Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nothing is new

You guys all remember John, don't you? The guy who ran Old School Breaks?

He said goodbye to us a year or so ago. But he's still around. He's still collecting, but he's looking to lighten his hobby load, as many of us are doing.

John recently sent me a generous stack of cards from his Old School wheelhouse, the late '90s. John was one of the first bloggers to introduce me to the concept of the late '90s being "old school." I remember the first time I heard this, and I thought, "holy crap, I might be too old for these people. The late '90s were just LAST WEEK." But I learned to adjust, adopted some of the lingo, and there are even days when I consider 1997 as positively prehistoric.

Speaking of 1997, John sent me this card from that ancient year:

Are you seeing what I'm seeing? A card labeled a "Diamond Cut"? A diecut card labeled a "Diamond Cut"? With a shiny, sparkly diamond design at the top of the card?

Remind you of anything?

Heh, ignore that Jackie card. I don't know how that got in here. The two look nothing alike. I mean one card has a roundish kind of diamond, and the other has a six-pointy thing going on. Nothing alike at all. How could you suggest a thing? It's ridiculous. They're totally different. Totally.

OK, yeah, they are kind of similar. Um, a lot similar.

Which makes me wonder why we're going goo-goo over these things, when Flair put out a whole insert set of Diamond Cuts 14 years ago.

I've got two of the Topps version of the Diamond Cuts in my possession. I've got two others still in the portfolio.

Let me check for a sec to see what's going on there ...


OK, I'm back.

The Reggie Jackson Diamond Cut has seven offers right now:

-- Five cards (best is a '67 Rich Rollins. Rest I have).
-- A straight-up 1958 Hank Foiles (no idea who he is).
-- A straight-up 1963 Bob Allison (I know who he is. Won't trade Reggie for him).
-- Diamond Diecut Alex Rios
-- Diamond Diecut Gordon Beckham (what's with the White Sox?)
-- Diamond Diecut Heath Bell & Clay Buchholz (two guys I've actually gone on record as not liking)
-- 13 cards (highlighted by a '68 Jim Lefebvre that I have)

The Tommy Hanson Diamond Cut has five offers:

-- 6 cards (oldest of which is an '87 Valenzuela all-star).
-- Straight up for a '73 Tom Haller (some awesome airbrush action, but no).
-- 1967 Cardinals rookie stars, Jim Cosman & Dick Hughes (OK, I paused for a second on this. If the guy threw in a few more cards I might bite).
-- Diamond Diecut Gordon Beckham (again)
-- 1987 Mike Schmidt (one trader is offering this card over and over. He will not succeed).

As you can see, people are still flipping out over these things.

Now, I'm not one to whine over innovation and YEARN and PINE over the creativity of days gone by as I dress myself in black and moan in the corner. Oh, woe is us, the collector. I'm pretty happy with cards as they are.

But, damn, doesn't Topps feel bad that it's merely stolen a long-forgotten idea and claimed it for its own? Even if it didn't purposely do anything, if it were me, I would put something in small print on the back of every Diamond Diecut card that said "idea first originated with Flair Showcase, 1997." It might get rid of some of the guilt.

Yeah, I know, there is no guilt with Topps.

I don't know. I just found it mildly shocking.

Anyway, here are some other great "old-school" cards from John:

The power and the passion, baby.

Yeesh, the '90s.

Also, how great is the Staremaster card? It's numbered to 1,500, and it's one of those painful insert titles from that era, based on a piece of exercise equipment!

Perhaps we can expect a future Topps giveaway featuring exclusive cards of players looking off into the distance with a "focus shadow" eminating from their eyes. It will be touted as unique and untried and a rare piece for your collection. They'll call it Staremaster, too, because nobody thought of that painful connection yet, not in the least! Never! Ever!

But Donruss Preferred will have thought of it first. You remember Donruss, right?

Topps is counting on the fact that you don't.

Nothing is new, but everything is new again.


  1. I love 90s cards. Well Mid to late 90s cards. That Flair Diamond card is one good looking card one I never remember seeing before. Somehow they designed a die cut that still looks classy, I love it.

    Maybe John would like to lighten his Red Sox too...

  2. That's a sweet Piazza. I've never seen that set before. I'm all for die cuts that make sense as opposed to the random parallels that Donruss started doing. Good stuff.