Pros: simple card, great card from 1990 set, brings back great baseball memories
Cons: value stagnant with Sosa out of baseball
Way before Sammy Sosa hit his 66 home runs for the Chicago Cubs in 1998, he was just breaking into the line-up for the Chicago White Sox. After a mid-season trade with the Texas Rangers for Harold Baines, Sosa was brought over as a platoon Outfielder in 1989. History has shown it to be one of George W. Bush's (yes that same Bush) worst moves as general manager of the Texas Rangers. At 175 pounds, and standing only 6 feet tell, the 21 year old from the Dominican Republic looked like he would be more of an outfielder that hit with speed than a home run hitter. In fact, in 1990 his first full year with the White Sox, he finished second in the American League in triples (10), and stole 32 bases. Little did the White Sox know of the power surge that Sosa would have later in his career, and had they foreseen it, they probably wouldn't have traded him the cross-town Chicago Cubs.
1990 was the second year that Upper Deck released their baseball cards, and Sammy Sosa was one of the featured rookies in the set. Card #17 in the set, it presents Sammy Sosa smiling from the dugout, in an older Chicago White Sox uniform. The Upper Deck brand was really good at presenting the players well, and making then stand out against the design of the cards. This is no exception as you get to see Sammy's great smile take shape. Around the edges of the photo, there is a white boarder about 1/4 inch wide that goes around the entire card. In the top left hand corner is the position (OF here), and in the top right hand corner there is a diamond with the words 1990 Upper Deck embossed over it. Lower left presents the rookie insignia, and at the bottom of the card is his name spelled out in black text. It's a pretty simple card from the front, but I think that makes it more likable.
On the reverse side of the card, you have the number in the top left hand corner (17), next to the hologram that proves this is an official Upper Deck card. They did this because there had been an outbreak of counterfeit cards, and this hologram was a great way to deter fakes from making their way into the mainstream. To the right they present several paragraphs of text about Sammy's background, and how he came to be with the White Sox. It goes over a few of his stats, including a stint in Tulsa before coming up with the Rangers, and then being traded to the White Sox. The stats are pretty slim on this card, as he had not had much major league experience, but you can see his minor league statistics and time spent with the Rangers and White Sox during the 1989 season. It covers Avg., Games, AB, Runs, Hits, 2b, 3b, HR, RBI, BB, SO, and Stolen Bases. The card also breaks down his biographical stats to get a better picture of the man.
The card didn't start out with a high value, but when Sosa went to the Cubs, it started to climb. When he started hitting home runs at a constant clip, it rose in value even more until it made it past $10.00 per card according to Beckett Baseball Card Monthly. The value has fluctuated in the past few years, and has become more stable with Sosa out of baseball in 2006. If you get the card graded in Mint condition, that pushes the value over $100.00, which makes it an even better investment. If/when Sosa returns to play in 2007, I expect the value to go back up higher again. For now it is a great card to have in your collection, simply because this is Slammin Sammy we are talking about. I pulled my Sammy Sosa Upper Deck card from one of the packs out of my purchased box, and plan on holding on to it for some time. Sammy Sosa made a mark on baseball, and even if he doesn't return, has made a name for himself in baseball history. Hopefully the allegations of steroid abuse dont tarnish his accomplishments, and he is remembered for how he helped the game in 1998. This card is a great reminder of his evolution into a home run hitter, and one that I recommend to any fan of Sosa or the Cubs. I would say anything under $10.00 is a great price, and if you can get the card graded, the value will go up ven higher. Available online through stores as well as EBay auctions, this is definitely one of the Sosa cards I most recommend having in a collection.