Monday, March 22, 2010

1991 O-Pee-Chee Premier

In 1991, Topps was relying on the nostalgia of forty years to sell their cards and some top notch photography choices. It would be the last year for their flagship set to be made of the old cardboard. 1992 would see the change to a white card stock, which was smoother and a little more eye appealing.

Back then, Topps wasn't quick to change. It was resisted at all cost. Score and Upper Deck had changed the game and upped the ante. When 1991 came, everyone jumped on the bandwagon of premier cards. Topps jumped in with Stadium Club. Fleer countered with Ultra. Donruss went into its second year of Leaf as a premium card.

Then a surprising entry showed up in card shops and the grocery aisle. O-Pee-Chee Premier.

Even though it only hailed from the country that was separated from Illinois by one state, the product seemed foreign and exotic to my friends and I, at the time. I heard tales of my relatives driving down to Chicago from Manitoba in a straight shot, so it didn't seem like a world away. Yet, I had never been there, so I had no way of knowing what the trip actually involved. My relatives were exhausted by the end of their trip, so it made the miles appear even greater.

The set looked classy. It had a full color front and back, with detailed pictures on each side. The word premier impressed even the most cynical of us. Today, the word is so overused it has lost all meaning. Back then, it was something special.

The White Sox have six cards in the set.

42 - Alex Fernandez
45 - Carlton Fisk
97 - Rock Raines
113 - Cory Snyder
120 - Bobby Thigpen
121 - Frank Thomas

This set will always hold a special place in my collection. My friends and I went nuts over the cards in 1991. I always considered the White Sox to be one of the luckier teams in the set. The Pirates only had one card, Barry Bonds. The Astros had no one. Four teams had only two cards. So to have six was extremely fortunate.

I've recently seen these cards in a bargain bin for fifty cents a pack. Time has a way of making things lose their luster. Overproduction has a way of making things lose their value. At 132 cards, this is a very easy set to put together. One always should have room for Canadian cards. Especially, premier ones.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should have been in Canada the year they came out. They were the hottest baseball product that year. People thought it would have the same impact as the 90/91 Premier hockey.
Boxes went for about $100 a pop!!! Now they sell for $5-$10. Yea, it shows that overproduction can kill a product. OPC had a great product and they got greedy.
I agree it is a good looking small set, as is all the OPC Premier sets.

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