Sunday, July 21, 2013

Juan Two Three Four...

Now I've never been a massive fan of Juan Gonzalez, but I have to respect what he accomplished in the Major Leagues. And I'll Blog about him because that's the pile of cards I'm currently viewing!

I always seemed to get his cards whenever I bought packs during his playing days. Enough of them, in fact, to land me 206 of Juan's cards.

Included in the above (blurry, sorry) photo, is a 2006 Upper Deck Diamond Collection card, which is the only 2006 card I have of Juan's. He didn't even make it into the 1250-card main set that year, which is odd. That card, visibly or not, is actually numbered 106/699, so I must have a 'Gold' or 'Bronze' variation.

The following 2 cards are from my 2 favorite sets this century : Topps Total (2004) and Upper Deck 40 Man (2002). It doesn't look like we'll ever see either of these sets again, so I'll just have to live in the past.

Lastly, the Gold-Bordered card is from the 2001 Topps Traded set, and is also numbered 0052/2001. Juan came back in a big way in 2001 after a disappointing year in Detroit. He hit .289/22/67 in 2000, then mashed .325/35/140 for the Tribe in '01.

The card at the top left is from the 2000 Topps Traded set (#97) and depicts Juan during his previously discussed 'down' year in Detroit.

The second card looks a lot like the original 1989 Upper Deck release, but it's been given the typical late-90's facelift, complete with shiny foil surface and shiny foil stamping. I never noticed until just now, but that card is also numbered 0186/4000. Just so you know, it's from the insert set called '10th Anniversary Team', which perfectly explains the 1989 design.

There's yet another very '90's-looking' card at the bottom left, from 1997 Upper Deck. It's a one-per-box insert, from memory, and is actually pretty impressive to look at when it's in your hand.

I chose to include that 1997 Donruss card because I'm a sucker for throw-back uniforms. Also, it's card #1 in that set.

We arrive at the year 1995, and, man... what a colorful year that was for cards! At least, the top 2 cards here are from 1995.

There's a 'Rising Star' insert from 1995 Ultra, and a 'Ring Leader' insert from 1995 Stadium Club. I always thought Topps tried too hard with their inserts, but I actually like the way this card refracts when you move it.

The card at the bottom left is from 1994 Stadium Club, and I think it was from a 3rd series pack. They're called 'Finest Inserts', a wildly imaginative title for the set.

I love Fleer Pro Visions. And this one, takes the prize of my favorite of all time. So much color. The coolest brand of bat ever, and the yellow brick road with horses near it. Just cool!

I threw in the last card there because it's from 1993 Upper Deck, and it shows Juan being kind to some kids. Good fellow, he is.

Finally, we reach some early Juan cards from 1992 down to 1990.

The first card is from the 1992 Upper Deck Ted Williams Best Hitters insert set. On the back, Williams predicts Gonzalez to be a 'Sure MVP'. Teddy Ballgame wasn't wrong...

The 1991 Ultra card is from the formerly-over-valued Update set. I think, according to Beckett, this card was worth around $20 in the middle of the 1990's. Glad I waited until 2011 before buying the set for around $5.

I love the Mirror-image Rookie Card that Donruss produced in 1990. The cynic in me says it was a deliberate error. The cynic is probably right, too. I'm just glad I found the error version in some random shop on the Big Island of Hawaii about 20 years ago. Despite being a tad faded, it still remains one of my favorite cards of Juan's.

Well, thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed our quick look back at the card career of one the 1990's greatest sluggers, Juan Gonzalez.

Nick J

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