Sunday, September 26, 2010

Star Sunday: 1988 Mark Grace

I'll try this for a few weeks and see how it goes.

Star is a company you may not be too familiar with. I know that up until about five months ago, I had never heard of it. The company issued cards from 1983 to 1995. But they didn't do it in the usual way of issuing a set of cards that featured several hundred players.

Instead, as their name implies, they featured only the star players. But for each player, there were usually nine or eleven different cards that were sold together in a set. That was one gimmick. Star's second gimmick was to limit the print run of each set.

Star's first set, issued in 1983, was a 15 card Mike Schmidt tribute set. In 1984, they expanded to five players, with either 24 or 36 cards per player. In 1985 it was back to a single player, this time, Reggie Jackson, with a 36 card set. The next season saw Star return to a multi-player set, this time with nine players in sets of 15, 20, or 24 cards. Star stayed with the multi-player concept from that point on. In 1987, eight players were featured in sets of from five to fourteen cards.

In 1988, Star also began issuing different versions. For example, in 1988 there was Star '88, Star Gold, Star Platinum, Star Nova, and Star Silver. Things also get confusing in 1988 because Star released sets in late 1988 and 1989 that all have a 1988 copyright date on them. In the Standard Catalog they are listed as 1988-1989.

1988 was also the first time a Cubs player was featured by Star. Andre Dawson was included in the Star '88 and Star Platinum sets. By my count there are 31 different Star sets of a Cubs player. Right now I've got 21 of them. The remaining ten are all of Ryne Sandberg, and half of them are from 1992. When they've shown up on ebay, they are usually overpriced Buy it Nows. Auctions have been rare.

The cards I've got today are of Mark Grace from the Star base set of 1988, which was released in late '88 and continued into 1989. It's interesting that Star decided to include Grace, since 1988 was his rookie season. Grace didn't even join the Cubs until May of 1988. The season wasn't even finished when his cards were made. One of them says, "As of this printing, Mark Grace is hitting well over .300 and looks to be one of baseball's great young talents." Grace finished the year at .296.

There are eleven cards in the set. As you can see, the design is pretty plain-looking. All the pictures are different and all were taken at Wrigley Field. Each card talks about a different aspect of his career. But since he was so early in his career, they ran out of things to talk about, and his last two cards just list his position, and the backs have only the Cubs logo on them. According to the Standard Catalog, 6500 sets were made.

1 comment:

  1. Mark Grace, batting champ? Of the Cubs, maybe.