Friday, July 9, 2010

Card back countdown: #49 - 1993 Score

Score had a hell of a time getting my attention during the height of the junk wax era.

For some reason, I completely missed its first offering in the card collecting arena, the 1988 set with the brightly colored borders. My awakening to Score came in 1989. I collected a little, but was not impressed. After a mini-hiatus from collecting in 1990, I attempted to collect every set issued in 1991 and accumulated a city block worth of '91 Score.

But I still didn't care. Not thrilled with 1992 Score, either. Orange, green and purple? Bleah.

The sets were too simple. The card backs, too. Although the 1988 set was special in a way that will allow it to make the countdown at a later date, the sets that followed merely mimicked the same formula -- vital statistics, complete batting/pitching stats, a large mug shot, and reams and reams of bio information. It became numbingly repetitious.

The 1993 set offered more of the same when it came to the back of the card.

But, for me, there was a difference. Amid the familiar vitals, complete stats, mug, and text upon text, was a new way to frame the data. The layout, both front and back, was color-coded according to the team's colors. This was a first for Score, and it looked very nice.

The logo on the back was not new -- Score did it in 1989 and 1992. But placed amid the team colors, it seemed to stand out more, like it belonged.

1993 Score also featured a technique that Upper Deck used a lot in its 1990s sets -- design continuity between the front of the card and the back. That is a nice touch. Plus, I just plain like the design of  '93 Score.

Where 1993 Score falters is in readability. The card backs aren't impossible to read, but overlapping type onto the Score logo in the bio is rather distracting. It's difficult enough to focus on all that Score wants to tell you without having to fight the underlying logo, too.

The stats also are a bit squashed, as was illustrated especially on the Paul Molitor card.

However, it's a very pleasing set-up overall, Even though it shares a lot of characteristics with earlier Score sets, 1993 did enough to make the backs stand out a little bit more.

There was a lot of junk in the junk wax era. Some of the card sets, including the card backs, were awful. Score managed to do enough in '93 to make the countdown at No. 49.

Best of the set:

I always liked ballplayers with speed to burn. When a new one arrived, I took note immediately.

One of those players was Chuck Carr. What a great name for a stolen base threat. But I couldn't like him when he came up with the Mets. The Mets were evil at that particular time (they're still not exactly beloved around here).

When Carr was traded to the Cardinals, I was happy. I could finally root for him. I thought his '93 Score card looked great. Bright, Cardinal red colors. The touch of blue on Carr's helmet, as well as in the background of the position designation on the front of the card, and in the background of the number on the back of the card, was perfect.

Carr lasted just 22 games with St. Louis. He was picked by the Marlins in the expansion draft and made a big initial impact, finishing fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 1993. The career hit a downward slide after that and Carr never did become the next Lou Brock. But his '93 Score card still looks cool.

(Previous card back countdown selections):

50. 1978 SSPC Yankee Yearbook

1 comment:

  1. This is probably one of my favorite designs of the 90s, -the backs have a lot of info on it due to the small font print.