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.