In the late 90s, I watched a documentary on the behind the scenes aspect of professional wrestling. In that program, a wrestler, best known for his interview skills and accompanying pet snake that he’d utilize to scare his opponents, talked about life on the road with an endless supply of groupies and how damaging it was to his marriage. Basically, once you’ve been with thousands of women and involved in threesomes & orgies, having marital relations with just one woman just didn’t do it for him and he’d eventually end up divorced.
That’s me, I am the Jake the Snake of Jose Canseco baseball card collectors. With more than 3 decades under my belt, I am tired. Certified autographs, game-used jerseys, serial numbers, and parallels just don’t do it for me anymore. I have now reached the point that missing cards from the 80s and 90s is what I really desire. If you’re a longtime reader, you probably can guess that I’ve covered all my bases with Topps, Panini, Fleer, and Upper Deck but Pacific Trading Cards is one company I was never fond of and never made an effort to collect.
Today, I want to show off two cards I’ve recently acquired. One is an “oddball” and the other, a forgotten insert. Neither is worth much and 9 out of 10 collectors today would likely pass them up at a show but for me they represent something really special. These are two cards featuring eras of Jose’s career that just don’t receive a lot of coverage anywhere, especially in baseball cards.
The first is this lowly, bottom of the barrel unlicensed card back when people didn’t care about lawsuits and used team trademarked colors and logos. This card came up by accident when searching for Pacific Trading Cards as it was mass produced in the mid to late 80s by a company called Pacific Cards and Comics, which produced many awful Canseco oddballs during that era and had no connection to the gaudy Pacific Trading Cards we all know and love from the 90s.
Still, as far as oddballs go, this one is great. It features an excellent and very rare photo never to be used again on another card. The jersey is rarely seen in Canseco cards and is from his 1986 season. What’s interesting is this card is from 1989, which typically use 1988 images but going back into the archives works extremely well and makes this oddball stick out from the pack more than 30 years after it was produced. I paid $3 for this card and it’s worth every penny.
The second card I picked up, I wasn’t even aware existed. Jose’s time with the Yankees for me was a depressing time as I realized, maybe even before Jose did, that the writing was on the wall. There would be no 500 career home runs, no great comeback story, and definitely no Hall of Fame speech. The Yankees signed Jose to keep him from going to a contender and then happily placed him squarely on the bench for his remaining time. It was heartbreaking to see and was the beginning of my hatred for Major League Baseball. Since Jose’s retirement over twenty years ago, I’ve watched less than 10 full baseball games.
By the late 90s and into the early 2000s, Pacific Trading Cards were pumping out many sets with extremely rare parallels and inserts. Since my boy was struggling to stay afloat, I too began to stray from collecting and missed many different Pacific cards from this era, including this amazing Yankees crown die-cut. I have other Pacific crown die cuts of Jose with the Rays, Red Sox, Rangers, and Blue Jays BUT this is the ONLY Pacific crown diecut from Jose’s short time with the Yankees.
This card here (the unnumbered version) landed into my collection for $12. I will continue to grab missing Pacific cards of Jose needed to complete my collection but for me, none will top this Yankees diecut for many reasons, including that it somehow managed to evade me for over twenty years and stay off the radar of a true, Jose Canseco super collector.
4 thoughts on “The Snake Will Always Bite Back”
That Pacific Cards and Comics oddball is one of the best. Such a simple design which makes it so awesome.
I’ve been doing a lot of that as well. I love digging through SportLots and grabbing cards that I never knew existed or were out of reach in the 80s and 90s before online marketplaces made things easier to acquire. It’s also fun grabbing those 1-per-box or case inserts that sold for a small fortune in the 90s for a few bucks now. I still enjoy the cards just as much and am not breaking the bank to acquire them.
Wow that die-cut is great. I always enjoyed picking up Canseco Yankees cards. I know I have an Upper Deck bat card. I’ve looked into his Yankees autographs but I believe they a bit more costly than some of his more readily available ones.
Love that well-cropped photo of Canseco on that first Pacific card. The other Pacific company did an awesome job with photo cropping during the 90’s. Shame they couldn’t zoom out just a tad bit on that Yankees card.