Monday, February 11, 2013

A Pile of Larkins in the Mail - A Top 10!

It's been awhile (July of 2011 to be precise!) since I've done a Top 10 Cards post using a trade envelope.  In part, that's because I haven't been completing as many large trades (after all, you need at least 10 cards to make a Top 10 list).  Today's envelope happened to have exactly ten Barry Larkin cards in it - so what better time to do a Top 10 than now?

The stack of Larkins is thanks to William over at Foul Bunt.  Some of the cards I already had (including some that I've written about already in my Barry Larkin Collection series of posts).  Others were new to me.  Where will each card end up in the rankings though, that's the real question at hand.

Let's begin - as expected, in reverse order.

#10:  1991 Bowman
I've never been a big fan of the Bowman line - but of all the Bowman cards that I own, this actually is one of my favorites!  It's a nice clear shot of Larkin at what appears to be a spring training complex.  You can also see Larkin's wrist bands in the photo (which feature a cartoon image of himself).  Although one card had to be ranked last, there are no losers when it comes to Barry Larkin cards (except maybe this one).

#9:  1996 Topps

I like most of the Topps base sets from the 90s, but not the '96 set for some reason.  Actually, I know the reason.  Many of the photos look like the Larkin, chopped off action shots with faces in shadows (or behind sunglasses and in shadows).  The design is also a bit creepy with the sepia close-up image of Larkin's noggin at the bottom of the card.  I also don't care much for the foil name.  I do like the team logo (though could Topps have made it any smaller at the top of the card)?  Although I didn't scan it, the back of the card is the card's saving grace.  I happen to like the back design quite a bit, just enough in fact to push this card ahead of the Bowman card in the #10 slot.

#8:  1993 Topps All Star

I always liked getting All Star cards as a kid, but I hated getting cards featuring guys from different teams (at the time, I stored all my cards by team and dual team cards messed everything up).  The design of the card is cheesy (but in all the right ways).  Given a different stack of Larkins, this card could have found itself ranked a bit higher, that's how stiff the competition is this time around!

#7:  1991 Topps All Star

I debated putting this card in the slot taken up by the previous card, but ultimately the fact that this one features only Larkin earned it the slightly higher ranking.  It's actually not a very good actually looks a bit blurry to me.  Even so, it's an All Star card of Larkin from the year after the Reds won the World Series which is worth quite a bit in my book!

#6:  2002 Upper Deck Something

I'm not sure, but I don't think I had this card before.  It's certainly not the most exciting photograph...nor is it a great design but it solid.  The card earned the #6 slot based on the full statistics on the back (a rarity for Upper Deck) plus the mug shot on the back is kind of funny.  Larkin appears to be getting ready to fall asleep in the dugout.

#5:  1993 Topps

A clean, crisp design that seems to be underrated by many collectors.  The photo is also nice (again featuring Larkin's wrist bands).  I even like the catcher's glove peeking out from the bottom of the card.

#4:  1990 Fleer

I'll be honest, the Fleer card's ranking surprised me too.  When I compiled my list, I knew right away the "best" card and the "worst" card - and then I sort of worked my way back and forth.  When all was said and done, the Fleer card slotted in at the fourth position.  Quite honestly, that's probably a perfect assessment of the card.  After all, I've flirted with the idea of completing the 1990 Fleer set since it has some special memories for me...and yet at the same time I can't convince myself that the set is worth spending the money on the binder or pages that would be necessary to store it (let alone all the postage for trades).

#3:  2005 Leaf Something

This is the second (and final) card out of the ten that William sent me that I think might be new to my collection.  The Leaf cards are all sort of confusing to me - in fact, Leaf is almost at the Bowman level in terms of confusion to me over the years.  Ignoring my own stupidity, this card is actually pretty nice.  The black and white background makes the image sort of "pop" out of the card which I like.  The back doesn't have full statistics but it does have a nice little write up about Larkin (including a mention of the 1990 World Series team).

#2:  1991 Topps:

If I were a betting man, I would bet that this photo was taken at the same photo shoot that the photo from the Bowman card was.  The background appears to be the same (as does Larkin's bling).  Despite the nearly identical photos, the 1991 Topps set has a huge advantage over Bowman...namely that the 91 Topps set is awesome!

#1:  2011 Topps Kimball Champions

Yep, the #1 card is one that I already owned.  That's ok though since I love mini cards - and a mini card of Larkin is about as good as it gets!  I think my favorite part of the card is the big dust up at the bottom of the card.  It's little things like that that can separate a #10 card from a #1 card in my rankings!

Thanks for all the great cards William.  I should have a return package out to you this week.  If anyone else has Barry Larkin cards to spare (or anything else from my want list), let me know and make an offer!


William said...

I'm glad you liked the cards. The 2002 Upper Deck is actually the 2002 UD Base Set. I like the design for some reason and once entertained the idea of building the set, but have since changed my mind.

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