Sunday, September 16, 2007

1988 Panini Stickers

In a recent purchase of several miscellaneous Indians cards, there were quite a few stickers. Among them, the 1988 Panini were scattered throughout. I don't know how most collectors feel about stickers (or, as in the case of Fleer and some others, the "sticker cards"), but I like as much as (and sometimes more than) their hardbacked counterparts.
Of of the things I like about most stickers is that, generally, the company does away with most of the "frills" of baseball cards - simple, up close face shots and non-distracting borders. Though, I admit, these happen to look like something NBC was trying to push (note the 'peacock feather' shaped balloons)... Of course, in Julio Franco's case, we also see the "Jerry Curl" hairstyle of the eighties... :-)
It always surprises me when I see early pictures of the players I tried to follow and keep up with while I watched the Tribe off and on over the years. Jacoby looks like a kid fresh out of college, if even that old. I'm not sure if the cameraman told him to say "cheese" here or if there was a little rubber duck on the photographer's head that had just fallen off. Either way, it got a big smile out of Jacoby.
Speaking of styles and smiles, Cory Snyder is one of those guys that (if you're a Tribe fan from those days) etched their image into the heads of kids and fans everywhere for years to come. How can you forget the yellow hair or the moustache? I read not long ago that he had become the manager of the newly formed St. George Roadrunners team (in the Golden Baseball League - a west coast league that features a lot of former MLB players). That's a pretty cool thing to happen to a guy on the Top 500 home run hitters list... :-)
The next guy in my stack of stickers is Greg Swindell. This guy played in the majors for 17 years, which ain't bad for a pitcher from Ft. Worth.. :-) It so happens that the 1988 features him at his best: a 3.20 ERA, struck out 180 batters while only 45. In '89, he was named to the American League All-Star team. I never really followed his career, but after doing a bit of research, I was surprised to see how many teams he ended up playing for (Indians, Twins, Red Sox, Reds, Astros, and Diamondbacks).
One of the coolest part of collecting stickers are the team logos. And, for this particular set, the logo comes on a gold foil backing! I also noticed that the logo sticker and other non-player stickers are slightly larger than the player stickers. They also have much nicer inking on the back of them... Go figure! :-) I am collecting as many of the Indians logo items (stickers, cards mainly) as I can because I am sure it won't be too much longer before the thing is deemed too non-pc, and gets revamped for some stupid other team name and logo....
And, finally, one of my favorite stickers of all time - the Indians uniform. So far as I know, Fleer did a "jersey" sticker in the 80's, but no one else did a full-on uni sticker. I mean, how cool is this one? Not only do we have the jerseys, but also pants, a hat, a helmet, socks, and a jacket! I had never seen this sticker before receiving it in this "surprise pack," and it instantly became one of my faves! It's just cool, what else can I say? :-)

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