1993 Topps – Alex Cole
Alex Cole was so cool that the Cleveland Indians moved the fences back at old Municipal Stadium in order to accommodate his speed after a 40 steals in 63 games performance in 1990. Well, the Indians went from 77-85 to 57-105 in 1991, they only hit 22 home runs at home in 1991, and Alex Cole went on to steal a grand total of 36 more bases for the Indians before moving on.
While things didn’t work out in Cleveland, or in Pittsburgh, Alex Cole showed in 1993 that he could still rock the shit out of a pair of sunglasses after being selected by Colorado with the 17th pick in the 1992 Expansion Draft. His one season with the Rockies wasn’t much to write home about, but at least he could pass for Willie Mays Hayes in a jam. Now that’s cool.
1992 Pinnacle – Bobby Bonilla Shades
There was a time in the early 1990’s when both Bobby Bonilla and the Oakley sunglasses he wore were both pretty damn cool, generating a great deal of want among young baseball fans everywhere. We all wanted those shades, and we all wanted to be as cool as Bobby Bo.
Pinnacle, sensing an opportunity, did the unthinkable in 1992 and combined Bobby Bonilla and Oakley sunglasses into one magnificent package. Words were not necessary. In fact, the only words that were used on the card back were “Pinnacle Shades” and then “BOBBY BONILLA” in capital letters. We all knew what was up.
1992 Pinnacle – Bobby Bonilla Shades (Back)
Between 1995 and 2001, Bonilla played for the Mets, Orioles, Marlins, Dodgers, Mets again, Braves and Cardinals as things slid downhill for him. But we’ll always have 1992, Bobby. We’ll always have 1992.
1987 Fleer – Steve Balboni
I dare you to look at this picture and tell me that Steve Balboni wasn’t cool as hell. Seriously. He’s holding three bats. THREE. He’s also rocking a sick mustache and just wearing the shit out of that baby blue jersey. Beat that, fools!
Interesting fact about Steve Balboni: he led various minor leagues in home runs in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, and then, after his Major League career stubbornly interrupted the streak, again in 1992 and 1993.
Also, he struck out 166 times in 1985. This means that if batting average was calculated using strikeouts instead of hits (it’s not), he would have batted .277 in 1985 instead of .243. If only, Steve Balboni. If only.
1993 Upper Deck - Big Apple Power Switch
See what Upper Deck did here? The New York Mets had a bunch of players in 1993 that were switch hitters as well as being fairly big names, so they made a card entitled “Big Apple Power Switch.”
Along with Eddie Murray, Howard Johnson, and Bobby Bonilla, the Metropolitans that year also boasted in their starting lineup a switch-hitting catcher in Todd Hundley, and a switch-hitting left fielder in Vince Coleman. Hundley and Coleman obviously weren’t cool enough to be featured, but can you blame anyone for that? Look how graceful Murray, Johnson and Bobby Bo look here.
How did that end up, you ask? Well, they finished 59-103 that season in the midst of six losing seasons in a row. So, not great.
1993 Upper Deck - Runnin' Redbirds
Geronimo Pena, Ray Lankford, Bernard Gilkey and Ozzie Smith were, for some reason, featured on one of these awesome 1993 Upper Deck team cards. On these cards, a group of players from one team are associated with some kind of slogan, like, in this case, “Runnin’ Redbirds.” Smith, of course, is a Hall of Famer, Lankford was coming off a really good 1992 season, but I’m not really sure what Gllkey and Pena are doing there.
You will notice two things about this slogan:
- There is an absence of a “g,” replaced with an apostrophe in the word “Runnin’.” This is obviously much cooler than using the word “Running,” which only nerds use.
- The cardinal on the “Runnin’ Redbirds” logo is much stronger looking than the cardinal they use on their hats and jerseys… almost juiced up, one might say… perhaps a sign of things to come for the Cardinals later that decade?
1987 Topps - Tom Foley
Look at what’s going on here with Tom Foley:
-Powder blue uniform
-Tight pants, high stirrups
-Cement-like, neon green AstroTurf
-One batting glove
-Classic one-knee pose
I feel like I’m being screamed at by the 1980’s when I look at this card.
Foley is pulling the look off in a big way. The photo reminds me of a quote I saw at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown a couple of weeks ago: “I stand at the plate in Philadelphia and I don’t honestly know whether I’m in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, or Philly. They all look alike.” – Richie Hebner, Pirates Third Baseman
I think this one is Pittsburgh. I really don’t know though.
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
1987 Fleer - Dave Stieb
Leaning nonchalantly on the railing, staring off into the distance, smug smile on his face… Dave Stieb was definitely too cool for cardboard in 1987.
Can’t you just picture this guy coming up to you at a party and telling you how big a deal he is? Or maybe he’d finish an interview by giving the camera a look, and then saying “I’m Dave Stieb?”
If you don’t get these references, even with the video clip hints, for the love of fuck, please watch Anchorman. I feel like you just won’t get me until you do.
1992-93 Upper Deck - Doug Gilmour
A couple of days ago, Doug Gilmour, along with Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk, and Mark Howe, were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Leaf fans who watched him at his best know that he is fully deserving of the honour.
Doug Gilmour was the man – a legend among mere mortals, if you want to be more specific – in Toronto after he arrived from Calgary in January 1992. 1992-93 and 1993-94 were Gilmour’s best, and he was one of the top players in the league night after night, as well as deep into the playoffs those two years with the Leafs.
The card above, issued by Upper Deck in 1992-93, showed the world just how cool Dougie was, even before he really peaked. Looking back though, you had to know that he’d end up in the Hall of Fame eventually. I mean, look at that blend of cool and tough. The leather jacket. The jeans. The biker t-shirts. Unbelievable. You know there’s a 6-pack of Molson product around there somewhere.
Congrats Dougie, and thanks for all the great years.
UPDATE: WATCH THIS VIDEO
1987 Topps - Keith Hernandez
One of the best Seinfeld episodes ever – and that’s saying a lot, there were some great ones – was an episode from Season Three called The Boyfriend. Read about it at the A.V. Club.
Keith Hernandez was a star in that episode. He was cool. Evidence above: 1987 Topps. Fresh off the 1986 World Series win, staring into the distance, grinning. You can tell exactly what he’s thinking… “I’m Keith Hernandez. I won the MVP in ’79, I can do whatever I want to.”
You’re right, Keith, you can.
1997-98 Score - Kelly Hrudey
I cannot begin to tell you how cool Kelly Hrudey was when this photo was taken. Oh, all that spectacular California teal. The jerseys, the shark logo, the sparkling new gloves… no wonder this shit was the most popular logo in the NHL at the time. The Teal Revolution spurred on several impostors, but none who made it as cool as the Sharks. The Mighty Ducks? With purple? Not even close. The Islanders? A teal wave? Can’t believe they even tried.
Now, I’m not done. Back to Hrudey’s coolness. The Sharks ball cap… is it a Starter? I can’t tell, but all the best ones were… and whatever the brand, I’ll bet I wanted that hat. Oh, and all that flow the hat is keeping in – usually the job of a beautiful baby blue bandana, but not on the bench I guess. Why wear a bandana when you can have the coolest lid in the league? And let’s not forget that “I’m better than you” expression on his face. Awesome.
Hell yeah, Kelly Hrudey. So cool you have two posts on this magnificent blog. Way too cool for 1997-98 Score. You sung it, and you brung it.