Most ball players decline with age. Steve Finley improved as he approached the time of early-bird specials and discounted coffee. He was a notable baserunner throughout his career, swiping 320 bags over 19 seasons. He didn’t hit 20 homeruns in a season until he was in his 30s when proceeded to slug his way through the next decade, becoming one of baseball’s few career 300/300 players. Barry Bonds and Reggie Sanders are the only others with 300/300 credentials represented in ’93 Finest set.
Finley never officially retired from baseball, saying in one interview he doesn’t know if there are documents he needs to sign or some sort of formal process. Regardless of his technical employment status, he now works as a financial advisor at a Morgan Stanley-affiliated group focused on professional athletes.
Remember School Photo Day?
Every year baseball players pose for their annual baseball cards and publicity stills. Photographers have several shots they need to get. With so many identically uniformed people walking around, keeping track of who is in each photo is important. Gary Pettis switched places with his teenage brother on a photo used in the 1985 Topps set. Donruss thought Johnny Ray was Barry Bonds in its Opening Day set two years later.
To keep track of things, photographers often start a roll of film with a title shot showing the player and a name card. These are only meant to mark where one player’s photos begin and another’s end. Score played a few jokes on collectors in 1996, using a handful of these images in their products. One became famous as the worst card of all time (1996 Pinnacle Bob Hamelin #289). The other featured a more photogenic Steve Finley (1996 Score #287).
1993 Finest Refractor
Spring Training photos are not limited to posed shots that Score finds funny. The back of Finley’s 1993 Finest card has someone in Yankee pinstripes standing behind him. Wade Boggs was just making his start with New York that pre-season and was the bearer of uniform #12. Coming before interleague play and the Astros move to the American League, it seems Spring Training 1993 was the only time such a matchup could have come about.