Monday, November 27, 2017

Throwin' it Back to the Mid-90s on Black Friday

I hate Black Friday. Only once in my life was I working a retail job on Black Friday… I was in high school and worked at Shopko. I worked at the one-hour photo counter and I remember people running… RUNNING… after the doors were opened to get to the BIG DEAL sale item in the electronics department. It was a VCR marked all the way down to $50. A little part of me died seeing grown people do that. Thankfully, I never had to see anything like that in person again.

So I stay in on the day after Thanksgiving. Except this year. My wife was working and I was bored, so I went to Goodwill. They were, unknown to me, actually having a sale, but it was only marginally more busy than usual. I’ve had pretty good luck find cards at this location but I’d never found anything quite like this. A bunch of mid-90s premium lots – kept in hard plastic boxes. I picked up a few – and a 1990 Score factory set – and was surprised when my total only came to $25. Seems that everything was 25% off. Nifty! This means my 1990 Score set only cost me $3.50. About a tenth of what I paid for it new when I was eight years old.

These purchases came with a bit of mystery. Were these full set? Randos? Did they match the clippings packaged with each box? I ended up being presently surprised. The first one I opened was the 1995 Leak Limited box. It contained a full base set.

These cards are shiny as hell but, I’m sorry to say, I don’t dig them too much. I don’t mind shiny, but the photos are way too straightforward. It is, to me, kind of a blah-looking set. Although it’s one of the few sets I’ve known that actually uses holographic foil for the card numbers. That was the ‘90s… the foil-overload era.

But that was not all in the case. I also found a set of the gold semi-parallel set. These are barely distinguishable from the base set, only with a slightly different tint to the shine. I also found a set of the “Bat Patrol” insert (WOW CREATIVE). These actually might be the best-looking of the bunch so far. 
And then I found these four gems…

Now these I dig. This is a wooden-fronted Lumberjacks insert set. They are actually printed on real wood, which makes each card unique in appearance. They are numbered out of 5,000 and were seeded one in every 75 packs – steep odds way back when. I’ve already had claims put in on the Mondesi and the Cecil, and I’m going to keep the Piazza and the McGriff.

Next was the 1995 Upper Deck SP box. This one was missing only the Derek Jeter. The first 30 cards of the set are die-cut.

Yeah! Brett and Nolan bad-ass. And check out this Hideo Nomo rookie card… probably one of the hottest cards of 1995.

I like this set. It’s got some great and clever photography.
How often do you see Ozzie Smith booting a grounder?

Or Rod Beck about to beat someone’s ass?

Or Ray Lankford upside down?

But this is probably my favorite card in the set. Pure and beautiful mid-90s baseball.

This one came with some inserts as well. 

The Platinum Power set is missing just one card. Although I really fail to see the appeal in it. That background… blech.

I preferred the pair of Special FX cards – another tough pull. I got a Jeff Montgomery and this Piazza. Hold it at an angle and he smiles as you. Creepy!

The last mystery-ish box was labeled “1994 Sportflics Rookie & Traded.” I knew that this one had an A-Rod rookie in it and was sorely disappointed when it turned out to be one card (guess which one?) short. 

Still, this is a fun set. It had lots of Brewers and a few big names. Checking back in my issues of Collector’s Sportslook that I salvaged from the basement recently, I learned that Pinnacle (who owned the Sportflics name) had nearly canceled this set in the wake of the 1994 players’ strike. They ended up giving it a limited release and it was – well into the 1995 season – a very hot item. My June ’95 price book lists the set at $50 with this Matt Williams insert listed at $20.

Oh those wacky ‘90s.

But my favorite get of the day was probably my 1990s Score set. As I mentioned early, I had one of these when I was a kid and flipping through these was a lot of fun. This one here…

… this was well worth the price of the set alone. I’m glad to have one of these back in my collection.

Odd thing about this set is the weird printing mistakes on some of the green-bordered cards.

Too much black ink, I suppose. A metaphor for the card industry in 1990 if there ever was one.

Aside from the Score set, I’m going to pluck through these for some choice players and leave the rest for trades. See something you fancy? Lemme know.


  1. Awesome Goodwill grab! I have never had much luck at Goodwill. That SP Griffey brings back a lot of memories.

  2. That's pretty cool, I never have card luck at stores like that.

    I would've claimed the Mondesi lumberjack if I saw it before. Piazza FX is of interest to me if you're so inclined.

  3. I always go to my Goodwill hoping to find cards, but I almost never do. On the rare occasion I find some, they're usually shoeboxes full of late '80s stuff for $20 -- nothing NEARLY as good as this fantastic find. I love the '95 SP set in particular and would've been all over that at such a low price.

  4. Mid 90's grab bags!!!! That is really cool. I'm always trying to hunt down obscure Pirate releases from this era. Thanks for sharing as I think I need to make a trip to my local Goodwill.

  5. That is really great stuff. I'd be interested in the Clark pictured and the Montgomery you mentioned if they are available. Thanks!

  6. That Rod Beck card is 1980s Fleer level awesome.

  7. Awesome find! I never have any luck in finding cards at Goodwill. I really like that Kenny Lofton (and any other Indians you may have come across) card.

  8. Chico was a Pilot for about 166 days, and spent a good chunk of '69 spring training with 'em, just as Lou Piniella on-the-books big league stats with 'em, but if you dig a little, you can find a picture of him in uniform. I have a card (it's a custom, made by a friend) of Chico in uniform, even!

  9. two Piazzas needed for my PC. I've donated literally thousands of cards to my local Salvation Army. I'm a serious nerd about it too, packing the boxes so there are minimal dupes and great card selection with stars and rookies. These are cards I can't really trade anymore because I've sent them around more than once already.