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A new contender has emerged

Not even three weeks ago, I ranked the various early '90s Senior Professional Baseball Association sets in order of my preference and casually mentioned that I wasn't including the 1990 Elite Seniors set because I didn't have a card from that one.
Shortly after that post, a box arrived on my porch with ... the entire 1990 Elite Senior Professional Baseball Association set.

Isn't that nifty packaging? That would certainly make me want to buy this.

The generous mailing arrived from reader Mike ("Mike the History Teacher" in the comments) and he obviously wanted me to experience the greatness within.

It is pretty great.

Not only is the design clean and obviously lifted off of an early 1990s Upper Deck set (I actually prefer this look to the "basepaths" look of 1989-91 UD), but there is an abundance of cool action shots in this set that really makes you aware that these Elite characters knew what they were doing.

Yes, there are horizontal shots mixed in with the vertical shots, just like Upper Deck did (and Topps continues to do now). Those horizontals lead to some awkward reading as the photo orientation is out of sync with the words and logos.

But I love this set just as much as the other ones -- if not more -- because they contain those childhood baseball favorites (see above). I consider it a blessing that I can still find new-to-me cards of those players from the '70s and early '80s even though there weren't nearly as many cards issued then as there are now or in the '90s. As long as I can find those players on new cards, I'll be pretty happy collecting.

Here are some more cool horizontal shots from the set. It's good to know that the managers took these Senior games seriously.

Action shots will only get you so far and Elite realized this. There are some nice candid photos in this set and stuff like the Mickey Rivers shot are always my favorites.

Don't mess with Dock Ellis.

Some more candid favorites. Oh, how I wish shots like this would return to modern baseball cards.

Upper Deck was at the forefront of the early '90s multi-exposure craze and Elite even mimicked that with a couple of cards.

One of the best parts of the Senior League sets is you can collect Curt Flood cards showing him as the commissioner. He is card No. 1 in the Elite set, followed by the No. 2 card, showing Bobby Tolan of the 1989 champion St. Pete Pelicans.
Both of those cards have checklists on the back. Most of the rest of the cards feature backs that list the player's 1989 Senior stats and career MLB stats.

 The last cards in the set are second cards of six players who were selected as "Hall of Fame Candidates" by, I don't know, a crack Elite staff, I guess?

Elite was right about Rollie and Fergie. (Jenkins was elected the very next year after this set came out). The other guys are still waiting.

Of course, since it's the Senior League, you get something that you just can't find on regular baseball cards: GUTS!

Overall, I like this set a lot. It's probably the best-arranged design and, while the other sets do include action photos, the ones in this set are more interesting and better quality, for the most part.

It's surprising to me that I had never heard of it before a couple of months ago. It's insanely available -- as all the Senior League sets are -- but I had never come across it, not even a card.

If I were re-ranking those sets, I think Elite might come in first or second. I like the T&M set a lot and I'm biased because it's the first one I completed. But Elite is pretty damn fine.

And it came with one of 10 different Senior Professional Baseball Association magnets!

Somebody call that number and tell me what you find.


Man, that *is* a nice set! I'm also glad to know that the Pelicans won the only championship, since I've long been of the opinion that they had the best uniforms in the league.
Nick said…
Wow, I've never seen these before! I spy a few mini-collection hits in there -- tough to beat a Senior League multiple-exposure card!

Most other Senior League sets didn't exactly go nuts with photography, so it's nice to see a set like this actually show dudes playing hard-nosed baseball and not making them look so much like...well, seniors.
gcrl said…
I thought I had a couple of these cards in my collection but I do not. Cool to see derrel thomas on a couple other cards, kind of like the 1983 topps Chris speier card.
This is a great set. I want one or two sets.
bryan was here said…
I'm convinced that Elite, along with T&M were using their SPBL sets to parlay into an MLB licence. It's too bad, though, I think either one would have made better sets than Pacific.
jacobmrley said…
I've had the wood grained Topps set for years but I have never seen or heard of this one before either. I might need to add this to my out of shape old guys collection.
Chris said…
I've never seen this set before, and I'd never heard of some of these players. That Kingman card is just about the most orange thing I've seen since Marlins Man.
Brett Alan said…
I haven't seen these, either, but they're very nice. Some great players here, but it's also great to see post-MLB cards of guys like Sergio Ferrer and Garth Iorg!
I'm glad you like them! This is my favorite of the Senior League sets because of the photography and design. My favorite card is the Curt Flood. Even the league didn't last long, with everything Flood fought for a decade earlier it's satisfying to see him on a card as League Commissioner.
Fuji said…
Solid design. Great photography. Excellent checklist. I think I'd rank this as my #1 Senior League set. I'm surprised this set has never popped up on my radar before. Thanks for taking the time to scan all of these images.
Bill@Bravestarr said…
First time seeing this set. The way they do landscape orientation reminds me of 1991 Leaf with the name still in portrait orientation.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Oh wow. Nice to see a set like this taken so seriously. This is the opposite of that Archives insert with the bullshit back. Professional pride in this product all the way down.

Also I love that UL Washington card where you can still see the toothpick.
steelehere said…
I wouldn't be surprised if Upper Deck was utilized in some way with producing this set based on the card stock, design and multiple exposure images. The area code on the back of the SPBA magnets (714) is the same area code of Upper Deck's corporate offices back in 1990 (Yorba Linda, California).
Angus said…
What a great set! Thanks for showing it. Some wonderful players to be reminded of.
Rich L said…
Hello, I am new at blogging so please bear with me.
Contact Rich -
I have recently found 6 - 1977 Kellogg’s 3-D super
Stars Cards As Follows:
These cards somehow have been bent and in fair condition.
Garvey #14/57, Poquette #24/57, Koosman #29/57,
Brett #6/57, McRae #10/57, Wynegar #56/57
And 5 – 1978 Kellogg’s 3-D super stars Cards:
Reuschel #45/57, Luzinski #33/57, Dent #2/57,
Maddox #28/57, Candelaria #18/57
And 4 – 1979 Kellogg’s 3-d Super Stars Cards:
Foster #32/60, Mazzilli #42/60, Almon #53/60, Bell#14/60
And 3 in terrible condition:
Ronald LeFlore Card#17 of - 1976
David Cash, Jr. Card #16 – 1976
Darrell Ray Porter Card #12 date?
And 4 Topps 1975 Chewing Gum Cards
Lynn Nolan Ryan #500 – good condition although
bent crease from top to bottom
James Gorman Thomas #532 - good condition although
bent crease from top to bottom
David Wayne Roberts #558 - good condition although
bent crease from top to bottom
Topps 1975 Baseball Checklist Cards 133-264 – very,
very good condition
Are they worth anything and if so, what do I do and if not,
trash them? I would appreciate your thoughts.
Thanks you so
NPB Card Guy said…
I'll agree that the T&M and Elite sets are the best looking but what the Pacific set has going for it is completeness. Pacific had 220 cards where the other three companies only had 121-132.
Elliptical Man said…
Derrel Thomas played for the Dodgers when they lost the 1983 NLCS to the Phillies. If I recall correctly.
GCA said…
I have the complete set, but I still need a bunch of second bopies for all my PC guys. Don't want to break up another set but I've never seen singles in the wild...

Always cool to see the 70's favorite guys in something different
acrackedbat said…
Bumbry and McMillan are my favorites. Kingman looks so much like Molitor at a glance. This design is so well done and I prefer it over Upper Deck. UD's first years blur together for me. I didn't care for them until 93.