Friday, February 24, 2012

1991 Baseball Cards A-Z (Part 2)

As I said in my last post on 1991 cards, this was a transitional year for the hobby. Some design features from the 1980s were still hanging on but new ideas were being seen. The seeds of the excesses of the later 1990s were here but nobody knew what was coming.

The last post ended with Donruss. This one starts with Fleer.

Set #10 Fleer
After several years of drab, uninteresting cards, Fleer really broke out with this set. You may not like 1991 Fleer (and many do not) but you cannot call it drab. In keeping with the transitional nature of 1991, Fleer's flagship entry remained traditional 1980s, no gloss, no foil and a stat list on the back which looked like many others they did. Fleer had featured photos on the back in past years but this year was the first in color, a design element which will be very common for years to come. As with Donruss puzzle pieces, 1991 was the last year that Fleer included logo stickers in the packs. Fleer did not produce a "Tiffany" set this year (a parallel set with a high glossy finish) as they had for the past several years.

Set #11 Fleer All-Stars
As the 1990s progressed, Fleer and all the other manufacturer's started loading up the packs with inserts. Fleer only had 3 in 1991. This as a 10-card set featuring the "'91 Fleer All Star Team" not necessarily players who were all stars in 1990.

Set #12 Fleer Pro Visions
Pro Visions will be an annual insert in Fleer through 1995. In 1991, 8 cards from the 12-card set were available in wax and rack packs. The other 4 came in the factory set. Before the 1990s will end, Fleer would produce a number of cartoon superhero-like baseball card sets, perhaps most notably the Metal sets of the late 1990s. It all started here.

Set #13 Fleer World Series
 The 8-card World Series set was only available in the Fleer factory set. Although Fleer had been producing this set, featuring high lights of the previous year's World Series for several years, this would be the last.

Set #14 Fleer Update
Update sets, available in the fall, were a baseball card tradition established by Topps many years ago. Fleer also produced update sets most years. Donruss was not so big on this. The 1991 Fleer Update set, using the same eye-searing design as the regular set, was only available as a factory set. As update sets went in those days, it was pretty large at 132 cards.

Set #15 Leaf
Upper Deck started the concept of a premium set in 1989. In 1990, Donruss got on the bandwagon in 1990 Leaf.  Fleer and Topps will join the fray with Ultra and Stadium Club respectively in 1991. 1990 Leaf was a highly sought after brand and, as I remember, hard to find. 1991 Leaf was plentiful and not as desirable. Similar in design to the 1990 set it also added the silver borders to the front (1990 had white borders). Although a so-called premium brand it did not have a glossy finish or foil. The set was issued in 2 series and the cards came in foil packs, just like Upper Deck. Leaf was produced by Donruss and featured puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces had a foil finish and featured Harmon Killebrew.

Set #16 Leaf Previews
 Perhaps these shouldn't count as a separate set but I'm making the rules around here. This was a 25-card "preview" of 1991 Leaf and would have been an incredible difficult set to complete back in the day. 4 cards from the set were available in 1991 Donruss Factory Sets. They are pretty readily available on eBay these days.

Set #17 Leaf Gold Rookies
This 26-card set was inserted randomly in Leaf packs. They featured gold foil on the front but were not glossy.

I think that's enough for now. I'll come back with 1991 Score which will have 7 different sets.

1 comment:

Ryan G said...

I'm enjoying this series! Keep 'em coming. I count the previews and updates as their own sets in my type collection too.