Thursday, July 22, 2010
Card back countdown: #46 - 1999 Skybox Premium
I don't believe the word "premium" should have anything to do with baseball cards.
In fact, I don't enjoy the word "premium" period. Premium gas? I've been wise to that scam for years. Premium cigars? Never been a smoker. Premium dog food? My dog eats paper that he just vomited. He seems perfectly happy with the basics. Premium crackers? Aren't those the dry square things that turn the inside of your mouth into fabric? No thanks.
So, when Skybox came out with a set called "Premium" in 1999, I ignored it. Avidly.
Well, that's not entirely true. I did ignore it. But that's only because I ignored everything about card collecting in 1999. Between the Y2K bunker and cleaning up after my one-year-old, I didn't have time for cardboard.
Then, years later, when I actually found a way for my brain to justify writing a blog at 4:19 in the morning, I came across this set called "Premium," scoffed at the card front, turned it over and saw this:
"My goodness," I said to no one because it was 4:19 in the morning, "what an amazing-looking back. THAT should be the FRONT of the card."
And I still think that. What a great look for a card set. The front of a card set. The Premium backs, which I assume were inspired by old-style boxing posters, are among the best-looking card backs in this entire countdown.
The bottom of the card gets too jumbled, with the vital stats and the uniform number and the card number and the legalese and the logos. The sideways stats can be off-putting, too. That spoils things a little.
But the LOOK is definitely there. The red-on-black color scheme makes an immediate impression. And the dramatic head shots certainly draw your attention. Many of the players look ready to go a few rounds.
I have very few of these cards, so I'm not entirely sure whether each player's full career stats are featured on the back. But, if the Sheffield card is an indication, Skybox Premium attempted to fit every number in there, even if it had to cut off the side of a player's head.
Fortunately, some players were blessed with tall, skinny heads, and publishing complete stats wasn't a problem.
Best of the set:
I have way too few of these cards to judge a best of the set. But I imagine the Mondesi card is right up there.
(Previous card back countdown selections):
50. 1978 SSPC Yankee Yearbook
49. 1993 Score
48. 1999 Skybox Thunder
47. 2000 Upper Deck