With no other posts in mind today and a pressing need to rush out the door for the inspection of my new home, I decided to dip into my bag of tricks and show you another one of my Cal Ripken, Jr. oddballs. This particular card was cut from the bottom of a cardboard box full of wax packs (otherwise known as a wax box, of course) of 1989 Topps. It came to me in a trade; whoever did the cutting has much steadier hands than I do. Back in the day, Topps used to print bonus cards on the box bottoms in panels of four; the cards would highlight star players and noteworthy achievements for the previous year.
In 1989, the major difference between the box bottoms and the regular cards was a light blue gradient around the border of the box bottoms, as you can see above. The photos also differed from the players' regular issue cards. In this case, Cal has a close-up portrait, whereas his base set card features a full-body action shot at bat. You wouldn't think that anything about the 1988 Orioles (54-107) was worth commemorating, but in fact the O's shortstop had just reached 1,000 consecutive games played. No one, especially Topps, had any way of knowing that Ripken would play over 1,600 more games in a row before finally sitting down a full decade later. Now that's a milestone worth celebrating!