Friday, March 15, 2019

Card Spotlight: 3-15-19

1992 Fleer #89 - Jack McDowell

The overproduced junk wax era is not one that I physically visit often in my collection. I tend to have the bulk of it already and I have seen them so much, that the cards mostly haunt me in my dreams. Sometimes I can get caught up in the hype of the stigma against this era of cards and I dismiss them. It doesn't mean I love them any less. It just means I don't visit as often as I should.

Last night, while organizing my collection, I found myself inside a monster box full of junk wax. As I was separating cards into years and sets, I was reminded of stupid things I used to do. I would fill nine pocket pages with cards and then I would cut the pages down into individual cards. My reasoning was that these were more rigid than penny sleeves and not as expensive or bulky as toploaders. It worked as a creative solution at the time. Not so much now.

As I've been organizing, I've been taking cards out of these homemade monstrosities. Most of what I thought I was protecting didn't need any protection at all. It may have cost more to print some of these cards than they are worth now. To me, these cards are priceless, but to those who make their living selling cards, these cards are basically throw-ins or padding so more valuable cards don't get damaged in transit. When I sold cards on eBay, these were my bread and butter. The inexpensive add on. Then eBay changed their pricing structure for stores and I was out.

As I was sorting these cards and I was feeling the actual cards in my hand, something dawned on me. These cards are actually pretty great. I'm not talking about the early nineties Ultra cards or Stadium Club, whose high gloss on both sides would bind those sets together like an impossible brick. No I'm talking about 1992, when Topps and Fleer had gone on to better card stock and gloss on the front. It still had the feel of cardboard on the back, just a glitzier version and the card fronts never looked better.

The card companies took better care in selecting photographs. They took more care in how the cards were made. Yes, some companies would lie about production runs and everybody pumped out way too many cards, but the quality was better. I guess we can thank Upper Deck for that. Even those early Upper Deck cards feel different. A 1990 Upper Deck baseball card has a different feel than a 1994 Upper Deck baseball card. The stock is paper thin on the 1990 cards, but the quality still remains after all these years.

These thoughts struck me as I was sorting through 1992 Fleer cards. The back feels and looks nice. The front still looks nice tilted into the light. There's just something about these cards that is underappreciated because of the time they were released. Sure, the Jack McDowell card has too much dead space on the photograph, but it still captures your eye. Jack isn't in his windup. He's leaning up against a post, 'cuz he's tired.

I'm not sure when cards started using this trick of the player overlapping the border or the text, but it was overused. It also didn't make much sense, dimensionally speaking. Go ahead. Look at some examples where the player obscures part of the border or team name. That's not three dimensional space on a two dimensional plane. That's something that bends the laws of physics.The Jack McDowell card isn't atrocious, but there are some cards out there that really test your spatial reasoning.

There were some great cards that came out in the junk wax era. We tend to blanket over that time frame because the overproduction made most cards worthless. Next time you are going through your cards, if you grew up buying packs in the junk wax era, pause on that part of your collection and try to remember your excitement at opening those packs. What made those fun to collect? What were your collecting goals? What places did you get your cards from?

When you've answered those questions, take a good look at those cards. Appreciate them through your younger self. The answers you get there will peel away at all the "hits" and you'll find yourself at the core of your collecting. It's not just about the case hit or the gimmick cards. It's about the base card. The hometown star, who is only truly appreciated in your town. The common card, which makes up the bulk of the set. Too many times we gloss over every card in the pack, rushing to find that hit or favorite player or favorite team. Slow down and appreciate every card. You won't regret it.

1 comment:

Bulldog said...

It is easy to look past cards and the nineties catch a lot of grief. At least they had competition in the nineties. That is always a good thing. I enjoy all cards. If it was about the money it might be different but I can have as much fun with cheap cards as I do with the more expensive brands. Good points and it helped to remind me to appreciate each card in the pack.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...