Wednesday, March 19, 2008

1992 Fleer #713 - Dave Justice

I can remember these cards being really popular with my friends. I thought they were pretty cool, but I didn't really see the huge deal about them. They were cartoons.

It was by this point of the nineties where baseball card saturation seemed at its highest. This is probably why I didn't care about them that much. There were so many card choices in 1992. Every company seemed to come out with a baseball card set that year. Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss and Score all came out with huge sets. At least it seemed that way at the time. The main companies all started to branch out with sister card releases. Even companies that had nothing to do with cards were releasing cards. Ziploc and Denny's come to mind.

1992 was the year that the bubble started to burst. It had finally reached a breaking point. Cards were everywhere. They came in gas stations, grocery stores, hobby shops, breakfast cereals, snack cakes and boxes of kitchen products. It was insane! Cards even came in magazines that didn't have much to do with baseball cards.

When the bubble burst shortly after 1992, there was chaos. The public started not caring. By this time, every company imaginable had jumped on the bandwagon and broke it. Cards were not special anymore. I got fed up and bought my last few packs in 1994. I wasn't happy with the product I saw. I couldn't justify the money for less product that looked cheesy. 1993 Score Select comes to mind.

1992 was the year I cut my collecting in half. In 1993, I collected about half of what I did in 1992. After 1994, I didn't pick up another pack until 2007. Over saturation of the market and the strike helped that decision a lot.

In 1992, I still had hope that things would turn around in the hobby. I thought that these cartoon cards were a step in the right direction. I was still a teen and obsessed with drawing, so these types of cards offered a unique perspective into the players. They looked different, but they were nothing more than a gimmick.

As a teen, I saw this card of Dave Justice and thought it looked so cool. He had a tomahawk for a bat and he had a sly smile like he was about to hit a three run homer to win the game. He seemed larger than life juxtaposed against a blue sky with wispy clouds. Replacing Dale Murphy was hard for a rookie, but homer happy Dave made the casual fans forget about Dale.

I look at this card today and I see Dave with a slightly deranged look on his face with a weapon. It's funny how you look at things many years later and have a completely different reaction to it. These cards don't seem as special today. They don't even particularly stand out anymore. For a brief period of time, they stood out among younger collectors.


capewood said...

Boy, Steve, that was a really depressing story. I'm glad you found your way back to the hobby.

White Sox Cards said...

Even though I felt like I was forced out of the joy of collecting, the allure of baseball cards could not keep me away forever.

Fleerfan said...

We're glad you decided to come back!

Looking back to that time, its amazing how cards really did seem to be everywhere as you mentioned- and now as you just were writing about on your other blog, you almost can't even find a decent card shop in major metro areas.

On the bright side though, I'm interacting with many more collectors now over the internet than I did back in the days of hanging out at the card shop.

The hobby in many ways has gone through very difficult times since 1992, but thinking back those early '90s days before the bubble burst, it was a lot of fun riding that wave of more and more new products coming out. Back in 1992 before the bubble started to pop, the future still seemed pretty bright.

Who could have imagined where we'd be 16 years later.

NMboxer said...

On the bright side though, I'm interacting with many more collectors now over the internet than I did back in the days of hanging out at the card shop.

This is a really good point.