Finding the 50 best card backs of all-time was more difficult than I thought it would be. For a little while, I thought I'd have to cut it down to the 27 best card backs of all-time.
But with diligent persistence (is that as bad as saying "completely destroyed"?), I came up with 50 candidates, and a couple more.
For those who might still be confused about what's going on here, I am doing a countdown of the 50 best card backs put out in a certain year, by a certain set-maker, during our grand baseball card history. For example, if 1988 Donruss produced one of the top 50 best card backs (and we can all agree it did not), then I would do a review of the 1988 Donruss card back during the countdown.
Most of the sets in this countdown come from the last 60 years. In fact, I believe all of them do. I like early 20th century cards as much as the next person, but let's face it, a block of text or an advertisement that says "the country's best 10-cent cigar" just isn't that riveting of a card back.
That's bad news for sets like Goudey or 1950s Bowman, which slapped a 17-line bio on the back of the card and walked away. But we have standards here.
In fact, I've even developed a point system to rank the best card backs. The point system features categories with points rewarded for each category and some of the categories even have sub-categories, and other categories feature a sliding scale.
Good god, I'm a nerd.
I'm not going to reveal the point system here, because I don't want to get into it and you'd probably be bored to pieces. But to give you an idea of what I am looking for, here is the back of the 1995 Score Mike Piazza card:
And here is the Piazza card marked up after I graded the 1995 Score card back: