1991 Topps: Top 10 Baseball Cards
Like many kids, my baseball addiction began in a grocery store aisle.
On each trip to the store, mom made sure we never left without a red, see-through pack of 1991 Topps baseball cards.
Pack after pack, both my collection and desire to learn more about the game grew uncontrollably.
Before my family had ESPN or games could be streamed online, baseball cards served as the ultimate educational tool.
Without baseball cards, I would have never known Brett Butler led the American League with 14 triples in 1986 or that Phil Plantier walked 62 times with Pawtucket in 1990.
Just as radio inspired imagery in its' early days, Topps fulfilled my visual needs.
Here are my top 10 Topps baseball cards of 1991.
Just Missed The Cut...
Tobacco-in-cheek, Mickey's good-natured smile brought delight to those who found his card in their pack.
Tettleton slugged 245 homers over 14 seasons, providing delight in the stands, as well.
10. Jack McDowell—Chicago White Sox No. 219
This photo of "Black Jack" was taken on "Turn Back the Clock" Day at Comiskey Park in 1990.
The old-time hat, logo, and stripes compliment his lean and rock delivery. Unfortunately for McDowell, the tiny hat couldn't conceal his borderline mullet.
9. Mike Lieberthal—Philadelphia Phillies No. 471
The photographer did everything in his power to embarrass little Mikey in this picture.
But living up to his No. 1 Draft Pick potential, Lieberthal developed into a premier catcher around the turn of the century.
8.Roger Clemens—Boston Red Sox No. 530
The Green Monster used to welcome "The Rocket" daily into Fenway Park.
Before taking on the role of super-villian, Topps caught Roger leaning against his old friend.
7. Nolan Ryan—Texas Rangers No. 1
Look at all those italics! 11 Strikeout rings and eight walks titles, how does that add up?
In 1991, I couldn't believe I was holding the card of a player that took the field in the '60s. His was the most impressive backing of any Topps card that year.
6. Shane Mack—Minnesota Twins No. 672
Helmet in the air, slide tracks on the dirt, Mack gazes toward second realizing he over-hustled to reach an uncontested third base.
The former UCLA star was no stranger to stealing bases. He swiped 90 during his nine-year career.
5. Wade Boggs—Boston Red Sox No. 450
Cumulus? Stratocumulus? Cumulonimbus?
While I can't properly classify the type of cloud lurking over Wade, one element I can identify is his focused demeanor.
No matter how beautiful the clouds, Mr. Boggs positioned himself to take care of business.
4. Oscar Azocar—New York Yankees No. 659
1) Who the hell is Oscar Azocar? 2) And how did he get the ball to stay trapped?
Though the ball linked by the two bats lasted about as long as his Major League career, Oscar made quite the impression on this 9-year-old.
3. Walt Weiss—Oakland Athletics No. 455
Victimized Indians' baserunner Joel Skinner can't deny the impeccable layout of this card.
Every middle infielder dreams of being captured in suspension as Weiss has. The image of capping off a double play will always be synonymous with this former Oakland shortstop.
2. Benito Santiago—San Diego Padres No. 760
Where did the cameraman position himself to take this photo? Is there a tiny camera in the ball?
With the Tigers game humming on the radio next to my bed, I used to ponder the possibilities every night before I fell asleep.
1. Carlton Fisk—Chicago White Sox No. 170
Easily the best vertical or horizontal card of the set, every element that makes a good card is present in this picture: a crisp name and number on the back of a jersey, a chunky runner chugging down the basepath, and a third party instructing his teammate to "Get Down!"
1991 Topps topped itself with this Carlton Fisk beauty.