Friday, February 19, 2010

Missing in action

I am always surprised when I come across cards from the junk wax era that are new to me.

The junk wax era approximately spans the years from 1986 through 1993, and it's a period in which my collecting was very sporadic. Here is a breakdown of my collecting habits during that time:

1986: Do cards come with beer? No? Screw 'em
1987: Do cards come with beer? No? Screw 'em
1988: Do cards come with beer? No? Screw 'em
1989: Collected as if cards were made out of hops and malted barley.
1990: Spent the entire year trying not to get fired. No time for cards.
1991: Sick of obsessing over work, I bought cards to calm myself down.
1992: Became a card-obsessed fiend.
1993: Sick of obsessing over cards, I cut my habit in half. But I still bought a little of everything (and a lot of Upper Deck).

So, if you drew that up on a graph, it'd be all over the place. Peaks and valleys everywhere. But it's safe to say that 1989 and 1992/93 were my biggest collecting years.

But 1992/93 eclipsed all else because unlike 1989, I collected a wide variety of brands in 1992/93. Topps, Fleer, Donruss, Score, Upper Deck, anything that was available. And the stores that I went to DID have it all, which is surprising, because I lived in a backwater town in the early '90s.

So that gets me to the Action Packed All-Stars card at the top of the post. According to what I've read, these came out in either 1992 or 1993, smack in the middle of my peak collecting period. How in the world did these elude my awareness? Were they available in stores? How did one come across these? Because I didn't hear of Action Packed at all until I started this blog.

As you know, the cards are a bit odd. I don't know what the card stock is but it has the look and feel of a greeting card. The corners are rounded, the image is raised off the surface, and the black borders chip if you merely look at them. But I like them, even if they were sneaky little elusive suckers.

Recently, Daniel of Pack Addict opened a box of these, and he had some doubles available. I requested the Dodgers. Fortunately, he had doubles of all of the Dodgers. So now I have the whole team set! (Except some parallels, I believe).

Here they are:

Kind of quaint, but in a good way. They remind me of something my grandmother would give me when I was a kid.

The Labine card is my favorite.

The best part, of course, is that they are greats of the past. I really would have appreciated that right around 1992, because the Dodgers were horrid then. Last-place losers. And I was sick of pulling guys like Dave Hansen and Mitch Webster.

The Pack Addict also sent me some more modern-looking Dodgers:

I think he spied my want list because just about all of these cards hit want lists needs. Here are a few more:

Very nice. Thanks a bunch Daniel.

I'd like to think I now know about every card set from the junk wax era. But I have a feeling that somehow there's a sneaky set waiting to spring itself on me.

A collector's work is never done.


  1. I think the only time I saw these back then was when I bought a pack of basketball HOFers at a show in '93 or '94. I still had them when I started collecting again in '07. I think my favorite from Action Packed are the Braille football insert cards.

  2. Interesting -- I've never seen the Action Packed cards.

  3. Action Packed football cards were pretty huge at the card shop I worked at back in high school. I think they first showed up in 1991 or 1992, and they were truly high end for the time. They were something like 3 or 6 cards to a pack for $2 or $3. I had no idea they ever made baseball cards until somewhat recently, though.

  4. I love the player selection and the photo choices in Action Packed. My years of "do they come with beer/whiskey" were from 1998-2009. Now I don't have time to drink, but cards are working again for me!

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  6. (let's try again after stupid typo)

    For something that's so easy to find today, these were scarce as hell in '92/93. I only SAW one lonely pack at K-Mart back then and that was a couple of years after they came out. This is an awesome looking set, I wouldn't mind finding a set one of these decades...