Retro Review – All Roads Lead To Saturday

As a married man who is a father of two girls aged 10 and 3, I don’t have many days all to myself. Some of that is out of necessity but some of it is because I miss them when they are not home for too long. The thought of peace and quiet is always alluring in theory but when it gets too peaceful and too quiet, I can start to feel a little out of place. That’s more of a recent phenomenon because I have long been a fan of stillness. But things have a way of changing over time and I guess that’s where I’m at. Even my writing time is not as quiet as you would imagine with 2 kids vying for daddy’s attention.

Today was quiet. I have been alone since I woke up as the kids are spending the weekend at grandma’s and Mrs. Dub is attending a women’s conference all day. Though, I haven’t really been “alone” as you’ll soon see. By normal standards, today has been rather uneventful but I somehow thought it would be the perfect day to write about; go figure. I’ve done quite a bit with my free time and most of it has been what I would normally do on any other Saturday. But flying solo has made things more noticeable, if that makes sense. I’m usually running from one destination to the next while trying to coordinate with my wife about what the kids are going to do, trying to keep her sanity in mind and also providing the kids with some excitement on their big non-school day. The only person I had to coordinate with today was myself!

The day started early. I was up at 7 and getting ready for an 8 o’clock basketball game with my 1st grade basketball team, the Typhoon. For the last 7 Saturday’s, I’ve gotten up at 7 to coach these awesome kids and it has been an amazing experience. I’ve coached sports for a variety of age levels over the last 20 years; baseball, basketball, football and even soccer. It truly is one of my passions aside from writing and collecting. I love seeing the confidence that can be built in a kid by a simple game. And I especially love being a part of a game that can bring us all together, regardless of social status, race or who our parents are. Look at this picture; this is true happiness on the faces of boys playing a game with their friends on a Saturday morning. We moved to 7-0 with our win today and we have one week left.

After basketball, it was time for another Saturday ritual; breakfast at Pearly’s. If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or even Instagram, you’ve seen my Saturday breakfast posts from this local landmark. This is my usual – steak biscuit, cheese grits, hash brown casserole and diet Dr. Pepper. This meal can sustain me until supper time on Saturday and I usually have to have a pretty serious excuse for not making it to Pearly’s. It’s blurring between ritual and superstition at this point. I’m pretty sure that all of the Georgia losses over the last few years has been because I didn’t make it in on game day. This place is hopping on Saturday mornings with a packed inside and cars wrapped all the way around the building in the drive-thru. Several of the waitresses know me by name and some even know what I order. I call that a good thing!

The next part of this Saturday was my trip to the LCS in Warner Robins. Because I had the day to myself, I had all the time in the world to make my trek up I-75 to the land of wax. The trip is 90 miles one way so I use that time to catch up on podcasts I may have missed during the week. I have a pretty heavy rotation so I actually enjoy that ride time! The usual suspects are the Fatpacks, That Sportscard Show, DawgNation Daily, Lemme Get That Podagraph and Nightmare on Film Street. I have a few that I’ve rotated in like Up and Vanished and Atlanta Monster as well. I don’t even listen to the radio anymore because podcasts have taken over my listening time!

Upon arrival, my first stop is always the junk wax turnstile. This is where I pick up all the sweet boxes for my retro reviews. We’ll cover one of those in a minute. The turnstile is drying up a little and Charlie commented that he has to work on restocking it. It doesn’t help that I buy up multiple boxes each month. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for some good deals on a couple of mid 80’s boxes if any of you have an inside track. I am also hoping to cover a 70’s box soon, which would be around the time I was born but still worth the visit.

It’s not all junk wax for me when I go to the shop because 1) I’m addicted to the YouTube hangouts when I break boxes with the Dub Gang and 2) I usually do a new product review for Bags Unlimited each week. This week I picked up an old faithful and a new release. The old faithful is my running favorite, 2017 Optic and the new release is Panini Patches and Plates. You can check out the YouTube break here if you missed the hangout and be on the lookout in the next week or so for the review of Plates and Patches.

But before I review something new, I will do my favorite rip and review something old. This week’s review is 1989 Topps Traded Baseball! I picked this up for $9.95 and the cards were in really good condition in the box. I have mentioned here before that I am a sucker for the 89 Topps bubble letter font and design. This was also the year I started collecting so I ripped a ton of wax then. There was one notable omission from the base set and the only place to find him was in this update. More on him at the end. But first, here are some others that were in the update set, with a few I forgot about.

Jim Abbott was a highly touted rookie in 1989. Part of that was his pitching ability but another part of his fanfare came from his amazing ability to make it to the major league level as a pitcher with only one hand. Most people know the story of Jim Abbott but if you don’t, check This out!

I can’t really figure this card out. This is a pitcher, wearing glasses, with eyeblack. What am I missing?

Jesse Barfield was a member of the Canadian version of the Bash Brothers with George Bell until he landed in the Bronx in 1989.

Julio Franco spent the first part of his career with the Phillies and Indians before spending most of the 90’s with Texas. I think he was 53 in this photo.

Flash was a guy that I really collected hard in ’89. I played softball many years later with a guy who played minor league ball with Gordon. I’ve always been a big fan!

Ricky was originally Ricky in Oakland, then became Ricky in New York but by 1989, Ricky was Ricky in Oakland again. See what I did there?

The Big Unit didn’t make the base set but was one of a few Mariners rookies who made the update set. This is my favorite Randy Johnson RC.

Eddie Murray played 21 seasons but only 3 in LA. He hit .330 with 26 home runs in 1990 so still had plenty left in the tank.

You can rest assured that this guy is going to show up in my next “Dated Rookie” column.

Here is an inclusion I forgot about in ’89. Now that I see this card, I can easily visualize his ’89 base card in the Astros uniform. He switched teams but didn’t even have to leave the state.

Another rookie that wasn’t included in any of the base sets of 1989 was Deion. He was in the Fleer Update and Donruss “The Rookies”, in addition to this card.

If I had only known in 1989 that Lonnie Smith was 2 years away from making me cry in front of a TV, I may have torn this card up. But then again, thanks to that baserunning flub, I have a semi-writing career. Who knew?

Another Mariner RC in ’89 was the slick fielding Omar Vizquel. He’s vastly underrated in the hobby but was as solid a Major League Baseball player as you’ll find.

If you’ll go back and read that “Dated Rookie” link above, you’ll find the ’89 Rookie of the Year, Jerome Walton. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Jerome!

Ken Griffey was traded to the Reds in 1988 so I’m not entirely sure how he landed in the ’89 Update set but I am intrigued.

Though Ken Griffey was included , the Griff that drove this set was Jr. He was included in the Fleer, Donruss and Upper Deck base sets but somehow Topps missed him that year. He is probably one of the biggest oversights in set history. The Mariners were stacked in the early 90’s with Unit, Vizquel, Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez and Jr. They were really fun to watch!

I’m sure you sometimes wonder if there is anything I don’t like from the 80’s and 90’s. Trust me, there are and I have a few of those on the horizon. This set is not one of those. What’s not to love about this set? The awesome ’89 Topps Design is top notch. There are great rookies included with Randy Johnson, Deion, Vizquel and Jr. There is even a veteran SUPER star with Nolan Ryan. And all of this can be had for less than $10! It gets an easy “5” from 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?

5 thoughts on “Retro Review – All Roads Lead To Saturday”

  1. I miss having a true LCS here in Portage, as the place I go to is mostly about games and comics.
    I may have to travel up 131 North to Grand Rapids to go to a local LCS there…probably when I can also get to a West Michigan Whitecaps game.
    Good job Dub!

  2. The 1989 Topps design has really rose in my design rankings the past few years. Ten years ago, I wasn’t really a fan. Maybe it’s because I busted so much of that stuff. Today it’s one of my favorites from he decade.

    As for cheap box breaks, I almost grabbed a box of 1986 Sportflics at the flea market last week. The guy was asking $15. I offered him $10, but he wouldn’t budge.

  3. Collected the 89 set with my son. Coached youth sports baseball, basketball and soccer or 18 yrs. winning is fun but seeing improvement in a kid is very rewarding

  4. Very nice writeup Dub! I get what you mean about silence. I love it for a day or maybe two – enough to have a night where I can watch a movie uninterrupted, or a game – but then I’m missing the family. It’s funny how that shifts. Still need relative quiet for writing, though. Love that big unit card! Was my favorite pitcher. Stayed up way late listening to his no hitter in the radio against the Tigers in, I think 1990.

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