Saturday, March 3, 2012

Define the design: 91B, 94S, 95S, 96S, 59T, 75T, 12T, 07U, 08U, 09U, 10U

I have this sudden, overwhelming desire to categorize, compartmentalize and marginalize a whole mess of baseball card sets. So I pulled a small stack of cards from various years, and I'm going to try to give them a name on the spot.

I can tell you already that I'm going to be successful with some and a failure with others. So I'll need your assistance as always. If you think you have a good name for these sets, yell out your answers. Even if I've come up with a name, there's always the chance that there's something better.

However, the 2012 Topps set has been named already and there's no going back. By consensus, it's The Surfboard Set. I'm not taking credit for that name. I believe steelehere was the first to come up with it as far as I know. So I'm giving him his due. Address your complaints appropriately. But really, it's a perfect name.

So, let's move on to some sets that are more difficult to name:

1959 Topps deserves a memorable name. I received this great Gil Hodges card from Scott Crawford on Cards! just the other day. There are more great cards from him to come. As we all know, the 1959 set is one of the most memorable around. And in honor of '59 Topps: one f/g card at a time returning to life, the set deserves a name. Something having to do with jazz or vinyl records or beatniks. The Jazz Record Set? Something like that. I'm not married to that name.

OK, let's get this out of the way. I need a name for my all-time favorite set, 1975 Topps. I've been holding off on this for a long time because of my high expectations for this name. I've heard The Two-Tone Set mentioned several times. It's a perfectly logical name that describes it well, but I just don't know if it's colorful enough for the set. The '72 Topps set got Psychedelic Tombstones for a name. I think the '75 set deserves something like that.

Moving in a totally different direction (I told you I was going to jump around), how about a name for the 1994 Score set? I like the look of it a lot. I'm calling it The Midnight Blue Border Set. No wonder I like it. I'm up at midnight just about every day of my life.

One year later, Score hit us with this design in 1995. The green background puts me in mind of the imprints and splatters created by dirt bikes during races. Anybody else get that feeling? It's appropriate for the time, too, since espn2 and so-called non-mainstream sports were all the rage in the mid '90s. I'm calling this The Dirt Bike Tire Tread Set. If we need to tweak it, I'm prepared.

One more year of Score. This is 1996. The most obvious part of the design for me is the torn nature of the photo. The Torn Photo Set it is!

Oh, no. Early Bowman. These sets are so boring that they're almost impossible to name. The only thing I have to cling to are the colors. Purple, gold and blue are colors of royalty, but that doesn't seem appropriate for 1991 Bowman. They're almost kiddie colors.

I'm stumped with this one. Unless someone has an idea, I'm calling it The Purple Stripe Set and moving on.

Let's finish it off with some Upper Deck. Every time I look at 2007 Upper Deck, I shake my head. What could have been. The look immediately brings to mind "The Walls Are Closing In." It makes me feel almost claustrophobic for the player. So, I'm calling it The Claustrophobic Set. I like that. But there may be something better.

2008 Upper Deck is almost a repeat of 1995 Upper Deck, except the foil is silver instead of copper-colored. The '95 Upper Deck set has been named already. It's The Foil Minimalism Set. Therefore, the 2008 UD set is The Foil Minimalism Set, Part 2.

This design doesn't bother me as much as it did when it first came out in 2009. I'm kind of over that hideous brown color that is on every card. Therefore, instead of calling 2009 Upper Deck the Diarrhea Brown Set, I'm going to call it The Fun With Rectangles Set.

Finally, I tried to name the 2010 Upper Deck set once before, but for some reason it still doesn't have a name. I don't know if I didn't like the suggestions or I just forgot to list it in the Define the Design category. Among the possible names are "The Profile Set," "The Fugitive Set," "The Green Bar Set," The "Black and White Mini Photo Set," "The Illegal Set," etc.

If you like any of those, say so. I want to name this thing once and for all.

But I mostly need help with 1959 and 1975 Topps, and 1991 Bowman. Come up with a name that I use, and I just might send you some cards. No promises, though. That just gets me into trouble.


  1. '59 Topps: The Bond, James Bond Set

  2. OK, I'll cover a few of these.

    the 2009 UD set should be called the "Brown Ratio Set" since the golden ratio deals with finding the area of two adjacent rectangles.

    The 2010 UD set should be the incognito set, since all the logos are trying to be obscured.

    The 2008 UD set is even more minimalist than the 1995 set, so it should be the The Minimalist Foil Minimalism Set or MFMS for short.

    the 2007 UD set has an obvious name, the doppler effect set. You could combine your best effort and call it the Claustrophobic Doppler Effect set.

    I will have to work on the 1959 Topps and 1975 Topps sets, since you are correct, they deserve epic names. I think you are on the right track with both of them.

  3. 1959 Topps - The Knothole Set. It even works on a meta level. Back when I was a youngster, the Rochester Red Wings had a kids club called the Knothole Gang.

  4. I think the 1975 set should be called the Viewmaster set. Era-appropriate, and there's something about the 3-D-shadowed team names and the thick, colorful frames that lends itself to the name.

  5. Addendum: Rainbow Viewmaster? Two-tone Viewmaster? Just spitballing.

  6. I see the player coming out of the circle on the '59T set, and immediately I think of the old Warner Brothers cartoons that I watched as a kid. The Warner Brothers set maybe? ( I do like carlsonjok's the Knothole Set name as well...)

    The '07 UD could be classified as the Letter Box set, as in watching a movie in Letter Box format instead of full screen.

    '10 UD could be the "we couldn't figure out how to do it right set"

    '91 Bowman= almost described it in the name during your post
    '91 "Boreman"

  7. 59 Topps - The Portrait

    75 Topps - The 70s Show

    94 Score - the thin border

    95 Score - Sand Pebbles

    96 Score - Rip open the bag

    91 Bowman - The Classic junk wax

    Upper Deck who cares they all look the same but the Cuddyer card - Closing Elavator Doors

  8. Carlsonjok has already said what I was going to..."Knothole set" for 1959 Topps. The Knothole Gang was tied to the 1930s Goudey cards (and probably goes a lot farther back than that), so it's a perfect name for a vintage set.

    Unless you want to give that name to the 1958 Hires...which actually has wood in its design.

  9. '07 UD ...trash compactor set (Star Wars reference)

  10. 2010 Upper Deck should be the mini mugshot set.

  11. The first thing I thought of when I looked at the '95 Score were tire treads as well, so I'm all for that!

    As much as I dislike Star Wars (that's right, I said it. No fan of Star Trek either) all I can think of when I look at '08 Upper Deck is a Light Saber. The Light Saber set?

    And the '91 Bowman reminds me of White Wall tires. The White Wall set?

  12. I was actually thinking about what to name the 1995 Score set yesterday when I was filling binders. It may be a little gross, but the first thing I thought of was the "band aid" set. The green kind of throws that off but the top and bottom colors look just like a band aid and the holes looks like the gauze.

    2007 Upper Deck should be the "elevator doors" set. They could be closing or opening depending on your perspective, like the half full / half empty glass.

    The 1991 Bowman purple stripe looks a little like a slide rule with the B logo and the bottom triangle being the pointer. So maybe the "purple slide rule" set.

    59 Topps always seemed like looking through a telescope, but I don't think the "telescope" set is good enough for such a classic design.

    I am stumped on 1975. All the rest I think you got right.

  13. Nightowl, thanks for the call out.

    Here are my suggestions
    1959 Topps - The IPhone Camera Set
    1975 Topps - The Two-Tone Drop Shadow Set (Photoshop Reference)
    1995 Score - The Green Skidmark Set
    1996 Score - The Scrapbook Set

  14. Hi Night Owl. Thanks for the mention. I feel like Rip Van Winkle even though it's only been 6 months.

    "Knothole Set" works for me for the '59 set.

    See ya

  15. I picked up a '59 at this weekend's card show. I'll feature it this week.

    When I saw it, "Rear Window" immediately came to mind - and it always has in the past for me. I feel like I'm looking through a telescope when I look at the '59s, which of course Mr. Stewart spent the bulk of the movie doing.

    Thus, the "Rear Window Set."

    It's also in keeping with the period, as I believe the movie was released in 1954.


  16. 1959 Topps: The "Up Periscope" set. "Up Periscope" was also a movie released in 1959.

  17. The round picture is significant, but I always focus on the all-small names, hence the e. e. cummings set.

    I agree with Trash compactor for '07 UD. Or for Trekkies, the turbolift or holodeck set - the doors opening into a virtual baseball world.

    '09 UD - mocha signboard set.

    '10 UD - the anonymous team set.

  18. Wow. Could they have gotten a LESS flattering shot of Cuddy?