Sunday, March 2, 2014

(Not) Junk Wax: 1994 Score Rookie/Traded

Junk wax sometimes gets a bad rap. Investor types hate the stuff, or at least disregard it. Even ardent collectors tend to dismiss the things, mainly because they already have sixteen copies of that '88 Donruss Bob Walk that just fell out of their repack.

But there is a bright side to the massive overproduction. You can buy unopened hobby boxes of 20+-year-old cardboard that you may have missed at the time for the price of just a couple of packs of new product. It's a great way to inexpensively add to your collection, while still enjoying the experience of busting packs. And it's something that I definitely take advantage of. I always have a few boxes of different things lying in wait, and bust open a single pack from a few of these on each Card Night.

I plan to start sharing the results of my junk wax box busting, starting with a box of 1994 Score Rookie/Traded. I was reminded how much I like this strange set when I received a few of these cards from Marcus of All the Way to the Backstop last November. A little eBay hocus pocus, and here we go. Let's play...

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Julio Franco CHW #RT29

The first thing that jumps out at you is the color attack. The bright red borders dominate, but the other color elements still manage to demand attention. It's actually a pretty amazing contrast to Score's base set from the same year, which featured ultra-conservative midnight blue borders. In fact, though there have been update sets to use different colors than the sets that they're updating, I can't think of another example of such a radically different design being used.

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Jim Edmonds CAL #RT160

Actually, there are two basic designs used in this set, one for established players that had changed teams, and another for rookies. There are three photos used in each of these designs. But their placement is different. In each, there is a radically thin area allotted for an action shot, presenting an unusual and interesting cropping opportunity. If you can deal with the general assault to the senses, and I'm surprised to find that I can, then perhaps the biggest flaw is the barely legible script used for the rookies' first names.

Let's talk content. If you're a fan of the Cleveland Indians, this set is for you...

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Omar Vizquel CLE #RT10
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Jack Morris CLE #RT21
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Dennis Martinez CLE #RT24
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Paul Shuey CLE #RT109
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Tony Pena CLE #RT59

Many of the best players, with some of the best-looking cards in this set, got to play in the brand-spankin'-new Jacobs Field in 1994.

Let's take a look at the parallel situation...

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Gold Rush Eddie Murray CLE #RT5
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Gold Rush Manny Ramirez CLE #RT72

I wasn't kidding about the Indians! Score's Gold Rush parallels were in effect in this set. It's gold foil, but for some reason it comes off as green in the scans. I was pleased with my parallel take in this box. I got many of the key cards in the set.

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Gold Rush Rickey Henderson OAK #RT13

This is arguably the set's best card, with Rickey returning to Oakland for one of his 37 stops by the Bay. And whether the card's foil is gold, or the green that it looks like here, it's a match for the A's uniforms!

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Changing Places Deion Sanders CIN #CP10

I didn't know when I began busting the box that there were inserts to be found. I pulled two, starting with Neon Deion. Nice shot of the football player pretending to be a baseball player losing his helmet on the basepaths. But I hate the design. Can't find a single redeeming quality. I guess I did okay with this one, though Rickey Henderson or Bo Jackson would have been an improvement.

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Super Rookie Greg Pirkl SEA #SU13

Can't say I was pleased with the second insert I pulled. Of the eighteen cards in this rookie insert set, this probably would rank as the least desirable. I guess it's good for some kitsch value. At least the design is better. The front features Gold Rush "technology," while the color vomit really gets spewed on the back.

How did the Dodgers do in this set?

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Pedro Martinez MON #RT62
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Delino DeShields LAD #RT6

I had to ask. One of the worst trades by the franchise in my lifetime is commemorated here. Yipee.

At least the Dodgers are always good for a solid rookie or two. Marcus had sent me the Gold Rush version of Chan Ho. Now I have the base card. With good reason, we'll take a look at the back of each of these Dodger rookies, as well.

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Raul Mondesi LAD #RT82
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Chan Ho Park LAD #RT136

That's one crazy dome perched above Raul's eyebrows! And, though it's nearly been cropped out, Chan Ho's Getting a Grip. Which leads us to mini-collection hits...

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Johnny Ruffin CIN #RT144
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Solomon Torres SFG #RT88

There were two more Grips to be found on the flip sides. But this set was all about the Turtlenecks...

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Rich Rowland BOS #RT98
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Gerald Williams NYY #RT81
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Alex Cole MIN #RT50
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Steve Farr CLE #RT70
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Javier Lopez ATL #RT78

We even had one double-threat, with Daryl Boston (of New York!) sporting both a Turtleneck and a Doughnut!

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Daryl Boston NYY #RT123

As far as the base set goes, it was the best-case scenario: 100% completion. That includes one card that was short printed because Score accidentally deleted their computer file for Jose Lima's card before a necessary printing plate replacement. I'm guessing they got a new IT guy before the 1995 season. Fortunately for me, it's Lima Time!

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Jose Lima DET #RT158

Final Statistics
Base Set Completion: 165/165 (100%)
Gold Rush Parallels: 36/165 (22%)
Changing Places Inserts: 1/10 (10%)
Super Rookies Inserts: 1/18 (6%)

1994 Score Rookie/Traded Rick Sutcliffe STL #RT19
1994 Score Rookie/Traded Shawn Green TOR #RT91

This set is not for everyone's tastes. In theory, I don't even like it. But this is that odd set that somehow overcomes theory to become enjoyable in practice. This box was not a bust.


  1. I don't own one card from this set.. Goy any Red Sox

  2. I enjoy these because the design is SO much different than what Score used for their standard 1994 set that year. If I ever find myself with a few extra bucks to spend, I might jump on one of these overproduction era boxes. It's a lot of fun, and I haven't busted a box in a while.

  3. Dig this set. Have any extra Astros?

    1. PS. I've got that 2013 Jake Odorizzi in your sidebar.

    2. Got dupes of five out of six 'Stros and I've set them aside for you.