Card of the Day: 1987 Kraft Johnny Ray/Jose Canseco

Today’s Pittsburgh Pirates Card of the Day choice is one that caught my eye the other day while searching for a different card of another player. It just happened to show up in the same search on Ebay, so I saved the scans so I could use them in the future. We are now living in that future, taking a look at a card from the 1987 Kraft set. Instead of just using Pirates second baseman Johnny Ray for this feature, I decided to use the card of Jose Canseco from that set as well. Let’s get right into the card so you can see why I made that decision.

Here’s the front of the cards:

This is actually the back of a Kraft macaroni & cheese box. Instead of just looking at the Ray card from this set, I decided to use the entire back panel of the box, so the Canseco card tags along. Canseco isn’t the only player who you can find on the same box back as Ray. A search of Ebay turned up Ray paired with Hall of Famer Harold Baines, as well as a pair of solid first basemen from the 1980s-90s in Alvin Davis and Wally Joyner.

One thing you’ll notice right away with these cards is that there are no team logos. That’s because Kraft had a contract with the MLBPA, but not MLB. What’s interesting to note about that is the use of team names. If this set was produced now, the cards up top would say Oakland and Pittsburgh for the team.

There was limited space here, so the cards could only use seven lines of stats and just the 1986 and career stats. Canseco was still very early in his career at this point, while Ray wasn’t far from finishing up his time with the Pirates when these cards were being released onto the market.

Here’s the back of the card…sort of:

The actual backs of these cards are just blank cardboard, the same color as the inside of the box top that you can see above. Instead of showing blank cardboard, I decided to show the box here. In the bottom corner, the package tells you that you can find Home Plate Heroes/Baseball Players Cards on the back. Also, who doesn’t love a good picture of mac & cheese. I guess if we are being technical, this is really the front.

If you’re interested in picking up the Ray card, you have many different options. You can get him with Canseco, Baines, Davis and Joyner right now. Possibly there are other player options, but I couldn’t find any. The price of these cards depends on whether they have been cut from the box, the box has been left whole, and if they were cut, how the person did it. A double panel is worth more than the single player card, but the whole box is better. Obviously, condition matters as well. One person has a whole box with Davis and it is cheaper compared to every of whole box example, listed at $4.34 delivered, with a best offer option. You can get a solo card for about $2, and one seller has the Ray card and the Tony Pena card from the set for $1.89 delivered for the pair.