Retro Review – All I’ve Got Is A Photograph

Music has always been a big part of my life. I never really panned out as a musician or singer, though I tried it one time. I had a lot of fun with a group of guys playing 90’s Alternative Covers from Smashing Pumpkins, EverClear, Tonic and others. I’ve written more than once about the Deftones and Mrs. Dub and I go to 4-5 concerts a year in Atlanta and Jacksonville. I am primarily a Rock guy (along with its many iterations) and I got my start at an early age. My dad tried to get me to be a country music guy and my mom listened to pop but Uncle Greg and my close friends pulled me in the right direction.

Rock carries a pretty wide definition and I like just about all of it. The thing about rock music is that it usually has some deep meaning to the band and listener and takes a little bit more thought to write. That’s just my opinion so don’t lose your mind over it. The musician’s are generally creating their own music in most cases as well instead of a computer generating the tune or beat. The music is mostly original with very little sampling from other songs. It’s original and unique to me and that’s why I’ve always been drawn to it. I will not quibble over the fact that I am a rock snob.

There are some instances where I prefer a heavy riff and some screaming. That’s usually when I’m about to play a basketball or softball game or otherwise need some sort of adrenaline boost. That is another thing about rock music for me; it’s visceral. A song can put me in a certain state of mind or cure the blues or even bring me down from being too amped up. I’m not extremely picky when it comes to rock music but there are certain pockets of the genre that hit me harder than others. One such pocket would be the illustrious Power Ballad of the 80’s.

I was right in the middle of the young teenage years in the late 80’s so rock music and girls were pretty high on my priority list. Dances were also pretty popular around that time so the Power Ballad was the perfect opportunity to snuggle up to a cute girl and enjoy the tunes. I remember a lot of birthday party dances that were at friends houses and all that was needed was a boom box and open floor. Well, you also needed some tight-roll, acid washed jeans and hair gel but that was with any type of party. We learned all the words to the Power Ballad and we imitated the glam rock singers because it was obviously what the chicks were into. It was a crazy time!

I have my go-to list of power ballads loaded up on iTunes that were a big part of my budding youth and I often listen to that playlist when I’m working up a blog post because the music is soothing to me. So I figured, why not write about the songs I’m listening to as I type? I could have possibly ranked these in numerical order but I had a real problem with the top 3 so I decided to just put them in relative order of good to best with some room for shifting around in the lineup. The last 3 are no doubt list toppers though and shouldn’t be confused with any of the others.

Before we get started, there are 5 that made Honorable Mention because I had to trim the list for space purposes. I didn’t want you to get bored halfway through. The songs that almost made it include:
• Mama, I’m Coming Home – Ozzy Osbourne
• The Flame – Cheap Trick
• Close My Eyes Forever – Lita Ford
• Wind of Change – Scorpions
• Patience – Guns N Roses

On to the songs that did make the cut! For your listening (and viewing) pleasure, I’ve linked the videos for these. Just click the song title!

Don’t Know What You Got (Til It’s Gone) – Cinderella
I was all about Cinderella for a short while. I really only had “Long Cold Winter” but it was a really good album from beginning to end. There were some heavy classics like “Gypsy Road” and “Last Mile” and it slowed the mood down with “Long Cold Winter” and “Coming Home”. But the best song on the entire album and still one that gets play on my iTunes regularly is “Don’t Know What You Got”. We went to see Poison in Atlanta around 2011 and Cinderella opened for them. I was super excited but the singer’s voice had blown up and he was singing everything in a lower tone so it was a bit of a disappointment.

November Rain – Guns N Roses
I was not a huge GNR fan except for “Appetite for Destruction” but I did love this one. It ran almost 9 minutes long so if you could keep your date’s attention, you could really get two slow dances out of it. It was also a very fun song to sing, as was most songs by Axel Rose. I was more a fan of their hard rock but “November Rain” is certainly on this top 10 list without hesitation!

Home Sweet Home – Motley Crue
This wasn’t exactly a love song but it was a Power Ballad in every sense of the word. You can argue that it might be sort of a love song but I don’t classify it as such. It started out with a piano and soft singing (for Vince Neal). Then the drums and guitars kick in and bring the power. It’s a classic but wasn’t one that we would always dance to. I was a bit of a Motley Crue guy thanks to Dr. Feelgood, Kickstart My Heart, Girls Girls Girls and Shout at the Devil.

18 & Life – Skid Row
While another power ballad that isn’t a love song, this has all the emotional punch you’ll ever need from a rock song. Sebastian Bach can wail and this song was a perfect display of the notes he could hit. I remember getting this cassette from my buddy, Jason Lee, for my birthday one year. I actually remember us watching the old “Rock and Roller Games” TV show when he gave it to me and another song on this list was being played at halftime. What a classic show! I think it was on Fox and was essentially roller skating + wrestling with the storylines and everything.

I Remember You – Skid Row
This was a bonus on the self titled album that I really only wanted because of “18 and Life”. This song was definitely a dance hit! I remember holding the hand of an older, hot chick named Melissa while skating to this song at the Pelham Skating Rink. But here’s the kicker, my cousin Corey was holding her other hand and she was just being nice to us younger guys and there was nothing romantic at all about it. I’m pretty sure she was dating my neighbor Bryan at the time but hey, I still remember it. I highly doubt she does but that is how most of the memories happen with girls that are considered unattainable. She was being nice while my 13 year old mind was thinking boyfriend/girlfriend. Those were the days!

Heaven – Warrant
This is the song that was playing at halftime of the “Rock and Roller Games” when Jason gave me that Skid Row cassette. I immediately considered this song as my next get because it was awesome. This was another that you could slow dance to and I remember hearing it a couple of times at a friend’s birthday dance at Plant Mitchell but I don’t really remember who I may have danced with that night. Believe it or not, your humble blogger came up snake eyes from time to time in the girl category. This may have been one of those times. I know, hard to believe.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison
This one just missed the top 3 and some of you may heavily disagree. I loved this song, don’t get me wrong. We even performed it with our 90’s Alternative Cover band. But the top 3 are my clear favorites from the Power Ballad era. This was another heavily danceable tune and I remember this being a staple at every dance party. Heck, I even dance to this one now with Mrs. Dub if it comes on where we are at. I also remember singing this song in my bedroom with my imaginary band on a regular basis. When we went to see Poison and Cinderella in Atlanta, Bret Michaels’ voice was just fine and this one was worth the trip!

I Won’t Forget You – Poison
This is the beginning of the top 3. These 3 could really be put in about any order but I think I have them right for the moment. I liked this song from Poison more than “Every Rose” because of the electric guitar. It had a better beat for dancing than “Every Rose” too. I remember a birthday dance at my house and dancing with Misty, who was actually my “girlfriend” at the time. I’m not sure how that happened though because she was way out of my league in 1990. She claims today that I’m the one that broke things off but that’s not how I remember it. I was only 14 so I can’t be certain that it wasn’t me but it just feels like it was the other way around.

Hysteria – Def Leppard
Here is the #2 Power Ballad for me; “Hysteria”! I loved this entire album! Along with this amazing song, there was also “Rocket”, “Animal”, “Love Bites”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Armageddon It”! Come to think of it, “Love Bites” should be on this list too! I knew I would leave some good songs off. Mrs. Dub and I were fortunate enough to have seen Def Leppard in Atlanta and they were unbelievable. I was skeptical because of the way they sing. Remember, I was burned by Cinderella so I thought the Leppard might not be able to get to those high notes either. I was pleasantly surprised and I got legit chill bumps when they sang this song.

Photograph – Def Leppard
#1 is another Def Leppard classic; Photograph. This was a bit heavier than Hysteria but was still very melodic. It truly was a POWER ballad. I think it was about Marilyn Monroe but I always imagined it being about Kelly Kapowski. If I was good at videography stuff, I probably would have made a Kelly montage video for this song. These guys still had it in 2012 and I would go see them again today. I always liked Phil Collen (not the Genesis guy) and he put on a tremendous show in ATL. They also had one of my favorite “Behind the Music” episodes on VH1 back in the 90’s. Def Leppard is my #1 “hair band” and it’s not even that close. I loved Poison, Motley Crue, Skid Row and others back in the day but Def Leppard has held up better than all the others.

Speaking of holding up better than others, let’s talk about a football set that has stood the test of time. I am going to call it underrated because I had really forgotten about how good the product was until I recently went through one of my old school boxes looking for “random” hits from the past. I think that 1991 Upper Deck Football has some of the best photograph for a football set outside of some possible current releases and it deserves a comparison to Stadium Club Baseball in the fact that it was a huge step up from what the market was offering at the time. Even Fleer Ultra was pretty far behind what ’91 Upper Deck brought to the table. Let’s call 1991 Upper Deck the Def Leppard of Junk Wax Football. Most Junk Wax is really good but some just stand out more than others.

The box was fairly standard for 1991; 36 packs with 12 cards per pack. Upper Deck football did not have any filler in the packs like puzzle pieces or gum or even the hologram stickers like UD baseball. The packs were all cards. They were very similar to baseball in that they were foil and sealed on each end for that UD standard “tamper proof” feature. The only feature I question is “Limited Edition”. I’m not sure how limited any sets were in 1991.

One of the best features of 1991 Upper Deck football was the team checklist sketch Cards. Here is a Prime Time that was just awesome! You know I’m a sucker for sketch cards and these were nice. I have the full spread of what I pulled later in the post but this one deserved it’s own photo.

Photography was a highlight for 91 UD. I mentioned that in my last post and it’s what prompted me to rip this box. This was one of my favorite Cards from 1991. You may recall the similar Nolan Ryan triple exposure card in baseball. This was a great card in the early 90’s and set the bar for innovative photos in football sets.

As for other QB’s I pulled, here are some of the Stars. You may not be able to tell from this photo but the Marino was taken in the snow. There is another Dolphin shot later in the snow, which was ironic for Miami.

I pulled the usual early 90’s studs at running back with the exception of Bo but I did pull a cool team checklist sketch I’ll show off later. Ickey is doing the shuffle in his photo! You may remember Marcus Dupree from the great 30 For 30; “The Best That Never Was.”

More great photography can be found in the wide receiver selection. Flipper Anderson is making a one handed catch while Mark Jackson is about to take a big hit.

Tight End was slim but these were great ones! Looks like Novacek is the holder for a field goal. How many Tight Ends are asked to do that these days?

If you read my last post, you’ll know that this Reggie is one of my favorites. The Fridge even looks good in 91 UD. Collectors from my generation will remember Dennis Byrd. For those of you who don’t, do yourself a favor and look him up.

Look at this Matt Millen card! I was not a huge fan of Millen (especially as a GM) but this card just screams old school football! My man Percy Snow was included too so, cha-ching!

I’m still blown away by how clear these photos are! Felix is getting stretched out, Scott Case just laid Cleveland Gary out and Rod Woodson is in his Pro Bowl uni.

The headliner of the Star Rookie Class was Dan McGwire (Mark’s little brother). Todd Marinovich got a lot of hype too. But that first QB on row 3 wound up being the best of the bunch. Russell Maryland, Alvin Harper, Ricky Watters and Eric Turner all had solid careers while Browning Nagle and Aaron Craver fizzled.

Here are the great sketch Cards! These are just awesome! I love the ones with the names on them. Bo and Herschel are my favorites but I also like Flash 80 and LT. Once again, Warren Moon is pictured with an actual moon in the background just like ’90 Score Hot Guns.

The Team MVP’s didn’t have very many surprises but there were a couple. Greg Townsend got the Team MVP for the Raiders. That Raiders team had Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson and Tim Brown. Bobby Humphrey also got the honor for the Broncos over Elway. I won’t complain about André Rison for my Falcons!

The season leaders insert covered the major individual stat leaders. I remember Mark Carrier being a real ball hawk on Tecmo.

Aerial Threats showcased prolific QB and WR tandems. Here is the other Miami snow card. I’m a little surprised Steve DeBerg made it into this insert set.

As with baseball, UD focused on a legend for its “Football Heroes” insert. Joe Montana got the call in 1991 and I pulled 7 of the 9 Cards on the checklist.

I pulled one Game Breaker in the box and it was the great Barry Sanders. I may check this subset out and try to put it together. This is a striking card in person but maybe even more striking with my reflection in it!

This was a very easy set to score. The box cost me $14.95 so price is a plus. Photography is top notch and unrivaled for football at the time. One of the key rookies is Brett Favre. It’s loaded with stars and Hall of Famers. The design is clean and classy. It has great sketch cards littered throughout the checklist. This is about as perfect a set for the early 90’s as you will find. I would highly recommend you find a box and rip it just because the quality is so good for the “Junk Wax” era. This was an easy “5” on the Dub-O-Meter and may be the highest quality set I’ve reviewed for under $20 per box. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!


Scoring Scale

1.Let me be the sacrificial lamb so you don’t have to buy these cards.  Just read the post and thank me later.

2.There is worse but there is much better – not worth the effort though.

3.Middle of the road – I wouldn’t talk you into buying these but I certainly wouldn’t talk you out of them.

4.You should probably go out and buy a box and enjoy the rip – I did!  It has some downside but worth the ride.

5.Stop reading and find a box to buy and get to Breaking!  What are you waiting on?

The Power Of Random Memories

Sometimes life can come at you pretty fast. It’s easy to get bogged down in our day to day lives and take everything around us for granted. We constantly want time to go by too fast. We are ready for the work day to be over, we are ready to go to bed, we are ready for an event a week or month in the future, we are ready for our vacation, we are ready for Christmas! Being ready and anxious for things though means that we are certainly not living in the present like we should be. But life has a way of reminding you sometimes that you have to slow down and appreciate what is in front of you today rather than what the future might bring.

Focusing on the now helps me remember that while I am always ready for the work day to be over, I do have a job to be thankful for. I am fortunate that I have been coming to the same job for the last 20 years and I know my co-workers and I know my customers. I don’t have to learn a new trade and I don’t have to lie in bed at night wondering where my next meal will come from. For that, I am truly thankful. My job has given me the ability to enjoy life and have events to look forward to. Sure, sometimes I get bogged down and only think about having to be there and not being able to spend those moments doing something fun and exciting. But hey, it could always be worse.

When I get home from work, I find myself longing for sleep. I am tired and my mind is ready to shut off. But before I go to bed, I usually have supper to plan, laundry to navigate and kids to help with homework and give baths to. What I often forget when I have my eye on that late night crawl into my cool bed in my dark bedroom, are the people around me that I am doing these chores for. I focus too heavily on the work sometimes and not the reason for the work. My wife has been a part of my life for over 20 years and I never want to lose the desire to do anything for her. I never want to take her for granted. And while I look forward to growing old with her, I’m not ready to be old yet! Wishing away today just makes that happen sooner.

My kids are my life and even though it can be stressful, I don’t know where I would be today without them. While I wish there were some things they could do on their own, like getting a snack out of the refrigerator or turning the bath water on, I am not ready for them to grow up either. It’s easy to miss the moments when I am folding laundry and Georgia wants to help and folds clothes that I have to refold. It’s easy to miss the positives when I have to stop what I’m doing to try and remember 5th Grade math rules with Bailey. The positive is that she still needs my help and comes to me when she can’t do things on her own. That won’t always be the case. You have to take the hard work that comes with having the good times and sometimes that is difficult.

Wishing for my vacation time will fast forward my life 4 full months! I’ll miss Christmas, New Year’s, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Easter and even Bailey’s birthday if all I can focus on are those 5 days of freedom from work where we might travel somewhere fun to enjoy ourselves. Wishing for Christmas Day makes me lose the fun of the weeks leading up to Christmas when we pick out a tree, wrap presents, navigate the world of Elf on the Shelf and watch all the fun holiday classics on TV. Everything you rush to in the future makes you lose time today. That’s just the bottom line. I don’t know how to deal with that just yet but I am going to figure it out.

One thing I have figured out is how to look back on yesterday and find the great times that I had and may have taken for granted at the time. I am a self proclaimed expert when it comes to living in the past and remembering the “good ole days.” I remember even the smallest of meaningless moments when I get my mind set on exploring old events. There are some major parts I may misremember or leave out but it’s the strange small details that I seem to remember that make some of these moments a blast to relive through my blog. I might even get a year wrong but I’m likely going to remember the shirt I was wearing or the music in the background. I guess I’m sort of random like that.

Remembering those good times makes me appreciate the life I have lived so far. I have been very fortunate to have great family and friends that have provided for great memories that have been building blocks over the years. I have made mistakes and I have memories of those as well. But all of the memories I carry with me every day of my life have helped me accept and appreciate that no matter what tomorrow brings, I have lived a great life up until today. I hope to say the same tomorrow.

Memories are what sustain me and I love it. I remember the time me and Coop stayed up all night playing Nintendo and in a fit of disappointment, he flailed his arms and brought down a shelf of photos and decor in my living room, waking my mother at 3 am. I can’t think of a time throughout middle and high school that didn’t include my cousins Coop, Trent, Corey or Jared either. I was blessed with some really cool cousins growing up. Me and Coop would play basketball at his house until one of us scored 100 points and we would start all over again. Coop’s family also had a place at Fort Gaines with us so we spent a lot of time together their too. We almost flipped a golf cart there and I did push him off the back of it once and he broke his wrist.

I spent time at Trent’s watching Arnold movies like Total Recall and Predator. My favorite movie was Aliens at one point and I remember watching it with him and my Aunt Nancy for the first time. I always got my scary movie fix at their house!

Corey, Jared and I would play sports in the yard during the day and on Nintendo at night. When it comes to random memories, I specifically remember staying up late one night and sorting baseball cards while Corey and I listened to “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor on a loop. We would talk about cards and girls while we listened to those cheesy popular songs of the 90’s. I also remember endless ping pong tournaments and RBI Baseball battles!

I remember going through a cheese biscuit phase when I was a kid. I’m not talking about something fancy like Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Red Lobster either. This was the canned Pillsbury biscuits I would bake and when they were just getting ready, I’d pop the top and throw a piece of American cheese on them and let it melt. I would eat the entire 10 biscuit can! That was nowhere near the weirdest food phase either. Does anyone remember gummy peaches? They were peach flavored gummies in a ring shape and they were delicious. Well, I would dip those in Frito Lay Jalapeno Dip from time to time. Yeah, peach gummy candy dipped in jalapeno cheese dip….mmmmmm.

What is fun about the gummy jalapeno memory is that it is always tied to some event that happened at my friend Michael’s (Munt) house where we were usually playing pool or wiffle ball or Shaq Fu on SNES. Munt was one of my best friends and he hung out with us at the Video Superstore and we always tried out the new releases before they hit the shelves. Shaq Fu was a classic; as was Lightning Jack and Little Big League. No matter what we had going on, we had a great time together. The only time I ever got crossways with Munt was that time he and Hickey played basketball against me and Brewer in my backyard. He had scored a few times and I stuck my leg out a little too far when he made a move around me one time and we had words. The game ended without really ending and that really is the only time I can ever remember he and I having words. Sorry about that one Munt.

Of course, Brewer and I were best friends too growing up and we have a lot of great memories. I’ve written before about the viewing of “Night of the Living Dead” (MY VERY FIRST POST) and the time we went to the cemetery and were told the story of Annabelle. But we also scared the pants off of unsuspecting trick or treaters several years by hiding in trees and bushes when they came up to his front porch to get candy. We stayed up all night at each others houses making stupid videos long before YouTube was invented. We even had a fake talk show in which I would mimic one of our teachers as the host and he would portray various people from school that I would interview. We recorded pranks we would play on our friends if they made the mistake of being the first person to fall asleep at these all-nighters. We actually could get ruthless with each other at times. But we had a great time!

There was my friendship with Josh in Middle School where we spent almost all of our time together! Whether it was watching free movies from the library at my house after school or riding his motorcycle and fishing at his house on the weekend. We spent time at the radio station that his stepdad worked at, I watched scary movies at his house that I wasn’t able to watch at my own and I even played “Bloody Mary” for the first time on a dark and scary night at his place. Josh and I went our separate ways at one point in High School and he left this earth far too soon but I think of him quite often.

Then there was my buddy David from high school and we have plenty of memories too. He had a 9-hole mini golf game that we would set up throughout his house and compete with each other for the title of greatest mini golfer. We were always competing! We played home run derby with ping pong balls and tennis rackets, tennis balls and wooden bats and any other combination we could think of. We were also competitive with sports cards. I remember him pulling the Elite Andre Dawson and wanting to be happy for him but really being as jealous as I had ever been about a baseball card. He was also a Minnesota guy so he had a lot of MN trinkets around his room that made me want that ’91 World Series more than anything. Just like the Dawson Elite, David won that competition as well. David is one of the friends from growing up that still collects and we text each other photos of our recent purchases from time to time. I guess we are still competing!

But thinking about all these friends and memories has gotten me feeling super nostalgic and I decided to pull out one of my old “memory card boxes” and sort through some of my old football favorites. I guess while I am being random, I can go through some random cards and try to remember what made me hang on to these otherwise cheap cards in 2017. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; value is in the eye of the collector and I wouldn’t trade these cards for the world today. They are very meaningful to me even now and during times like this when life has thrown its curveball and made me put things into perspective, there are no better reminders of the good times than these rustic and weathered pieces of cardboard.

I always liked Marcus Allen and thought he was underrated (if that’s possible) in my generation because of him being tied to Bo in the Raiders backfield. He is the first player by alphabet in my “don’t toss” pile.

Biscuit was another player that I thought was somewhat underrated. He was well known but he got lost sometimes on a team with Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed and Bruce Smith. This was always one of my favorites.

Another Raider, Tim Brown was one of my favorite wide receivers of the 80’s-90’s, which I’ve covered here many times before. When I think of Brown, this is the card that always comes to mind.

QB Eagles was the man! I remember sitting in my room all by myself and trying to rush for 500 yards in a game with him on TSB. This is the first of several ’91 Upper Deck entries.

You probably knew I would have to include a Pro Vision. This Irvin was always a trip to me. His shadow was the Lombardi Trophy and that horse in the background was a little over the top. But again, it was Pro Vision and they were really taking a turn in ’93 to the psychedelic side.

I don’t believe I have ever put a Bo card to the side when sorting for it to be put in the common box. I hold these in the highest regard whenever I pull them. And this ’91 Upper Deck was always a great photo to me.

1991 Score had some great art cards in both football and baseball. I’m going to rip some baseball soon to enjoy those but this Marino has been in my collection since the day I pulled it in ’91.

This may be my favorite football card of all time. This card takes me back to 1990 every time I see it and I have so many fond memories. I have to figure out a way to tell Mrs. Dub that I want to be buried with this card.

I didn’t know much about Okoye before TSB but when I found out about him, I went to my card box and started trying to find a card of him. This is the first card I found and it’s been in my keeper box ever since.

Sweetness was winding down his career by the time I really started collecting football cards. This was the first card I ever pulled of him and I always thought it was one of the more classy ProLine cards, which was par for the course for Payton.

This card was from the latter days of my childhood collecting but I loved Action Packed and Jerry Rice. I have a TON of Jerry Rice cards but this is one of my favorites.

Have I mentioned before that I loved Andre Rison when I was a kid? How strange that one of the cards I have in my “untouchable” box is a card that doesn’t even feature Rison on the card. Classic error card!

This was ’91 Pro Set and the set from the previous year is when I really fell in love with sketch cards. But this Barry Sanders has always been a highlight of my collection. It has so much detail from the jersey to the lines on his face. This is such a great card to me!

More love for ’91 Upper Deck. Deion was decked out in his gloves, towel, armbands earrings and bandana for this photo. I remember the “You Gotta Believe” slogan and this card is representative of my early passion of the Falcons.

This is a latter 90’s card but it’s one of my favorite sets from that timeframe. Fleer Metal Universe was awesome in 1998 because we had never seen anything like it. I bought a ton of this and they still look good to me.

More great photography from ’91 Upper Deck; this time of Derrick Thomas. Even though DT was a Bammer, I was a huge fan. I remember a clip from the early 90’s VHS classic, NFL Rocks, where Marty Schottenheimer has a heart to heart with him about keeping focus in an overtime game. What a great video. If you haven’t seen it, the whole thing is on YouTube HERE and I’d recommend giving it a look.

Thurman Thomas was such a great back. I really wish Buffalo had won at least one of those Super Bowls in the early 90’s because these guys deserved it. As for Wild Cards, they didn’t have as solid a run as the Bills but I have an unusually high amount of these cards sitting around from my early collecting days.

I just pulled one of these a few days ago in my ’89 box break but this particular card has been in my old school box for a long time as it was one of the first trade hauls from when I was a kid. I don’t remember what I Traded to get it but I really love this card.

I’ve mentioned Fred Washington on the blog before, I think from my ’90 Topps post. This card was always striking to me because of his jersey and the photo but when I found out he was killed in an automobile accident his rookie season, I held onto this card. It’s still in my old box some 27 years later and he is but a distant memory to most NFL fans.

Well, this card has convinced me that I need to pick up a box of ’91 Upper Deck for a Retro Review. I know that Stadium Club is known for photography and ’89 Upper Deck Baseball is the king in UD history but these cards look so great! This set is really good and I’m going to make a point of trying to build it in 2018.

We never know what tomorrow will bring us. We never know if we will even get tomorrow. But we always have yesterday to look back on and find the good times that sustained us. We are who we are because of these memories, for better or worse. Time doesn’t have to change who we are unless we want it to. I personally don’t. I want to always be that kid that admired Walter Payton and tried to be Barry Sanders in the front yard and ran for 3,000 yards with Bo on TSB. I’m sure that while the Bills players would tell you they’d love to have a Super Bowl ring, the early 90’s was still a great time to be a Bill. The early 90’s was a great time for me to be Dub too because of the friends, family and hobbies I had. Some of the friends have changed, my cousins have started their own families and we’ve grown apart but the hobbies will never change for me.

I mean this with all sincerity. As long as I’m able to collect cards, I’m going to do it. As long as 80’s and 90’s cards are available for public consumption (which may be a while based on production), I’m going to focus my efforts there. Junk Wax is only “junk” in name and every card has a story for me when I see it for the first time in years. Life can be challenging and unpredictable but we all have to find that one thing that makes it simple and painless. For me, that one thing is cardboard from my childhood. Looking through this box from when I was a kid is like watching a movie or reading a book about my life. The cardboard tells stories of laughter, fun and even sad times if you just slow down and listen. I know this is all a little deep for a blog post on football cards but when you come face to face with your fatal flaw (Thanks Ma for that one), you start to think in deeper terms and you try to find meaning in the experiences you’ve had. The meaning for me has come to light and I plan to immerse myself in those experiences as often as possible.

I appreciate you giving me a voice and taking an interest in these experiences. I’ve written for myself for years and finding out that there are those that enjoy reading is one of the great blessings I’ve received in 2017. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


Retro Review – A Super Rookie Wishlist

I think I have sufficiently established here at DubMentality that 1989 was likely the greatest year ever. The movies were stellar, the music was rockin’, video games were 8-bit dream weavers and Sports Cards were catching fire! I’ve said it before but it bears repeating; if I could go back to any one year and live it over and over, it would be 1989. I’ve covered that great year from a ton of different angles but now it’s the Christmas season so there’s really only one way to approach this post; the 1989 Sears Wishbook!

Everyone who is over the age of 30 likely remembers the Sears Wishbook. This 600 page publication had just about everything your heart could desire. Kids loved this book but now that I have a couple kids of my own, I can imagine that parents didn’t get the same enjoyment from it. I found the 1989 book online and was able to sift through the entire 683 pages. It brought back some great memories but one thing that stuck out to me was how expensive some of the items were some 28 years ago. If they seem expensive now, imagine how that felt in 1989 currency!

For example, can you believe that VCR’s in 1989 were as much as $300? You can buy 8-10 BlueRay players for $300 today. You had to rewind tapes and constantly adjust tracking on your VCR too! I do remember these old sports videos though and they were certainly worth the $15 price tag.

You had to have a TV to watch those videos on as well. I’m pretty sure we actually had the middle TV when I was a kid. This is a 27 inch TV for $750! Computer monitors are bigger than 27 inches now. But these were top of the line in 1989.

And what about communications? A normal corded phone would run you anywhere from $50-$100. If you wanted a cordless, it would cost upwards of $125! For the fun loving teen, there was also the Garfield phone for $50. I’m going to guess that this phone outsold all other designs throughout the course of history.

If you wanted personal music, that was going to cost you as well. Some of these Walkman’s were over $100! We are talking about cassette playing, wired headphones, AM/FM devices that cost a Benjamin. I totally feel for my parents and what I probably put them through.

Video games were certainly more important to me back then than VCR’s. And for half the price of a VCR, you could own the sweet Nintendo Entertainment System. No piece of technology has ever been more important to me throughout the course of my life. And just look at these games; Friday the 13th, Marble Madness, Double Dribble, Excitebike and Tecmo Bowl! I really think time could have stood still in 1989 and I would have been just fine.

There were other choices in 1989 for video game consoles but I was a couple years away from the 16-bit Sega and had outgrown the Atari.

If you wanted your gaming on the go, you could opt for the GameBoy. I played it a ton but I actually never owned a GameBoy of my own. I never really wanted one all that bad but I did enjoy the occasional playing of my friends games.

Some people were lucky enough to even have a computer. This Commodore wasn’t much more costly than the Nintendo but that didn’t include the monitor and the mouse. If you wanted those necessities, you were approaching $500. And you certainly had to have the disk drive, which was another $200. By the time you threw in the printer, you were looking at a $1,000 setup. The games were pretty awesome though!

For the gamer on a budget, you could always go with these gems. I had several different baseball and football handhelds during my youth.

When I had to put down the video games and actually go outside and play, I would throw baseballs at my pitch return. I threw at that net for hours on end and learned just as much about fielding as I did pitching.

I always wanted one of these pool tables as well but the closest I ever got was the small pool table in the picture. This wasn’t the easiest table to navigate but I remember playing quite a few games on it.

Then there was the clothing. Pajamas and Sweatsuits were my go to choices back in the day. The Nintendo sweatsuit was pretty sweet. And the team pajamas were pretty awesome too.

I’m pretty sure I had one of these get ups as well but it was UGA. I think there is a picture floating around somewhere with me wearing it. Maybe I’ll find that one day.

And of course, I had a couple of pairs of the sweatpants with the team names down the leg. I had some bicycle shorts too but they weren’t Lakers design.

I had to include this because who didn’t love a great sleeping bag. I remember taking mine to spend the night parties and zipping myself up in it to get all cozy. My daughter sleeps in her sleeping bag now in her bed so kids must still like them.

Finally, for the collectors out there, Sears offered some pretty sweet sports card deals. They had the exclusive Sears Ingots, which I bought at a recent card show(’85 version). They also had “Talking Baseball”, Baseball Star Pop Ups, the Baseball Card Collector’s Case, Price Guides, Binders and more! But item #8 could be had for $14.90 and it’s one of my favorite football sets from my youth; 1989 Topps.

I recently picked up a wax box of 1989 Topps to relive some of the magic of the greatest year ever. Even though some of the key rookie cards from this set are found in the Traded Set, the base set is still loaded with stars and some of the classic rookies from 1989. I love the box and wrappers from 1989 and who will argue over a .45 cent pack?

There were also box bottom cards as was customary for Topps in the 80’s. This year was Players of the Week and I picked up Week’s 13, 14, 15 and 16.

Also a customary inclusion in late 80’s football were the 1,000 Yard Club cards. These were glossy inserts at 1 per pack and covered a plethora of players that hit 1,000 yards. There are familiar names here!

The late 80’s were loaded with Hall of Fame and Star QB’s in the NFL. I pulled Boomer, Jim Kelly, Moon, Cunningham, Elway, Marino and many others.

It’s hard to beat the stud running backs in 1989. Bo Jackson and Christian Okoye were on the way in while Herschel and Craig were mid stride and Tony Dorsett and Eric Dickerson were wrapping up their illustrious careers.

Wide Receiver was not devoid of stars either.  Jerry Rice and John Taylor were both 1,000 yard receivers on the same team. Sterling Sharpe, Cris Carter and Andre Reed were some of my favorites.

In 1989, Tight Ends were more blockers than pass catchers. While that isn’t too much the case today, these were some good pass catchers back in the day. And we have the rare Jay Novachek in a Cardinals uniform.

The Defensive Line in 1989 was nasty! Bruce Smith, Richard Dent, Chris Doleman, Reggie White and Howie Long?? These dudes were absolute beasts!

Things didn’t get easier for the offense if they got to the second level of the defense either. LT and Mike Singletary were legendary at the linebacker position but all of these guys were studly.

Finally, the big hitters were in the secondary. Ronnie Lott was a man among men and Joey Browner and Rod Woodson could cover as well as they could hit. Now I am pretty sure Chuck Cecil wouldn’t have had a long career with today’s NFL safety rules. This guy was not scared of anything and he would absolutely take out receivers any time they came across the middle.

The Record Breakers were pretty dang good players too! Tim Brown, Eric Dickerson, Steve Largent and Dan Marino are all 80’s Icons!

I pulled 5 of the League Leader cards and I’ve always loved the Herschel/Dickerson card.

I pulled a ton of these team leader cards as well but I’ll only picture a few to show the design.

The “Super Rookies” were solid in ’89 with the inclusion of Brian Blades, Mark Rypien and Chris Spielman. Though there were two others I pulled that deserve their own photo spots.

Michael Irvin was the man and was one of the key players that helped turn the Cowboys around in the 90’s. This RC is always a welcome addition.

Then there is the gem of the base set, Thurman Thomas! I used Thurman so many times on Tecmo because the Bills were loaded. I wish they had won at least one of those Super Bowls because those guys deserved one.

Because I wanted to make this post complete, I also swiped the Traded Set for $7.95 from my LCS. Not including the big guys, there are still some solid names in this Traded Set that make it well worth the price. Steve Young, Don Beebe and Herschel headline the non-big guys. And I didn’t forget about you Scotty; Mr. Steve Grogan is included!

Here are the studs (except one) in the traded set. The rookies of Aikman, Deion, DT and Rison make this Traded Set worth so much more than the cost!

The best card in the entire 1989 Base and Traded Set is this awesome Barry Sanders. I love this card and it might be my favorite 80’s football card!

I don’t think anyone would argue that the 1989 Topps set is loaded and a great addition to any collection. I give it an easy “5” on the Dub-O-Meter because the design is classic 80’s and the checklist is star studded! This was such a great rookie year and still included many big stars that were either in the middle of their careers or winding down. There is really nothing I don’t like about this set, except for the 28 year old gum!


Scoring Scale

1.Let me be the sacrificial lamb so you don’t have to buy these cards.  Just read the post and thank me later.

2.There is worse but there is much better – not worth the effort though.

3.Middle of the road – I wouldn’t talk you into buying these but I certainly wouldn’t talk you out of them.

4.You should probably go out and buy a box and enjoy the rip – I did!  It has some downside but worth the ride.

5.Stop reading and find a box to buy and get to Breaking!  What are you waiting on?

Fantasy Football – The Cruel Mistress

I sit here this Sunday evening sulking over my horrible fantasy football luck and I’m trying to find positivity among the lit Christmas Tree and simmering pot of Chili. It’s not easy my friends. Everyone has a story but mine includes a knee injury for Rex Burkhead, a 6 point effort from Golden Tate and the worst game of the season for Russell Wilson. At this exact moment, it’s not over because I am down 26 and still have Michael Crabtree and Khalil Mack left and sacks are worth 4 points. But I am of the mindset at this point, based on the way this weekend has gone so far on the gridiron, that my season is over. I was the #1 scorer with the second best record in the league and this was my lowest scoring effort of the season. If you’ve ever played fantasy sports, I’m sure you’ve been there.

I’ve played fantasy football for many years and have experienced varying success throughout my “career”. I have hoisted the imaginary trophy 6 times and have made the playoffs more often than not but each year brings such a litany of highs and lows. I wonder sometimes why it’s so addictive because you are going to be disappointed more than you are elated because that’s just the way the numbers shake out. I’ve been in 16 teamers, 12 teamers and 10 teamers and even in the smallest, you have a mere 10% chance of being the champ. Factor in all of the things that are out of your control and it can become rather maddening.

Let’s talk about Billy Volek, Drew Bennett and the 2004 Fantasy Playoffs for a moment. The mere mention of these names gives me the shakes this time of year. Billy Volek took over in Week 12 for an injured Steve McNair in Tennessee and had what seemed like his long lost best friend at wide receiver in Bennett. I had the misfortune of running into the team that rostered both that fateful Week 14. That week, Billy Volek threw for 492 yards and 4 TD’s. He became only the 4th QB in NFL history to throw for back to back games of 400 yards. Drew Bennett caught 13 of those passes in Week 14 for 160 yards and 2 scores.

I actually had one of the great teams of 2004…..Until Week 14.

At QB, I had Donovan McNabb. Donnie Football went 13-2 in 2004, throwing for 3,875 yards, 31 TD’s and only 7 INT’s. In Week 14, 2004, he threw for 223 yards and 1 TD.

At my RB1 position, I had the great Clinton Portis. He rushed for 1,315 yards in 2014 but couldn’t find the end zone in Week 14 so I was stuck with his 110 yards for only 11 points.

At RB2, I had a running back that has likely been forgotten by most football fans but he was an absolute beast for about 2 ½ seasons. Dominick Davis had 1,188 yards and 13 TD’s in 2004. One of the shortest tenured studs I can remember, he rushed for 1,000 yards his first 2 seasons, winning ROY in 2003 and followed up in his 3rd season with 950 yards. Then he disappeared. He ended 2005 on IR and was released by the Texans, never to be heard from again. He worked out for a few teams up until 2010 from what I can find but he just never made it back to the league. He actually helped me out in Week 14 that year with 158 yards and a score.

WR1 was the unforgettable Chad “OchoCinco” Johnson. Ocho finished 2004 with 1,274 yards, good for 6th in the league. He also added 9 scores that year. In Week 14, he was completely shut down, registering only 2 catches for 10 yards. What a bust!

WR2 was a mainstay on my fantasy teams for several years. Reggie Wayne was automatic during the 2000’s with Peyton Manning at QB. In 2004, he hauled in 77 catches for 1,210 yards and 12 scores. He even had a serviceable Week 14 but failed to reach the end zone so his 8 receptions for 88 yards felt a little short.

Finally, my TE was a Falcon favorite, Alge Crumpler. Alge is another player that is many times forgotten by football fans but he was a favorite in Atlanta. In 2004, he finished with 48 grabs for 774 yards and 6 scores. He was pretty reliable all season from the TE slot; until Week 14. He caught 3 balls for 38 yards that week and was the final nail in my lineup’s coffin.

I don’t really remember the other players my opponent had. I really haven’t had to. Billy Volek and Drew Bennett would’ve combined to take me down as long as my opponent had any combination of warm bodies in his lineup. I cultivated this team all year and Billy Freakin Volek swooped in and ended my season. This wasn’t the only time but it hurts the most when I think back. My season was ended by a 19 tackle performance by DeMeco Ryans one year. Another year, it was the Colts sitting their studs. Last year, I lost in the Championship to Kirk Cousins and David Johnson so that was easier to stomach but I did have Andrew Luck and Zeke.

This year has been a rough ride. I’ve gotten up and down weeks from Jordan Howard and this week was down. Russell Wilson was the #1 QB in the league coming in to this week and finished with 13 points. I lost Zeke 5 weeks ago and was trying to hang on for 1 more. One of my keepers, Andrew Luck, never played a down. Michael Crabtree and JuJu Smith-Schuster both had suspensions late in the season. I lost Chris Hogan to a shoulder injury for much of the second half. I lost Greg Olsen week 1. Golden Tate was one of the steadiest receivers for the whole year and gave me a lame 3 for 36 this week. You win some and you lose some but it really hurts when you lay your biggest egg in the playoffs.

Despite this season’s results, I will be back again next year and hopefully Zeke and Andrew Luck will as well. I enjoy it too much to give it up, even if it is a cruel mistress more often than not. Fantasy Football is the only reason I’ll sit down and watch the Jets play the Raiders during the regular season. I have no interest in watching the Dolphins unless I have Jarvis Landry or Kenyan Drake. And I wouldn’t be caught dead rooting for the Patriots unless I needed that touchdown from Rex Burkhead or Chris Hogan. It makes football as a whole more interesting for me since I don’t play Super Tecmo Bowl anymore. It also helps me stay current with the hobby happenings.

In an effort to close the fantasy season with happy thoughts, I figured I would remember some of my favorite fantasy studs of all time. I collected these players cards and loved when I had them on my fantasy team. They performed well as members of J-Dub’s Baller’s and have their numbers hanging on the mezzanine of Hustle Headquarters.

Daunte Culpepper
Culpepper just lit up the league from 2000-2004 with multiple years of 3,500+ yards, including 4,717 yards in 2004. He topped 30+ td’s in 2000 and 2004 with 33 and 39, respectively. He also ran for 609 yards and 10 TD’s in 2002! Fantasy Legend!

Rudi Johnson
My all-time RB1 has to be Rudi Johnson. I rostered him in 2005 and 2006 and he paid dividends each year. He totaled 2,800 yards those two seasons and found pay dirt 24 times. He was as steady as it got for those 2 solid years.

Jerome Bettis
I only owned Bettis twice but I loved having him on my roster. Even though it was late in his career, he was pretty good for 80 yards and a score each and every week. I wish I had played Fantasy Football during the mid 90’s when he was ripping off 1,500 yard seasons.

Priest Holmes
Priest was the first RB I ever drafted in 2001 and he rewarded me with a 1,500 yard season but only 8 TD’s. He followed that season up with 1,615 yards and 21 scores. For a short period of time, there was no one more dominant than Holmes.

Muhsin Muhammad
One of my favorite WR’s of the 2000’s, Muhammad was as consistent as anyone in the league. Six seasons from 2000-2009 were 800+ yard seasons. I wish I had drafted him in 2004 because he had 1,405 yards and 16 TD’s. In Week 14 of that season, he had 10 catches for 135 yards and a score.

Donald Driver
The other wide receiver that I targeted in drafts during the 2000’s was Donald Driver. He was the #1 for Brett Favre, along with Javon Walker a couple of years. Driver had seven 1,000+ yard seasons from 2000-2009 and averaged about 80 catches. He didn’t find the end zone as much as some other receivers, never topping 9, but he was a yardage monster!

Chris Cooley
Aside from walking around naked in locker rooms with cameras around, Cooley was a pretty solid Tight End during the 2000’s. He was a consistent 60 catch player and could find the end zone a half dozen times a year too. He never had overwhelming numbers but he was definitely a solid contributor each year.

One day my list will probably include Andrew Luck, Zeke, Golden Tate, Jimmy Graham, Julian Edelman and others but for now, these guys are in the Ring of Honor for the Ballers. It’s funny how you remember certain plays, certain games, particular players and otherwise insignificant moments in football history when you are involved in fantasy football. You remember that one catch that Alshon Jeffery didn’t haul in, the extra couple of yards Marshawn Lynch could’ve picked up if they had just given him the ball one more time and that tipped interception that Matthew Stafford threw in a Week 8 win, even though he shouldn’t have made that last pass attempt. Sometimes you are on the right side of history but more times than not, you are left scratching your head at the end of the season and you start to question whether the season has burned you for the last time. As I wrap this up, Michael Crabtree just caught his second TD pass and Khalil Mack has 2 sacks so I’ve defied the odds and pulled off the comeback, barring a cruel stat adjustment. But don’t think for a moment that it is lost on me that my opponent could write this same article tomorrow because he fell victim to the same cruel mistress that I was tortured by just a couple of hours ago.


Retro Review – A Christmas Morning Score

It’s officially December and the family got the Christmas Tree up in the Living Room last night. Thus begins the greatest month of the year for a nostalgic fellow such as myself. Most of the stuff I write about can be traced back through Christmas gifts, family and holiday times when I was out of school. If you’ve read my work, you know about the infamous Nintendo Christmas, the year I got Tecmo Super Bowl, the first complete set of baseball cards I received, 1990 Topps, and the glory days of the holiday gridiron. No matter how old I get, I will forever remember Christmas from when I was a kid. My goal now is to give those same memories to my kids.

I grew up in a much simpler time than my kids are and our Christmas gifts wouldn’t really make much of an impact on them. They aren’t really interested in a Teddy Ruxpin doll that reads a story when they can sit down with a Leap Pad and write their own. The graphics from my Tandy Computer the morning I got Downland would probably look like cave drawings to them. And in a world with Hover Boards, iPhones and Netflix, the good ole days of the VHS tapes, Big Wheels and Gameboy are as outdated as ever. But for me, and probably most of you, I wouldn’t trade any of the toys I had as a kid.

Donkey Kong Mini Arcade
This is really the first Christmas present I vividly remember. I was 5 years old and I received a miniature arcade game that I could play in my own room. I remember it vividly though because of the circumstances of that Christmas. I had chicken pox on Christmas Day and was unable to go to any of the family functions so Christmas presents were brought back to me where I would open them in a rather uneventful quarantined environment. But while I had to stay in my room that day, I had this Donkey Kong Mini Arcade to keep me company. I’ve thought about buying one of these just for the nostalgic significance it holds for me at Christmas time.

Fast forward a year of two and Santa Claus came through yet again with the Castle of Greyskull! I remember having He-Man, Battle Cat, Man-At-Arms, Man-E-Faces, Skeletor, Panthor and Beast Man. I watch my youngest daughter sometimes and am amazed at how she can play with little character toys and pretend that they are really doing the things she is telling them to do. Then I remember back to when Skeletor tried to take the Castle and He-Man had to fend him off. It was all too real to me in my mind back in those days so I can totally understand what she’s doing. What I don’t understand now is how a hero like He-Man had such a horrendous haircut.

Tyco Challenge Race Track
I actually got a few of these over the years and me, my dad and my brother would set them up in the dining room floor to race each other. We never got the track set up quite as cool as they did in the commercials but we had a blast with them. I was always able to beat my little brother when we got them because I was old enough to know that you had to let off the controller in the corners or the cars would catapult into the curtains. Those little needles under those cars couldn’t take tight turns!

Wise Cracking Alf
This was a classic! Alf is a legendary pop culture figure from the 80’s and this Alf doll was hilarious for a kid. When you pressed his stomach, he spouted off some of his catch phrases like, “Ha, I Kill Me!” and “Hey Gimme Four!” The alien from Melmac was actually kind of creepy in retrospect as he spent so much of his time searching the house for the cat because he ate them. As a matter of fact, according to YouTube, Alf actually did eat 152 cats. I miss the times when everyone wasn’t so sensitive about everything!

I must have had 10 or more of these at one time as a kid. They were “gross” for adults but they fit right in with my Garbage Pail Cards. Plus, they were balls that you could actually throw and bounce and they were useful. I think these have made a bit of a comeback but as we all know, things are always the most fun the first time around. I actually may try to find some of these to get Bailey for Christmas though because she would probably like them!

The Dingo
This was my first “grownup” sort of Christmas present and it was legendary. I wheeled this bad boy all over my yard and often took it to an area behind our house that had some ditches and hills to jump. You could actually fit two kids in the seat and we would fight over who got to drive. I was lucky that I never had any real accidents in this contraption because we didn’t care anything about helmets and seat belts in 1987. I spent a lot of my youth around go carts because of how much my dad and uncles enjoyed them and The Dingo is a big part of the memories of those fun times.

Sony Walkman
Here is one of the gifts from my youth that would go over like a lead balloon with my kids. First of all, they have no idea what a cassette is. They also don’t know anything about having to listen to a full song or fast forwarding to the end of it if you want to hear the next one. That’s right, damnit! If we wanted to cherry pick songs, we had to work at it. We didn’t have it easy like kids today. As was evident when we had to be the remote control for our Dad when he was watching TV, technology was still pretty far from where it is today. But, I also remember black and white TV’s, Asteroids and beta players so the Walkman was a Marty McFly type innovation.

NBA Live ’95 SNES
I received a lot of great games at Christmas time, as I have discussed here before. But one that I really loved was NBA Live ’95 on the SNES. To me, it represented one of the bigger advancements in basketball gaming that we had seen to that point. It was a very slick TV style presentation with full season and teams and the ability to make trades. NBA Live ’95 perfected the basketball game for me much like Tecmo Super Bowl did football. The Magic was stacked with Shaq, Penny, Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott; The Rockets had Hakeem, Horry and Drexler; The Knicks had Ewing, Mason, Starks and Oakley. But the Golden State Warriors were absolutely loaded with a squad that suited up Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Latrell Sprewell, Chris Webber and Billy Owens!

I would be remiss if I didn’t list this one as a staple of Christmas past. The running joke for us kids at my Granny’s house was that we were always going to get some fruiters from her. Sometimes it was socks, sometimes plain white t-shirts. But sometimes, it was tighty whities! Yes, my Granny made it her mission every Christmas to get us underwear. It didn’t stop when we got older and started bringing girlfriends with us to the family function either. Even today, at 40, someone is going to yell, “FRUITERS” at my Granny’s Christmas function. I guess it’s more evidence that we never really grew up.

Sports cards became a highly sought after gift when I turned 12 and I have been receiving them without fail for the last 27 years. My mother asked me last week what I needed for Christmas and I told her sports cards. Let’s face it, I still need them! I mentioned that the first complete set I got for Christmas was 1990 Topps but there was another set that year that was pretty prevalent. My stocking was loaded with them, my grandmother got me several packs and I used some of the money I got that year to buy more at Wal-Mart when the stores reopened after the holidays. That was when I was turned on to Score and the great rookie class of 1990. Score had some up and down years but I would submit that 1990 was their best effort.

Junk Wax Score can never be accused of being bland, that’s for sure. The box for 1990 was a bold yellow and the wrappers were the same. The wrappers were those little plastic baggies that I have mentioned here before. You could see straight through the pack to the front and back card but that wasn’t highly unusual for the time. And the box is the standard behemoth for 1990 with 36 packs of 16 cards each.

The Base Cards were broken up into three basic colors; Blue, Red and Green. These were broken up by sections of the checklist. First group was Green, mid was Red and the end of the checklist was Blue. Each section had the highlighter yellow trim.

As was typical for Score in the late 80’s-early 90’s, their pack inserts were “Magic Motion” Cards with ’90 focused on MVP’s.

The infielders were highlighted by some of the usual suspects; Sheffield, The Wizard, Boggs and McGwire. Of course, I had to include Sabo and Dunston as well.

The outfield is well represented by Bo, Puckett, The Hawk and Tim Raines. Unfortunately, no Griffey or Canseco.

The pitchers were slim in this box but Ryan, Doc and Maddux are definitely welcome.

There were several “Draft Picks” included in the set and these three were some of the hottest. I missed out on the biggest hit in the set, Frank Thomas. Mo Vaughn looked svelte here!

Here is where this set stands out! Look at some of the rookies included here; Sosa, Deion, Olerud, Alou, Tino, Bernie, Larry Walker and Juan-Gone! There were also three strong prospects here that could land in my “Dated Rookies” Autograph project; Eric Anthony, Dean Palmer and Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens.

The “Highlight” Cards we’re in all sorts of designs. They were blue, white, landscape, portrait and had multiple fonts used. All over the map!

The Dream Team became one of my favorite inserts but not in 1990. These were ok because they had a sketch look but I think they were just airbrushed to some degree. Aside from Sandberg and Boggs, the pulls here were pedestrian.

There are things to like and dislike about 90 Score. As for dislike, the “Draft Pick” Class didn’t pan out besides Thomas, Knoblauch and Mo to an extent. There are also a ton of mediocre players who were included in the full checklist. This also wasn’t my favorite Dream Team Set. However, I do personally have the bright design as one of my favorite Score efforts. It was similar to ’88 but I like it because it’s a little bolder. You would also be hard pressed to beat this rookie class from a depth standpoint. The rip is very affordable and that makes it even more appealing when trying to pull those rookies. I’d give the set a shaky “4” because of the colors and the rookie class. It could easily be a “3” if the rookie class weren’t so deep. It may have been a solid “4” if I had pulled a Big Hurt. Regardless of the final mark, it certainly belongs on my list of favorite all time Christmas gifts!


Scoring Scale

1. Let me be the sacrificial lamb so you don’t have to buy these cards.  Just read the post and thank me later.

2. There is worse but there is much better – not worth the effort though.

3. Middle of the road – I wouldn’t talk you into buying these but I certainly wouldn’t talk you out of them.

4. You should probably go out and buy a box and enjoy the rip – I did!  It has some downside but worth the ride.

5. Stop reading and find a box to buy and get to Breaking!  What are you waiting on?