Even though I wasn't all that excited by this year's Opening Day checklist, the Franchise Flashback inserts were a huge hit with me.
An all-throwback concept couple with a groovy design was enough for me to label it as the Insert Set of the Year. I stand by that statement, mainly because these Franchise Flashbacks got me to do something I've never done before. I went and bought the entire 20-card set on Ebay for a tick under seven bucks, shipped, which I thought was a heck of a steal. (That's 35 cents per.)
Because of how much I love them, I wanted to give each and every insert a share of the spotlight on this blog. I just wasn't sure how to do it. In the end, I decided that these are the types of cards that speak for themselves, ones that don't need a whole lot of commentary.
So, here tonight, for your viewing pleasure, I am ecstatic to present 2015 Opening Day's "Franchise Flashbacks" insert set in its entirety, starting with Mr. Freeman above.
Player: Freedie Freeman
Throwback Uniform: 1914 Boston Braves
Player: Anthony Rizzo
Throwback Uniform: 1914 Chicago Chi-Feds (Federal League)
Player: Adrian Beltre
Throwback Uniform: Early 1900s Fort Wayne Black Panthers (Negro Leagues)
Player: Alex Gordon
Throwback Uniform: Kansas City Monarchs (Negro Leagues -- no year given)
Player: Nick Castellanos
Throwback Uniform: Detroit Stars (Negro Leagues -- no year given)
Player: Julio Teheran
Throwback Uniform: Atlanta Black Crackers (Negro Leagues -- no year given)
Players: Gregor Blanco and Tim Lincecum
Throwback Uniform: 1946 San Francisco Sea Lions (Negro Leagues)
Player: Jose Altuve
Throwback Uniform: 1949-50 Houston Eagles (Negro Leagues)
Player: Manny Machado
Throwback Uniform: 1954 Baltimore Orioles
Player: Starlin Castro
Throwback Uniform: 1964 Chicago Cubs
Player: Chase Utley
Throwback Uniform: 1964 Philadelphia Phillies
Player: Craig Kimbrel
Throwback Uniform: 1974 Atlanta Braves
Player: George Springer
Throwback Uniform: 1979 Houston Astros
Player: Robinson Cano
Throwback Uniform: 1979 Seattle Mariners
Player: Danny Santana
Throwback Uniform: 1970s-80s Minnesota Twins
Players: Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy
Throwback Uniform: 1978-93 Milwaukee Brewers
Players: Jered Weaver and Mike Trout
Throwback Uniform: 1970s-80s California Angels
Favorite Card: Tim Lincecum, for the pillow over the stomach and the very Woody Allen-esque disguise.
Favorite Throwback Uniform: Chi-Feds all the way! (Close runners-up include the '64 Cubs and the Fort Worth Black Panthers duds. And I'd be remiss without mentioning the Technicolor Astros uniforms.)
Favorite Aspect of the Set (besides the uniforms themselves): Most cards have precise info on the back regarding the specific details of the throwbacks in question, which helped with obscure squads like the Houston Eagles and San Francisco Sea Lions.
What I Could Do Without: I don't know that repetition of a few teams' throwbacks (Giants/Sea Lions, Brewers, Angels) was necessary, but this is a pretty air-tight insert set otherwise.
Best Non-Lincecum Photo Choice: Gregor Blanco, because dugout shots are all but extinct in today's hobby.
Best Old-Time Team Name: Atlanta Black Crackers, no doubt.
Is It Still the Insert Set of the Year? You bet!