Shortly after his passing, I did a post on my top ten favorite Tony Gwynn cards. At the time, I was a little bit over the 500 mark, and currently, I'm a little over the 600 mark. I recently did a major purge of my binders, eliminating a few player collections, clearing out my Miscellaneous Padres binder, and putting a bunch of non-Padres players into boxes.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet (well, I'm going to mail them to bloggers/readers, but that's more of a post-summer school activity, so it'll wait a few weeks), but since I'm focusing more and more on my Tony Gwynn collection, I'm going to blog about it more and more as well.
Today, I'll be looking at the Tony Gwynn cards of 1995 from (what I consider to be) the five main brands of the time: Donruss, Fleer, Score, Topps, and Upper Deck, and ranking them one through five.
#1. 1995 Score (no. 28)
Starting out at number five, we have Score. From a design standpoint, I really don't like the way the brown and green borders look, though I don't actually mind it too much with this particular card. Solid picture of Tony mid swing, looks like it was from Spring Training, complete with a rip in his pants from earlier in the game. It's at the bottom of the list, but there's no shame in that, it's still good.
#2 - 1995 Fleer (no. 560)
It was a toss up between this one and the Score, in my judgement, they're pretty equal. I'll give Fleer the edge because of it's… uh, creativity. Sure, I'm pretty sure that the graphics guys were on acid, but it definitely stands out on a page. There are plenty of designs that others hate that I'm a big fan of (hello, 1991 Fleer), but I'm not crazy about this design, a little too busy for me. I do like that, along with the slew of information that's written in neon (even Tony's vital stats like height, weight, and place of birth are written on the front), that it has his uniform number in the bottom left corner. The number 19 is sacred to us Padre fans (just check Twitter for the hashtag #RIP19).
#3. 1995 Donruss (no. 224)
Donruss checks into the game in the middle of the pack. In my eyes, this is a fairly generic looking card - not bad at all, but doesn't stand out a lot either. In fact, if you had shown me a picture of this before I opened up my binder, I probably would've said that I didn't have it (does that make me a bad collector?). Still, while the design is simple, the photo is great, I love the home plate insert image that looks like Tony's popping out of home plate, and there's no distracting border, it's full bleed. This is a good one, though I could do without the foil.
#2 - 1995 Upper Deck (no. 135)
Speaking of cards with good photography and full bleed designs, here's Upper Deck's entry. The top three were pretty close here, and normally I prefer cards of Tony at the plate, but the green of the grass and the Wrigley ivy is just too good. Plus, I guess I prefer the gold foil to the silver, and Tony always had those killer sunglasses.
#1 - 1995 Topps (no. 431)
This one kinda surprised me. I started collecting in 1992 at the age of eight, and I thought (and still think) that 1993 was the last year of the '90s that Topps put out a good looking base set. I dunno, everything after that just paled in comparison to what Upper Deck and Fleer did (and don't get me started with other sets like Collector's Choice, Ultra, and Pinnacle, though Topps usually knocked it out of the park with Stadium Club). The zig-zaggy border with a secondary color is pretty plain to me, but in this case, it serves to highlight a great shot of Tony's sweet swing (and it's a bit more flattering that Score's photo).
In the end, just like any of my lists, it could look completely different on a different given day. The more I look at that Donruss card, the less sure I am about this list. But, I'm about to hit "publish", so if you've got a beef, leave it in the comments. Have a good one!