Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ten Interesting Cards: 1995 Fleer Update

This is the box that got me into this mess in the first place. There's a guy who has been at a couple of card shows that I've been to this year who has junk wax by the tableful and is not shy about dumping it on unsuspecting prey such as myself. Hardly a second went by after I picked up this box before I started looking at other, less attractive Fleer goodies. By now you know that I left the table no less than three boxes, despite the fact that no more than 1% of the cards contained in said packs could actually fit in my collection.

This is an update set, so aside from an odd rookie or two, the players you actually care about are mostly relegated to inserts. Fortunately, this being a mid-'90s Fleer product, there's an insert in every single pack.

This year saw Fleer reduce the quality of their cardstock while dramatically increase their design/marketing budget... with hilarious results! Andre Dawson, normally badass, looks positively goofy here. It probably doesn't help that he's trying to wear teal and pull it off.

This apparently was meant to be a celebration of the new divisional alignment, so there are six total base designs, one for each division. I don't personally feel that the current divisional alignment is anything worth celebrating. The Mets/Cards rivalry makes anything they've got going currently with the Brewers or the Reds just pale in comparison.

You can tell this is an insert card because the design is actually somewhat understated, despite all of the foil. This is a backwards set. Inserts are supposed to look ridiculous. Base cards are supposed to be as consistent as your grandfather's haircut.

I... don't even know what to say.

Here's a little nod to the old school and thus is probably my favorite insert set from this release.

Actually, these Diamond Tribute inserts look a bit like 1994 Fleer Ultra.

Wow, I'm sorry, AL Central fans. I really am.

Even Rickey is trying to run away from this horror show of a set.

This Pettitte base design actually looks normal in comparison to some of the others, which is just a sad state of affairs.

Interestingly enough, Fleer would move on from this to an almost rebellious minimalist approach for the next couple of years, keeping the almost paper-thin cardstock but rejecting glossy and multi-photo rainbow colors. Unfortunately, that approach doesn't appear to have been any more successful.

Now I get to mail stuff! Hooray!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's a Start

The Cardinals beat the Brewers earlier tonight, which is notable because it was the type of game the Cardinals haven't really won all season. It was a close, low offense, pretty much boring affair in which one team's runs could exclusively be counted up to errors. This is the type of game the Cards have been on the wrong side of ever since they decided to ditch defense for (older) offense. Not only that, but Edwin Jackson was on the mound tonight, and he hasn't exactly been great since the Cards picked him up. Oh yes, and there's the whole Brewers Never Lose Anymore, Especially At Home situation going on this season. When you pile up all of those factors, you tend to just decide to switch the game off some time around the 5th inning.

I'm talking Cardinals tonight because I have another trade package on my hands. This one is from My Cardboard Mistress. I sent over an assortment of player wants in exchange for Cardinal and 2011 Heritage wants. A good time was had by all.

There's been a lot of talk about the future of the Cardinals lately. If they don't manage to get their GB number down by the end of the week to, let's say... 6 or so, it will pretty much be the only thing worth discussing. If the Cards are going to truly rebuild for two or three years, something that probably interests Tony La Russa about as much as getting shingles of the eye again, then I will really have a hard time watching them if some sentimental favorites like Chris Carpenter aren't in the fold. I realize that he's the imperfect combination of old and expensive with an extensive injury history, but not having him around makes the whole team a lot less palatable. Just ask me about 2007 and 2008.

We interrupt this program for some danger! Ranger Danger! Ranger Danger!

This wild and wacky yet truly authentic Bowman tribute to past Bowman (but not vintage Bowman) makes me smile... kind of.

This is some unlicensed insert sorcery on the part of former cardboard great turned pariah Upper Deck.

Shelby Miller is currently the Cardinals No. 1 prospect with a bullet and will remain that way until he is traded for fragments of Mark DeRosa's wrist and the ghost of Craig Paquette. This card is X-Fractory. I like it.

Here's one of those cards that I don't know how to store. I do know that I need the Adam Wainwright version of this card. If you're a Ginter hobby box buyer and you have one of those, please contact me soon.

Spankee must have known about my under-the-radar Ryan Ludwick Jersey Reconstruction project. If I'm not mistaken, I now own five of these 2009 A&G Ludwick relic cards. It may sound like I'm being insincere or just don't want something like this in my collection, but that's far from the case. I think it would be amazing to have a box... no... a room full of Ryan Ludwick jersey bits encased in pretty frames. This is fun... keep them coming, please!

As the... great... Al Hrabosky said tonight after the win, "it's a start." Hey, the man is on the Ford C. Frick Award ballot for excellence in baseball broadcasting, so it has to be worth something, right?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ten Interesting Cards: 1993 Fleer Ultra Series 2 (Free Group Break)

Okay, sure, the packaging isn't all that attractive. This is Ultra, though. ULTRA. It takes your everyday run of the mill Fleer junk and glossifies it. Full bleed photos. Flaming baseball logos! UV coating! Here's a few cards from the second of the three free boxes.

Trevor Hoffman just doesn't look intimidating, but I guess that is part of his mystique. While I don't expect that he will continue to be the all-time saves leader much longer, he had a pretty amazing run.

Here's Griffey, showing off the (then) new Mariners look.

Dawson's shin guard looks kind of puny in comparison to some of the stuff today's players have.

People love this guy! It's a proven fact.

A couple of Jim Edmonds "true" rookie cards were found in this box. If I hadn't scored a few of these for a nickel a piece awhile back, I may have had alternate plans for this box.

Dennis Eckersley didn't become a household name until the late '80s, so his fairly substantial tenure with the Red Sox was mostly overlooked.

The All-Star inserts look weird. That's all I really know.

Here's Eck in his prime, as the famed A's closer. It's really too bad that most people's lasting image of Eckersley is the famous Kirk Gibson walk-off. He was exceptionally dominant in a way I'd never really seen before or since during his best Oakland years. Of course, if you think about it, he was probably responsible for the term "walk-off". It's not like Gibson was able to hustle around those bases.

This is Barry Larkin making a cement indentation of his own body, apparently.

I have to hand it to Fleer here. This is one of the worst things I've ever seen, although I suppose nothing could be more early '90s than this design. This is a 1:18 pack insert, meaning that I would typically end up with two in a box. Unfortunately, the other All-Rookie Team insert was a damaged version of this same exact card. Nice.

For those pack junkies out there, I have posted a random pack over at APTBNL, which is set to run later this morning.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sportflix and Extra Bases

Cardboard Collections ran a mid-'90s oddball group break last month that I was lucky enough to pounce on. These two sets, 1995 Sportflix and 1994 Fleer Extra Bases are full of fun. I am a fan of anything Sportflix, Sportflics and other spelling variations. Oversized cards, on the other hand, are very frustrating to store but fun to look at. I'll have to stop by one of those card shops that has Ultra Pro sheets to fit any size someone could possibly think of.

There must have been a lack of available photos of Danny Jackson as he was a recent acquisition at the time. Instead, one of the images is just the old Cardinals logo. The Cards wore '85 throwback home jerseys last night and I am starting to wish they'd just use them from now on, or at least consider them as an alternate. I can only think of one other team that seems to shun the idea of alternate jerseys: the Yankees. St. Louis added an alternate (Sunday home games) hat about 10-12 years ago, so it's not like they haven't changed before.

It was just Cardinals that I received in this break. I believe I was randomly assigned another team, which turned out to be the Mariners. That's a good team to have in the mid-'90s. Just ask The Lost Collector in a week or so when he receives his cards from my own group break.

The rainbow of check marks is pretty silly.

Here's a rainbowy "rookie" of Alex Rodriguez. I believe A-Rod's "rookie card year" is actually 1994.

Fleer Extra Bases meant extra tall cards. The first cards of this size that I ever saw were the old NFL GameDay cards from around 1992 or 1993. Those looked really nice, but again... the storage issue.

Somehow a Darryl Kile sneaked its way into my stash! How did that happen? Shh... don't tell anyone. Someday I'll work on that list of DK cards that I own...

There were inserts-a-plenty, just none on the Cardinals side of things. These Rookie Standouts were apparently the Extra Bases version of Rookie Sensations. They look goofy.

With the film strip on the side, instead of getting several different images of Bobby Ayala in succession, they just give you a closer and closer crop of the same image. Amusing.

The Mariners brought back the teal look this season. They wear it for every Monday and Friday home game. It's a look.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 2008 Topps #416

The Cardinals gained ground on the Brewers last night for the first time in a week, thanks to a Cardinals off day and a Brewers loss. So there's still hope, right?

Elijah Dukes once sent a photo of a gun to his wife's cell phone in an effort to intimidate her. That's all you really need to know about this outfielder's once promising career.

Why did Topps airbrush Elijah's photo? Dukes was a 3rd round pick for the Devil Rays. After the gun picture incident, Tampa Bay was eager to get rid of him and traded him for a pitcher who has never pitched beyond single-A (and has an ERA north of 6 to show for it.)

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? I find it interesting that the stripe seems to be painted over Elijah's bat. Dukes never wore #35, his Devil Rays number, with the Nationals - and the placement of the number seems all wrong to me. After a solid season with Washington in 2008, his production fell off the following year and he was released.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ten Interesting Cards: 1993 Fleer Series 1 Jumbo (Free Group Break)

I thought I'd give the first of the three boxes of the Free Fleer Group Break the old "Ten Interesting Cards" treatment. Did you honestly think I was going to go Cardboard Collections or Nachos Grande on you and post a blow-by-blow account of every pack? I appreciate the work that those guys do, of course. I just don't think I can handle the details of 96 packs and would like to get these sorted and out to those who claimed them. I did post one pack at APTBNL just for kicks.

Rookie Sensations cards are supposed to fall at 1:5 packs, but I only received 3. It's hard to say what Lofton is doing with this bat. He's one of the few in this subset that stood the test of time. When I think of Rookie Sensations cards, I definitely think of early-'90s Fleer Basketball and inflated prices for jumbo packs that are mostly insert-free.

Tom Glavine got his own career retrospective very early on his career. I know I was super excited when Clyde Drexler got the insert set treatment in the NBA set that came out around the same time.

This one is missing a bit of foil. Odd.

Active player alert! Arthur Rhodes is trying to find his place in a rebuilt Cardinals bullpen. Meanwhile, I'm trying to be positive about the Cardinals right now.

Here's another active player. Wakefield's knuckle grip was still being fine tuned at this point, I imagine.

This guy has been in the news a lot lately. I hear that Thome is now back with his original club. Cool.

Don Mattingly.

I've always been a big fan of the Super Star Specials. Sadly, Fleer decided to relegate the usually cheesy titles for these cards to the back. This one is called "Triple Threats"

And finally, we have The Great Ramon Martinez and his little bro - or as Fleer likes to call them, "Brothers in Blue".

Next up, it's Ultra time. Meanwhile, I have a bit of sorting to do.