A lot of people like this card. But find me a person who doesn't like it. You can't. Because it's amazing.
It's a play at the plate, with Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk waiting for the throw as Cecil Fielder barrels down on him, and some other Tiger (Travis Fryman, maybe?) tells Big Daddy to GET DOWN! Throw in the fact that it all takes place in old Comiskey Park, with its yellow police tape seat railings, and you have a card worthy of appreciation.
But the reason I'm pulling this card out again is because I'm noticing how much 1991 Topps has grown on collectors over time. If you went back in time 18 years ago, you couldn't find anyone that liked 1991 Topps. Card critics accused Topps of being old and stodgy with its 1991 design and production. They hated it. They compared it endlessly to the new card darling, Upper Deck.
Critics had a point. It was Topps' 40th anniversary edition, but they continued to trot out the same gray cardboard. The card backs weren't exciting at all. But in a lot of cases I think the criticism was too harsh, and a matter of people eager to dump on an institution. Institutions are always susceptible to criticism, and Topps is certainly a hobby institution.
What people didn't focus on, and what collectors now seem to notice, is how many great photos are in 1991 Topps. There are a bunch of them. What I liked especially was that Topps made some cards horizontal, which was the first time they had done that since 1974.
I have always loved horizontal cards (a future post on the way). I think every set should have several of them. And by taking the horizontal approach, Topps was able to produce cards like this:
I realize that Topps was merely trying to keep pace with UD, which already had gone the horizontal route with some of its cards, but at least Topps didn't mail it in with these photos.
There were plenty of great vertical photos, as well. Lots of plays at second base, or plain interesting action shots, like the Alomar photo. And look at the muscles in action on the Andre Dawson card! There are a lot of good mid-swing photos in '91 Topps.
Personally, I think the card critics should have reserved their wrath for Fleer and Donruss in 1991. You needed one of those eclipse pinhole devices to look at '91 Fleer, and the '91 Donruss cards were too cartoonish for me (plus Donruss kept repeating the same back over and over again. I hated that).
I enjoy 1991 Topps so much that I'm trying to complete the set 18 years later. I've just added it to my want list. So, that's how much I like the Carlton Fisk card. It's the best card of a great, underappreciated set. But not by me. 1991 Carlton Fisk and 1991 Topps in general, I appreciate you.