The very definition of “junk wax” is this 1989 Star series 1 minor league set. Series 1 is a 100 card line-up with not much in the way of star power or aesthetic appeal. Before I get started though, this review is based off a box of 1989 Star Series 1 cards. I got it and a box of Series 2 from Fadads Collectibles off eBay. Dan Stickney were packed very well, arrived in 3 days and he accommodated sending them to a different address. 5 star shipper. Visit Dan’s eBay store here.
Star power wise (no pun intended), Steve Avery is probably the biggest name in the set. Avery was part of the killer Atlanta Braves pitching corps of the early 90’s, but an injury in the ’96 season shortened what had been promised as a long and bright career for the lefty.
Rod Beck and Moises Alou stand-out as big names, but only in comparison to the Brian Deaks that make up the rest of the series. There are some great “Quintessential 80’s Baseball Names” in the set though, particularly Titi Roche, Oreste Marrero and Rich Casarotti.
The cards are very simple. Star may have actually phoned it in when designing their logo. I think it went like this:
Star Executive: I have no imagination, can you just write “star” in all caps in like, I don’t know, Arial Bold?
Graphic Designer: Yes. That will be $10,000, please.
The cards are very simple. Each card has a primary color border, which seems to have been assigned independently of the team colors represented. The STAR wordmark is the largest element font size wise and is in the top right corner. Bottom left is the player name and bottom right is the team city and position. No graphic elements on the front at all. The player photos range from posed to action Some are incredibly poorly cropped (ie: Brian Hunter #35) or just poor photos (ie: Brian McRae #44).
The back of the card is a weird almost faded legal pad yellow with either blue or red print which again seems to be independent of the team colors associated with the player. The only graphics are on the back, with team logos – some of which didn’t reduce to card size very well (ie: Albany-Colonie Yankees), and a MLB Killebrew.
Stats are very basic, vitals, and a “how obtained” which includes draft position, trade info or free agency signing info. The SABR numbers are limited to the typical set for late 80’s cards.
It’s funny, the last two sets I picked up, the ’88 Cape Cod League sets, both have way more fire power player wise than this series 1 set. Star eventually came out with 3 x 100 card sets for the ’89 MiLB season. Logic would reason that they would lead with their strong foot and launch with guys who were more likely to be stars. It’s easy to look back and wonder why series 1 didn’t lead with Sandy Alomar and Tino Martinez, or even a Albert (then Joey) Belle. I can’t remember now 30 years on whether any of those guys had rookie year hype. But one look at Mike Anaya and you know he’s destined to be a bartender at a VFW Hall out on Long Island somewhere.
I look at baseball cards in two ways, there are financial buys and emotional buys. This set, actually, none of the 3 sets are going to make sense from a financial stand point. And really, since none of these cards are drawing more than pocket change, it doesn’t make sense to crack packs looking for a Steve Avery or a Hensley Muellens (though, I guarantee if you get a box you’re likely to pack pull a half dozen of either).
Really, the only appeal to this set, and how I justified buying two boxes (one series 1 and one series 2) from eBay was the nostalgic allure of just shredding a bunch of packs. There’s something very comforting and friendly about cracking 48 packs of baseball cards. For me, it’s almost worth the money just to be able to sit on the couch with my legs crossed and half bury myself under a pile of ripped up wrappers. It’s the equivalent of popping every blister on a sheet of bubble wrap. Staring at a pile of disheveled papers before finally being able to square all the corners. Its the ritual of opening a pack of cards and mumbling “got it, got it, need it, got it, got it, need it, need it, got it”.
Matter of fact, I’m sitting here staring at the series 2 box I got (you can tell because the series 1 box was blue and red with blue packs and said “Series 1” and the series 2 was green and red with green packs and also said “Series 1”) and holding off on opening them. If I can wax poetic, it’s the withholding of the pleasure, like a heroin addict that draws the needle back before plunging the dragon.
But, for a reasonable, rational, responsible adult, there is absolutely no draw to the 1989 Star minor league set. It’s not pleasing to the eye, it won’t increase in value. I can’t recommend this set at all. The cards are easy to come by, I got two boxes shipped off eBay for $26.95.