Here's where we left off last week.
We've had head-to-head competition among 16 sets from the 1990s and are left with 8 sets to go forward in the 1st Quartile of the Babe Ruth Division. Since we'll be dealing with sets we've already I was going to run the table here and see who is the first seed of the final 16 cards in the overall competition. But this is a lot of cards to look at so we'll get to the Black level with a post next week. I can use that opportunity to explain the competition level from Black on forward.
Red Level head-to-head
1998 E-X-2001 vs. 1993 Flair
1998 E-X 2001 Craig Biggio #34
1993 Flair Willie McGee #145
Both these sets were great. Nice crisp graphics on the E-X 2001. A creamy smooth finish to the Flair. Gold foil, but not to much on the front and back of both cards. I think 1998 E-X 2001 could have beaten many cards and risen hight but it had the misfortune to come against 1993 Flair early on. In the head-to-head I'm giving the nod to Flair because ultimately plastic cards are a dead end design choice. There were a few plastic sets in the 1990s, but not much today. I imagine they were too costly to produce.
Results - 1993 Flair squeaks by.
1995 Ultra vs. 1996 Studio
1995 Ultra Jim Thome #42
1996 Studio Juan Gonzalez #105
Both cards feature full bleed printing, multiple photographs, a little foil, and great photography. I like the front of the 1995 Ultra but the back, with the funny shaded photo leaves me a little cold. The smaller color inset photo looks out of place.
The results: 1996 Studio by a back.
1991 Upper Deck vs. 1994 Collector's Choice
1991 Upper Deck Todd Zeile #164
1994 Collector's Choice Bret Saberhagen #250
What a difference a few years makes. In 1991, Upper Deck released another variation in it's 1989 set, but it was still way ahead of it's competitors that year. 1994's main problem is that it look's just like 1993 Upper Deck, with pin-stripes. Both cards feature good designs, but in 1991 Upper Deck's case, the design was still state-of-the-art. 1994 Collector's Choice was a copy of a great set.
Result: 1991 Upper Deck.
1994 Topps vs. 1996 Circa
1994 Topps Ivan Rodriguez #165
1996 Circa Curt Schilling #189
1994 Topps was Topps first glossy set and they did a good job. Good photography with a colorful title block with a good sized color photo on the back with a colorful stats/bio block. I'm afraid that 1996 Circa is just a mess. It only got to this level because it was up against 1994 SP, a card design I really dislike.
The Result: 1994 Topps
1993 Flair, 1996 Studio, 1991 Upper Deck and 1994 Topps survive the Red level.