Friday, July 30, 2010

Card back countdown: #44 - 1995 Topps

Let's face it, there really is only so much you do with the back of a card.

Many of the card backs over the years look the same, especially when it comes to Topps. And that's because Topps found a formula that worked fairly well.

Topps would put the name up top, list the vital stats immediately underneath, list the year-by-year stats underneath that, and position the bio write-up at the the bottom. Then there would be a photo or a cartoon to tie it all together.

What gets a lot of these formulaic card backs onto this here countdown is a "hook." And in 1995, that hook was the Diamond Vision photo.

Diamond Vision, the name for Mitsubishi's large video displays in sports arenas all over the country, first came to my attention in 1980 with the Dodgers' new video display screen. The Dodgers were the first ones to have Diamond Vision and I thought it was the coolest thing to see video displays at a ballgame. Now, it's very commonplace, but at the time, it was amazing.

So, when I see the Diamond Vision displays on the back of the 1995 set, that's where my mind is.

Plus, the video mugs of the players come in handy with cards like Lenny Webster here.

Now you can see his smiling face! Also, I love the tiny action shot that goes with the video mug.

The rest of the card back is pretty standard and nothing worth mentioning. The Topps logo that is stamped underneath the stats and the bio write-up can make some of the words and numbers difficult to read.

But, overall, it's a nicely presented card back with something different that had never been done before -- even if it's a free ad for Mitsubishi.

And, of course, the 1995 set had Cyber Stats on the back, too! I didn't award any additional points in the card back evaluation for these special backs, but they were quite interesting.

Best of the set:

I think I'm going to have to go with Juan "Gone" Gonzalez.

You've got to love a mullet on a mid-1990s baseball card.

(previous card back countdown selections):

50. 1978 SSPC Yankee Yearbook
49. 1993 Score
48. 1999 Skybox Thunder
47. 2000 Upper Deck
46. 1999 Skybox Premium
45. 1953 Johnston Cookies Braves


  1. Good choice, as this is one of my favorite sets ever (if not my favorite...haha don't judge me, I was 9 when it came out). I will be so psyched when I complete this set and binder it.

  2. The CyberStats were such crap ... computer simulated states due to the strike in 1994.

  3. The CyberStats were pretty lame, but I KNOW I would have been all about them if I were a kid in 1995. In the 70s we had stat wars all the time and we'd figure things like 'how many runs would this guy have had if he didn't get hurt?' or 'how many homeruns would Willie Mays have it if they had brought him up to start the season his rookie year?'

    Our favorite seemed to be figuring what Ted Williams' stats would have been had he not missed several years for war during the heart of his career because of WWII and the Korean "Conflict". (Answer: Even more awesome.)