For a collector who has focused his attention one just one player for 28 years, I think I’ve done a pretty decent job. For one, here I am pushing 40, with more knowledge about the hobby than ever before, still lucky enough to be picking up new cards of Jose Canseco in 2018. When I began collecting baseball cards in 1990, I was immediately hooked by this WWF-like slugger named Jose and his larger than life home runs. I wasn’t alone. The entire sports world and everyone I knew was enamored with this guy and his baseball cards reflected that popularity.
Jose has had many ups and downs in his career but arguably his first big fall was in 1992 as his personal life was spiraling out of control. Unfortunately, his play on the diamond began to suffer and Jose, baseball’s highest paid player, was having a lousy season which resulted in his own fans in Oakland booing his every at-bat. Jose was already the most hated baseball player in every other stadium so even as a 12-year-old kid, witnessing my hero’s downfall was pretty depressing. As the season began to wind down, Jose Canseco was traded to the Texas Rangers … while on-deck to hit for the A’s.
It was a bizarre turn for the former unanimous MVP, who conquered baseball and was just 28 at the time of his shocking trade. It is safe to say that despite a couple of good seasons, Jose was never again anything close to the Baseball God he was in 1988, when he was the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases. In late 80s cards, companies were predicting he’d one day hit 50-50, break Roger Maris’ single season home run record, and much more. The truth was, whether he knew it or not, Jose’s glory days were behind him in 1992 despite playing another decade for 9 organizations.
Above you will find Jose’s 1992 Score card, which features a great action photograph of Jose from his 1991 season in which he led the Majors in home runs. There were a lot of companies producing baseball cards in 1992 and even more still releasing unlicensed, “Broder” cards as well so missing a card here or there was not uncommon but not by the “main” companies like Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Upper Deck, and Score. The thing is, back in 1992, we only had Beckett price guides, card shops, and weekend card shows to see what was out there. There was no eBay. No message boards. No Twitter.
Thanks to today’s vast technological improvements, I have pretty much every Jose Canseco card from 1986 through 1999. The specific cards I don’t have, I have lots of information and details on, not to mention front and back scans. So you can imagine my shock and awe this afternoon when I discovered I was missing a KEY 1992 release. Not only was it missing from my collection, I did not even know it existed. How did such an important release manage to stay hidden from a true Jose Canseco “Super Collector” for a whopping 26 years and what does this say about me?
The card you see below is nowhere near as cool as the main 1992 Score Canseco base card for many reasons. For one, Score used a less impressive photo with too much blurriness in the bat section. Second, the Texas Rangers colors just don’t mix and let’s be honest … aside from Pinnacle Brands, has ANYTHING good ever come out of Texas? Jose played 3 seasons with the Rangers and only had one good year, which was ruined by the player’s strike. That season, 1994, Jose was on pace for 45+ home runs but Matt Williams and Ken Griffey Jr. were chasing 61. It was over for Jose.
Anyway, this 1992 Score Rookie/Traded was released as a box set and came with 110 cards of players who had been traded or were rookies during the ’92 season. It is sadly best known for having Tim Wakefield and Jeff Kent rookie cards. These are two players who could make a crackhead fall asleep, they were THAT dull. Don’t get me wrong, they were great players but they lacked much in the personality department. Today, you can find sealed boxes of this product on eBay for about $5 dollars or $25 if you happen to find a beat-up box at your local Goodwill.
Over the past month, my collecting spree has slowed to a crawl as I have been focused on work, raising my daughter, and going to the gym 6-7 times per week. I just haven’t had a lot of time for cards, blogging, or even much of Twitter but this mistake must be fixed at once. As soon as this post is published, I will run out to COMC or eBay and will pick up this mysterious and elusive 1992 Score card to add to my 1,500+ count collection of Jose Canseco cards. It’s one thing to miss out on 1/1s and high-end autos but not having this card is about the most embarrassing thing that could happen to me in 2018.