1990 ALL AMERICAN BASEBALL TEAM CARDS

The 1990 All American Baseball Team cards were a special set of baseball cards produced to honor the top American amateur baseball players from that year. Unlike traditional sets issued by card companies each season to feature current Major League players, the 1990 All American set focused on recognizing the brightest non-professional stars in high school and college who showed great promise as future pros.

Issued by the Amateur Baseball Players Association (ABPA), the 1990 edition was the 7th annual set in the All American series, continuing the tradition of commemorating outstanding young talents just before they embarked on their NCAA or minor league careers. The 110 card checklist included many players who would go on to long careers in Major League Baseball. Notable future MLB All-Stars like Larry Walker, Andy Pettitte, Todd Helton, and Jason Varitek were among those featured in the 1990 set as top youngsters.

Each cardboard stock card in the 1990 All American Baseball Team set measured approximately 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches, consistent with standard baseball card dimensions of the time. On the front of each card was a full color action photo of the player in their high school or college uniform, along with their name, position, height/weight stats, hometown, and school information listed below. The backs of the cards provided more in-depth biographies of each player, recapping their stats and biggest accomplishments from the previous season at the prep or collegiate level.

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Among the standouts in the 1990 ABPA All American set included future Hall of Famer Larry Walker from Maple Ridge Secondary School in British Columbia. As a prep star, Walker batted .500 with 9 home runs as a senior to earn the honor. Another future MLB All-Star, Andy Pettitte from Deer Park High School in Texas, made the team after going 12-1 with a 0.90 ERA as a senior. Todd Helton of the University of Tennessee was recognized after batting .415 with 17 homers for the Volunteers as a sophomore. And Jason Varitek of Georgia Tech made the list following a season where he hit .333 with 8 homers for the Yellow Jackets.

While the set primarily honored active high school and college players, it also included a smaller subset of “College Alumni” cards to give recognition to top former amateurs who had already begun their pro careers. Players like Jeff Bagwell, Tom Glavine, and David Wells were represented with updated pro stats and bios on these special alumni cards.

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Distribution of the 1990 ABPA All American Baseball Team set was primarily through hobby shops, card shows, and direct orders from the association. The cards retailed for $1 each or could be obtained by joining the ABPA for an annual fee which also included membership benefits like a newsletter. Finding high grade examples from the relatively low printed run sets in mint condition today can be difficult for collectors. Near mint examples typically sell in the $5-10 range, while a well-centered Larry Walker card might command $15-20 given his eventual Hall of Fame induction.

While interest and production of the ABPA All American series waned some in the 1990s, the concept was an innovative early effort celebrate top pre-professional talents. Scouting publications and internet databases have largely replaced the unique niche these sets once filled. The 1990 edition stands out as one of the strongest in recognizing many players who would go on to enjoy tremendous MLB success like Walker, Pettitte, Helton, and Varitek. For baseball card historians and aficionados of pre-draft prospecting, tracking down a complete set or individual stars from the 1990 All American Baseball Team remains an interesting part of understanding amateur baseball’s place within the larger card collecting hobby.

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In summarizing, the 1990 ABPA All American Baseball Team cards provided a special niche product during an era when few other outlets beyond local newspapers highlighted top high school and college stars each season. Featuring future Hall of Famers like Larry Walker along with dozens of other soon-to-be MLB contributors, the set serves as a unique time capsule of amateur talent from before the onset of their pros careers. While production and availability was limited, searchable for decades after issue, the 1990 edition remains a valued historical baseball card release for its coverage of renowned young players just before embarking on their journeys to professional stardom.

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