Friday, July 6, 2012

Throwback Wax, The Conclusion

Now it's time to put a wrap on my birthday pack break.  I went through all the packs from the '80s last time, and now we move forward to the 1990's.  Let's see how I did...

1990 Fleer
(15 cards & 1 sticker)
4 - Jim Corsi
52 - Jeff Brantley
96 - David Wells
250 - Pedro Guerrero
266 - Marty Barrett
349 - Joe Hesketh
370 - Randy Bush
428 - Luis Quinones
461 - Barry Bonds
466 - Jim Gott
512 - Alvin Davis
520 - Edgar Martinez
533 - Ozzie Guillen
560 - Tom Herr
580 - Mark Eichhorn
612 - Gary Pettis
Sticker -Indians/Tigers/Mets/Phillies

Great pack from a set that I really, really like.  This is my favorite Fleer base set design by a mile.  And not just for the front design, with the wavy colored banner at the bottom displaying the player's name and position (not to mention great photography).  But, the back of the card is pretty cool.  You not only get the player's complete statistics from every year of pro ball, but an  additional box at the bottom titled "Vital Signs", giving you stats that are otherwise non-traditional for baseball cards (i.e. walk ratio, on base % or opposing BA).  As for this particular pack, we're loaded!  Aside from the big hit (Bonds), I also added Edgar, Boomer and Pedro cards to my player collection.

1990 Upper Deck
(15 cards, minimum one 3-D team logo hologram)
83 - Greg Minton
89 - Jim Gott
167 - Barry Larkin
192 - Dave Parker
211 - Doug Dascenzo
218 - Jim Gantner
297 - Mickey Tettleton
356 - Andres Galarraga
377 - John Wetteland
418 - Darren Daulton
450 - Juan Agosto
558 - Mike Fitzgerald
590 - Andy Allanson
634 - Jose Alvarez
685 - Steve Buechele
3-D hologram sticker - Cardinals

Ah, the self-proclaimed "Collector's Choice" finally appears in this break.  With it's fancy tamper-proof foil wrapper and counterfeit-proof cards (that's what the front of the wrapper says anyhow), Upper Deck really changed the hobby forever with it's seminal 1989 edition.  The follow-up was no chopped liver, either.  Still the same top level of photography -- both front and back of the card -- and of course the trademark hologram on the back.  Some really great cards in this pack, including Barry Larkin, Andres Galarraga and one of my all-time faves, Mickey Tettleton.  I also decided to include a scan of Andy Allanson's card, which features a great 'play at the plate' shot.  If you are a fan of that sort of thing (which I am!), then this is a great one.  A couple of trends: I got Gott (as in Jim Gott) for a second straight pack, and I gained a second St. Louis Cardinals sticker (Fleer '87 Star Stickers gave me the first).

1990 Donruss
(3 puzzle pieces & 16 picture cards)
35 - Mike Fetters (Rated Rookie)
40 - Mark Gardner (Rated Rookie)
55 - Rob Deer
59 - Kirt Manwaring
60 - Chet Lemon
65 - Greg Harris
150 - Dave Stewart
280 - Mike Boddicker
306 - Craig Biggio
311 - Dave Righetti
395 - Randy Ready
411 - Charlie Hough
499 - Pete Smith
626 - Paul Sorrento
653 - Ted Power
659 - Nolan Ryan (5,000 K's)
716 - Bart Giamatti
Carl Yastrzemski puzzle pieces card

Man, Donruss sure did use some lightweight card stock back then.  And the design?  Instead of ripping them about the "paint splatter on a red canvas" motif, I will take the high road and again compliment them on a good mix of players in this pack.  Much like the '89 pack I opened, this one is pretty satisfying.  Lots of pitching prowess, with Stewart, Rags, Hough and, of course, Nolan  Ryan.  The Ryan card commemorates his 5,000 career strikeouts, as he surpassed the 5k barrier during the 1989 season.  His complete ML stats are on the back of the card, as well.  Also in this pack, a pair of Rated Rookie cards and a card honoring late commissioner Bart Giamatti, who suffered a massive heart attack late in the '89 season.  Of course, his main claim to fame is the banishment of Pete Rose from Baseball.  Anyhow, it's pretty crazy to put a '90 Donruss next to a '90 Upper Deck and see how vastly different they are in terms of quality and makeup.

1991 Fleer Ultra
(14 cards, 1 logo sticker)
9 - Greg Olson
23 - Bill Ripken
39 - Carlos Quintana
44 - Chuck Finley
64 - Greg Maddux
80 - Melido Perez
87 - Todd Benzinger
93 - Bill Doran
101 - Beau Allred
137 - Jim Deshaies
139 - Rafael Ramirez
166 - Eddie Murray
177 - Tim McIntosh
280 - Jeff King
(Sweet) Logo Sticker - Pirates

This represents the first pack of a super-premium brand I opened.  It also happens to be the first edition of Fleer's "Ultra" product.  Much like Topps did with Stadium Club, Fleer I guess felt the need to create a premium brand to compete with Upper Deck.  I like this set a lot.  I don't recall ever buying any packs of this growing up, probably because it was out of my price range (I could probably get two packs of '91 Topps for the price of one Ultra pack).  For this pack, the Maddux card is the real headliner, while the card of Greg Olson is an action shot that I thought was pretty cool.  In addition, the Melido Perez card means I have pulled a card of each Perez brother during this break (Pascual appeared in '88 Fleer).  Lucky me, right?

1991 Leaf Set, Series 2
(3 puzzle pieces & 15 cards)
282 - Rob Dibble
283 - Mel Hall
290 - Tony Gwynn
297 - Harold Reynolds
304 - Terry Pendleton
311 - Glenallen Hill
318 - Bill Sampen
332 - Sam Horn
333 - Wally Whitehurts
337 - Ed Whitson
338 - Ivan Calderon
343 - Mark Lee
386 - Mike Jeffcoat
393 - Kevin Maas
394 - Devon White
Harmon Killebrew puzzle pieces card

In 1991, Fleer produced their Ultra set and Donruss gave us Leaf Set.  Much like Ultra, Leaf Set has gray (read: drab) bordering and is printed on heavier grade card stock.  This is another one of those brands that I really didn't have a whole lot of growing up.  I have a few '91 Leaf cards floating around my collection, but those came out of dime boxes at card shows.  A nice assortment of cards in this pack such as Tony Gwynn, Terry Pendleton and Devon White.  But I'm the most jazzed for the Maas card.  He's one of those guys I began collecting in recent years because I remember how big of a deal his cards were in 1990 and 1991.  If you were every lucky enough to pull one from a pack in those days, you bragged about it in the dugout at your next Little League game.  Kids today have Bryce Harper and Mike Trout; we had Kevin Maas, baby!

1991 ProCards (x2)
(12 cards)
Pack 1
112 - Ed Martel
113 - Willie Smith
120 - Brad Ausmus
157 - Matt Whiteside
204 - Pete Castellano
226 - Jeff Juden
272 - Heath Haynes
295 - Wes Chamberlain
299 - Cliff Brantley
302 - Mike Lieberthal
339 - Lance Painter
354 - Eric Christopherson

Pack 2
8 - Daryl Moore
56 - Brian Giles
122 - Sam Militello
155 - Donald Harris
201 - Elvin Paulino
238 - Dave Hansen
242 - Jamie McAndrew
286 - Todd Douma
297 - Tony Longmire
333 - Dave Staton
334 - Frank Seminara
355 - Rod Huffman

Hmm, not much I can say about these.  Other than 1989 Score, this is the only duplication of packs that occurred in the 25-pack lot.  I'm not very familiar with ProCards, which touts itself as featuring "Tomorrow's Heroes".  Some familiar names mixed in here, and some who didn't, well, become tomorrow's heroes after all.  Lieberthal and Giles both had very good Major League careers and both played in All-Star games for their respective leagues.  The design of the cards themselves isn't necessarily memorable and the card stock is on par with the weakest output by Donruss.  Overall, I think the idea of minor league cards is a cool idea, if it's executed the right way.  I think Topps is onto something with their Pro Debut product.  But, even that doesn't really get me excited.

1992 Upper Deck
(15 cards)
66 - Mark Smith (Top Prospect)
74 - Rico Brogna (Top Prospect)
151 - Walt Weiss
177 - Ozzie Smith
224 -  Joe Carter
255 - Cecil Fielder
320 - Jeff M. Robinson
366 - Brian Hunter
431 - Lance Parrish
456 - Robin Yount
471 - Steve Chitren
497 - Mike MacFarlane
541 - Scott Cooper
578 - Kevin Brown
637 - Rich DeLucia

By 1992, everyone stopped putting stickers in their packs of cards, I guess.  Just as well, stickers -- like the Donruss puzzles -- never got my blood pumping.  But, Upper Deck was pretty confident their "Exciting New Card Design for 1992" would be enough to offset any disappointment caused by the discontinuation of their 3-D hologram stickers.  Also, the allure of the "Find the Williams" (as in Ted) promotion was something to spice things up.  Alas, no Williams in this pack, but that doesn't mean it was a bummer.  On the contrary, there is a lot to like about this 15-card bundle.  For those keeping score, I netted my second card each of Ozzie, Yount and Joe Carter.  Plus a pretty iconic card of Cecil Fielder (Note to Chicken: RUN!!!) and a Top Prospect card of one of my favorite mid-90's Mets, Rico Brogna.  Overall, a star-studded player assortment in a top-shelf brand equals a happy collector!

1992 Donruss, Series 2
(15 cards)
403 - Pat Maholmes
414 - John Vander Wal
515 - Jim Deshaies
578 - Gerald Alexander
583 - Kevin Mitchell
588 - Bob MacDonald
594 - Kirk Dressendorfer
678 - Cecil Espy
683 - Eric Bullock
689 - Tim Spehr
737 - Gil Heredia
742 - Tim Naehring
748 - Rosario Rodriguez
753 - Braulio Castillo
783 - Bryan Hickerson

What a difference a year makes.  Donruss went through their awkward stages, just like a high schooler would.  But, they applied the zit cream, got the braces off their teeth and hit their growth spurt...and poof!  What a nice looking card they blossomed into!  They didn't reinvent the wheel with this design, but it's clean, classy and unique.  The only problem is you rarely get anything worthwhile in the packs.  I can remember my frustration from buying '92 Donruss as a kid and coming away with a whole lot of nothing.  Take this one for instance.  Kevin Mitchell and...?  Lots of utility players and relief pitchers.  Pat Mahomes gets a nod because he was a key reliever for the Mets on their 2000 NL pennant-winning team.

1992 Score Pinnacle, Series 2
(16 cards)
313 - Tim Teufel
327 - Greg Swindell
333 - David West
396 - Bill Wegman
404 - Bip Roberts
416 - Don Slaught
451 - Bobby Witt
469 - Brent Mayne
471 - Tim Burke
489 - Mike Maddux
491 - Carl Willis
545- Shawn Livsey (Draft Pick)
560 - Monty Fariss (Rookie Prospect)
575 - Willie Banks (Rookie Prospect)
590 - David Cone (The Idols)
605 - Tim Raines (Shades)

Score brand finally got the memo in 1992 that they had to produce a premium set beside their flagship to keep up with the Joneses.  And here we have the premier edition of Pinnacle.  The cards are super glossy, as evidenced by the single brick that one might encounter when opening a 20-year-old pack of this product or something akin (like 1992 Ultra).  The base design is a bit awkward for my taste; they got the recipe right in 1993, though.  And how bout these subsets?  David Cone's idol was apparently Jackie Gleason of Honeymooner's fame.  Hey, is that Tim Raines reflected in the shades of...Tim Raines?  Oh, and earlier I completed the Perez Brothers duo, and now I have done the same for the Maddux boys.  Whew!

1993 Leaf Set, Series 2
(14 cards)
239 - Dave Hollins
250 - David Cone
300 - Dennis Martinez
307 - Gary Sheffield
309 - Craig Lefferts
318 - Greg Myers
318 - Greg Myers
327 - Dave Nilsson
368 - Rich Rodriguez
397 - Arthur Rhodes
408 - Ed Sprague
419 - Scott Sanderson
430 - Julio Valera
439 - Robin Ventura

If you like glossy, foil-stamped cards, this is the set for you.  The player's name and Leaf emblem are both gold stamped on the front, and on the back the team emblem is at the top left in silver holo-foil...or something.  It's impressive, trust me.  Also, on the back a full-sized action photo is photoshopped over a geographically appropriate backdrop.  For instance, Phils' third baseman Dave Hollins is taking a swing with the Liberty Bell in the background.  Specific to this pack, I got doubles of Greg Myers.  It's the first time during this break that I received doubles in the same pack.  Not even 2012 Topps does that!  Good cards in this pack otherwise, including Robin Ventura, Gary Sheffield and Denny Martinez.  It's my second El Presidente card of this break, but I snubbed him from the photo scan last time around ('89 Donruss).  Not this time.

1993 Pacific, Spanish Edition
(5 tarjetas)
138 - Wally Joyner
151 - Eric Karros
164 - Kevin Seitzer
177 - Kirby Puckett
190 - Larry Walker

First of all, check out the price: $0.25!  That's, like, 5 cents per tarjeta!  Yeah, so this is the first edition of Pacific Spanish.  I was pretty excited to open this, more so than any of the other packs.  Can you blame me?   My anticipation was justified; look at all those superstars!  I snag my second Wally Joyner and second Kirby Puckett of the break.  And my Eric Karros jugadore collection gets a badly-needed entry en Espanol.  Viva Pacific!

1995 UD Collector's Choice
(12 high quality cards)
18 - Mark Acre (Rookie Class)
35 - Bill Pulsipher (Future Foundation)
147 - Carlos Delgado (silver signature)
164 - Mark Lemke
167 - John Smoltz
222 - Tom Candiotti
237 - Marquis Grissom
323 - Doug Linton
382 - Paul Wagner
450 - Dante Bichette
477 - John Doherty
529 - Checklist (Joe Carter)

My final pack was a blazer.  Collector's Choice was always a favorite of mine growing up, because it was Upper Deck quality but in a more affordable form.  Remember how exciting it was to get a silver signature parallel of one of your favorite players?  Well that was me last night upon seeing the Carlos Delgado silver foil card!  The Bill Pulsipher card is great, also.  Generation K was a miserable failure, but it's still fun to come across cards of Pulsipher, Jason Isringhausen or Paul Wilson in a Mets uni.  I got my first Smotlz card of the break, and ditto for Dante Bichette.  Joe Carter wins the fruit basket and the gold watch, as the checklist card featuring  his likeness makes it three Joe Carter cards I've gathered from this 25-pack break.  Good job, Joe!


Well, all good things must come to an end, and so it is with this birthday pack break.  Twenty-five packs spanning 1987 to 1995.  I can't think of a better way to spend a day off from work.  I hope you enjoyed taking the journey with me.  Talk to you soon!

1 comment:

  1. As I've dug through the cards I have from my childhood, I'm surprised by the number of Collector's Choice cards there are. I don't particularly like the design or anything, so I'm assuming that they were the cheapest, since I spent a lot of my own dough on cards.

    I thought that I loved 80s wax, but for the most part, I didn't like any of the stuff you posted yesterday. All the stuff today though... AWESOME! I loved that inaugural Pinnacle set, and I've always liked Fleer Ultra, regardless of the year. Even the red Donruss cards and the white bordered Fleer hold a place in my heart.