Just to underline the wild fluctuation of card content in the big box of cards I received from Jonathan, I am opening a pack of 1995 Fleer that was contained within.
OK, half my viewing audience just left.
I don't care. I am the sole arbiter of what's interesting on this blog.
I have never opened a pack of 1995 Fleer. I was starting my card collecting hiatus in '95. Once I returned, I was warned to avoid '95 Fleer. It looked strange. It smelled funny. You'll pick up bad habits, they said. You'll start hanging with the wrong crowd.
So I stayed away. I received enough cards from the product through trades and such that I became aware of how bizarre a card set it is. It's not called "the acid trip set" for nothing. It's still difficult for me to grasp what designers were thinking in the mid-to-late '90s, and nothing is a better example than 1995 Fleer. One of my unrealistic goals on this blog is to discover someone who worked on this product and have them explain the reasons behind the designs in this set. But that person may be in a padded room right now.
OK, so that's the wrapper above. It looks rather staid, although the sideways writing and the type on top of type hints at what is to come. Also, I enjoy the very 1990s boast of: "7 insert series" and the accompanying "one per pack." Do the math, kids.
This pack is apparently a different version of this pack. This one has more cards and mentions Canada, because why just traumatize one country?
Here is some of the info on the back. The odds info is more vague than what you get today.
1995 Fleer is telling you not to do drugs.
I will repeat that.
1995 Fleer is saying, "do cards, not drugs."
How tremendously self-aware.
All right, let's get to the horror within.
#400 - Tony Longmire, Phillies
The basic gist of 1995 Fleer, from what I gather, is they're going to make it as difficult as possible for you to read the card. That is their mission. "Go ahead, we dare you to read it. Yes, we put all of the player's vitals in tiny type ON THE FRONT, OVER THE PHOTO. And then we wrote some of it SIDEWAYS. Ha, ha. Try to read it, stupid card collector."
I haven't even gotten to the fact that this card is obviously radioactive.
#379 - Bill Pulsipher, Mets
All right, it's year 3705. The temperature of the earth's surface is 440 degrees. Bill Pulsipher has been transported into the future. He is now being vaporized because he did not prepare for the temperature difference. Also, please note that his forearm has melted into a molten rainbow.
#359 - Tim Scott, Expos
The numbers on the backs of these cards aren't exactly easy to read either.
The earth is getting hotter and hotter and now the whole sky is orange. Tim Scott tries to go about his business of throwing a baseball but the entire stadium is in flames. Also there are tiny words trying to trip him up.
#337 - Terry Mathews, Marlins
Have you ever wondered what a baseball player would look like if his face melted off like those bad guys in Raiders of the Lost Ark? 1995 Fleer attempts to answer that question.
#313 - Greg McMichael, Braves
Greg McMichael has been submerged into a giant sea of green jello.
#2 - Raul Mondesi, Dodgers, Pro-Vision insert
This is the one insert in the pack. Probably the lone positive moment in 1995 Fleer. Even though it's a Dodger, I wished I pulled a different insert. I have this card maybe 5 or 6 times.
#287 - Tom Henke, Rangers
We've moved to the American League West now. Tom Henke is pitching in some sort of bacteria plague. Also, there are two of him, like there is with many of the other cards in the set ... but not all of them ... because this is 1995 Fleer.
#265 - Tim Scott, Mariners
In terms of actual players featured, this pack is quite boring.
#448 - Pete Schourek, Reds
The NL Central (and AL Central) players showcase a somewhat less dramatic design. Just one player for you to digest on these cards. But a lot of sideways type. Who doesn't love reading tiny type sideways! Hey, 1990s, why didn't they change the words on every road sign and menu to sideways type? Yes, because there would be accidents and no one could feed themselves! Don't write north and south!
#64 - Lou Whitaker, Tigers
Finally, a star has broken through this pack. Sweet Lou is having his entire left arm X-rayed.
#347 - Joey Eischen, Expos
Uh, back to the NL East and pitching inside a volcano. Also, to what do I owe the unexpected delight of so many nameless relievers in this pack?
#320 - Tony Tarasco, Braves
Run, Tony! The bacteria will get you!
#527 - Kevin Ritz, Rockies
This is the design (why oh why are there so many designs, why oh why did MLB expand to six divisions?) that I know the best because all the Dodgers appear on this design.
It's not as colorful as the others. But it does feature a world-record-breaking six or seven or eight different versions of the same player in the same pose on each card. Kind of impressive in a drug-impaired-vision kinda way.
#542 - Gary Ingram, Dodgers
It's 1 in the afternoon. Plenty of daylight. And still I feel like I need to turn on every light in the house to read this thing.
#580 - Bryan Hickerson, Giants
I'm just now realizing that with this design, the player's name is printed in gold foil and is also listed in color near the top. And my eyes really need a rest.
#556 - Andy Benes, Padres
Sideways type is not any easier to read when written in cursive.
#517 - Marvin Freeman, Rockies
Marvin Freeman appears to be horrified that he's inside this card set.
#535 - Brett Butler, Dodgers
Just a mess.
Mercifully, we are at the end.
So that was my first 1995 Fleer pack break. It is not a lovely set to look at when you're pulling all the cards out of a pack with the designs overloading your senses. I can't imagine what this looks like in a binder. It has to be giving someone devastating flashbacks.
And that brings up another question: Has anyone ever completed this set? Will anyone ever admit to it?