26 September 2014

brett, ryan, and yount - 1994 final tributes that are tough to beat

when the 1993 season rolled around, nolan ryan let it be known that it would be his last season as a pitcher.  then, with about a month left in the season, george brett announced that he, too, would retire after the season.  robin yount waited until february of 1994 to announce his retirement from the game. imagine that - not having a full season for the fans and media to whip your retirement plans into a frenzy the way it's been done this year for a certain shortstop who, by the way, delivered in his final home at bat last night.  anyway, the end result for ryan, brett, and yount from a baseball card perspective is a number of final tributes for three hall of famers.  for the record, carlton fisk and dale murphy also called it quits in 1993, but i don't believe either of them received any cardboard love in '94.  on with the tributes!

1994 donruss george brett - front
and back
1994 donruss nolan ryan - front
and back
1994 donruss nolan ryan special edition - front
and back
1994 donruss robin yount - front
and back
here we see the difference in having announced one's retirement before the cards are printed vs. after.  brett and ryan got special, full career stat backs, while yount got the regular treatment.

1994 fleer brett - front
and back
1994 fleer brett golden moment insert - front
 and back
1994 fleer ryan - front
and back
1994 fleer ryan golden moment - front
and back
1994 fleer yount - front
and back
and so again, because yount didn't announce his retirement until later, he missed out on the golden moment retirement insert.  of course, that also meant that he got some love from some other card manufacturers that didn't bother with brett or ryan.  like score and sportflics.

1994 score yount - front
and back
1994 sportflics yount - front
and back
topps didn't ignore anyone in their 1994 set.

1994 topps brett - front
and back
that's a lot of red on the back of brett's card.  i like his topps final tribute, but i prefer the way it was cropped on the pre-production sample, which i believe came in factory 1993 topps sets.

1994 topps brett pre-production sample - front
and back
they warned me though - 'design and photo selection subject to change'.

1994 topps ryan - front
and back
a lot of red on the back of ryan's card, too.  topps added the '27 seasons' button to the front of ryan's card.  he broke the record of 26 seasons shared by tommy john and deacon mcguire.  like brett, he was included in the pre-production sample set with a better photo, i think.

1994 topps ryan pre-production sample - front
and back
1994 topps yount - front
and back
not as much red for yount on the back of his card, and he didn't get a pre-production card either.  all three players did made it into the 1994 topps stadium club set though.

1994 topps stadium club brett - front
and back
1994 topps stadium club ryan - front
and back
1994 topps stadium club ryan golden rainbow parallel - front
and back
1994 topps stadium club yount - front
and back
the photo used for ryan's card is pretty much a perfect final tribute shot.

while topps took care of these three future hall of famers, upper deck really missed the mark.  none of them, not one, appears in the 1994 upper deck set, although yount does show up on an insert.  brett and ryan did appear in the 1994 upper deck all-time heroes set

1994 upper deck all-time heroes brett - front
and back
1994 upper deck all-time heroes ryan - front
and back
ryan pulls double duty as an angel and a met on his card (numbered 34 in the set).

both brett and ryan showed up in upper deck's collector's choice set, but yount did not which is really odd.

1994 upper deck collector's choice brett - front
and back
1994 upper deck collector's choice ryan - front
and back
and again, only brett and ryan found their way into the 1994 upper deck the american epic set

1994 upper deck the american epic brett - front
and back
1994 upper deck the american epic ryan - front
and back
i think upper deck recognized their mistake in 1994, because they included in their 1995 set designated 'final tribute' cards for all three of these guys (plus mike schmidt, who had retired during the 1989 season)

1995 upper deck brett - front
and back
1995 upper deck ryan - front
and back
1995 upper deck yount - front
and back
the reason schmidt received a card in the 1995 set was that he was entering the hall of fame that year, and in 1999, topps did the same thing for nolan ryan (but not brett or yount)

1999 topps ryan - front
and back
with the mickey mantle cards and the retired player variation madness that ensued in the late 2000's and into the early 2010's, we've seen more of these types of cards, but the 1999 ryan is still one of my favorites.  i don't count it as a true final tribute, however, which is ok because he (and brett and yount) had quite a few in '94.

5 comments:

Tony Lehman said...

I am a little surprised that at least one card company in 1994 didn't give Carlton Fisk a retirement-type card. In reading and writing up his 1982 Topps cards, all the news stories written around the time that he broke Bob Boone's all-time games at catcher record seemed to declare Pudge to be a guaranteed HOFer (which, of course, he was).

Great post. I really like that Yount Sportflics card for some reason.

Tony L. said...

And yes, that was me! :-)

hiflew said...

I am surprised to hear someone prefer the pre-production 94 Brett over the real thing. I think the 1994 is one of the top 2 cards (along with 91 Benito Santiago) in the entire 1990s Topps run.

gcrl said...

It's still a great card, I just prefer the tighter crop a bit more.

Matthew Scott said...

What is the over under on how many retirement specific cards Derek Jeter will have? My guess is 2 million.