Star Power: D
A subtitle for this review could have been “A Great Design Thoroughly Wasted”.
TCMA/CMC released minor league sets in the 80’s. 1987 appeared to be the last year under the TCMA banner and starting here with ’88 they’re considered CMC releases. As with previous years, TCMA/CMC (or in this case, just CMC) came up with a base design that was applied with minor color changes across all their team set releases.
In contrast to the ’87 design, the ’88 design ran agnostic of each team’s color palette. So far I’ve seen blue, green and red, and those colors are applied almost at random it would seem. Fortunately for the Maine Phillies, the red chosen fits the team’s red/blue design much better than the green border fits the Vancouver Canadiens‘ logo.
As with the ’87 TMCA/CMC sets, each card features a headshot. There are no action photos in any of these sets. Which is fine, because the photos are obviously professionally taken, and the layout of each card was done very well. Care was also taken in fitting each subject into the cards’ borders, which is not always the case.
I believe these cards were taken at an away game – the team are all wearing road blues and the stadium in the background doesn’t appear to be The Ballpark in Old Orchard Beach. So from a design standpoint, and possibly this goes toward the Intangibles score, there’s a quaintness to the idea of the team gathering in a line before a game to take their baseball card pictures.
These cards are noticeable step up from even the ’87 set. There is a slight increase in quality on the photos and print stock on the front of each card. Additionally, a bit more attention was taken to the reverse of the card. The team name and league name element mimic the team name and player name banner from the front. There are three years worth of basic (but more) stats, as well as some logos (parent team and team logos) and even card numbers.
Star Power: D
I count 9 players and a coach that made it to the Phillies, including coach Ramon Aviles and late-career bounce back Marty Bystrom. Of the others, only Ricky Jordan made a real impact on the Philadelphia Phillies – or really, anywhere in the Majors. I think it’s that lack of household names that makes this particular set weak in comparison to some of the other sets, which include players like Mark Grace, Craig Biggio, John Smoltz and Matt Williams.
Honest to god the only reason to collect this set is if you’re a Phillies’ minor league collector, or you collect TCMA/CMC sets, or you have to have every 1988 minor league set. There is absolutely nothing noteable about this set. It is the only season the Phillies’ AAA team was called the Maine Phillies. It was the last year the Phillies’ AAA team parked in Old Orchard Beach, ME, and it was the last or a relatively unremarkable 4 year run of Old Orchard Beach being a AAA baseball town.
That absolutely informs the set’s low value on eBay. Other sets are in the 10-20 range, while this one can be had for $5 or less.
I want to give it a higher score. It’s a bunch of Phillies from the late 80’s wearing powder blues. But, not so much. Getting a Ron Jones card is nice. His was a tragic and short story. Marty Bystrom and Ramon Aviles connecting with Ricky Jordan do tie in the 1980 and 1993 Phillies. But all that is a stretch to justify even $5 on the set. There were no star names of the day that you would have been excited to get in 1988. And in 2019 there is no reason to go back to the set.
Fantasically printed cards wasted on a team that made no mark.