Set Review: 1988 Cape Cod League P&L

Quality: C
Design: D
Star Power: B
Collectiblity: B
Intangibles: B
Overall: C+
Value: $30

One of the things that excited me about moving to the South Shore was the opportunity to dig into the Cape Cod Baseball League.  I had been thoroughly seduced by the mystique of a league that has 1,100 active players in professional baseball and over the last 130+ years has sent a measurable percentage of their alumni to The Show.

There’s certainly something enticing to the notion of wandering up to a high school field with the potential of seeing a future hall of famer like Wareham alumn Mo Vaughn.

If you’re unfamiliar, the Cape Cod League is a summer college league, one of many but widely regarded the original and the elite.  Summer college leagues are an opportunity for college players to swing a wood bat and continue their season after the college year ends.  New England features three summer college leagues, including the New England College Baseball League and the Futures League. 

But the Cape League differentiates itself in three ways:
1. Very small footprint.  There is no team that is not on Cape Cod.
2. Every team uses a high school field.  Chain link fences abound, and most fans bring their own chair.
3. No season tickets.  Matter of fact, no tickets.  Every game on the Cape is free.

This P&L set features 186 cards representing all of the Cape’s teams.  This is a homebrew release that has some serious deficiencies.  The photos used are awful.  Mostly posed and poorly cropped making it difficult to see players’ faces.  The design elements on the front have a Little League photo package feel with a lack of any logos or wordmarks.  The reverse is also rough, particularly in comparison with the other 1988 Cape Cod League set, which was also a homebrew release called the Ballpark set.

The cards are printed on very thin cardstock and appear to be hand cut.  The print quality is as expected a step behind major release baseball cards from the mid/late 80’s.  That may be a harsh review of a boutique release for an amateur league from 1988. So I will say that those flaws actually add charm to the set. I look at these cards (as I do the Ballpark set) and I can imagine a volunteer sitting in the fieldhouse behind the backstop in Bourne frantically chopping sheets before a game against Falmouth.  Whether there’s how they did it or not, I don’t know.

There’s also fairly significant star power for this set including pre-debut cards for two Hall of Famers; Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas, plus some great players from the 90’s like Mo Vaughn, Eric Wedge, Denny Neagle, J.T. Snow and Jeromy Burnitz. Having some of those recognizable names there’s a strong possiblity that a 90’s collector will find a name they like. These two Cape sets have become almost required-owning for Frank Thomas PC players, but with the wide availability and low cost of the entire set, it just makes sense to grab the set and break it. That is where the real value from this set comes from.  For between $20 and $50 on eBay, you can get a set that has cards that will bring pretty strong prices individually.

Author: paul

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