Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Best of Ryno

The best way for me to find topics for non-Frankenset posts is to just look through a stack (or binder) of cards. Inevitably, I'll find something quirky, fun, or otherwise interesting to share. I've been combing through a variety of binders and boxes recently looking for cards that I call "favorites." These aren't necessarily cards that fit any specific category, but are generally just cards that I enjoy. It's a fun exercise, as I am discovering cards that I hadn't appreciated before. 

In going this direction, I recently ended up going through my Ryne Sandberg and Mark Grace cards. I had kind of done this last spring and planned to write a post about it, but never got around to it. But I figured the time should be now. After all, I have a pretty healthy collection to choose from for each player. Today's post will take you through some of my favorite Ryne Sandberg cards. Lists of favorites are always fun, in my opinion, because everyone has a slightly different taste and experience with a given group of cards. That is certainly true for my Ryno collection. I think they naturally fit into a few different categories, so I grouped them:

Early Acquisitions

I'll start with a few cards that I enjoy because I've had a copy for about as long as I can remember:

1994 Topps - Measures of Greatness #602

I'm pretty sure I first got a copy of this card in a pack the same year it came out. That didn't happen very often as a kid.

1989 Donruss #105

1989 Donruss packs and boxes used to be quite plentiful and quite cheap. So I opened a lot of them. I always enjoyed the simple nature of this card. So much so that I keep every copy I can get my hands on.

1992 Topps All-Star #387

I remember getting the 1992 All-Star subset from K-Mart as a kid. Loved the league leader stats on the back.

Ryno the Athlete

Cards that display Ryno's athleticism. Ryno was a three sport athlete in high school (football, basketball, and baseball) and early in his career was a formidable stolen base threat. 

1990 Upper Deck #324

1993 Upper Deck #175

1991 Fleer #431

I'm as surprised as you are that a 1991 Fleer card made this list. But it's really unique, as it shows him batting during the 1990 All-Star Game Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field. Ryno won the event, and also hit a career high and National League-leading 40 home runs in 1990.

The Rookies

1983 Topps #83

I really like the simple, clean look of this card. 

1983 Fleer #507

Love the uniform and the Ryno's follow through on this card.

I could swear I once had a copy of the 1983 Donruss rookie. If I did, I have no idea what happened to it. I'll have to get around to snatching up a copy sometime soon. 

Card Design Favorites

1993 Triple Play "Nicknames" #3

I've always loved this nickname.

1994 Collector's Choice CL #335

I like the simple close-up picture on this card and have always enjoyed the look of the Collectors Choice cards.

1997 Collector's Choice #66

Another Collectors Choice card, which I like for its design and as a bonus, it shows Ryno signing for fans. 

1993 Donruss Spirit of the Game #SG14

I really like how this card shows snapshots of Ryno fielding a ball, and it uses both sides of the card to do so. It's superior to multiple exposure renditions, in my opinion.

1993 Donruss Diamond Kings #DK2

The 1992 and 1993 Diamond Kings are some of my favorite cards of all time.

Maybe you were a Sandberg fan or maybe you weren't, but what's your favorite Sandberg card of this group? (Or, if you are a Sandberg aficionado, maybe you can think of one not shown that you like best). 

Thanks for reading!


  1. I think the 1996 Topps Chrome card is a nice one not shown, and I agree with you on the Spirit of the Game.

  2. I didn't see him play too many times when I was young, so I can't say that I was a fan, but I did always like his 1990 UD card -- it really stood out back then.

  3. I have 1000+ different Ryno's in my collection. I love the '93 Triple Play RYNO card you posted, but the Spirit of the Game card is my favorite in this post.
    Thanks for reminding me that it's been way too long since I flipped through my two Sandberg binders. It sounds like a good way to kill sometime today!

  4. When I think of Sandberg, his Topps rookie is the first card that popped into my head. That 1990 Upper Deck is my favorite action shot in this post. Can't really think of too many other cards of him... except his Donruss Elite autograph. Been wanting one of those for years.

  5. Love all these cards. Thanks for showing them off. Sandberg was my 2nd favorite player growing up.