How to Know You’re a ’90s Baseball Kid

March 18, 2024

14 min read

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Know Re 90s Baseball Kid

Baseball in the 90’s wasn’t the same as the game we have today. The decade was full of ups and downs for the sport and as a kid, you soaked all of it up. 

From the most memorable players of the decade to your own Little League bat and glove, here are the best things about being a 90s baseball kid. 

You Remember the Coolest Ballplayers from the ’90s

’90s Major League Baseball was full of cool ballplayers. Not only were these guys good, they held fans’ attention captive with their unique personas. 

Here’s six of the coolest:

1)     Ken Griffey Jr. – In the ’90s, Griffey was baseball. Possibly the decade’s second most famous athlete in the country after Michael Jordan, kids everywhere wanted to be “The Kid,” mimicking his iconic stance and swing every chance they got. 

Griffey was a phenomenal ballplayer, but his effortless charisma is what made him cool.

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2) Cal Ripken Jr. – Ripken went down in baseball history when he broke Lou Gehrig’s record by playing 2,131 consecutive games. The baseball legend is also considered one of the greatest shortstops and third basemen in the game’s history.

Cal Ripken Jr
Photo by Rdikeman at the Wikipedia shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license via Wikimedia Commons

3) Mike Piazza – A catcher who could hit. Piazza racked up home runs, RBI’s and a .308 batting average. His offensive skills made him one of the greatest players of the ’90s – but his goatee made him one of the coolest.

Mike Piazza

4) Mark McGwire – Although Mark McGwire didn’t ooze “cool” like the rest on this list, he had a sweet nickname, “Big Mac.” Plus he competed for all those home runs against Sammy Sosa and won, which was pretty dang cool.

5)  Frank Thomas – Thomas is one of four players in history with a 1.000 OPS and 300 homers in his first 10 MLB seasons (1990-99). “The Big Hurt” was a big man with big power and fans couldn’t get enough of him. 

Frank Thomas

6) Rickey Henderson – Henderson was a base-stealing legend – 1,406 stolen bases for the all-time record. 

The speedy “Man of Steel,” also had an unmistakable swagger third-person speaking tendency that made him one of baseball’s coolest.

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You Had an Easton Bat and a Ken Griffey Jr. Glove

You weren’t a youth ballplayer in the ’90s without the right gear

For many ’90s kids, this meant the Easton Redline bat–or the Easton Reflex bat, if your parents mixed the two up at the sporting goods store. 

If you didn’t have an Easton, then you might’ve had Triple7, an allegedly air-bubble filled (and dangerous) Air Attack, or the TPX Omaha.

Your bat wasn’t your only beloved piece of equipment in your baseball bag, though. 

You know you’re a ’90s baseball kid if you had a Ken Griffey Jr. Rawlings glove. A Cal Ripken Jr. glove would pass you off as a ’90s kid too. 

Whether it was Griffey, Ripken, or Bo Jackson, there was nothing cooler than having a mitt that looked “just like” the pros’ gloves.

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You Watched The Sandlot Countless Times

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A baseball movie classic, The Sandlot captures everything that fascinates us about America’s greatest game. 

The film inspired kids everywhere to run as fast as Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez. If watching The Sandlot didn’t make you want to grab a bat, a ball, and a glove and head to the nearest diamond for a pickup game with your buddies, then you must not be a baseball person. 

There was a series of sequels to the original 1993 film, one of which admirably features a fastpitch windmill pitcher. But, unfortunately, these sequels weren’t nearly as good as the original. 

You Traded Baseball Cards with Your Friends in the ’90s

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Photo by steve aynes shared under a CC BY 2.0 license via Flickr

If you were a baseball fan in the ’90s (or ’80s, or ’70s, for that matter) then you likely had a decent collection of baseball trading cards

Business was booming for baseball card producers in the 1990s, with several major brands for kids to choose from. 

You could find packs in every grocery store or head to a dedicated baseball card shop in your town. You’d compete with your siblings or friends over who had the better collection, trading to fill the gaps. 

Baseball cards are still produced today, but only the Topps brand makes them now. In the last several years, sales have dropped off as kids have stopped collecting trading cards. 

Like everything else in the digital age, the brick and mortar baseball card stores have given way to online sales. But the baseball trading card market of today just isn’t the same as it was in the ’90s. 

To feel all kinds of nostalgia, check out this list of Topps’ trading card designs through the years, from 1951 onward. 

You Witnessed Baseball History in the ’90s

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Photo by Striderv from Durham Region, Canada shared under a CC BY 2.0 license via Wikimedia Commons

The Toronto Blue Jays

Professional baseball passed a lot of milestones in the ’90s. A memorable one is the first time a Canadian team (the only one in the MLB) won the World Series. 

Not only did the Toronto Blue Jays win in 1992, they drew a back-to-back victory by winning the championship in 1993 as well. These wins made Canadian kids ecstatic about baseball in the ’90s.

The Players’ Strike of 1994

Baseball in the ’90s had a few shakeups as well. The most impactful was the players’ strike of 1994

The ’90s were set to be a promising decade for baseball players and administrators alike – but then the bubble burst. 

Fans from the ’90s remember well when baseball stopped in August of that year, canceling the postseason and the World Series for the first time since 1904. 

The Great Home Run Chase of 1998

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Baseball’s dark times in the mid-90s revived thanks to the Great Home Run Chase of 1998

The mania caused by the competition between Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa and St. Louis Cardinals’ Mark McGwire to break the home run record dominated sports news. 

If you were a kid paying any attention to baseball at all in the late ’90s, you were obsessed with Sosa and McGwire’s home run race. McGwire finished with 70 home runs, Sosa with 66. 

It was exciting while it lasted, but the whole thing, unfortunately, became mired in steroid controversy as time went on.

Being a ’90s Baseball Kid

No one can blame you for being nostalgic for 90s baseball–things were certainly different then! 

From the trading cards to wearing your hat backward just like Ken Griffey Jr., the 90s were great years to grow up with baseball.

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About the Author

Mike Rogers

Co-Founder & CEO

Mike Rogers has spent a lifetime entrenched in baseball and softball as a player, a private instructor, a training facility owner, and the son of two college-level coaches.

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