Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 COMC purchases: we wish you a Barry COMChristmas

While I was picking out cards on COMC once again on Black Friday weekend, and then again thanks to my surprise free shopping spree, I decided to throw some credits at my Barry Larkin PC.  I'll deviate from protocol slightly by revealing that he's currently tied with Rich Hill for #1 in my player collections at 241 cards including the ones in this post.  Those guys are the only two that have eclipsed 200 for now, though obviously under different circumstances--I've got a LOT more to work with when it comes to Larkin!  Of course he's also much more expensive, so most of the time I end up landing base and lower-end inserts of the HOF SS.  That's fine by me, though, as I'm happy with anything new of Barry I can add!  Here's what I picked:
Barry Larkin 1991 Stadium Club
If Topps has achieved anything greater than Stadium Club since the early 90s I'd sure like to know about it.  What a great shot of Barry in the cage.
Barry Larkin 1992 Stadium Club Dome
For those that haven't heard of it, '92 Stadium Club "Dome" is a 200-card set Topps made in 1992 that used the '91 design and included some highlights and rookies from the previous year.  It gets its name from the fact that the packaging was done in the shape of Toronto's SkyDome, which hosted the 1991 All-Star Game.  Speaking of that, Barry didn't start thanks to SS Ozzie Smith, but he did pinch hit for Ozzie and went 0-1 in yet another NL loss.
Barry Larkin 1993 and 1994 Finest
As I always like to point out, this is a tale of two sets.  1993's debut version looks very cool and has definitely earned its place in hobby lore.  Meanwhile, the '94 set isn't terrible, but it's an obvious step down, and I still like to call it the "Fruit Roll-up" set.  Hey, anyone want to trade me Barry's '93 Refractor?
Barry Larkin 1995 Pinnacle Museum Collection
Dufex!  Nobody did it better than Pinnacle back in the mid-90s at a time where you had to work hard to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack.  This is a cool shot of Larkin in the field with OF Thomas Howard in the background.
Barry Larkin 1996 Finest Bronze (#B167)
Back to Finest and another of the sets I liked, although I believe this was the first of the brand to use the "peels" that have split collector opinion for years.  "Intimidator" is an apt label for the 1995 NL MVP who went .319/.394/.492 with 15 HR and 51 steals a year before joining the 30/30 club!
Barry Larkin 1996 Topps Chrome (#6)
Like '93 Finest, '96 Topps Chrome is what I would call a successful debut for the brand, even if the price caused sticker shock for many collectors.  And like Finest the set has been hit or miss ever since.  I noted the card number here because Barry has both a Star Power subset card and a base card, which I haven't picked up yet.
Barry Larkin 1996 Topps Laser
Speaking of higher-end 1996 Topps products that caused sticker shock, anyone else remember Topps Laser?  Another of Topps' one-and-done brands, it just never really had a chance.  They cost too much and the overuse of "laser" cutting makes them hard to keep in good shape.  That doesn't mean I didn't want to pick up Barry's card, though!
Barry Larkin 1996 Upper Deck Diamond Destiny
Ok, last 1996 card, I promise.  For as cheap as it was I couldn't help but pick up this fun-if-goofy relic of the 1990s insert craze that includes an inset round window with a translucent image of the player.
Barry Larkin 1997 Topps Inter-League Finest (with Albert Belle)
Here's another card that doesn't exactly age well in one sense--the celebration of now-commonplace interleague play--but otherwise holds up well as far as 90s inserts go.  Given how much of a beast "Joey" was for the Tribe, I'd say Topps did a good job selecting Larkin and Belle to represent the two Ohio teams here.
Barry Larkin 1999 Fleer Sports Illustrated
1999 saw the final release of a set that combined Fleer and magazine Sports Illustrated.  As with the previous two versions, the product featured a rigid, glossy design and some fantastic photography, which you'd probably expect with SI involved.  Here we get an awesome shot of Barry turning two against the Cubs.
Barry Larkin 2000 Topps HD
Man, the more I look at some of these cards, the more dated they feel!  Remember when nobody knew what "HD" was all about?  These super-thick, super-high-def cards are very cool, though.  Still, don't most people these days associate HD with widescreen?
Barry Larkin 2003 Playoff Portraits
We wrap things up today with this very artistic card of Larkin out of Panini's 2003 Playoff Portraits set.  Nice choice of an image of Barry to work with, apparently standing on-deck just a couple seasons before his retirement.

As I said earlier, I'm now up to a solid 241 cards of Michigan's best modern MLBer, and hopefully I'll be hitting the 250-card mark soon!  Until then, look for lots more COMC cards this week.


  1. I love the Finest cards! Plus I really liked the Playoff Portraits set. The only weird thing was that some of the relics were on the back of the card.

    1. It's like a Finest timeline! Yeah, I actually have one of those Playoff Portraits with the relic on the back, which would make them weird to display if I did that, and I'm not really sure what the thinking was there...