30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Sign of the Times

Last week, we took our fall pictures at school and received our new ID cards.  Here's mine:

At first... the photographer wasn't going to allow me to wear my mask.  She didn't think my principal would allow me to use this picture in the yearbook.  Luckily I had my old ID card in my wallet:

She cracked up and told me she wasn't going to be held responsible if my boss didn't approve.  Spoiler alert... a few minutes after I took my photo, I ran into my principal and she asked me who I dressed up as this year.

I told her... I wanted this year's yearbook photo to be a sign of the times.  When I look back at all of my school pictures, it'll be obvious which one represents the Era of Covid-19.

Speaking of sign of the times... back in the late 90's, I was really, really, really into collecting pack pulled, on-card autographs.  At the time Upper Deck had a series of autograph sets called Sign of the Times that spanned all of their major sports licenses.

Today I figured I'd show off some of these oldies, but goodies.  Since most of the people who read this blog are baseball fans, let's start with them...

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #BF

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #WM

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #EM

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #GP

1998 Upper Deck Retro Sign of the Times #FT

Upper Deck had a few different Sign of the Times baseball sets, but this was the only one produced in the 90's.  I always wondered why they chose to put these autographs into packs of UD Retro... instead of SP Authentic.  That's the product that contained all of the basketball, football, hockey,  and racing Sign of the Times autographs from that era.

The 1997 SP Authentic basketball, football, and hockey Sign of the Times autographs were the first ones that popped on my radar.  I remember trading for a bunch of them back then.  However in 2001 or 2002, I sold off the bulk of my collection and most of them were included in the sale.

I'm pretty sure this was the only one I held onto:

1997 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #NNO

Can't stand the Dallas Cowboys, but I sure love this card.

When I returned to the hobby, I picked up a bunch of other 1997's...

1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #EJ
1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #CM

1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #BH
1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #MB
1997-98 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #MS

Back in the late 2000's and early 2010's... I was chasing a lot of the late 90's autographs, because the market had softened and I was able to buy them for a fraction of the late 90's prices.

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #CB
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #DK

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #MG
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Bronze #GR

Here are two from the 1998-99 basketball set that I held onto from my original collection:

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Silver #DR

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times Silver #PN

The silver autographs were tougher to pull than the bronze, so I decided to hold onto these.  I'm glad I did, because they don't pop up very often and the last time I checked... neither were very affordable.

Okay... this post is starting to drag on and when it comes to 90's autographs, I can talk about them for days.  But nobody wants that, so here's a quick look at the rest of the my late 90's Sign of the Times autographs:

1998 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #S4

1998 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #GO

1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #KT
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #MH
1998-99 SP Authentic Sign of the Times #MS

I know autographs aren't everyone's thing.  Neither are ID cards.  But I wanted to document the fact that I'll have to wear a mask to work for probably the entire school year... maybe even longer.  I also wanted to show off some 90's autographs that have become buried and forgotten by the plethora of modern day sticker-graphs.  It's good to dig up some old cards and appreciate them.  Hopefully I'll be around in twenty years to dig out these ID cards and appreciate them as well.

By the way... if you have any ideas for next year's yearbook photo, leave them down below.  I'm always looking for new ways to give my students, colleagues, and principal a quick chuckle.

Happy Thursday and sayonara!


  1. That's awesome you get to have fun with your ID photo. Certainly a great way to mark the time. That Mathews card is SO sweet. The way the bat looks curved. Outstanding.

  2. Great photo on your part and awesome collection of cards! Always is awe of the quality and variety of fantastic cards that you have.

  3. Thumbs up! Those baseball cards aren't bad either.

  4. Love the photo IDs! The UD Retro autos are great as well - I wouldn't mind seeing a return of a UD Retro-esque set (especially if it came packaged in a lunch pail)!

  5. Love those ID photos. And my favorite card is the Eddie Mathews. Such a nice signature.

  6. Love the ID cards. And that McCovey is a beaut.

  7. I have the Rollie Fingers from that "Sign of the Times" set, which I traded for way back when I was on the forums. Autograph cards don't usually wow me, but those are just fantastic.

  8. I like your picture and agree, as much as we don't want to remember these times, it's something we have to deal with and remember hopefully down the road we all survived.

    Great autographs to!

  9. Your ID photos are awesome! No wonder your students love you!

  10. Wow, that Penny Hardaway is awesome. Really wish I didn't stop collecting basketball right around then.

  11. peter k steinberg - i noticed mathews' bat while scanning the card. i wonder what makes the bat look so curved.

    daniel wilson - thanks. your collection is impressive as well. and your lcs is 10x better than anything i have in my area

    johnnys trading spot - lol. thanks john.

    nachos grande - i totally would love to see a upper deck release another ud retro set. and i regret not holding onto my jordan lunch pail from back in the day. i'd totally use it to take my lunch to school.

    jeff b - thanks. mathews does have a great looking signatures. a lot of those old timers do.

    nick vossbrink - the mccovey is definitely one of my favorites. wish i would have paid more attention to him when i returned to the hobby and picked up more of his signatures

    nick - i agree. the design is simple and doesn't take away from the player's autograph. i just looked up the rollie. nice looking card. love seeing him represent the green and gold

    matt - thanks matt. we're constantly living tomorrow's past... it's just some memories are more memorable. figure it was important to take the time to document the first time we started the school year wearing masks in the classroom.

    matt - lol. i like to think most of them do, but i know there are a few that don't. there are so many personalities out there and it's impossible to please everyone. but i do try to make things entertaining for the students

    the lost collector - in regards to value, i totally agree. i wish i hadn't stopped collecting basketball. some of the stuff i had from the 90's is worth crazy money. on the other hand, i just lost interest in the sport over the years. i'd love to continue working on my jordan and kobe collections, but at this point even their base cards are too expensive.

  12. I love your school ID photo. My district took a photo the day I did my new employee training. I have been through several IDs, but they do not take new photos. My wife got hired by the same school district when she was 23. She turned 40 this year. Same photo.

    So many great autographs here. I usually comment on the baseball cards, so I will switch it up and say that I love the former Blues players on this post. Brett Hull, Keith Tkachuck, and Martin Brodeur (It's true).

  13. Perfect ID card! I think it’s super cool that you’re allowed to have fun with those!

    Those baseball cards are very cool. I think my favorite one is the Gaylord Perry Indians card!

  14. Love both photos on your ID cards. Great cards. The Eddie Matthews and Tony Gonzalez are my favorites. Fun post.

  15. Oh those IDs are freaking epic!!! So funny!

  16. Excellent ID card ideas - funny with a good backstory. Reminds me of some of the baseball cards I've seen with masked players.

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