I picked a strange year to fully rejoin the modern collecting scene. My return was in 2006, but I didn't realize all that was out there until 2008, when this blog started.
And, 2008 -- how do I describe 2008?
It wasn't the greatest year for cards.
Oh, I'm sure some are nostalgic for it. Upper Deck was still around. You could get presidential people on your cards if you liked that kind of thing. But, damn, there were some weird sets.
Upper Deck Documentary. Topps Moments and Milestones. Upper Deck Spectrum. Upper Deck Yankee Stadium Legacy. And the set that I still haven't figured out: Topps Co-Signers.
Since I am a poor, retail-bound collector -- and was even more so in 2008 -- I don't get a handle on hobby-issue sets. They're strange and unfamiliar. But Co-Signers made it particularly difficult to comprehend for a plebeian like me. Any Co-Signers cards I received were the box-breakers' "discards," such as that really ugly Brad Penny card at the top of the post.
Of course there were numbered parallels with a second image of the featured player.
Except that sometimes the parallels contain a second image of a different player on the same team. What does the poor unfortunate soul who calls himself a Jason Schmidt super-collector do with this card?
And sometimes there's a card with a second image of a player on a totally different team! The Why and the When behind all of this I've never been able to determine. The set isn't appealing enough to me to spend a few minutes looking into it.
But I do know that the real reason for the set and the "Co-Signers" name is because there are autograph cards in the set featuring autographs from two different players. See? It all makes sense. At least the autograph portion does.
I finally received one of those Co-Signer cards that makes sense. Although it didn't come from the 2008 set.
It arrived from a set issued 11 years prior.
That is the front and back of a 1997 Stadium Club Co-Signers card of Eric Karros and Raul Mondesi. It's one of 10 different co-signer autograph cards issued with that set. Apparently there's two different kinds of each card with the holographic side reversed.
This cool card was sent to me by a recent trader, Kyle. And it finally made the "Co-Signer" name click in my head. "Yes. This is what they were talking about!"
We retail-buying fools miss out on all the wisdom.
Anyway, Kyle also sent me a nice stack of '90s cards off my want list. Here they are with no commentary, because '90s:
OK, let's stop there, because that Hideo Nomo Instavision card is phenomenal. I think I fall in love with Nomo cards more often than any other player's card.
Kyle added a couple non-'90s cards:
And there were a few oddballs, too. A couple of my favorites:
I've always liked these Fleer Extra Bases cards but they're a pain in the booty to store.
I was familiar with these 1994 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cards before as someone once sent me a pre-school-cut Orel Hershiser.
But this is a whole panel!
I fully intend to cut this up -- expertly -- to extract the Hershiser. The other two, I don't know. I'll decide their fate at a time of my choosing.
I enjoyed knocking a healthy amount of '90s cards off my want lists and I really like the Co-Signers card. So thanks to Kyle for those.
It's good to know that Co-Signers did something right.