Saturday, July 30, 2016
What were the '90s like?
That's probably a silly question coming from someone who lived through the entire decade. But I don't feel like I have a good handle on what the 1990s were like in terms of the spirit of the decade.
The 1970s I know. Sunhats and flowers. Green, orange and gold everything. Wood paneled walls. Head scarves and giant sunglasses. Disco balls. Yellow smiley faces. Open-collared shirts and mustaches. Sideburns. Split-level homes. Funkiness. Platform shoes. Bubble letters. Monty Python. The Electric Company. Singers and songwriters. Arena rock. The Brady Bunch. Economy cars. Herbie the Love Bug. Bell-bottoms. Star Wars. Cigarette ads in your sports magazine. I could go on for hours.
The 1980s I know. New wave. Devo. Pastel colors. Miami Vice. Teen movies. Day-glo orange and green. Synthesized music/soundtracks/commercials/everything. Shoulder pads. Wine coolers. Moonlighting. Cable television. MTV. Videos. Aerobics. Pac-Man. Donkey Kong. Video game arcades. Purple stuff. Cabbage patch kids. E.T. The compact disc. Sports news shows on your TV. I could go on for hours.
All of that stuff, put together, and combined with the news events of the time, create and sum up the feelings I have for those decades. I think you call it "zeitgeist." I never got a handle on that.
But for the '90s, I run out of things quickly. After Seinfeld, Friends, grunge music and flannel, I'd have to start looking things up. And even after finding elements of that decade, I still don't know if I'd have a good feeling for what it was all about, like the '70s and '80s. I guess that's what happens when you get older. I have no idea how to sum up the 2000s and it won't get any easier in the future.
There is one thing I do know about the '90s and that is the decade produced maybe more cards than any other decade. When it comes to cards, yup, I know what the '90s were about: more and as varied as possible.
As an example, I'll show some cards that I won in a contest from P-town Tom at Waiting 'til Next Year. Naturally, most of the cards that I needed came from the '90s. Because that's how many cards there were.
Cards of players in retro uniforms. Yup, that happened in the '90s.
Pitchers from the Far East. That happened in the '90s, too.
Pitchers from the Far East throwing on an electric grid with the sun exploding in the distance. Yes, definitely '90s.
Cards with raised borders. Yeah, that was pretty much a '90s thing that's still around today.
Foil. Without a doubt, that came from the '90s. It's probably the '90s baseball card's greatest contribution to the culture of the decade, other than the "we're all going to get rich!" mentality.
Speaking of which:
Please don't pay 8 dollars for one of the nearly two dozen different Hideo Nomo rookie cards.
Cards that show a player with two different teams? Yes. That is a '90s thing that drives us team collectors nuts.
P-town Tom did send a few cards from beyond the '90s that I needed, too:
You're going to have to ask someone younger what the 2000s and 2010s were like (although I could give a pretty good rundown on the card situation).
I definitely have a better feel for the '90s that the decades that came afterward.
Maybe you remember those shows that VH1 aired a decade or so ago -- I Love the '70s/'80s/'90s. I looked forward to the '90s show just so I could figure out what went into that decade. It was pretty interesting, but I still didn't get the idea that the participants had as good a handle on what the '90s were about than I did with the '70s and '80s shows.
What can I say? I may never figure it out. I was just one of those striped-shirt '70s kids who became a skinny-tie '80s teenager. It's all a blur after that.