Thursday, August 17, 2017

Appreciation Of Being Action Packed

While my sister was collecting Mood Rings, Bubble Watches, and Feather Accessorized items, I was still into collecting sports cards and watching cartoons in 1995.

Up to this point I haven't mentioned anything about my younger sister, but yes, she exists. I mostly spent my time keeping her away from destroying my card collection when she was having one of her hissy-fit meltdowns something that happened often.

We didn't have a lot in common besides our parents. But, one thing we did have in common is appreciating the little things in life which is something I still do today. Make every big or little moment count, if someone buys you something you treasure it no matter if you like it or not, and what you do own, treat it with respect and don't destroy it. My parents weren't the richest people by any means and what we did have for clothing, shoes, and other items we knew we had to put it to its best use and treasure it for as long as we could because my father worked hard for what we did have. We were also fortunate to know a lot of people who donated hand-me-downs and helped us out when they could. I think a lot of today's youth is missing this kind of respect in their lives as today's motto feels, the bigger the better and they are always needing an upgrade to something. I giggle to myself as  I am still typing on an old desktop doing a blog and not some fancy laptop.

I know I discuss my father and how invested he was in the hobby often, but he didn't have a lot to invest and what he did invest was only because he liked having those bonding times between us. It seems like we bought a lot of cards, but it really wasn't that much.

What we did have though, I spent time sorting, organizing in binders, putting in top loaders and treating with respect. Every card mattered no matter what it was. I appreciated every single one knowing what it represented. I still do the same with every card I have.

Speaking of appreciation, I really appreciated 1995 Action Packed football. It didn't have a lot of glimmer and glam but it did have something called embossing, which was new to me in the hobby.

This 126 card set featured embossed color action photos, team's helmet, player's name and the words Action Packed 1995. If you don't know what embossing is, it takes those items and "raises them" giving them a textured feel.

Here is a small gallery of the cards. It his hard to see the embossing on here but focus on the last name on the right as they may give you the easiest way to spot it.








The rookies featured the names on the left. They were also still in their college uniforms with the team logo representing where they got drafted.




I never pulled any of the inserts which included, 24Kt Gold, Armed Forces, G-Force and Rocket Man, but I did pull quite a few of the one in six packs "Quick Silver" parallel. The parallel took the base cards and added a foil background on the front of the card and put the words "Quick Silver" ghosted behind the writing on the back.


 
I always thought the product name was a perfect fit. The embossing of the card helped give it a action packed feel like the players were jumping out at you.

This was just one of three Action Packed releases for football in 1995. The other two were Rookies and Stars and Monday Night Football which I also busted a little of each.

I still have all of my Action Packed cards to this day and appreciate them as much as I did back then. I also still have my sister, haha, who I appreciate more now then I did then too. Because when you start to get older, you really appreciate people and things more then you ever did.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Pinnacle Of 1995

The year was 1995 and my sport card collection continued to grow. We were still picking up packs left and right from the grocery store and pharmacy, I was increasing some trading with my friends on recess and we had just discovered a new place that sold cards, the local craft store.

This store was mainly craft items, but had a few odds and ends mixed in as well. It was called May Store. 

My grandmother, the one who had held onto a few of my childhood toys til she passed away in '04, had wanted my father and I to run an errand for her to the May Store since she was no longer able to driver herself. How could we say no to a woman who was always so generous in helping others and one that despite her diabetes acting up, held each family holiday event at her house with her homemade stuffing, homemade beef stew, and tremendous raisin pie (sounds gross but really isn't).

So we took the trip expecting it to be a quick run in and out, well, that wasn't the case. We walked into the store and immediately discovered a whole shelf display of cardboard goodness. There were old friends of 1995 Fleer football, 1995 Collectors Choice baseball, 1995 Sport Flix and one new one called, 1995 Pinnacle Football.

How could we resist not trying out a new product? So we did.

We were quite impressed with the base card design. Full bleed photography with a football shape enclosing the players name and position at the bottom. 

There were some great action shots as well.








The rookies were "posed" type photos most likely taken at the premier.


This was one of my favorites of the rookies.

The base set was 250 cards consisting of veterans, rookies and checklists. Card #251 was issued in Jumbo Packs and was Deion's first card Cowboys card. We didn't find any jumbo packs there so I never landed that card.

In one of our packs that day, we pulled this card to find out later on it was a Trophy Collection parallel that fell 1:4 packs. The dufex technology made these cards really stand out.


We had gone back a few more times and picked up a few more packs each trip. We never hit anything big other than the Trophy Collection parallels.

One card that one of my friends had pulled was one of these Clear Shots that fell 1:60 packs. It was a beautiful mix of acetate and rainbow cardboard foil. I really wanted one but never did end up with one.
 

The Clear Shots cards are also officially on the Sets I Am Seeking list. So if you got any and wanna donate them, let me know! I currently have none so any will help.

Pinnacle also had these cool finds in 1995 that includes, Team Pinnacle  that fell 1:90 packs, Artist's Proof parallels that fell 1:48 packs and Showcase that fell 1:18 packs.

The other thing I wished I had was my grandmother's raisin pie recipe.  I forgot to grab it when I had the chance and now it's lost forever. However, I did always keep her homemade stuffing one we did together every year that's really easy to make.

It's so easy that I will share it. Here's the recipe:
Take 2 loaves of day old set out bread crumbled up, one onion,  some Bells seasoning to your taste, a couple cups of boiling water. Mix it together and bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 14, 2017

It Was The Collectors Choice

Up to this point, I hadn't busted any baseball. Just like with basketball, I didn't have much baseball knowledge at all as my focal point was football. Luckily, my sports fanatic father did. He was a die hard Yankees fan. Funny thing about our origins sometimes, we may follow someone else's steps. I later on became a Yankees fan because of him and we will hear about that in 1996.

Even though I didn't know much about the sport or the players, I think when packs of 1995 Collectors Choice hit the shelves my father looked at that as an opportunity to open me up to it. The price was fit our budget as well with it only going for .99 a pack for a 12 card pack.

The base set was huge, we don't see much of this today, it was also one single series and a whopping 530 cards. The base set was simple with a white border and action photography.
 
But, for me at 12 years of age, it was the subsets that caught my eye.

Rookie Class were the first cards in the set. They made up numbers 1-27 in the set. Of course at the time with the confusion that baseball can cause, I thought I had a Derek Jeter rookie card. I never did pull the real key rookie of the product, Hideo Nomo.
 
 
Future Foundation were those upcoming stars that a team could build around. I had put these into rookie binders at the time as well.
 
Best of the 90's made up card numbers 51-65 and were key players on their 90's teams
 
 
What's The Call was a goofy subset making up numbers 86-90 but somewhat eye appealing. It was truly what a kid friendly product needed.
 
There were a couple cool inserts but not loaded by any means. There were two parallels and one insert set to chase.

Silver Signature parallel fell one-per-pack taking a players signature and making it facsimile silver.

 
The tougher one per box Gold Signature parallel taking a players signature and making it facsimile Gold

And You Crash The Game fell 1:5 packs and also had two parallels. Gold and Silver. I never pulled a Gold however. These were fun for sure. It was a redemption card of sorts and if a featured player does their feat on the day on the card posted, you could exchange that card in for a set of You Crash The Game cards. Whatever happened to fun promotions like this in sports cards today?
 
 
Did Collectors Choice get me into watching baseball? No. Did it peak my interest in getting more baseball cards? Absolutely. This is what you would call my baseball card origin and it only grew from here on out.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I'm Batman!!

Show of shares on this post, how many of you read the title of this post in Batman's voice? I know I did and I typed it.

Other than my usual Disney cartoon block I watched after school, I had to make sure I tuned in for Batman:The Animated Series as well. The show ran for 3 years from 1992-1995 on Fox Kids. The cartoon for the final 15 episodes had changed its name to The Adventures Of Batman And Robin. Not sure why, but it did.

The show had some great story lines, incredible animation and the best villains. Some of them include, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, the Penguin, the Joker, Harley Quinn, the Mad Hatter, the Riddler, Catwoman, Two-Face and my favorite Clayface.

The show was so popular it ranked second in the best animated series only losing out to The Simpsons, spawned a toy line, all of the toys are on my want list, and had some trading cards from Skybox in 1995.

I was lucky to bust one pack. I am not sure what kind of pack it was as most of these packs had 8 cards per pack and this is 11 cards. I can't remember the details on that but here is what I got from it. I have had these stored in a 50 ct plastic box all these years.

 
Pop-Up of Batgirl

 
Coloring card. Looks to me like they were trying to draw kids in. Literally. A puzzle card as well. I left it whole as puzzles are my enemy. I can't even put together a border.

 
And one of the coolest things, a "stamped" piece of gum. It held up over time as well.
 
 
I think my pack break went pretty well. I might try to track down a few more packs to open for fun but I am currently more interested in adding some figures from the show. Particularly Batman, Robin and Clayface. 

This was actually my only other non-sport pack bust of 1995. We will continue to check out my busting origin through sports from here on out.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Remember When....

Remember a time when stamps were .32, when bread was $1 a loaf ,rent was only $550 on average and when you had a shot at an autograph card at $1.99? I do.

1995 was the year and the only way you could land an autograph that cheap was purchasing packs of 1995 Pro Line football. Each hobby or retail box of 1995 Pro Line guaranteed one autograph randomly inserted within. The autographs were also on-card and some were even hand numbered.

The set was produced by Classic who had made plenty of other products. Remember a time when more than one company could have a pro license? Boy, those sure were the days. There were so many buying options and it was AWESOME.

The base card set is really deep with 400 cards. The design is full color photography with the player's name, position and team name printed in white lettering near the bottom. I think it looks really sharp.





The rookie cards featured rookies in college uniforms but had updated teams at the bottom.

The pharmacy I found these at only carried the retail version of the product and the only parallel I could find in packs were the one-per-pack silvers. Hobby had other parallels to chase that were numbered.

Another card you could find one-per-box was Grand Gainers. This insert line had both rookies and veterans and featured a metallic background with colorful player in front.

Another insert that came randomly in packs, were these sick looking foil Pro Bowl Die-Cut inserts. This is another set that I will be chasing down and will be adding it to Sets I Am Seeking list. I have a few of these cards but I have many more to chase of the 30 card set.




Now you are probably wondering about those autographs, well, I never pulled one. Sorry for the letdown on this. I know I kinda led this post up to that. But, remember I did say gave you a shot at one for $1.99. I just never had the luck. I did however kept on buying Pro Line trying to chase one down while trying to build the set and find the inserts. There wasn't anything about the product I didn't like and I also really wanted to get my first autograph card.

I had to wait on my first autograph card however til 1997. More on that to come.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Trading With Kids On Recess

Trading had just become a new thing to me, well trading cards that is. We always traded snacks. Whoever was willing to give up their Dunkaroos or Fruit Gushers were the most popular and kings of the classroom. That wasn't me however. I wasn't giving up my frosting to dunk my cookies in for nothing!

However, trading cards was a different story. My friends began taking some of their cards to school to show me what they had. A lot of the kids who collected that year had a product called 1995 Pinnacle Club Collection.

I had just recently picked up some packs of the product myself and brought my showings to the table. Well, the swing set, but you get the point.

The product didn't bring a lot of excitement in terms of inserts as I don't think any of us had pulled one or brought it to the table if we did. What the product did bring was multiple cards of your favorite players and teams and as kids that was the main starting point for us. Not to mention, the pricing was affordable as well.

Here were the options for inserts if we had pulled some, Arms Race fell 1:18 packs, Aerial Assault fell 1:36 packs, Spotlight fell 1:90 packs and Pin Redemption fell 1:24 packs.

The 261 card base set had members of the NFL Quarterback Club and each player had nine cards a piece. The main base cards had full bleed photography with the "Quarterback Club" logo and the player's name listed at the bottom against a gold foil background.  The cards did look nice and the set was full of stars of the 90's like these guys,







There were subsets as well and they had fun themes and good designs.  These counted as apart of the players nine cards and each player had three subsets a piece.


 

 
Trading was a lot of fun on recess and I can't count the many times I helped out Cowboy fans with Emmitt and Aikman to get Dave Brown and Phil Simms.

Looking at how their careers ended, it's probably not a move I would make today.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cards In Motion

Up to this point, I had cards that were shiny, cards that looked cool, and cards that had 3D appeal, but none that moved. Yes, at one point, with a flix, I mean with a flick/tilt of a card you could make the player move from one position to another. Sport card innovation at it's finest when they started utilizing lenticular cards back in 1983 but sadly wasn't discovered by me til 1995.

Jumbo packs of 1995 Sport Flix were plentiful at my local pharmacy and I bought plenty of them. Yes, a pharmacy did at one time carry cards and I know Rite Aid does some today but not like back then. Cards in the 90's could be found everywhere. Today, I am lucky to find a few packs at my Walmart which is an hour drive as opposed to the pharmacy that's a 10 minute one.

1995 Sport Flix Football had 175 cards in the base set to collect. There were 118 regular cards, 30 rookie cards, 20 Game Winners cards and 7 checklists. I tried my best to capture what one of these cards in motion looks like with this "ministry of defense" card. I think I did pretty well with it. He goes from a Defensive End position up to a pass rush position against a Buccaneers offensive lineman with just a tilt of the card.


Two of the subsets in Game Winners and


The checklists also move.


However, the rookies weren't as cool as the players didn't move and only their name did. They were very colorful though.



The product had Artist Proof parallels which I was never fortunate enough to pull a single one. Most of what I got was base cards.

When it came to inserts, I pulled one from many, many breaks and it was only 1:8 packs to be found. But, at the time it was a good one featuring top players in the game.

I pulled a Man 2 Man of Troy Aikman/Dan Marino. Even though the card didn't move, it looked really cool with the 3D appeal and a football that seemed to jump out at you. Since then I have added some others from a trade with 90's Niche Football Card Blog. I really want to chase down the 12 card set.

Here is what I have so far:
Here is the full checklist of ones I need:
Emmitt Smith / Marshall Faulk 
Drew Bledsoe / Kerry Collins
Barry Sanders / Ki-Jana Carter
John Elway / Heath Shuler  
Jerry Rice / J.J. Stokes 
Kordell Stewart / Warren Moon  
Brett Favre / Jeff Blake 
For now, this will go under my tab of Sets I Am Seeking. Hopefully all of those sets will someday will fill up my PC.

Other inserts I missed out on in this product were, ProMotion, Rolling Thunder, and Rookie Lightning.

Speaking on missing out, I believe this was the last year they made football Sport Flix cards and I think the hobby is really missing out on something like this. They only existed for one more year baseball as well.

I have spoken to Tracy Hackler of Panini America before about bringing back some of these great Pinnacle products into today's collecting. Not sure if I made my case enough, but you never know.