Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mysterious Ripken, or What the Hell Is This?

Not long ago, while shuffling through a card shop's ten cent boxes, I came across this card:

I rarely turn down a Ripken when I find one in a ten cent box, and I especially appreciate those oddball brands. Once I got this one home, though, I couldn't find any information on it. Perhaps due to the minimalism of the back of the card:
No stats, no year, not even a copyright date. I've been searching "Sports Art Images" on the great Interwebs. A while ago I found an Ebay auction featuring a Cecil Fielder card from this set. The seller explained how the card was so rare and how it was a promo and all that, but I can hardly trust the word of an Ebay seller. They tend to tug at your gem-mint super-scarce heart strings. That Ebay listing was all I ever found, besides a few random checklists listing the card. From what I can find, the year was 1992.

This is where the wise baseball blogosphere comes in. Any of you ever heard of this set? I'd love to have some more information on these cards. Now I kind of regret not picking up the rest of these cards that the shop owner had for ten cents. But this can't actually be scarce. It was produced dead center in the middle of the junk wax bonanza.

I will say that the card has a nice look, and it seemed to be one of the early designs running with the art card idea, chasing Donruss Diamond Kings. Too bad they didn't make more of these.

1 comment:

  1. I know that around that time (1990-1992), several "companies" issued "promos" of popular players as a way of making unlicensed cards. It probably stems from the promo craze that hit because of the popularity of promos given away at the card conventions. Some of these cards go so far as to feature quality designs and I recall at least one with foil.

    I don't know anything about the "company" that made these cards. I can tell you there were other promos made for both baseball and racing (which you may know already). My guess is this company never really existed except on paper (or cardboard). While there is generally much less demand for unlicensed cards, I'm sure there are much less issued than, say, Topps or Upper Deck cards that year. You can expect the print run to probably be 500-1000. Without any license (MLB or MLBPA) Beckett and SCD won't recognize them and thus there is much less demand. But I like the art on this card. The unlicensed promo craze of the early '90s reminds me of the custom craze of the past few years.