Classic card of the week

Tony Gwynn, 1989 K-Mart / Topps Dream Team

If I had to make a list of baseball cards that I am most proud to own, this one would not be on the list. It looks like it came with two scoops of ice cream and a balloon.

And let me tell you something else about this card that probably does not transfer well over this here Internet. It is glossy. And I mean glossy. There is like, two inches of gloss on this card. It repels all other forms of matter, which immediately slide off of its surface. If this card were carelessly left on a suburban street, and someone rode their bike over it, that person would incur serious bodily injury as a result. Because of the gloss.

Anyway, in 1989, Kmart -- famed orchestrator of the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball team –- organized a predecessor to that dominating Dream Team. This particular Dream Team included Tony Gwynn, seen here about to demonstrate his dreaminess by batting one handed. The other members of this Dream Team and their schedule of games and the result of those games are irrelevant. All we need to know in this particular instance is that Tony Gwynn was on the Kmart Dream Team. But why?

Well, because apparently, Tony Gwynn was the “N.L. Rookie of the 80’s.” This can only mean one of two things. Either a) Tony Gwynn somehow maintained his rookie status throughout an entire decade, or b) of every rookie that played in the National League throughout the 1980’s, Tony Gwynn was determined -– by the Kmart chain of department stores –- to be the best, and thus earned the prestigious “N.L. Rookie of the 80’s” award which he was able to pick up in front of any local Kmart snack bar, and which bore with it automatic inclusion on the Kmart Dream Team.

Because, as everyone knows, there can only be one N.L. Rookie of the 80’s, the criteria for other members of the Dream Team remains unknown. Until, that is, I am able to uncover more of these special cards, which, unfortunately, seems unlikely, as my family preferred Bradlees.

Did you know?
The rights for organizing the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team were stripped from Kmart and handed over to Target in 2005 when, as a result of an extreme error in judgment, Kmart failed to include Kenyon Martin –- a.k.a. K-Mart –- on its 2004 Dream Team.