brothers old collection of Collect-A-Books 36 plus 3 Line Drive 8 1/2×11 photos. Whitey Ford, Ralph Kiner, and Roberto Clemente. What are they worth? should I hold on to them or just toss them as my bro says?

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