Wednesday, September 15, 2010

When lasers aren't so cool ...

When we bought our first home, my wife changed a lot of things that the previous owner had in the house. I was all for it. I support my wife. Also, I'm not one of those weird guys that you see in the home decorating shows who have to have an opinion on the chair rail in the foyer. I have no opinion on that stuff. And neither should you. Even the women reading this.

Why do I know what a chair rail is, then? Well, to keep the peace. The TV can't be tuned to the MLB Network all the time.

Anyway, the previous owner had style. But it was not our style. Out the door it went. Especially those lion planters on the front porch. Even I had an opinion on those.

One thing that took a long time to remove -- because it permeated the house -- was the stenciling on the walls. My wife did not like this at all. I had never seen it before, so I thought it was sort of cool, until I was informed that I was never to think that again.

Apparently, stenciling became popular in the late 1980s and into the '90s, and all of a sudden what parents had been screaming at their children for centuries -- DO NOT DRAW ON THE WALLS -- became an acceptable thing to do. Draw away! I can only imagine the confused looks on toddlers' faces back then.

But my wife looked at this trend as passe and she wanted it gone. And she made sure it was gone. By the time she was through, there wasn't a speck of stenciling in the house. I must admit it looked a lot better.

Now, what does this have to do with baseball cards?

I moved into the house in 1996.

Topps Laser came out in 1996.

I think the previous owner of the house must have worked for Topps Laser! Those cards sure do look like stenciling patterns. In fact, I bet if I held one up to the wall and used a pencil, you could draw, well ... something.

I'm not crazy about these cards. I know some people like cards from the mid-to-late 1990s because companies were trying all kinds of wacky things. Cards became the mice in a cardboard laboratory. Experiments everywhere!

That made for some different stuff. Some of it cool. Some awful. I look at this period as a very desperate time for card companies. I wasn't collecting then, and judging from what I have read, not a lot of people were collecting then either. A lot of people kissed their collections goodbye around 1993-95. And they didn't come back for a long time. So I think companies were trying to recapture those collectors, along with attempting to beat their competitors into submission.

So, the Laser thing didn't seem to work. The best of these cards is the one at the top of the post. The fireball asteroid combo. That looks OK.

These ...

... do not.

It looks like the cards were involved in an accident. Either that, or they're just plain ugly (this person, by the way, concurs).

However, these cards were part of my group break booty from Cardboard Collections. And you know the Team Collector Code: If the dude on the card is wearing your team's uniform, then you must collect the card, no matter how ghastly.

Fortunately, other group break cards were involved:

A bunch of 1994 O-Pee-Chee, which I had never seen before this break.

And the group break completed my team wants for 2002 Topps Total. All done!

Colbey also threw in a few other Dodger needs:

Very nice.

Although I can appreciate the effort made to do something different with cards, I like the non-lasered, non-stencil-y cards better. Drawing patterns on your walls is not recommended. Burning patterns into your cards is not recommended.

Even if you're a professional burner person.


  1. Yea, but lasers are still awesome. You know the saying, Lasers don't kill cards, Topps' design dudes kill cards.

  2. Since the mid-late 90's were my collecting prime (and why I have cards from people's 90's wantlists), I actually bought 1 overpriced pack of the Lasers. Seemed like a cool concept to a 10 yr old...

  3. Whoa...laser and electric diamond? I'm pretty surprised your package didn't spontaneously combust due to all the awesome held within. You're a lucky Owl to have these cards in hand!

  4. I do miss that 90s willingness to try different things. I think we all already know pretty much what to expect from the 2011 baseball cards.

  5. I have to agree with mmosley, which leads me to agree with Paul. How can it be that I'm prematurely bored with 2011 cards I haven't seen yet?