Wednesday, October 29, 2014

1991 - A turning point in the baseball card collecting hobby? - Part 1

I started putting this post together awhile ago with the premise that 1991 was probably the last year that you could get every card of your favorite baseball player. I decided to use Phillie John Kruk as an example because I had a bunch of his 1991 cards already. I started trolling eBay for the rest. lists 20 items (not all baseball cards) for Kruk in 1991. I had 10 of them and was able to acquire another 6 on eBay. I can probably get the rest if I persevere. But in the process of doing this, I decided that my premise was probably false. Like I said, I can probably get all these Kruk cards, but what if your favorite player was Ken Griffey, Jr.?  Beckett lists 162 items for Griffey. For sure not all of these are baseball cards. There are postcards, disks, coins, etc. Even subtracting those that's still a lot of cards.

But now I've got all these Kruk cards so I'm gonna post them anyway. 1991 was a year with a few firsts (and lasts) which are well represented by these cards.

1991 Bowman #503
 There is nothing special or revolutionary about 1991 Bowman. In it's third year, Bowman was pretty dull. But in 1992 Bowman became a great set.

1991 Classic III #47
This is one of the new cards I bought. It was $2.30 on eBay. These are easily found on eBay but I don't remember how available they were in 1991. I don't remember ever seeing them. 1991 Classic was released in 3 sets, differentiated by color. The first set was blue, the second was red and the 3rd was green. The third set was also glossy front and back while the other two had no gloss.

1991 Donruss #260
Of course Donruss was easily available in 1991. The set was issued in 2 series, which was something new in the modern hobby. Topps had issued sets in various series in the '50s and '60s but I don't think they made a big deal out of it. This is a Series 1 card. The Series 2 cards had a green border on the front and back. 1991 was the last year that Donruss used this back which they'd been using with slight variations since 1982. 1992 Donruss would be quite a different product. The practice of issuing sets in 2 series continues until today (at least with Topps' base set).

1991 Fleer #402
Everybody loves this set? Right? These cards are hard to scan and get the color right. Like Donruss, 1991 would be the last year for a back design that Fleer had been using for years. 1992 will be a much nicer looking card than Fleer had ever produced.

1991 Leaf #278
The premier year for Leaf. Donruss/Leaf will join Topps as the only major card manufacturer offering more than one set. As with Donruss, Leaf was issued in 2 Series. There is no difference between the cards from each series, except that the series is indicated on the back.

1991 More Little Big Leaguers #23
Now for something completely different. According to this was published by Simon and Schuster as part of a 92-page album featuring pro players from their little league days. At the end of the album there were 5 perforated sheets of cards (9 per sheet). I have no idea how available this was in 1991. I thought I'd have trouble finding this but it showed up on the second search (made weeks apart) on eBay. A bit pricey at $4.33. The height and weight information on the back appears to be Kruk's adult size.

1991 O-Pee-Chee #689
For whatever reason, O-Pee-Chee cards in 1990 and 1991 were labeled with the Topps logo. You have to carefully examine the back to tell it's not a Topps cards. Of course the white card stock is also a giveaway. Topps won't start using white card stock until 1992. I don't remember if O-Pee-Chee was readily available in the US. In 1993, O-Pee-Chee will start selling cards with its own design which I know were available. I just got this on eBay for $2.51.

1991 Panani Stickers

I could not find this on eBay, either by looking for it alone or with the Phillies subset. I don't remember seeing these for sale anywhere back in 1991.

1991 Phillies Medford

Medford was a local Philadelphia meat company who's hot dogs were sold at Veterans Stadium. These were and over-sized card set given away at the ballpark. I have sets from other years so I was hoping these would be an easy find. I could only find the Wes Chamberlain card from the set. 

1991 Score #94
Like Donruss and Fleer, Score had been issuing cards with the same basic design since their beginning in 1989. They will continue to to so for several years. Like Donruss, 1991 Score was issued in 2 series. There is no way to differentiate the two except to know that the 2nd series started on card #441. Yes, this was a huge set, with 893 cards.

No comments: