Tuesday, December 11, 2007

1991 Classic Series One: Blue

Writing about and reading about Classic cards so much in the past couple of weeks, made me try and fill in on what I'm missing. So, I scoured eBay and found a few sets from 1991. That year I wasn't able to find any sets for sale. All the hype surrounding the 1990 sets, made this set fly off the shelves.

The only cards I have of the 1991 sets would be from the second series. I know I had a Frank Thomas and I'm pretty sure I had a Sandy Alomar Jr. or two hanging around. I wasn't sick of these cards yet because I barely saw them. They seem almost new and exciting.

Sets like this are hit and miss for White Sox fans. Some sets don't have a single White Sox player in them. This set has three.
  • T30 - Matt Stark
  • T31 - Bobby Thigpen
  • T32 - Frank Thomas

Every set from this time had to have Frank Thomas in it. I think it was written into his contract. That was good and bad news for me. Good because there would be more cards for me to collect. Bad because there would be more cards for me to collect. Card collecting is a double edged sword. If there aren't enough of whatever it is you collect, you feel gypped. If there's too many choices, you feel overwhelmed and disappointed. I fell somewhere in the middle most of the time, but I've always liked a challenge.

This set reminds me of the 1990 Classic cards, only better. Gone are the bold stock colors of primary blue, deep pink and tweety bird yellow. Gone are the annoying squiggles that ran across the card that were less artistic than the 1990 Donruss paint dribbles. Replacing that design was a few steps above pastel with a streaky, distressed look. Very much improved and much easier on the eyes!

Every 1991 set also had to have Bobby Thigpen in one of the releases. He did set a single season save record. Say that five times fast. Bobby had his year in card history and dropped off the collecting radar back from where he came. 1991 was Thigpen's year to bask in his success. How do I know? I had a Thigpen shirt with a caricature of him on it that said "Savemaster" or something like that.

Matt Stark is also included. If you have no idea who he is, then you are probably in the majority. I remember who he was. He was supposed to unseat Fisk if he got injured. Back then the Sox had a penchant for carrying a third catcher, just in case. It definitely was an insurance policy on Fisk because I can't see Karkovice needing a backup at that point. I think this was the last memorable set that Classic turned out that was just focused on major league baseball. 1992 was the last I really heard about Classic. I was a bit underwhelmed with that set, but that's for another review.

I think Classic hit the right notes with their 1991 releases. The were familiar enough to their most popular sets, but vastly improved the contents of the recycled design. Whoever was in their art department for this release was a genius. Seriously. It reminded collectors enough of the 1990 set, while still pulling off a feeling of being a completely different set. That's hard to do. Topps does that all the time with usually bad results. That's what makes this a good set.

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