After reading a few stories out there about the occasional nice pull from a dollar store repack I thought I would try it for my self. I happened to be driving by a Dollar Tree here in Cheyenne and popped in. There were four repacks with 30 cards each sitting near the registers. I was only gonna grab one and see what happens but I thought might as well grab all four. Each front card (you could see through pack) was a Pacific Nolan Ryan. The four were –
Didn’t get anything real spectacular in terms of cards but there were some cool finds in the four packs.
The oldest card in the bunch was a 1978 Topps #299 Whitey Herzog manager card.
As a player, Herzog played for the Washington Senators (1956-58), Kansas City Athletics (1958-60), Baltimore Orioles (1961-62), and Detroit Tiger (1963) . . . he had a career .257 batting average, 25 home runs and 172 runs batted in. After his playing days were over he became a succesfull manager with the Texas Rangers (1973), California Angels (1974), Kansas City Royals (1975-79), and St. Louis Cardinals (1980-1990). He enjoyed much of his managerial success with the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals. He led the Royals to three straight American League Western division titles (1976, 1977, and 1978) and led the Cardinals to three National League Championships (1982, 1985, and 1987) and won the 1982 World Series against the Milwaukee Brewers. Herzog was named Manager of the Year in 1985, had his #24 is retired by the Cardinals and was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Continuing with the Hall of Fame theme, I came across a 1984 Topps #400 All-Star Cal Ripken Jr.
Ripken was selected as an All-Star for the first time in 1983, which started a streak of 19 straight (1983-2001) All-Star selections. Although that is not his most impressive streak! On September 6, 1995, he broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consectuive games played when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game. The record had stood for 56 years and many baseball historians believed the record was unbreakable. He extended the consective games streak record to 2,632 games, dare I say this record is UNBREAKABLE now? His list of awards and accolades are extensive, American League Rookie of the Year (1982), American League Most Valuable Player (1983 and 1991), Silver Slugger Award (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994), Gold Glove Award (1991 and 1992), Major League Baseball All-Star Game MVP (1991 and 2001), and Major League Baseball All-Century Team just to name a few. He had his #8 retired by the Baltimore Orioles and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007. In his 21 year career he compiled 3,184 hits, 431 home runs and 1,695 runs batted in.
Next couple of cards are from players who could have been Hall of Famers had it not been for actual or accused use of steroids – 1987 Topps #634 Rafael Palmeiro, 1993 Score Select #79 of 90 Roger Clemens, and 1993 Fleer #709 Juan Gonzalez Round Trippers.
Palmeiro played 19 seasons for the Chicago Cubs (1986-88), Texas Rangers (1989-93, 1999-03), Baltimore Orioles (1994-98, 2004-05), and Texas Rangers (1999-03). He finished his career with a .288 batting average, 3,020 hits, 569 home runs and 1,835 runs batted in. He was a 4x All-Star selection (1988, 1991, 1998, and 1999), 3x Gold Glove Winner (1997-99) and 2x Silver Slugger (1998-99). As a member of the 500-homer and 3,000 hit-club he should have been a sure-fire first ballot inductee into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, but a 2005 suspension for a positive steroid test pretty much ruined any chances of that.
Clemens played 24 seasons for the Boston Red Sox (1984-96), Toronto Blue Jays (1997-98), New York Yankees (1999-03, 2007), and Houston Astros (2004-06). He finished his career with a 354-184 win-loss record, 3.12 earned run average and 4,672 strikeouts. His 354 wins rank 9th all-time and his 4,672 strikeouts are 3rd behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Clemens won the Cy Young Award seven times (1986, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2004), was an 11x All-Star (1986, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2005), was the American League MVP in 1986 and was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. All of these accolades would have meant entry into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame but he has been accused of steroid use by Jose Canseco in his book titled, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big as well as being named numerous times in the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball. He testified before before a Congressional committee and swore under oath that he never took steroids. He was later tried for lying to Congress and was fouund not guilty on all six charges he faced.
Gonzalez played 17 seasons for the Texas Rangers (1989-99, 2002-03), Detroit Tigers (2000), Cleveland Indians (2001, 2005), and Kansas City Royals (2004). He finished his career with a .295 batting average, 434 home runs and 1,404 runs batted in. He was a 2x American League Most Valuable Player (1996 and 1998), 3x All-Star (1993, 1998 and 2001), 6x Sliver Slugger (1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2001). Gonzalez was named in Canseco’s book as well as the Mitchell Report for an incident in 2001 in which a piece of team luggage belonging to either him or his personal trainer was found to contain then legal (now illegal) drugs. Wether it contained steroids was never proven.
Now onto a future Hall of Famer and one of the most dominating pitchers of the 1990s and 2000s, 193 Topps #460 Randy Johnson.
Johnson played 22 seasons for the Montreal Expos (1988-89), Seattle Mariners (1989-1998), Houston Astros (1998 – REALLY?), Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-04, 2007-08), New York Yankees (2005-06), and San Francisco Giants (2009). He finished his career with a 303-166 win-loss record, 3.29 earned run average and 4,875 strikouts. The only pitcher to have more strikouts then Johnson in the history of Major League Baseball is Nolan Ryan. Johnson has a no-hitter (June 2, 1990) and a perfect game (May 18, 2004) on his resume as well as five Cy Young Awards (1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002), 10x All-Star selection (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004) and the Pitching Triple Crown (wins, strikouts, and earned run average) in 2002.
Now a few others that interested me for one reason or another.
Eric Davis (1993 Leaf #267) was one of the players I collected as a teenager. He played for 17 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (1984-91, 1996), Los Angeles Dodgers (1992-93), Detroit Tigers (1993-94), Baltimore Orioles (1997-98), St. Louis Cardinals (1999-00), and San Francisco Giants (2001). When Davis debuted in the mid-1980’s he was what baseball scouts called a 5-tool player; somebody who hits for average, hits for power, has baserunning skills, throwing ability and fielding ability. He was exciting to watch but also was injury prone and never played more then 135 games in any season. He finished his career with a .269 batting average, 282 home runs and 934 runs batted in. He was selected to two All-Star teams (1987 and 1989), a 3x Gold Glove Award winner (1987, 1988, and 1989) and a 2x Silver Slugger Award winner (1987 and 1989). His best season was in 1987 when he hit .293, had 37 home runs, 100 runs batted in and stole 50 bases. Although this card features him in a Dodger uniform and he played for a few teams Eric Davis will always be a Red!
Growing up in Southern California in the 1970s-1980s Steve Sax (1989 Upper Deck #748) was one of my favorite players. I have to admit I was a little bit of a Dodger fan when I was really young mainly because my grandparents were and I played Little League Baseball on the Dodgers. Once I could think on my own I became a SF Giants fan, mainly thanks to Will Clark but that is a story for another day. I liked to watch Steve Sax because he played second base and that was my primary position in Little League. Sax was not a Superstar but he was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1982, a 5x All-Star (1982, 1983, 1986, 1989, and 1990) and won two World Series Championships with the Dodgers. He played with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1982-88), New York Yankees (1989-91), Chicago White Sox (1992-93), and Oakland Athletics (1994) and finished his 14 year career with a 281 batting average, 1,941 hits, 54 home runs, 550 runs batted in and 444 stolen bases.
So how does Glenn Braggs (1991 Upper Deck #631) make it into the same article as Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken Jr., Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Juan Gonzalez, Randy Johnson, Eric Davis and even Steve Sax? There is something special about him that no other player above can claim . . . his brother was my counselor when I was in Junior High School!!! Braggs played seven seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers (1986-90) and Cincinnati Reds (1990-92) and finished his career a .257 batting average, 601 hits and 70 home runs. He was teammates of Eric Davis in Cincinnati when the Reds won the 1990 World Series.
In the end I got 120 cards for $4.00 (.03 cents a card!!!) and although I got no relics, autographs or valuablue inserts it was fun to open the repacks from the dollar store and take a walk down memory lane. Will definately be doing it again real soon!