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Mets baseball card of the week: Dwight Gooden 1988 Action Packed test issue

Most sports card collectors who were in the hobby in the 1990s remember Action Packed as a brand of football cards with distinctive embossed player images and gold metallic borders.

Gooden-AP-front Gooden-AP-back

In 1988, the company tried to get a license to produce Major League Baseball cards and they produced a six-card sample set. In addition to Dwight Gooden, the set also includes Wade Boggs, Andre Dawson, Carney Lansford, Don Mattingly and Ozzie Smith.

Smith’s card is considered more rare than the others, but none are particularly expensive – the 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards listed a common card’s value at $6, and there’s a full set for sale from an eBay dealer for $35.99.

While the front of the card uses the same design as the company’s 1989 and 1990 football offerings, the cardbacks are done in a vertical style that is closer to Score’s 1988 set than what the later horizontal Action Packed cardbacks would look like. (This baseball card does have rounded corners – they are not just an artifact of my blog theme.)

Action Packed did not secure any kind of a baseball license until 1992, when they made an 84-card set featuring retired players.

After missing the first two months of the 1987 season because of a drug suspension, Gooden returned to All-Star form in 1988. He finished with an 18-9 record, 3.19 ERA and 175 strikeouts.

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