Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Sammy So-Long Ago

So, in today's social media dominated age, various weekly customs or "hashtags" have emerged as a means of expression.

You have #ManCrushMondays or #WomanCrushWednesdays, which seem pretty self-explanatory, #FreeFollowFridays if your looking to boost someone's Twitter follower count and, my personal favorite #ThrowbackThursday.  Alliteration is a must for a hashtag to catch, apparently.

The latter is basically an excuse to show off an old picture and make everyone look at it, kinda like your grandma would do with a dusty photo album, except through the internet.

JediJeff has been posting weekly Throwback Thursday posts for a while now, showing off the best throwback jerseys to be found on cardboard.  I too want to toss my hat into this ring, but with my own twist; I don't want to be a blatant copy cat.

Thus, I decided to do like they do on Facebook and post awkward pictures from one's formative and younger years.  Each Thursday, I'll be showing off (at least) one card from a Cubs player's minor league days.

This week, we have Sammy Sosa way back when he was just a gangly prospect, grinding out the minor league season with the Port Charlotte Rangers.

Check out that sweet permed mullet!  Guys, remember when Slammin' Sammy wasn't pumped up on Flinstone vitamins and his skin hadn't pulled a Michael Jackson?  Ah, nostalgia.

This card comes from the Star Company, best known for their 1980's basketball sets from when they were the sole NBA license-holder and MLB player-centric sets later on in the decade.  With the explosion of the junk wax era, minor league cards were starting to be printed off right and left as companies like ProCards and Line Drive were desperately looking for new subjects.  Star too decided to dip their toes in the water with MiLB sets of their own, starting in 1988.

Minor league cards were becoming all the rage

A few things about this particular card though...  First off, it's part of the 1990 checklist and Sosa was traded to the White Sox in July of '89.  Additionally, he played exactly zero days in the minor leagues anyway in 1990. Odd indeed that he would show up on a Rangers' bush league card at this time, ain't it?

Perhaps it was done on purpose to entice card buyers to invest in a, seemingly, pre-rookie card of a budding star?  This is not something that Star was above doing.

The Star Company got into quite a bit of trouble in the mid-90's for printing older-looking basketball card sets that looked extremely similar to their original products and deliberately falsifying the copyright information. These sets were then marketed through third-party sources in order to trick the then rabidly hungry card-collecting public.

 The real card is on the left - you can see how someone could fairly easily be fooled
Images swiped from Ebay

The dastardly devils were eventually caught and got their pants sued off by the NBA.  That is why the Star Company is no more.

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane, even though it became much longer than I originally planned.  It's doubtful that this weekly feature will always be of this length; but, I guess we'll see how it goes.

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