Thursday, May 17, 2012

Over/under (rated)

One thing I've always enjoyed about the hobby is the vast amount of different opinions among collectors.

While I've heard debates on many card-related topics over the years, I think the one most discussed amongst hobbyists is which sets are good, and which aren't so good. (That's putting it extremely lightly.)

I found that to be alive and well as I was reading over the comments in Night Owl's recent contest post.

I'm not sure on the exact date, but I believe I'm closing in on a year since I was introduced to the blogosphere, thanks to Mr. Owl's popular blog. I read it every day for a few months before deciding to start my own blog. (I know it was sometime during the late spring/early summer last year.)

Ever since I started reading his blog, I've noticed that I'm usually in agreement with his topics, Donruss being no exception.

I agree with Night Owl that 1984 was one of the best years for Donruss. In my opinion, it was the best.

Even though I've had a hard time finding anything from the set over the years, I love what little I have in my collection. The yellow lines that encapsulate the team name reminds me of a shooting star for some reason, something I've always thought was neat. The rest of the card is extremely clean, dedicated to the photo and nothing else. (For the record, I voted '83 to '84 as the "biggest improvement".)

Donruss managed to snap a great shot of Rusty Staub choking up on the bat for his '84 issue, something you just don't see a lot of in the game anymore.

I found that not everyone was as sold on '84 Donruss as I was after reading over the comments on Night Owl's Donruss post. One word in particular came up a few times.


I'm usually with the majority in which sets I like and don't like.

There's not a "mainstream" in baseball cards per se. But there are sets that everyone seems to like ('87 Topps), and then there's others that are continually bashed around the baseball card community (1996 Donruss, awful).

Over the years, I haven't thought of too many sets as being "overrated". It took me a while to come up with one, but I probably should've thought of it a lot sooner.

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen.

"The best set of 2011", as I heard many call it.

I didn't have much of a budget for cards for most of last year, so I only bought a single rack pack of 2011 GQ. I wanted to see what all the hype was about.

It's a decent set, I'll admit. But it wasn't that great. It was just OK. Not a great design, but not bad by any means. I still think the making-photos-look-like-paintings thing wore out its welcome a few years ago, in my opinion. (Perhaps the case with A&G, but that's for a different post.)

But that's the great thing about cards.

I have my opinion, and everyone else has theirs. As long as people don't start bashing each other, I don't mind listening to people who love Gypsy Queen in the least. (Which is one of the reasons I'm starting to shy away from trading forums since I entered the blogosphere, but again, that's for another post.)

To each their own.

Then there's the other side of the coin.


I can't really think of a set off-hand that everyone seems to hate, but I like. But there are a few that are just plain ignored by the rest of the card community.

My personal favorite "underrated" set is 1998 Pinnacle.

Pinnacle as a whole doesn't get a lot of publicity. I always liked the "darkness" of the '92 set.

I wasn't always sold on Pinnacle, however. That changed as I was looking through a dime box at March's card show.

I came across a 3200-count box of mostly mid-90s base cards, which was great because I can never seem to find cards from those years anywhere. A good majority of the box was comprised of Pinnacle.

I didn't see one posed shot in all the stacks of Pinnacle.

While there have been some memorable poses over the years, I usually prefer an action shot to a generic pose for the most part. Pinnacle featured some absolute beauties that I'd never seen before. How about a play at the plate at the first ever Cubs-Sox interleague series? Or a beach ball being discarded? Pinnacle had it.

Just check this out.

Pinnacle's final release in '98 is my personal favorite. While there's foil lettering, it's actually easy to read and is actually a positive aspect of the card.

From what I saw, most of the base cards have terrific action shots, one of the best being card #116, Kevin Brown. Although I've heard that Brown was a less-than-ideal role model during his time in the big leagues, I wasn't going to pass this one up. It shows the immediate aftermath of his no-hitter against the Giants on June 10, 1997.

I count five celebrating players all squeezed into that frame.

Others probably aren't as high on Pinnacle as I am, and that's fine. When it comes to baseball cards, I love hearing different opinions on every set, something I've learned since my trek into the blogosphere.

After all, our hobby would probably get pretty boring without opinions, wouldn't it?


AdamE said...

Pinnacle was my favorite brand of all. Their parallels and inserts were amazing.

night owl said...

Pinnacle had a couple weird sets. Otherwise, they were pretty fine.

'84 Donruss, to me, clearly stands out above other Donruss sets, especially '80s Donruss. The design puts more focus on the photo (unlike '85, '86) and some of the photos are great, certainly no worse than any other Donruss set.

I'm with you entirely on GQ.

Rosenort said...

1992 pinnacle is in my top 5 set designs of all time

Marcus said...

me too!