Pre-rookies are hard. What really makes a pre-rookie in my opinion is when the card was actually printed. Beyond that they're just picture cards that could have been made yesterday. The main problem is that they tend to not have brands or production information printed on the back.
Any information you may have on these would be amazingly helpful.
Here we go:
|Moeller High School - both versions|
|Moeller High School back - both versions|
I have 3 Moeller high cards, two of the right version and one of the left. The version on the left includes a High School All-American banner across the front and the Kid in a pro uniform named the Mariners' #1 draft pick for 1987 on the back. Obviously this card was made later when those two things had been decided. The production quality is super-high. Both sides have finished surfaces like only card fronts tended to be in 1988, and the full-color front and back contribute to the mystery here.
|Donora, 15 minutes away and upriver of Charleroi|
One thing I really like about this card is the Moeller uniforms are very similar in color to the Mariners, but also anyone who is a fan of the band Moe would love one of those hats. I saw them at Bonnaroo a few years back - it was a solid show. Maybe I'll try and find one of these hats online.
Awww. Nevermind..... But look, a Barry Larkin jersey.
|San Bernardino Spirit #34|
|San Bernardino Spirit #34 back|
I have three of this San Bernardino Spirit card. This is his California minor league rookie card for 1988. He had just had a solid 53-game (or was it 54? more on that later...) year with the Bellingham Mariners (I have no cards showing him as a Bellingham Mariner) and was promoted to the bigger California league. He would not even finish the year there.
This has the look and feel of a minor league team set, the kind they give away on Thirsty Thursdays or Footlong Fridays. Alliteration is huge in minor league marketing.
|California League All-Star #26|
|California League All-Star #26 back|
|Oddball minor league card #2 "The Kid"|
And look. 54 games in 1987, not 53. Hmm....
|SB Spirit Gold|
|SB Spirit Gold back|
I have one of this card. I have no idea where it came from or what it's signifcance is, but it has a gold foil border on the front and is numbered out of 5,000. These two characteristics led me to believe that this card must be worth millions.
The stats show him playing 128 games and batting .323, but he played 129 games and hit .320, right? It is not clear whether he missed a game in Bellingham and this is the only card that takes this into account or they're just wrong. Here's my opinion:
They're wrong. Here's why: they got the team name wrong. The Spirit. Not the Spirits. You know how old people like to add an "s" to store names like the name is always the owner's name the way it was in the 50s? "Get in the car, we're going to Wal-mart's for some new socks." This card does that. And it pisses me off.
"Go Magics! Beat the Jazzes!"
"The Crimson Tides really dominated the Fightings Irishes in the BCS Championshipses."
Annoying, right? Moving on.....
|Oddball set #16, 17, 18|
|Oddball set #16, 17, 18 back|
These are from some 18-card set that came out after his minor-league career. I'm not sure if these were made by the Vermont Mariners or the Seattle ones (though I assume it would have a MLBPA logo or something), or just some company cashing in on Ken's newfound fame.
I am hoping this is one of those sets (that doesn't exist) where players get 3 cards in a row (18 is divisible by 3!) instead of one. That way these 3 would be considered all of his cards from that (imaginary) set, not just a small minority.
Also, Reds is not capitalized. Derp!
|ProCards Vermont Mariners|