Jose commits a fashion faux pas

I remember looking at the back of my 1991 Upper Deck as an 11 year-old and thinking how cool Jose Canseco was for wearing a shirt underneath his team jacket that said “leave me alone”. How very Bart Simpson of him! Of course, when you have a favorite player you don’t just look at the cards, the photography, the facial expressions—you study them. For me, I was sure I’d never see that shirt again.

Well, this morning while searching eBay, I found something that came as a shock to me. It’s an oddball card from a brand called “R.B.I” released in 1992 and in its set, Jose Canseco’s card features the very infamous t-shirt. Here is my question; if the card was first featured in 1991 Upper Deck using photographs from 1990, does that mean this 1992 R.B.I set used photos from 1991? If that’s the case, was Jose so starved for attention, by asking to be left alone, that he wore the horrible t-shirt more than once and in different seasons?

I say instead of having Jose’s sister put up old videos of Jose’s home runs on eBay, why not find this ancient, 90’s-style shirt of Jose’s and put it up on eBay for the leftover Canseco fans to bid on? I’d do my best to win the auction, create custom Jose cards with one of the two photos and include pieces of the shirt as memorabilia cards. That would either be the greatest tribute to Mr. Canseco or perhaps the worst idea I’ve ever had.

The Top 5 Oddballs of all-time

Last week I wrote a piece about “Oddball” brands and the prejudice collectors who own such cards face in trade negotiations. You can read my piece here. Once again, David from Cardboard Junkie has opened up his vast collection of baseball cards & knowledge and has put together the definitive, official top 5 Oddballs of all-time exclusively for Wax Heaven. So without further ado;

#5 – 1981-1988 Drake’s Big Hitters

A nice regional set full of sluggers that was originally inserted in packs of snack cakes. The sets have a cool oddball feel to them on the front, but have the classic Topps backs.

#4 – 1982 K-Mart Box Set

This was one of the first victims of the mass overproduction of baseball cards in the 80’s. On the other hand, everyone had at least one set and the classic Topps cards were a great lesson in card history.

#3 – 1988 Panini Stickers

The best designed sticker set of the 80’s hands down. The design was attractive and actually had the players name on the front so there was no guessing who it was. There were also special foil team stickers, lots of detailed stats and information in the album and best of all, no tiny half stickers.

#2 – 1988 Pacific Legends

A very simple design puts the focus on the player and not the card. The set is packed with both superstars and fan favorites, and the Mickey Mantle card was selling like mad for 25 bucks each at a card show I attended in the late 80’s.

#1 – 1983 Donruss Action All-Stars

In my opinion, the best design of a card in the 80’s. The double sized card is able to hold both a huge portrait and an action snapshot, and the maroon borders and gray background with the repeating team name is better than anything else by far from that time period. The statistics on the back are also king sized and incredibly detailed, something that really meant something in the days before the internet.

Agree or disagree with this list? Did we forget your favorite oddball?
Cardjunk has busted a pack of Panini Stickers at A Pack A Day for this blog. You can check it out HERE.

The stigma of the “oddball”

Imagine going your entire life labeled an “oddball”. Everything about you is the same as the rest, from the way you walk, to the way you talk, yet you never receive the credit you deserve. You always get passed up on promotions at your job, and you have to settle for an ordinary life, an ordinary wife, and less than ordinary kids. That my friends, is the stigma of being defined as an “oddball” and in baseball cards it’s the worst possible label to burden.

I remember being a 10 year-old collector with a shoe box full of “oddballs” and not being able to do a damn thing with them. I wanted the ’89 Upper Deck Jose Canseco so much but try trading for that in 1989 when all you have to offer is a 1987 M & M Cal Ripken Jr., an ’87 Topps Mini Darryl Strawberry, and an ’88 K-Mart Memorable Moments George Brett. It was tough out there for a young collector in the 80’s. I can’t remember how many times I was laughed out of someone’s house when I would pull out my collection and attempt to make a trade with someone a little older or with more resources, AKA richer parents.

So here is a tribute to the “oddball”, a brand with little respect in Beckett Baseball, but lots of love from us true collectors that could care less about the 1/1 Gold Refractor, Game-Used patch parallel!

What is your #1 “oddball” set? In the coming week Wax Heaven and Cardboard Junkie will compile the top 5 “oddball” sets of all time. You can e-mail me at WaxHeaven@gmail.com or leave a comment to vote for what your favorite “oddball” set of all-time is. All votes will be considered and the results will be posted first thing Monday morning. Don’t miss out on voting! You have 5 full days.