Although most of you have been greatly relieved by the respite from the “first card for new teams” series, I am back to shatter your peace of mind. This time, I am examining the first cards for the 1993 expansion Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies.
The birth of the two new National League franchises coincided with the era of explosive card production. (The editor doesn’t like the term “junk wax.) (Ed.: In this context, it would have been fine.) I found 17 different sets-counting updates-containing first cards for the Marlins and Rockies. It is entirely possible that I missed a set or two. (Ed: Or ten.) So, if I failed to mention “Lower Deck’s Super-Extreme-Virtuoso-Uber-Isotope of Titanium” set produced by Goudey in an exclusive run of 500,000, I apologize.
Donruss and Fleer must have been the first card series issued, since their expansion teams’ cards have photos of the players with their previous clubs. Sadly, no airbrushing of logos was employed to provide memorable images. Matt Harvey (FL) and Eric Young (CO) are the first cards for their respective new teams. Donruss’ “Diamond Kings” features painted portraits of David Nied (CO) and Nigel Wilson (FL) in their new liveries.
David Nied (CO) and Jack Armstrong (FL) are Fleer’s first offerings. Nied is pictured on the Braves with a ribbon identifying him as having been “signed by Rockies.” This is considered a variation, since most of the cards have him exclusively on the Braves. The first card with Rockies on the name plate is Andy Ashby. Jack Armstrong is the first Marlin. Fleer “Final Edition” has Andy Ashby as the first card of a player in a Rockies’ uniform. Likewise, Luis Acquino shows up first for Florida.
Probably as a result of a later production date, Bowman provides shots of players in their new uniforms in the base sets. Rich Renteria (FL) and Mark Thompson (CO) are the first Bowman issues.
Topps’ base set and their premium issue, “Stadium Club,” produced inaugural cards of players in new uniforms as well. Jamie McAndrew (FL) and Mark Thompson (CO) show up first in the base set while Benito Santiago (FL) and Butch Henry (CO) are first in the “snooty” set.
Nigel Wilson (FL) and David Nied (CO) are Upper Deck’s first cards for the infant clubs. Upper Deck also issued cards in the “SP” set.
In order to save your sanity, I will not delve into all the brands. However, here is a non-exclusive list of other companies that issued Rockies and Marlins: Pinnacle, Leaf, Score, O-Pee-Chee (base and Premier), Pacific (Spanish), Ultra and Triple Play.
If only first-round expansion picks David Nied and Nigel Wilson had become superstars, I would be rich beyond measure. Alas, the 2000 cards I have of each now languish in storage. Another sure bet investment gone wrong.
Erstwhile committee member, Nick Vossbrink, pointed out that both Upper Deck and Bowman produced rookie cards for minor league players Ryan Turner (CO) and Clemente Nunez (FL) in the ’92 sets. Thus, my shoddy research is laid bare!