Thursday, May 5, 2011

Card back countdown: #6 - 1993 Leaf

When collectors talk about sets in which the card back looks better than the card front -- and I've actually heard people mention this a time or two -- the set I think of is 1993 Leaf.

The card fronts aren't bad. They're the definition of an early 1990s "high-end" set. Full-bleed borders, sharp photos, lots of gloss. But the backs are unlike anything I've ever seen.

Skylines from the team's city?? Are you kidding me? That is genius!

I don't even care that the card back violates two of the cardinal rules for card backs -- readability and a lack of player statistics. When you have that great of an idea, you pretty much make up your own rules.

I love city landscapes and I love landmarks and '93 Leaf delivered both.

Also, a lot of the backgrounds featured the skylines at night, which is always appreciated on this blog.

Leaf even used two different skyline/landmark photos for each team, which is another fascinating thing about these card backs.

I think New York got the best of the deal with the photos selected for the Yankees.

I think these might be the most beautiful card backs ever made, at least for a mainstream baseball set. In fact, if it wasn't for the innovative sets ranked ahead of this one, I probably would have placed this set even higher.

This wasn't even a set that I collected (I was almost on my way out of the hobby in '93). So there's no nostalgia element at all. That's how much I like these backs.

Best of the set:

I don't have a lot of the cards, but you will never go wrong with me if you feature the St. Louis cityscape.

Too many great memories every time I see downtown St. Louis.

(previous card back countdown selections):

50. 1978 SSPC Yankee Yearbook
49. 1993 Score
48. 1999 Skybox Thunder
47. 2000 Upper Deck
46. 1999 Skybox Premium
45. 1953 Johnston Cookies Braves
44. 1995 Topps
43. 1997 Fleer
42. 1992 Pinnacle
41. 1989 Bowman
40. 1977 Kellogg's
39. 2004 Topps
38. 2004 Topps Total
37. 1992 Topps
36. 1992 Donruss
35. 2008 Upper Deck Documentary
34. 1963 Fleer
33. 1955 Bowman
32. 2006 Topps
31. 1961 Topps
30. 1955 Topps
29. 1967 Topps
28. 1970 Topps
27. 1969 Topps
26. 1966 Topps
25. 1963 Topps
24. 1911 T205
23. 1962 Topps
22. 1981 Topps

21. 1981 Donruss
20. 1958 Topps
19. 1977 Topps
18. 1974 Topps
17. 1957 Topps
16. 1988 Score
15. 1993 Upper Deck
14. 2004 Upper Deck Timeless Teams
13. 1971 Topps
12. 1965 Topps
11. 1991 Studio
10. 1954 Topps
9. 1953 Topps
8. 1978 Topps
7. 1980 Topps


  1. The landmarks are great. Love seeing the Inner Harbor on the backs of the Orioles cards. I am also a sucker for the iridescent foil team logos.

  2. Wow, you are right. I need to go through some cards and see if I have any of those laying around and check them out.

  3. This set was in my main collecting years and I remember it well. However, I'm blanking on the pictures used for the O's backs. Any chance someone has one scanned?

  4. I sent you an email with a couple of links, Ryan.

  5. Awesome post! I got a Mattingly from that set in a trade a few weeks back. I thought the Statue of Liberty was an awesome touch and was wondering what was there for other teams.

  6. you forgot that the logos are also rainbow foil. ;) I am a sucker for rainbow foil.

  7. I have one card from this set. Pat Borders. The Skyline photo was Toronto City Hall..