Saturday, October 20, 2012

30 Year Top 50: 1988 Topps Traded

#41-There cannot be any ties on my Top 50 countdown of the past 30 years, but this was by far the set I tossed over in my mind the longest.  Mainly because I am trying not to duplicate sets on the countdown.  So, if you read this write up for this set and like the set below, the 1988 Score Rookie/Traded, better I understand.  A similar thing happened back on #46 with the 2004 and 2005 Bowman Heritage set.  With those two sets I gave the nod to the 2004 set because of style.  Today, I am going with content.  No style involved in this post.

In my opinion the most important rookie card in the 1988 Topps Traded set is the Roberto Alomar.  Despite spitting in the face of an umpire, Alomar is one of the best second baseman of the modern era and was a part of two World Championships in Toronto and a good run of playoff teams in Cleveland. Alomar probably stuck around a few too many years at the end of his career, but still had a great overall career.

1988 Topps Traded Roberto Alomar

Besides the Alomar, there were a few other solid rookies cards in this set that are worth the time and expense to add to your collection.  Especially given that, like other late 80's wax, this set was overproduced and is easy to find on the cheap.  If you pay more than $10 you've probably spent too much.  It also means that if you are a single card collector, these cards are all easy to find and inexpensive.

Now, Alomar is the only Hall of Fame rookie in this set, but the other important rookies in this set were solid Major League players.  Perhaps one of them played a long time for one of your favorite teams.  First up is Tino Martinez.  As a Cardinals fan my memories of Tino are not good, but I also understand that he was apart of a good run of Yankees teams that won multiple championships.  Not a Hall of Famer, but a good player and certainly a favorite target of many collectors.

1988 Topps Traded Tino Martinez

My sleeper card in this set belongs to the current White Sox manager Robin Ventura.  At the time this card was printed Ventura was a pretty hot commodity coming off a great college career at Oklahoma State which included the 1988 Golden Spikes Award for the top college player.  

1988 Topps Traded Robin Ventura

Ventura is another player who is short of Hall of Fame credentials as a player, but certainly had some great moments in his career.  Most famously, his walk off Grand Slam while playing for Mets which was later ruled a single after the Mets players mobbed him and did not allow him to circle the bases.  He also charged the mound against Nolan Ryan.  Turned out poorly.  I put Ventura in my sleeper category because of his potential as a manager.  This year was Ventura's first year in the dugout and most would have to agree that he far exceeded expectations.  Worth watching.

There are a few other solid rookies in the set beyond the three pictured above including: Andy Benes, Charles Nagy, Jim Abbott, and Brady Anderson.  

Like the 1988 Topps Traded set?  Not in my Top 50 countdown in the 1988 Score Rookie Traded set.  This set is similar to the Topps Traded set in many ways, but each set has some unique features.  First, the Topps Traded set has more rookie cards.  Ventura, Martinez, and most of my other key rookies from the list above on the 1988 Topps Traded set are not included in this set.  However, there is still a Roberto Alomar rookie card.

1988 Score Rookie Traded Roberto Alomar

I have seen some collectors put a premium on the Score Alomar rookie, but both the Topps and this card generally sell for the same price currently.  The other attraction to the Score Rookie set is the addition of Craig Biggio to the set who is not included in the 1988 Topps Traded set.

1988 Score Rookie Traded Craig Biggio 

Biggio should get into the Hall of Fame at some point considering he played several seasons as a catcher, a second baseman, and an outfielder.  I believe he was one of a handful of players to make an All-Star team at different positions.  Biggio was also able to reach 3000 hits during his final season in the Majors.  All spent as an Astro.  

Both the Alomar and Biggio are inexpensive rookie cards and, like the 1988 Topps Traded set, the 1988 Score Rookie Traded set is an easy find and shouldn't cost anymore than $10.  The style of the Score cards leaves a lot to be desired, but I was never a big fan of the 1988 Topps set either.  Still, both sets are great additions to any collection.  

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