Retro Review – Not Quite Kelly Bundy

I remember watching “Growing Pains” quite a bit when I was young. I remember Mike Seaver being Mr. Cool and I probably reminded my parents of him when it came to school work, getting in trouble and pulling dumb stunts with my friends. I also thought Carol was quite the looker for an 80’s sitcom star. But she liked school a little too much for my taste. I never really paid much attention to Ben because he was the obnoxious little brother and I had one of those already. I do remember Dr. Seaver being this sort of all knowing guy that had a sense of humor and an answer for all of the kids problems. He was a psychiatrist after all. He was a good 80’s dad on TV but could be a bit of a cornball at times.I fancy myself as having a little bit of Al Bundy in my personality though. I can be crass, to the point and say things I probably shouldn’t at times. I love sports, love to watch TV and appreciate his ability to completely tune out those around him when they are grinding his last nerve. I also don’t mind the occasional swimsuit calendar on the wall. I never wanted to be a shoe salesman but I did want to one day have a secret club in my garage that consisted of me and my friends sitting around drinking beer and talking about our wives. I still haven’t formed that club but I do have some friends that enjoy sitting around drinking a beer. We only talk about how great our wives are though. We would never disparage our significant others, right?Even though Jason Seaver could be a cornball sometimes, he couldn’t hold a candle to Danny Tanner on “Full House”. Even as a kid, I thought he was a total square. I enjoyed Jessie and Joey much more than I did Danny but I guess that was how it was meant to be written. I definitely didn’t want to be in a house with a bunch of girls when I was 10 either. Yuck! I didn’t have any sisters and actually didn’t have a female cousin until I was about 14 or so. I just never latched on to “Full House” like I did these other sitcoms because I just couldn’t really relate to it like the others. They did all have something in common though; they all debuted in 1987. As I went back and looked through some of the coolness of 1987, I realized that it was a major year for television and the big screen. Maybe that’s because I was 10 and really started getting into TV but there was a lot of excellent options that year.As for TV, that was the year that we were introduced to Spuds McKenzie. You tell me one kid from 1987 that didn’t want a Spuds of his own. I didn’t even pay attention to the beer part of the ad. I wanted that dog! We also met the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that year and my cousin is still a pizza fanatic because of Michelangelo. It helps that his name is Michael as well. Then there were those awesome Micro Machines commercials. That guy had a pretty amazing talent with the fast talking! My brother played with those a lot more than I did but I always marveled at the commercials. That probably wouldn’t be a very safe toy for kids by today’s standards.The news on TV that year was also very riveting. That was the year that Baby Jessica fell into a well in her aunt’s backyard in Texas. And when I say well, what I really mean is this tiny pipe that only an 18 month old child could fit in. It took 58 hours to free her from that well and it was a televised event. It was quite scary for parents but it made me leery of small spaces for a while as well. She was eventually rescued from the pipe some 22 feet below ground and is doing well today as per media reports. Someone who didn’t do quite so well with their media circus fame in 1987 was Jim Bakker. Bakker was a TV Evangelist who was accused of rape by a secretary that actually led to the uncovering of financial fraud that led to a 45 year prison conviction. He only served 5 years before being paroled but went through a pretty public divorce from Tammy Faye as well. He has somehow found himself back in the ministry and on TV. I’m just going to leave that alone.The movies were awesome in 1987 were totally tubular! My personal favorites from that year were “Predator” and “Running Man”. I was a big Arnold fan and loved all of his movies. “Predator” was one of the first sci-fi horror movies I watched, along with “Aliens”. That movie kind of freaked me out but I thought it was really cool too. Carl Weathers was the man! As for “Running Man”, this was another sci-fi thriller about a TV game show where the only winners were the contestants who actually finished the game alive. As crazy as that movie premise seemed in 1987, to be brutally honest, we don’t seem too far from some kind of reality show that is very similar to “Running Man” in 2017. It’s a little scary how close that movie portrayed the way our society is heading.There were a lot of other classic movies released that year as well. Some of the more well known include “Lethal Weapon”, “The Untouchables”, “Dirty Dancing” and “Robocop”. Obviously, these are big name movies so I don’t have to explain how good they were. In the horror genre, there were a few that are still on my favorites list. I still love “The Lost Boys” and watched it at a friend’s house when I was totally not supposed to. I had to hide the fact that I was scared to death at my house at night because that would have eventually led to the fact that I watched it. My favorite Freddy movie was “Dream Warriors” and it was released that year as well. Throw in “Creepshow 2” and you’ve got quite a starter list of movies you should go back and re-watch.What about some family movies from ’87? Well, there was “Harry and the Hendersons”, which gave Bigfoot a soft and warm side that made you want to have him as a pet. Then there was “Ernest Goes to Camp”, which does not hold up well in 2017. Trust me, it is not good today. “Summer School” was a fun movie that had a couple of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” super fans in it. “Raising Arizona” was the first great Nicholas Cage film that also starred Holly Hunter. And “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” was a hilarious comedy with Steve Martin and John Candy. One of the best lines in a comedy film in the 80’s came from that movie. After waking up in a hotel room together, they had this unforgettable exchange:

Neal Page: Del? Why did you kiss my ear?
Del Griffith: Why are you holding my hand?
Neal Page: Where’s your OTHER hand?
Del Griffith: Between two pillows….
Neal Page: Those aren’t pillows!!!“Full Metal Jacket” is a cult classic from 1987 and I have watched the first half of that movie over and over and over. That drill sergeant is one of the greatest movie characters ever! I remember Private Pile, Private Joker and all of the characters and one liner’s from that film. It’s one that I still have on VHS in my collection. Finally, I developed a pretty strong crush that year on Elisabeth Shue thanks to “Adventures in Babysitting”. She was already a cutie in “The Karate Kid” but this one put me over the top. I still stop the channel surfing when I see her on my TV screen!There were other cool things from 1987 like “Mike Tyson’s Punch Out”, Guns N Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin on a Prayer.” 1987 was really a great year for pop culture. That year produced some pretty cool trading cards as well. I remember Garbage Pail Kids that year and trying to gross out the girls in my class with those hideous cards. One of the most iconic sets ever was the 1987 Wood Grain Topps design with the beautiful Bo Jackson Future Star. I also did a review of 1987 Fleer here a few weeks ago. This was almost the perfect year for collecting because most weren’t aware it was overproduced yet but they also only had a few sets to choose from.The remaining set from that year was 1987 Donruss. I never had a ton of ’87 Donruss because I didn’t really start collecting until 1989. But even as a non-collecting kid that played with the classic toys of those days, I had some ’87 Topps lying around. I think most kids had some ’87 Topps, even if half of us didn’t know what we had. But Donruss was a relative unknown to me for many years. I have since added some pieces to my collection but I’ve never busted a full box, or even multiple packs to be honest. My recent trip to the LCS has provided that opportunity now. I picked up a full box for a mere $25, which I think is a pretty good deal.

Donruss had a pretty cool design that year with the black border and gold baseball logo stripe running horizontally across the middle of the card. Of course, there are also Diamond Kings and Rated Rookies to sort through as well. The puzzle is of Roberto Clemente, which is especially cool to me, considering how much I love his cards in the hobby. The set was numbered to 660 and a box had 36 packs with 15 cards per pack. So there are a total of 540 cards per box but if collation is similar to other sets from those years, I’m probably looking at just over half the set when I’m done. I’m really looking forward to this rip though because the set will be a fairly new experience for me.

Let’s jump right in!

First, the wrappers were not my favorite from Donruss. I didn’t like the copper color but they are still wax packs so they aren’t all bad either.

I was able to pull the full Clemente Puzzle together so that was a success!

The Diamond Kings were just as I remembered them. The artwork of Dick Perez is unmistakable. Surprisingly, my least favorite is the Jose Canseco because his head looks so odd on the card. I love the Murphy, Straw, Smith, Puckett and Davis!

The Rated Rookies pictured here were names that you may remember but not Hall of Fame type talent. I particularly liked Benito Santiago in the late 80’s. Rafael Palmeiro could have landed in the Hall had he not had his issues during the steroid era.

These three players epitomized the term “Speed”. Vince Coleman may have been the fastest but Rickey Henderson was the most prolific base stealer. Rock Raines was the closest to a 5 tool player of the group.

The infielders here are absolute studs. This was Will Clark’s rookie Donruss card and Fred McGriff’s second year card. There is a lot of talent here!

The outfielders are just as awesome and star studded as the infielders above. Jose’s rookie was the famous 1986 Donruss but this was Bobby Bonilla’s base rookie as he was included in 1986’s “The Rookies” set. Just look at that smile on Puckett! These guys make me want to pull out RBI Baseball and start swinging!

The pitchers here are Ace material. Lee Smith was a closer but he was as dominant as the starters. The Dodgers rotation was pretty scary with Fernando and Orel. It looks like Doc was startled by someone that got his attention as the photo was about to be taken.

The Veterans are all here too in 1987. I dare you to tell me you wouldn’t have wanted these guys on your team in the 80’s! Pete Rose had the elusive 1B/Mgr card. I really liked Joe Carter too and I think he is vastly underrated in the hobby today. The same could be said about Jim Rice.

The two hits in the box were these great Rated Rookies. While I missed out on the Barry Bonds RC, I am pleased that I pulled Bo and McGwire. I have now pulled all three major Bo Jackson rookies this year ripping old wax. I really wish the careers for these two had ended up better than they did. I wish Bo had stayed healthy and I wish McGwire could have just been this good without the whole steroid thing.

Finally, ’87 Donruss had a nice box bottom like many other mid 80’s wax boxes. The bottom here had Murphy and a sweet Canseco photo taken with him perfectly centered in a star on the outfield wall. There is a Reardon and Clemente puzzle card as well but the Canseco is the real gem here.As with other 1987 rips, this one was loads of fun. A rookie class of Bo, McGwire and Bonds make the ripping exciting but the inclusion of every major star from the 80’s makes the box well worth the $25 price tag. The design was not as good as 1986 but was better than 1988 in my opinion. This was probably one of the top Donruss designs for me but came right one year after my favorite so I tend to judge it too harshly. I have to give this a “4” on the Dub-O-Meter for a few reasons. The checklist is great, the design is good, the price is reasonable and the Clemente Puzzle is a classic. On the negative, the cards weren’t cut very well and collation was as odd as I’ve seen with consecutively numbered cards. The positives far outweigh the negatives here so the 4 is closer to a 4.5 than a 3.5. I would say that ultimately, the set lands somewhere between Carol Seaver and Kelly Bundy, if you know what I mean. I’d recommend this set as a fun build and the box as a nostalgic rip worth your time. What say you about 1987 Donruss?

J-Dub

Scoring Scale

1. Let me be the sacrificial lamb so you don’t have to buy these cards.  Just read the post and thank me later.

2. There is worse but there is much better – not worth the effort though.

3. Middle of the road – I wouldn’t talk you into buying these but I certainly wouldn’t talk you out of them.

4. You should probably go out and buy a box and enjoy the rip – I did!  It has some downside but worth the ride.

5. Stop reading and find a box to buy and get to Breaking!  What are you waiting on?

Guest Hockey Writer – Naim Cardinal

First of all, I would like to thank my Twitter buddy, Dub Mentality, for having an amazing card blog and for reminding us of our appreciation for the days of old card collecting and “junk wax.” As well, I would like to thank him for giving me this opportunity to share my wax ripping experience with 1989-90 O-Pee-Chee Hockey. I will be writing the review in “Dub style” to honour his awesome blog site.Back in 1990, I was nine years old and lived in a small town in northern Alberta called Fort Vermilion. At the time, there were eight of us in my family living in a four bedroom house in “Alberta Housing”-a small neighbourhood in the community that consisted mainly of low-income housing. I was the middle child of our family and the second oldest boy-well, third because my parents had adopted one of my older cousins. We all grew up playing shinny on the outdoor rinks and also street hockey in the middle of winters that would quite often see temperatures dip down to -40C (-40F for my American friends). Here we would play for hours pretending that we were NHL greats such as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Patrick Roy, and even tough guys like Bob Probert or Joey Kocur-which lead us to “drop the gloves” quite often. Maybe it was the long winters or the fact that hockey was bred into our genes as Canadians; but, we were addicted to hockey and loved playing and watching every game that was on CBC Hockey Night in Canada. It was here that we watched our favourite players and teams and learned the game from guys like Ron McLean and Don Cherry. Despite our love for the game, unfortunately, my brothers and I were financially unable to join any leagues due to the costs of registration, equipment, and travel. But, we found a way to connect to hockey through our long games in the cold weather, Hockey Night in Canada, and collecting hockey cards.I remember the first time I had seen a hockey card. I was seven years old and visiting my cousin. That day he took us to his bedroom and proudly pulled out a photo album full of 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee (OPC) Hockey from his sock drawer. I say “photo album” because it was an actual photo album and this was what we used back in the day to display our cards before we were able to get our hands on any 9 card sleeves. 1988-89 OPC was a great set and featured rookies such as Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Pierre Turgeon, and aforementioned tough guy Bob Probert. The moment I laid my eyes on those cards I was instantly hooked. I thought it was so cool to see all of my heroes-Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, and others on a piece of cardboard. I had no idea we even had hockey cards in our small town and had to get some! The next year in 1990 my older brother, cousin, and I began our card collecting life. My older brother and cousin were four and five years older than me so they understood card collecting much better than I as they put their cards in protective holders and I kept mine in a little shoe box that I carried with me everywhere I went. Eventually, the cards began to see some wear and the corners were quite rounded due to all the shuffling around that I put them through. I remember quite often being scolded by my older brother for not taking proper care of my cards.

As I mentioned earlier, we were living in low-income housing so buying hockey cards for us wasn’t always high on my parents priority list. However, I remember one occasion where I missed an opportunity to have some hockey cards as I was out playing with some friends and came home to find that, while I was out, my older brother and cousin got some 1989-90 OPC Hockey cards from the corner store-and I did not. They had all their cards out on the table as they were sorting through in front of me. I was devastated and immediately started crying (I was eight years old and a crybaby, okay?) as I knew I probably would not have the chance to get some again for some time. Well, fortunately for me, my auntie was over at the house that day and she must have felt really sorry for me (or wanted me to stop being pathetic) because, while I was crying in my room for 45 minutes she went out and came back with a full box of 1989-90 OPC Hockey cards. I had no idea that any of this was going on but she came back in the house, called me out of the room, and presented me with the full box of cards. My eyes lit up, my heart felt warmth, and an unbreakable smile came across my face. I was so grateful and will always remember how she made me feel that day as I thanked her immensely and ripped through all 48 packs, opening as gracefully as possible (much to the dismay of my older brother and cousin).That was my first full box of cards ever and just recently I picked up another box of 1989-90 OPC Hockey from Wayne’s Sports Cards here in Edmonton, AB. This was my second full box of these cards since my auntie bought me that first box in 1990. On the bottom there are four “box bottom” hockey cards that featured Mario Lemieux, Tomas Sandstrom, Mike Ridley, and Petri Skriko. On the side of the box there is a description stating that there are four different box bottoms and a total of 16 cards that you could cut out and collect. Inside, the cards come wrapped in blue and white wax packs with a hockey player on the front celebrating a goal and there are 48(!!) Packs per box. As well, there was one stick of gum (I will get to this later) in each pack and don’t worry I didn’t eat the 27 year old gum. However, I do remember the distinct taste of the gum in the packs and also remember sharing the 48 sticks of gum with my siblings from that lone box in 1990. Furthermore, this was near the end of the era of wax as the next year in 1990-91, during the collecting craze, multiple companies entered the hockey card scene and that year very few of them besides O-Pee-Chee and Bowman used wax packs.

The cards themselves are, in my opinion, a very nicely designed set as they have a blue border on the top and bottom with an icy pattern down the side edges. Some of the cards were updated by O-Pee-Chee with a “now with” signifer as many trades were made during the season and new jerseys were airbrushed in the highest quality technology of the time. The backs of the cards include a light and dark pink shading with a no colour border. As well, there is biographical information and full statistics from every NHL season and the most previous playoff. The cards also include information about highlights from the season such as game winning goals and personal statistical highs for the player if any occurred during the season. There are 330 cards in the set and I have most of the cards together but, there were some casualties in this box and I don’t know exactly how many cards that I needed were in the pile of damaged cards because I threw them out before sorting them.Now onto the gum! Although I did appreciate the gum that was in these packs while I was growing up, on this particular occasion I did not. As I mentioned earlier, every single pack had a stick of gum in it. So, that meant there were 48 sticks of gum within this box and gum sitting next to a hockey card for 27 years doesn’t have a good outcome. Unfortunately, although the gum did still present a nice smell, it was attached to every single card and was not coming off as it was fused to the front of each card. 48 packs of cards. 48 sticks of gum. 48 ruined cards.Over the years, OPC has also made Topps as its counterpart and O-Pee-Chee has always been considered to be more valuable to collectors. However, in this particular season OPC started to mass produce their hockey cards more so than in the past and Topps made less cards. Thus, leaving Topps as the more valuable hockey card set from this particular year. As well, this set includes the rookie cards of NHL greats such as Joe Sakic, Theoren Fleury, and Brian Leetch. While also producing a solid crop of NHL rookie cards that saw Trevor Linden, Tony Granato, Craig Janney, Shayne Corson, and Gary Roberts included in the set. In my particular box I was very happy to find two Joe Sakic rookie cards, a Trevor Linden, and a Brian Leetch within the box. But, was not happy to find a second Trevor Linden rookie card with gum plastered to it.

Despite the gum fiasco, I really enjoyed opening this product. The cards themselves are beauties and it was during my first year of being a collector so it brought back so many memories for me. The overall “value” of the cards is not as much as other sets because it was O-Pee-Chee’s season of mass production as we entered the card craze. However, I feel these cards have a lot of sentimental value (thank you, auntie) and there are many quality rookies to be found within. If you find ones that are worth sending in for grading it will be your lucky day! Many of the cards in this particular box were “touched” or had some wear on the edges so I probably won’t be sending in any of the rookies from this box for grading. Nonetheless, I have seen many quality grades on the market from this product-so you would still have a very good chance of receiving 9s and possibly 9.5s from BGS. Overall, it was a fun rip and give these cards a 3 on the Dub-O-Meter and probably would have given them a 4 were it not for all the damaged cards.

Naim Cardinal