Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days...
-Twenty One Pilots
Love it or hate it... the 90's were arguably our beloved hobby's Industrial Revolution. Card companies had plenty of competition, which forced them to try and outdo each other. This led to collectors being treated to a new era of sports cards.
Inserts and parallels might have been around for years... but they were now being made out of plastic, wood, and metal. Manufacturers started serial numbering every other parallel and insert. Refractors, Mirror Golds, printing plates, 1 of 1's, and memorabilia cards were being inserted into packs of trading cards.
And let's not forget... one of my favorite things to collect... autographed cards. In 1990 Upper Deck inserted 2,500 Reggie Jackson signed cards into their high series packs. Star Pics was immediately behind them with their 1990 Draft set... although technically they were inserted into factory sets... not packs. That opened the floodgates for Donruss, Front Row, Fleer, Pinnacle, Action Packed, Traks, Maxx, Arena, Topps, Press Pass, Classic, Pro Line, Pankhurst, Courtside, Collector's Edge, All World, Score, and just about every other card company out there to follow suit.
Then in 1994 Signature Rookies and Be A Player (Upper Deck) started selling packs that were guaranteed to have at least one autograph in it. At the time, I was one year away from becoming a die-hard hockey card collector. But I did bust a bunch of Signature Rookies packs in both baseball and football. Unfortunately they were draft products, so the athletes weren't featured in their professional uniforms.
1996 Leaf Signature remedied this issue when it became the first MLB set to include at least one autograph per pack. In fact, the 1996 Leaf Signature Extended packs included two or more autographs per pack and all for the suggested retail price of $9.99.
Sadly... the checklist is filled with lesser known starters and utility players, because Leaf short printed most of the big names. The good news is that many of these on-card autographs are the only certified MLB pack pulled signatures for these players and most of them can be had for a buck or two.
A few months ago, I was motivated by these two things and decided to build the Oakland A's and San Diego Padres autographed team sets. I already owned a handful of the signatures from care packages and eBay purchases over the years. A recent COMC order recently filled in a bunch of the gaps.
Here's what I have so far...
I've used multiple websites to try and narrow down that two team checklists. Based on my research, I still need seven signatures for my A's set: 29 Mike Bordick, 36 Scott Brosius, 183 Phil Plantier, 56E Mike Gallego, 58E Jason Giambi, 113E Torey Lovullo, and 191E Matt Stairs.
Giambi signed cards for both series and is probably the only card I'll eventually have to pay a premium for.
There weren't as many Padres on their checklist...
Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman are the two biggest names on the checklist. I already have the Gwynn, but I still need a Hoffman along with these three signatures: 12 Brad Ausmus, 41 Andujar Cedeno, and 53E Bryce Florie.
You probably already figured out that Leaf slightly altered the design for their extended series...
As you can see... the card backs are a little different as well.
Judging by the values of most of these signatures, most collectors aren't really into this set. However for me... it's a piece of cardboard history. I miss the days when all pack pulled autographs were on-card. And seriously... what other MLB set out there features eighteen different San Diego Padres players signatures?
Sometimes I really wish that... I could turn back time, to the good old days.
What about you...
What are some hobby related items that you miss from the 90's?
Look forward to reading your comments. Happy Friday and sayonara!