I can remember a time, not that long ago, when packs of cards were in grocery stores. I used to walk up to the local Dominick's and pick up as many packs as I could with my allowance. It was a simpler time and I really miss those days.
Then, in late 1990, I discovered something by accident. I had gotten down to the last few packs and noticed writing on the bottom of the box. I lifted the box up and there were secret cards on the bottom. I thought I had just discovered Atlantis or Amelia Earhart.
The rest of that year and the next, I conned my way into getting as many free empty card boxes as I could. Some employees thought I was a nutty kid. Others gave me a wink and a nod. Nudge, nudge. Say no more! Say... no... more!
In 1992, I didn't notice any cards to my recollection. If I did, I didn't think much of them. My collection seems to have started in 1990 and ended in 1991. I have a couple of professionally cut box bottom cards from earlier years. I have a 1986 Carlton Fisk in my collection. The ones from 1990 and 1991 will always hold a special place in my heart because I feel like I earned them. I even remember thinking that Donruss was cheap because they didn't offer cards on the bottom of their boxes.
These pop up in my boxes of cards from time to time. Some are cut better than others. Some I have several of. They always intrigued me though. I guess it was because they looked like the regular cards but were slightly different. Some of the Fleer cards from 1990 fool me to this day until I look at the back and see the gritty brown cardboard. Maybe kids would be more into cards if they found cards on the bottom of the boxes. Hey, it worked for me.