Is This Junior’s Best Oddball Rookie?

10 10 2009

It’s tough being a Ken Griffey Jr. collector. If you really want to make your collection one of a kind, you have to spend hours of your life on eBay fighting off other rabid fans for a unique item. It’s not at all uncommon to see a 90’s insert featuring “The Kid” sell for a thousand dollars.

Luckily, his 1989 releases have all come back down to Earth in the last decade or so thanks to the “junk wax” label given to most of those brands, even Upper Deck. You can actually find raw copies of Griffey Jr.’s Upper Deck, Topps, Donruss, and Fleer rookie cards for a few of dollars a piece at most.

Just try to find a few of Albert Pujols’ 2001 releases for under $500 a piece. It’s impossible thanks to certified autographs, serial numbered parallels, and other new innovations that came to be after Griffey Jr. played in his first game with Seattle.

The card you see below comes from 1989 Franklin Caramel. While there are no print runs or even basic information on the set available through Sports Collectors Digest’s 2009 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, copies have sold for under $10 dollars on eBay.

In case you think all we baseball collectors see is retro-themed products, this 1989 release was modeled after 1910’s E93 Standard Caramel cards. Other players in the set include Jim Abbott, Mickey Mantle, Rickey Henderson, Willie Mays, and Don Mattingly to name a few.

Everything old is new again . . .

Ken Griffey Jr. 1989 Oddball


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10 responses

10 10 2009
Newspaperman

I wonder if that is an unlicensed card. There were a TON of unlicensed Griffey releases made during his rookie year. Personally, I like the one that came with his candy bars. Ha.

10 10 2009
Newspaperman

For what it’s worth, it’s not in the Beckett Almanac either.

10 10 2009
JasonP

Somewhere along the line, SCD cleared out almost all of the unlicensed sets from their catalog. The 2003 edition has them. Here’s what it has for the Franklin set:

1989 Franklin Base Ball Caramels
A step above the usual unlicensed collector issues of its day, this series of cards recreates the look – front and back – of the candy-card issues of the 1910 era, though in current 2-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ standard size. Fronts have paintings of current stars in vintage uniforms, with identification in the bottom border. Black-and-white backs have artwork of baseball equipment in a large “Base Ball Caramels” logo. The set purports to have been issued by “Franklin Caramel Co. / Chicago,” a non-existent firm. Because the cards are unlicesed, they have no legitimate collectible value

That last line always annoyed me….how does a license dictate “collectible value”?

10 10 2009
chemgod

That is awesome! Nice find bringing up this one.

10 10 2009
jesse

that card is very creepy, but cool

10 10 2009
Bryan

I have never seen that card before

10 10 2009
jamoke

Wow! That card is awesome. The washed out look and Jr. rocking the stache definitely draws a strong resemblance 2 King Kelley or Comiskey. I wish the major companies doing retro would make the artwork look more like that. It truly has character.

10 10 2009
dayf

My 2002 SCD Standard catalog has this write-up on the set, but no prices:

A step above the usual unlicensed collector issues if its day, this series of cards recreates the look – front and back – of the candy-card issues of the 1910 era, though in current 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ standard size. Fronts have paintings of current stars in vintage uniforms, with identification in the bottom border. Black-and-white backs have artwork of baseball equipment in a large “Base Ball Caramels” logo. The set purports to have been issued by the “Franklin Caramel Co. / Chicago” a non-existent firm. Because the cards are unlicensed, they have no legitimate collector value.

There are two series of 12 cards each, Jose Canseco is card #3 in series 1. This line gave me a chuckle:

Because the cards are unlicensed, they have no legitimate collector value.

Tell that to Upper Deck and Donruss… I don’t know about you, but the set looks pretty cool, unlicensed or not.

11 10 2009
Laurens

I think the fact that unlicensed cards could conceivably be reprinted over and over [if demand for a card or any cards from the set], the line, ‘because the cards are unlicensed, they have no legitimate collector value,’ exists.

As far as reprinting, a parallel situation is with the 1984-85 Star Michael Jordan rookie card/1986 Fleer Michael Jordan card – the Star is the rookie, but because it has been speculated someone reprinted and reprinted them after the fact, the Fleer is generally considered the first card of Jordan worth having.

11 10 2009
Cam V.

Was Roger Clemens included in this set, by any chance?

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