Saturday, September 3, 2011

1983 Redwood Pioneers TCMA

Set size: 32 cards

Front Design: A posed color photo is inside a blue border. The top has a converging lines design with two stars, while the bottom contains the team name, player, and position.

Back Design: The plain black and white backs contain the team name and league, player's vitals and basic minor league statistics from the prior year, and a TCMA advertisement.

Parallels and Similars: All 1983 TCMA minor league sets are identical.

Distribution: Sets were issued by TCMA, but could be found at dealers and stadiums. *Note: This actual card may be a reprint, possibly part of a sheet distributed with collectors kits in the mid-80s. However, the design is the same. (See comments below.)

Thoughts: I had never heard of the Redwood Pioneers until I owned this card, which is remarkable only because they were a member of the California League. I've been to nearly every California League stadium (Visalia Rawhide is the only remaining team), and through my travels I've learned a bit about the history of several of the teams. It turns out the Redwood Pioneers exist today as the Lake Elsinore Storm, south of Los Angeles. I visited their home earlier this year, and they have worked hard to brand themselves as a  modern, unique team that has its roots in Lake Elsinore. It isn't hard to distance yourself from history when you don't have much. They were the Santa Clara Padres for one season (1979), before becoming the Redwood Pioneers (1980-1985). Then, they moved to Palm Springs as the Angels from 1986 through 1993. The Pioneers played in Rohnert Park, California, just south of Santa Rosa. The stadium stood until 2005. The outline of the field was visible until around 2009, and it seems the small parking lot still exists (as of around 2009).


  1. Seeing the selection of TCMA cards you've posted to represent the various sets, I must conclude these all came from a grab bag, as that is how I came to own the exact same cards: Fimple, McCaskill, Owen, Linares, and also a 1985 Syracuse Chiefs card of Tom Filer.

    What is also interesting about these particular cards is that they were all printed on different card stock than most of the actual team sets from those years. I scored a large lot of TCMA cards from 1978-1985, and most of those from 1983-1985 were printed on more standard gray stock. And in the case of the 1984 & 1984, the rest of the cards lacked the white border around the edge, but were blue or green all the way out.

  2. Jason - very interesting. Yes, you're correct, these all came from an eBay lot. I did a little bit more research and came across an interview with Mike Aronstein, the MA in TCMA. He mentioned that they did a sample sheet that went into collector kits around this time. Perhaps the cards were cut from the sheet. I'm not sure why anyone would go to the expense of reprinting a card like this.

    I looked more closely at the cards and while they're cut straight they're not perfectly the same size (pretty close). And as you mentioned, the '84 set borders went all the way to the edge. I'm going to amend the descriptions for these TCMA cards to note that they are reprints.

    If for some reason you're interested in donating/trading/selling singles from your TCMA lot let me know!

  3. You've also educated me, I didn't realize these were actually reprinted specifically for the collector kits. When I was listing mine on Sportlots, I noticed these cards were the only ones that seemed to be listed in any quantity on the site, while most of the other TCMA cards were only listed in 1s and 2s.

    This makes me curious if there are actually two versions of each of these then, the white stock reprint, as well as an original gray stock version. I don't think I've ever seen an "original" copy of any of these particular cards.

  4. Jason, I don't know for sure that these are the reprinted ones, but it makes the most sense. I have to rely on the Beckett database for a lot of my research on these cards (hence several of the ID'ing problems you discovered), but this exact card happens to come with a scan that appears to be with the grayish stock. I guess you can't be sure with this group of cards that you're getting the real thing unless you pick up the team set.