So I mentioned earlier that I had bought a box of 1993 Fleer Ultra at the City Wide Garage Sale over the weekend for seven bucks. Here are some highlights of the box. I am keeping very few of these, so the overwhelming majority are going into my trade box. If there are any cards from Series II that you need, they're yours, just say the word.
Starting off with the packs. You can just tell how great they're going to be because the packs are made of GOLD!
We'll start out with the "hit" of the box. There were 36 packs of 14 cards each (504 card altogether), and the back of the packs say that the odds of getting a "Strike Out King" card are 1:37 packs. Apparently Randy Johnson is the king of some barren planet that is orbited by a chrome covered moon.
The coverboy of the box, Dennis Eckersley, had his own subset, chronicling his long career. Here are the two cards that I got of Eck, in very unfamiliar uniforms (well, at least for me). "Unfamiliar uniforms" would be a theme for me in this box.
Here are the All-Rookie cards. Can't say that I love the design, but these ones still look pretty cool in my book. The Piazza card isn't going to be staying with me (up for grabs to anybody who wants to claim it), but you can bet that David Nied card is. I love me some hyped-up rookies from the 90's, especially the #1 overall draft pick from the first Expansion Draft of my lifetime.
These were the most plentiful and most boring inserts of the set. Gray backgrounds? Really? Lame. Still, it takes a lot to make a Pudge Rodriguez card not look awesome, so that one still wound up in the keeper binder, along with the Ripken.
I'll go ahead and assume that whoever is reading this blog knows what the base cards look like, but in case you don't or would like a refresher, here is a trio of future/former Padres. Talk about unfamiliar uniforms. Were it not for baseball cards, I'm not sure that I ever would've known that Goose Gossage spent the tail end of his career in Oakland (he would put it to rest in Seattle) or that Fernando Valenzuela ever was an Oriole. I already had the Hoffman card, but seeing him in the Marlin teal was too much to pass up.
Here's the back of the card. Bruce Ruffin will forever have a spot in my binder for giving up Tony Gwynn's 2,000th hit. Loving the 'stache here. He's also a Texan, born in Lubbock and living in Austin. The mugshot/action shot combo is one that I'm a fan of, but that's only because I didn't look to Fleer Ultra cards for the stats. The baseball diamond with the purple sky isn't great, but neither is the Rockies color scheme.
Well, after ripping and looking at all 504 cards, I decided that I needed to do a "Top 5 cards of the box countdown". Since I already showed the inserts (only the Nied and the Rodriguez cards would've made the Top 5), I decided to stick to the base cards. Because I'm a base card kind of guy.
Honorable Mention - Jeremy Hernandez (checklist)
I just had to find a reason to show one of the checklist cards on here, because how many times do you see cards of Jeremy Hernandez? Even as a big time Padre collector, I'll tell you that it's not very often. I'm not sure what Hernandez did to merit a checklist card (it wasn't his stats from '92, when he went 1-4 with a 4.72 ERA coming out of the bullpen for the Friars), but here it is.
#5 - David Nied
I've said it before, I'm convinced that some day I will win a sports trivia contest for knowing who the first pick in the '92 Expansion Draft. This isn't my favorite Nied card (it wasn't even the best one in the box), but any Nied card is a good Nied card. Everyone needs a good Nied card.
Ok, sorry, the last thing this post nieds is more puns.
#4 - Nigel Wilson
Oh, did I mention the extra shiny foil on the rookie cards? Very awesome. Here we have the #2 pick in the Expansion Draft, Nigel Wilson. Is he the best baseball player ever to be named Nigel? I can't think of anyone better. Or anyone, period. What set Nigel higher than Nied is that Wilson appears to be doing some sort of dance as he runs down the line. Either that, or he is attempting to mime a drag bunt.
#3 - Brian Harper
I'm not sure that there is a catcher today who has as awesome cards as Brian Harper did in the 90's. Not only is he rocking the gear here, but he's also rocking the mullet/mustache combo a la Eckersley. I'd like to imagine a battery of Harper/Eck, but that might be too much awesomeness for one team to handle.
#2 - Benito Santiago
Of course, if you're going to be talking about awesome cards of catchers in the early 90's, you have to include Benito Santiago. Looking through all of the cards, it was reminded how bright those teal uniforms were for the inaugural Marlins squad. Very easy to spot. I can see why Benny chose to wear black gear - to use the same color as his jersey may have blinded his pitchers.
#1 - Dale Murphy
As I was thumbing through all the cards, though, I knew as soon as I found it which one would be holding the number 1 spot. Dale Murphy was an All-Star before my time as a baseball fan, and right as I started collecting cards, he was transitioning from being the old guy on the Phillies to the very old guy on the Rockies. I had thought that the only card of him in the black and purple was in the '93 Upper Deck set, but apparently Fleer Ultra got in on the act as well. LOVE this card - if this doesn't scream "Unfamiliar Uniforms", I don't know what will.
I will probably do one more post on this box, but this will do for now. Can't think of a better way than ending it with Dale Murphy -