Maddux Overload – 1997 Edition


The Green Bay Packers claim the Super Bowl title over the New England Patriots, and I’m sure the commercials were better than they would be a decade later.

The Bulls repeat for the second time in their history, by beating the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals.  Also, the Houston Comets win the first WNBA title, beating the New York Liberty.

Tiger Woods takes the golfing world by storm and dominates in the Masters with a 12 stroke victory.

This time Martina Hingis is one major away from winning the Grand Slam. But her loss comes in the French Open.

The Detroit Red Wings beat the Philadelphia Flyers in 4 straight games to claim their Stanley Cup victory.

The Florida Marlins won their first world series, only a few years into their existence, beating the Indians in 7 games.

And in 1997, card manufacturers released 285 cards of Greg Maddux that I deemed worthy of my collecting efforts.

Thanks to the generosity of reader Jeremy, originally mentioned in our landmark 500th post (and in my 1993 Overload post, and 1994 post, and 1995 post, and 1996 post), I now have three times as many of those cards as I did before.

1997 Before Jeremy – 18/285 cards – 6%

1997 After Jeremy – 55/285 cards (including zero upgrades) – 19%

1997 takes a small step back in the amount of cards to chase.  1996 had about 30 more cards, but just wait until next year.

Since Jeremy’s package, I’ve acquired 11 more 1997 cards, putting me at about 1/4th of the grand total, so there’s plenty of progress yet to be made.  For now, let’s focus on what Jeremy sent.

Purple Nurple

One of the best things about Bowman is that it doesn’t focus on the veterans.  They’re almost an afterthought.  That means all I need for the paper Bowman to complete my Maddux set is the international backdrop.

Not the best I’ve seen

Bowman’s Best, on the other hand, may be the death of me.  This year will be doubly tough thanks to the Mirror Image insert, which not only has refractor and atomics, but also “inverted” versions of all three.  Oh, and Kerry Wood is on there, so I kinda need two of each to cover both binders.

Like a tiny boss in the bottom left corner

Circa is a crappy set that only has any sort of hobby relevance due to the difficult to find Rave cards.  Without those, it would be treated like pure disposable junk wax.

Looking more like a normal Upper Deck set

Sadly, Collector’s Choice got rid of the silver signatures in ’97.  Actually, maybe I shouldn’t be sad about losing parallels.  I wish current card sets would dump a few tiers.

Trapper Keeper not included

Hooray for stickers.  These may not be glow in the dark, but that’s just about the only thing working against them.  Decorate your card binder today!

The Regular-Sized Card

This set is still insert heavy, at least.  And this particular insert has its own parallel with a gaudy foil stamp.  This is the less fancy (?) version.

Might as well be camouflage

I can’t think of a more forgettable flagship set than this 1997 Donruss.  I’m sure I’ve seen this card dozens of times in my binders and elsewhere, but if this post wasn’t all about 1997 cards, and you hid the back from me, I’d have no idea what it is.  Show me tomorrow, and I still won’t.

That’s an okay career ERA, I guess

This checklist subset looks better thanks to the star burst, but I still wouldn’t be able to place it very easily.

Royal purple

So, based on the arrows, it’s safe to say that Greg Maddux is the King of the Hill, but Donruss (which, as a company, pitches right handed) is at the bottom.  Hey, they said it!  It’s their arrow.

From what I’ve seen, this set is not too Limited

On the other side of this card is David Cone.  He was Greg’s “Counterpart” at this time, per Leaf.  I’ll have to take their word.

Looks like an insert, but is actually a subset

This is such a great picture.  That brow gives a look that says “Don’t frame me and treat me like I’m some dead ancient relic.  I still have a decade of ballgames in me.”

I don’t see no signature

So, I know that I said Bowman’s Best might kill me, but this set might break the bank as well.  There are two autographs to chase, one #’d to 400 and the other with only 100 copies.  20 years later, basically none are in circulation and there are quite a lot of people that are actively seeking these, driving the price quite high.  Let’s just say that stuff like this will be saved for last.

Sky high

The future inspiration for 2013 Clear Visions.  I love acetate cards that also have some sort of image or color.  I wish there were so many that I got sick of them.

Could do without the gray fog border

This is a surprisingly bad ass shot.  It just goes to show you how much impact a slight shift in angle or perspective can have.

Tire tread, asphalt or stone?

And this card goes to show you that everyone feel victim to using terrible computer graphics in their designs.  What an awful texture.

Wrestling title belt set

Yeesh.  Why?

Brown diamonds?

This isn’t much better.  Why do Pacific cards look so second rate?

I think this is the same photo session as the Leaf card

Yes, somehow this looks more professional.  I’ve been searching for some cans of cards to open, but haven’t had any luck on the cheap.  People want like $10 each for an unopened case of 24 or 48 cans.  That’s insane.

Just your common checklist

For the X-Press set, I mostly just need the Metal Works trio of actual metal cards.  I’m not sure if I’ve seen one out in the open yet.

Where’s the cool, crazy colored border?

Get ready for a few Score cards.  There are several variations on these, but I don’t fully understand them.  You’ll see soon.

Paper beats one of these

A random subset card means a few more variation cards to chase.

Paper would not beat another one

Like this Hobby Reserve thing.

Gray doesn’t count as a crazy color

Or this very similar, but supposedly different Private Stock thing.

Select Start

Goofy and aloof pictures aside, I actually enjoy this design.  Time will tell if the parallels will hold up in the same way.  There are always parallels….  Sigh….

Super foil and die cut

I have a few of these Marquee Matchups, but all of them are halves.  I don’t have a single complete set.  I’m sure it would be anti-climactic if I did, but these things remind me of older sticker albums.

Super foil and die cut and holograms

Jeremy sent me two of these SPx beauties.  This is the normal version (just in case you’re needing to compare).

See above

And this one is considered the Steel version.  There is a silver that is very similar, but this is not that.  I don’t have the silver to show for Maddux, nor do I have Bronze or Gold.  Hopefully some day.

On the bump, in two ways

The only reason I remember this year of Stadium Club is that the nameplate is raised.  Stack all of those up and you got some lopsided piles.  Otherwise, they are pretty forgettable.

Green borders not working well

1997 was a very light year for Topps cards.  If you don’t count Bowman or Finest, that is.  If you were to buy a box of 1997 Topps cards, you might only find 2 cards.  This is one of those.

Chrome hides it somewhat

The same goes for Chrome, except there was no insert card, just this and the refractor.  And there weren’t multiple levels or colors.  Just the regular one.  How far we’ve gone.  Or fallen?  Fallen.

That’s a lot of stars

Topps Stars was just getting its sea legs, too.  I still need the foiled out parallel and some insert, but I think this is the only year without multiple levels.

Pitcher batting in foil

If found a whole box of this stuff for less than $10 (I think – maybe it was $12?) at the National in 2015.  That would be unfathomable for me as a teen in 1997.  So, I have doubles of this now.

Cool angle, but bad picture

Ultra, compared to Topps, had 13 cards this year.  The toughest will be the Platinum Medallion, which was a new addition.  Can’t wait to see how that guard railing looks.

Batting Donut alert

Greg had two checklists this year, which are both basically inserts.  I’m missing most of the better inserts, still.

I love pictures like this

Since we’re playing this game, Upper Deck only has 12 cards including 5 from the main set.  How crazy is that?

Just how they teach it

This is another one of those 5.  You can make your own jokes, but I’ll take the high road and say the photographer caught him in the middle of an impromptu Chicken Dance.

Ooo, look at those colors pop

Now, to close it all out, we have a full bleed Zenith card.  This is the small version.  These boxes came with a few regular sized cards like this and then two 8×10 cards per pack (one of which was dufex).  I bought a box of 1997 Zenith, but did not land either large Maddux, so for now Jeremy is the only source of these.

As always, thank you very much to Jeremy for the great package of cards.  We’ll see you again in 1998!

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