Collectible of the Week


Mike Schmidt, 1989 Topps Wax Box Bottom Card

Beginning in 1986, Topps Baseball Wax Pack boxes contained parallel cards of the current year set on their undersides.  Four different boxes were sold, with each having four, 2.5"x3.5" player cards - which resulted in a 16 total card set.  The card fronts were designed to resemble the base set, but with alternate player photos.  In 1989, the cards were numbered A - P with backs that listed career milestones, instead of statistics.    

1989 was Mike Schmidt's final season in the Major Leagues, and his base card from that year's Topps set is one of my favorites.  Like that base card, the box bottom parallel (#L) shows Schmidt in Clearwater for Spring Training.  Wearing a warm-up jacket and batting helmet, it's a candid moment with the Hall of Famer.  The full panel places him with other great players of the era: Jim Rice, Cal Ripken and Nolan Ryan - all of whom would eventually be enshrined in Cooperstown.  

The cards themselves are not that difficult to find - imagine how many wax boxes Topps produced in 1989 - but, as with any cut-cards, they can be tough to find in NM - MT condition.  Because they were on the bottom of the boxes, both the full panels and individual cards often display signs of shelf/handling damage such as surface scratches, uneven borders or cardboard bends.  In top condition, you can expect to pay $2-3 for an individual card, $5-10 for a full panel.