16 April 2013

A Career in Baseball Cards: Kirt Manwaring - 1988

Rookie cards are a funny thing. Some are awful. Some are awesome.

They're kind of like business cards or resumes.

"This is who I am."
"This is what I have done."

It's up to whoever is holding the card at that time to read into the picture, the text on the back, the presentation of the borders, the weight and feel of the cardboard.

A rookie card carries some responsibility. Some weight. It's the one card of a baseball player that every fan, or at least collector, should know.

As rookie cards are almost always posed (the good ones, at least), I always wonder how that conversation goes between ballplayer and photographer.

"Next up...Kirt...Mannering."

"Manwaring, sir."

"Listen, meat. I have 88 more minor leaguers to photograph in Giants colors today. Hit .280 in the show and people will know your name."

I assume that at this point, Kirt would crouch down, tear off a smile, chuckle, and go catch a bullpen session.


Kirt actually made his major league debut in 1987, but with the parlance of the times, his rookie cards did not appear until the following season.

Immediately, the card-collecting community was blessed. His 1988 Donruss is a gem of a rookie card. Somehow, the black and red and blue border doesn't clash with the catcher's gear and Giants uniform. And of course, the RatedRookie logo. Oh, how I miss it.

His 1988 Topps Traded isn't so bad either. Catchers in on-field caps is rare enough, and a mesh interlocking SF, the pride of the 1980s and the classic Giants home whites - not to mention the 65-lb Rawlings catcher's mitt - harmoniously take a collector in the height of the junk-wax era to the roaring 50's of classic posed catcher shots.

Shades of Yogi Berra?

Well, it's a reach. But I've been stretching and I think I can make it happen.

Notice the COMC logo on all of these cards. I have not yet purchased a new printer/scanner, thus, I am subject to scavenging COMC.com, so much more than a baseball card clearinghouse.

Also: how often do you see a full crowd in the background of such a posed shot? It's the subtleties, man. It's the subtleties that keep us card bloggers in business.

Of course, rookie cards often have action shots.  While I don't recommend this for any aspiring card producers, it still happens.

And in 1988, I am sure it was a welcomed sight with the amount of posed shots accumulating into 660-card sets.

If you want action, 1988 Score is for you.

This 1988 Score (Traded?) is right for any prospecting collector, as along the left border, you have a warning.

There are ups and downs in this game. One moment you're hitting .394 to start a season, and a second later while stealing second base, your ankle asssploooodes and you're out three months. Sorry. The Jose Reyes wounds are still open and festering.

Anyways, actions shots! Rookie Prospect!

Kirt may not have lead up to expectations out of the gate for San Francisco. Of course, I was two years old, so my apologies for not remembering the season as if it was today's beat at work.

He hit .250/1/15 in 1988, reminiscent to what i might be able to hit in the majors if given a full season to train and given the height of my athletic ability.

One home run. On the way to a career which totaled a thunderous 21 dingers over the course of 13 years.

Kirt Manwaring, the Pride of Elmira, New York.

To be continued...

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