Greetings on Black Friday.
For the first time ever, I may or may not have taken advantage of an online Black Friday card sale. I also may or may not have purchased a black card as part of a Black Friday card sale. I'm writing this in advance so this is all speculation. I have big plans. They often don't come to pass.
But with that particular breakthrough on my part -- if it actually did happen -- I thought I'd do a quick Black Friday-themed post and show off what I consider some of the best efforts to present black on cards.
Black cards are almost always appealing to me. It's difficult to see how you can go wrong. But there have been examples of ho-hum black cardboard (see: most Bowman efforts).
I've pulled some of the black cards that I like the best from my collection (they're all Dodgers, sorry) and arranged them into tiers, third-string, second-string and first-string. I could have added a fourth-string, but there's company in the house and that would be rude.
So let's have a look.
Top row: The A&G Massive Insert Set from 2014 was one of its best, thanks to the black background. ... The '86 Topps and '86-themed insert with the black border variation are side-by-side to show how fascinated I was with the top black border in 1986 (nothing I had ever collected before) and Topps satisfying OCD collectors in 2021 by coloring in all the empty white space with its variation.
Middle row: Just because you put a black border around a card doesn't make it cool, but when you do it with a cool design like '83 Topps then it's cool. ... The Sutton insert shows that 2020 Heritage did some bad-ass things with some of the inserts. I may or may not have just picked one up! ... Bowman usually falls on its face with its black border sets (it's the rounded corners I think), but put an American flag in the back and I'm sold.
Bottom row: Love the Chrome Top-Shelf inserts from whenever that was. ... I'm throwing a bone to the '87 fans with the Donruss set, it's too famous not to include, although rounded corners again. ... The '94 Heroes set is more than floating heads. It's floating heads with black edges!
Top row: There's a reason why I like that SP Legendary Cuts set enough to want to collect the whole thing, which has never been a thought in my head for anything else Legendary Cuts. ... I wanted to do the same thing with the black-border OPC parallels from 2009 but gave up. ... The 2008 Masterpieces black frames are fancy.
Middle row: The black parallels in Topps flagship are always difficult to get but vary greatly in look. The 2008 ones are among my favorites. ... Kind of cheating putting a one-off insert from '93 Ultra here but LOOK AT IT. ... Bowman black sets are boring until you chrome it up add sparkles and get a nice fat fake sig like Kershaw's.
Bottom row: Only 2005 Chrome black parallels beat 2004 Chrome black parallels. ... The 2009 Walmart black parallels are the best view of what it would be like to pitch with no lights at midnight. ... The 2007 Topps set was just as bold as the '71 set, but weirder.
Top row: The 2010 Walmart blacks are slightly less appealing than the 2009's for me, except when you get something like the Ebbets Field card. That's fantastic. ... I really like the look of the Ginter X cards, but after their 2016 debut I haven't done a lot with them. So many parallels, so little time/money. ... The '92 Leaf Black Gold cards are cool, but too much emphasis on "gold' in the title throws me off.
Middle row: I once vowed to collect the 2002 Upper Deck MVP set but haven't. ... 1971 is the OG of bad-ass black cards. This particular one is the O-Pee-Chee version. ... 1985 Donruss was the second black-bordered set I knew after 1971.
Bottom row: The '92 Fleer All-Stars cards don't quite make up for the 1992 pistachio set but they're absolutely '92 Fleer's highlight. ... 2005 Chrome black parallels, there have never been any better. ... The 1992 Pinnacle set completes the trifecta of black-themed sets along with the Leaf and Fleer All-Star cards.
OK, apologies to anything I've missed but I got most of them.
And this was just baseball. For football, there is 1985 Topps and 1962 Topps for sure, after that, I don't pay enough attention. Same goes for hockey or basketball.
Feel free to come up with your own black-card team for whatever sport you like. But time's running out. Black Friday is only one day a year!