10 September 2013

this time, he meant it

i guess there's time for one more final tribute post today...

even before the 1994 season was ended by the players' strike, ryne sandberg announced his retirement.  he had hit only .238 in 57 games that season, and decided to turn his attention to his family. upper deck dutifully included a final tribute card of ryno in their 1995 set.  topps did not.  neither did fleer or donruss or any other card manufacturer, although he did get another upper deck card as part of the collector's choice set.  at the time, i was happy to have a card with sandberg's complete career stats on the back, as he was one of my favorite non-dodger players.  here's another of his cards from 1995, this one from 1995 upper deck special edition
i like the double play turn, obviously. and, the back mentions sandberg's retirement, which is an added bonus.

sandberg entered the league at the same time that i was becoming primarily a second baseman.  and, even though steve sax was my favorite dodger, i probably saw sandberg more often thanks to wgn.  when the cubs went crazy in 1984, i caught a bit of cubs fever and frankly probably would have been just as happy had steve garvey not hit that home run off of lee smith in the nlcs.

anyway, after sitting out the 1995 season, sandberg decided to return to the major leagues.  he hit 35 home runs in 1996, and then added 12 more in 1997, eclipsing joe morgan's mark for most home runs by a second baseman in a career.

after the 1997 season, sandberg again retired - this time for good.  and, this time, the card manufacturers were kinder to him (and to us collectors).  here is his 1998 fleer ultra card - front
and back
complete minor and major league stats!

1998 upper deck
note that they didn't add the 'final tribute' shield to his card this time around
but they did get his full big league year-by-year stats on the back.

upper deck also gave sandberg a highlights/checklist card in the set
with the highlight being not only his final season, but his record breaking home run as a second baseman
it would have been nice, however, if they could have agreed on whether it was 267 or 272 home runs as a second baseman that did the trick (it was 267 - morgan had 268 home runs, with two of those coming as a left fielder and pinch hitter, respectively).

here's ryno's 1998 ud collector's choice card, with the final tribute insignia
ud did not put the insignia on his 1995 card.  here's the back.
ryno got a second card in the collector's choice set - a highlights card of sorts
with a writeup regarding his retirement.  they also note his 267th home run as the record breaker.
topps and donruss may have missed the boat, but pacific was sure to get in on the final tribute action.  here's sandberg's 1998 pacific card
with its bilingual back

pacific, through their invincible brand, issued the best of the final tributes, in my opinion. on the front, anyway
the curtain call photo works very well on final tribute cards.  however, not having full year-by-year stats on the back is less than ideal.
still, it was nice to get some true final tribute cards after sandberg's premature retirement.

back to regular dodger card posting tomorrow.  i hope.


P-town Tom said...

This Cubs fan appreciates a little variety. Thanks!

Nick said...

That Invincible Ryno is one of the better final tributes I've ever seen.