A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Beauty of '93 Leaf

As mentioned previously, I made a big trade with Kyle from Nolan's Dugout recently, and in addition to some sweet oddball cards that he sent my way, I also sent him a list of cards from '93 Leaf that I wanted.  He sent over a bunch.

With very few exceptions, I am not a fan of the Leaf brand.  Their sets from the earlier 90s ('90 - '92) were dull and drab, mostly with a gray border of some sort.  There were some decent individual cards in there, but as a whole, a boring bunch of cardboard.  From '94 - whenever Leaf stopped making cards, they tended to be high on gloss but low on style.

But 1993?  Oh, what a great year.

For those familiar with 1993 Leaf, you'll know that the big draw was not always the front of the cards, but the backs.  Not for the quirky trivia or the long list of stats (it had neither), but the majestic cityscapes as a backdrop for the player's action shot.  There were usually a handful of different shots of the city that the player played in, some great, some not as great.

I gave Kyle a long list of cards that I needed, most of them to complete team sets, and then a handful of others that I thought would be cool to have.  

This is my favorite backdrop for the San Diego cards.  If you go to the Padres website, they have a picture of the same Coronado Bridge.  Coupled with some palm trees at sunset, and you have got one sweet looking card.  Makes me miss home.  I chose the Gene Harris card because I remember waiting in line at the Padre Gift Shop because some players were there signing autographs.  Gene Harris was one of them, and I still have that card.

The other shot for the San Diego team cards was a little less stellar, in my opinion.  Kind of busy, with the buildings in the background and the masts of the boats way up in the air.  "Green Dolphin" also seems like a lame name for a boat.  This Hoffman card was a sweet pickup, as some of the higher number cards from the Update set seem kind of harder to come by, for whatever reason.

With the additions from Kyle, along with the ones I already had, I am now only one away from finishing off the Padres team set, so if anybody's got the Phil Plantier card from this set (#275), help a blogger out!

It's not all about the backs, though.  There is some pretty decent photography going on.  The Kevin Maas is a prime example of that.  Digging the fans in the stands, along with the ump hustling over to make the call.  The Gerald Williams card doesn't seem that exciting, except that the photo belongs to Bernie Williams.  Oops.

Even though Carlos Hernandez is a Dodger, I justified adding this card to the stack since he would later become a Padre.  A lot going on with this card, as the umpire seems to be pointing at somebody, while Hernandez is holding up a glove, presumably holding a ball within.  I'm guessing somebody's out.  And if the orange and black stirrups weren't enough to make this Fernando Valenzuela card awesome, well, how many cards of Fernando in an Orioles uniform are there?  Well, not many.

Even the checklists are awesome.  I'm not knowledgeable enough to know who this catcher might be, but it looks like the gear is orange, so I'm going to guess that it's Tigers catcher Mickey Tettleton.  I could be totally wrong, but either way, awesome card.  I mean awesome.

Okay, back to the backs.  I would imagine that a city like New York would have some pretty great shots to use, and these were my favorites.  Hard to go wrong with any card of Jim Abbott, but the Bobby Bo featuring Lady Liberty has to be one of the best.  Even the foil Mets logo in the top left kinda looks like it could be the moon in the background.  So good.

Stan Belinda and David Neid are guys that I like to come across, and they make the post because the fronts are lamer than the backs.  Not much to see of Pittsburgh here, but Belinda is the only player that I've heard of who shares my birthday, so I like to come across his cards.  Neid was the Rockies first pick in the '92 Expansion Draft, and someday I'm convinced I'll win a trivia game for knowing that fact.  Love the Rockies in the background, I guess we shoulda seen that one coming.

Along with working on my Padres team set, I decided that since the set featured the backgrounds of cities, I'd like to get the team sets for both Chicago teams, since I spent two years there as a missionary for my church (and managed to go to a handful of White Sox games as well).  I got moved around and placed in different parts of the Chicagoland area, but in every place I lived (with the exception of a few months in Aurora), you could always see the Sears Tower.  Love that city.  Here's the back of Joey Cora's card for my buddy Joe.

I didn't do a whole lot of sightseeing there, as the overwhelming majority of the time was spent preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I think the Fisk card is from Buckingham Fountain, which I've been to once.  The Thomas card is of a bunch of buildings that are most certainly in Chicago, but to me, could really be from any major city in the U.S.  I only had two White Sox cards before the trade, but now the Tim Raines card is the only one I need to finish the set.  Very cool.

Much of the same with the Cubs cards as well.  Sometimes it seemed like the same shot was used, but it might be more or less zoomed out than other cards.  The Sandberg and Bo Jackson card (from above) seem to be examples of this.  Remember Candy Maldonado?  

I don't even know why I bothered putting these ones on here as well, but here they are.  Chicago is my kinda town.  I didn't have any Cubs cards from this set before the trade, and now I'm only three away from finishing the team set.  All the ones that I need have been added to my "Lookout" list on the right of the blog.

Last but not least, a few for the Player Collections.  Can't believe that I didn't have this Steve Finley card yet, so that was a nice pickup.  And another Brian Harper in catcher's gear enters the binders as well.  In both of these instances, the fronts were better than the backs.

Thanks again for an awesome trade, Kyle!  Can't wait for the next one, though I'll have to take some time to reload.


  1. You just showed my new all-time favorite checklist card. I have to get my hands on a copy of that one.

  2. I like the Fernando Valenzuela card because Cal Ripken Jr. is sort of obscured, but visible in the background - who else would have been playing shortstop for the Orioles at that time?

  3. Wow, no love for 1990 Leaf? That might be my all-time favorite set, at least of that era. It might be simple, but it's got a clean and fresh look.. And I love the photos, that while not that unique, seem to have a pretty pastel tint to them. And the backs are great too, cramming in a headshot, full stats, and a write-up (even if basically a ripoff of early Score backs).

  4. And thank you for what you sent me. I am always up for making a trade. These are some gem pictures on the backs of those 93 Leaf cards, I agree.