Monday, September 7, 2009

Cardboard appreciation: 2009 O-Pee-Chee black-bordered Andre Ethier

(Happy Labor Day, all! Let's celebrate with the 47th edition of Cardboard Appreciation! Enjoy the cards!):

The idea of the black-bordered parallel is nothing new. I don't know exactly when it began, but the first time I recall coming across it was in 1992 with the Leaf set.

It's an extremely simple idea, and I'm almost embarrassed by how much I still enjoy black-bordered parallels after all these years. In fact, if I had any money, I'd probably be pursuing all the black-bordered cards in this year's O-Pee-Chee set.

This Andre Ethier OPC parallel was sent to me by Kevin of the great Orioles Card-O-the-Day site. Ethier is the only Dodger that I still need from the base OPC set. But there are a number of black-bordered Dodgers that I've yet to obtain.

I think I enjoy the black so much because, unlike the gold parallels -- an idea that I find so old and tired that I think it should be taken outside and shot -- black-bordered parallels draw more attention to the photo. I'm not going to say that they make the photo "pop," because I want to claw my eyes out when people say a photo or design on a card "pops." Just writing it gives me the willies. Please, everyone, come to an agreement: football players and announcers must stop using the phrase "run the table," and EVERYONE must stop saying that pictures or photos "pop." End of tangential rant.

So, what I thought it would be fun to do, was to slap some black borders on some familiar sets from the olden days, back when "parallel" was something that you didn't want your instructor to mention when you were practicing parking drills during driver's ed.

I think it will show you that black-bordered parallels is an idea that may never grow old.

Here is example No. 1. It is one of several 1993 Upper Deck cards that Kevin sent me to help finish off my set (he also sent several Dodger wants from early Upper Deck and mid-1990s Donruss). Everyone knows how much I like this set. What would it look like with a black border?

 Wow. Awesome, huh? A black border would go great with Upper Deck's amazing photography in this set.

How about a tired set from Overproduction Central -- 1989 Topps. I want to see another one of these cards like I want to hear "Eye of the Tiger," by Survivor one more time in my life. Let's fix it up a bit.

 Much better, I think. It looks a little like this year's OPC set, don't you think? Except, Claudell is actually outdoors, performing a task in his chosen field, unlike half of the players in the OPC set.

How about a much-maligned set -- 1982 Fleer? This is one of my favorite cards in the set. There were several variations of this card. The other two were errors, if I remember right. But I'm going to add yet another variation.

 Oh, that is fantastic. I like that card a lot. Fleer, why didn't you do this in 1982? You might still be around.

How about one of the most colorful sets from the 1970s? On this 1972 card, Larry Hisle is listed with the Dodgers, but wearing a Phillies uniform. And the edge of his cap has been painted blue, because that screams Dodgers, right? No one is going to notice the red pinstripes or anything.

. The black might be too much with the bright 1972 border.

I thought it would be interesting to try it with an older set from the 1960s, the era of the hatless ballplayer. Let's give Ken Boyer a modern look.

Now, I like that a lot. You could forgive a whole lot of airbrushing and hatless players with a simple, black border.

How would black look on perhaps the dullest card design ever, 1961 Topps? It can't hurt, can it? Maybe Topps can add a black border to the 2010 Heritage design next year, because I fear using the '61 design with those cards is going to bore a few collectors.

 I like it better already. How about it, Topps?

 And, look, there's the blue refractor. You can't go wrong with blue either. That's a card I can appreciate, too.


  1. Now if they could only consistently make a black bordered card that isn't highly sensitive condition-wise, then I'd be all in favor of more varied border colors.

  2. I lol'd at the blue refractor.
    I think you're on to something with the black borders making the cards look nicer. Black borders look really nice with about everything. The Victor Villanueva card and the Darrell Jackson card look the best in my opinion because the black border makes the upper deck logo stand out and it blends in with the background to make it look like a gradient background. The Jackson card has the same effect, but would probably look better with a logo at the top instead of the bottom.

  3. The '89 Topps is gorgeous! Red and black are our HS colors. Great idea.

  4. I like the black-bordered '72 the best I think. It's at least in a tie with the '82 Fleer, but that's more because the icy blue goes perfectly on black regardless, so the '72 is more impressive to me.

  5. All baseball cards on earth should have the ability to become blue refractors if and when they wish.

    Except for 1972 Topps, which is perfect.

  6. Wow! I would love a chance to buy a 1993 Upper Deck set with black borders!

    They look absolutely incredible!

    Nick J.