Monday, September 19, 2011

Designs wasted on non-baseball cards: 1992 Score football

This will be a semi-recurring feature on the blog, dependent solely on how long it can hold my interest. You know how that goes.

As I've said, I'm pretty much a baseball card only guy. I've dabbled in other cards over the years, most notably football in the late '70s and hockey in the early '90s. But those were experimental stages, and I'm really too old to experiment anymore. The days of salivating over the latest app are over, if they ever began.

But I am aware enough of non-baseball cards that I am periodically jealous of some of the designs that appear on those cards. Football and hockey, mostly. But there were some very cool early '70s basketball card designs, too.

I see those designs and think, "those should have appeared on baseball cards." What a waste, throwing them away on some sport I don't collect.

So, I thought that periodically I'd show some of my favorite non-baseball card designs and babble about why I like them.

If I had the time and ability, I would also incorporate the favored design into a baseball card format. But I have neither, so you'll just have to imagine, or do it yourself. Maybe some day, when I do acquire time or ability, I'll update this post. And there, I've just made another empty promise.

Anyway, the first design that I wish appeared on a baseball card is from 1992 Score football.

Some may think this design is too colorful or too gaudy.

That's impossible, I say.

This design and this set is great because the design is definitely of its era. Some younger collectors may say that it evokes memories of "Saved by the Bell." But I'm going back farther than that.

I think these cards go perfectly with what was going on in the mid-to-late '80s. Specifically, "Miami Vice," Ocean Pacific, neon Hawaiian shirts, the kind of beach-ish stuff that was very popular then.

The elements are all there on the card. The bright colors. The pink and yellow and green. The bold, geometric designs and the big lettering.

Score uses a variety of different colored borders in the set, which it also did with its 1991 baseball card set. I don't like that, mostly because there is one border color that looks better than all the others, and I find myself wishing that the whole set was designed with that border.

That is especially true with '92 Score football  because of these cards:

Holy crap, that's a great-looking card. I think I had a Hawaiian shirt that looked almost like that. I've come to my senses enough to know now that the colors look a lot better on a card than a shirt.

There are a wide variety of black-border cards throughout collecting history, but I like some better than others. I find that if you combine bright colors with black borders -- kind of like the 1971 Topps baseball set -- then I have an uncontrollable need to collect it.

The only thing that would make this set better is if it came out about six years prior. I think this style was pretty old by '92. Not enough flannel, or whatever color says "I'm miserable and from Seattle."

If all of the cards in this set were black-bordered there is almost no doubt that I would attempt to collect it, even though I am not interested in football cards.

That's what a good design can do for a card, and why you can't full-bleed every freakin' set.

So, there you are: an awesome design wasted on a non-baseball card product.

Instead of the greatness of that design in '92, Score gave us baseball collectors this:

So disappointing. Still don't like this set.


  1. Did '92 Score football have a Crockett and Tubbs subset?

  2. I'm tempted to think you just posted this to get a reaction, to see if people were paying attention. Most of the time my preferences in cards fall pretty much in line with yours, preferring vintage to shiny, appreciating the greatness of '75 Topps, etc. I'm sorry, but '92 Score football is hideous. There should never, ever be that much hot pink (or neon in general) on the front of a baseball card, let alone a football card. Can you picture a big Defensive Lineman being handed one of these to autograph, seeing it for the first time, thinking 'Why the &%#@ am I on a pink &@#*ing card?' You are spot-on about the design being outdated by '92. If I opened these in '92 I'd have been grateful the neon '80s were over. As bad as they are, I think Score's baseball set that year was almost as bad, just in a quieter way.

  3. I usually have an easy time explaining things, but I just can't come up with ANYTHING that will get my daughter to understand 80s style. To her eyes, she has no idea what we were thinking then.

    In a way, it's a lot like when I was asking about the lure of Nehru jackets, mood rings and pet rocks.

  4. I'm dead serious. The neon '80s rule. I like cards that stand out and don't blend in with other sets so you can't tell them apart (re: Fleer Ultra). '92 Score does that.

    I've seen how football players dress. They're not exactly afraid of colorful clothes.

    Now, if anyone dresses like they're a giant 1991 Fleer baseball card, that's just not cool.

  5. I loved this set but 1992 was the year of the QB Club and a lot of star players did not appear in this set

  6. I can honestly say I've never seen a 1992 Score football card until now.

  7. Haha those do look like Saved By The Bell! I like when companies have a different design across sports. It's always weird for me to see a Topps football card in what I know to be the baseballl design.

  8. Personally, I like the baseball way better than the football. But, I've always been more Brooks Brothers than Hugo Boss.

  9. OK - if you dabbled in hockey in the early 90s, I understand why you no longer do so. There are about two memorable sets. The rest I don't even put near my bike for fear of damaging the spokes.