1989 Pro Set Hits The “Prime Time”

I remember certain times in my life when I was the new kid.  I was the outsider trying to enter into a world which I had not previously been a part of and trying to fit in.  We’ve all been there at some point in our lives.  Maybe it was the first day at a new school or the first day at camp.  It may have been a new summer baseball team or a new neighborhood.  Whatever situation it may have been, I’m sure you can think of at least once where you have felt like the newbie who had to prove yourself or show that you belonged.  I most recently felt that way when I joined the sports card twitter community.I have been on some form of social media since AOL dial up back in 1998.  I remember the awe that I felt when I could “instant message” someone in another state just by looking up profiles and seeing if they were online.  It felt like something from Back to the Future with the video phones and digital billboards.  It was a little scary at the same time because you never really knew if you were talking to the person who claimed to be on the other end.  I first started out communicating with my personal friends but eventually I branched out into the cyber world.Then MySpace came along and revolutionized social media to the point of where you could add photos to your homepage, link your favorite music and even design the background to your preference.  Everybody’s first friend was Tom on MySpace and I think he’s still there.  That was where people were starting to promote their brands and you could learn more than you ever wanted to know about them.  MySpace was top of the line at one point in time.  FaceBook would eventually take over and it still remains the most popular social media site among most people (totally a guess).When Twitter first caught my eye, I was skeptical.  I created an account in August of 2009.  Wow, I didn’t know that it had been so long until I just checked my settings.  Eight years later, I’m sitting on 255 followers and they are mostly friends, family and a few sports fans.  I never put a lot of focus on Twitter because FaceBook and my blog seemed to be the best form of communication.  Plus, there is a very negative side to Twitter as well because anybody and everybody can @ mention you when they want to bust your balls.  But I eventually found the sports card community through Bean’s Ballcard Blog (@beansbcargblog).  I don’t really even remember how it happened other than one of my card related blog posts got a retweet and my traffic exploded.I’ve always enjoyed writing (especially about cards), whether just in a notebook or for public consumption via the blog.  I’ve just never been able to find a broad enough audience that could relate and share their experiences.  A lot of my friends from high school stopped collecting a long time ago.  And while they appreciate the occasional blog post about baseball cards, they don’t really sit on the edge of their seat waiting on my review of 2017 Panini Classics.  In fact, I don’t know if anyone even does that now if I’m being honest.  But I noticed a connection with people almost immediately upon Kin sharing that blog post.I had spent the previous couple of years just writing about whatever was on my mind and occasionally hopping on Twitter to see what was trending.  I have a 24/7 brain and it keeps me up most nights because it will never turn off.  I discovered that writing could help me unclutter my head from time to time and after some prodding from my family, the blog was born in 2015.  Even after I started the blog, I just aimlessly chose a topic and started writing.  It was ‘t until my post got shared with like minded card collectors that it all seemed to click.  I knew the subject that I really wanted to write about all along and I finally found more than a handful of people who were interesting in reading it.I have collected for 28+ years and have been writing privately for almost as long.  And with the help of a kind stranger, I was able to find an audience as well.  So with that, my alter-ego Twitter page, Dub Mentality, was born.  Dub has been a nickname for several years because my middle initial is W.  It’s J-Dub, Dub, Dubya, you name it.  So I began writing more about cards and I started adding followers that seemed to like the same thing I did.  Again, I never knew the Twitter Card World existed and I missed out on it for far too long.  But once I found it, I embraced it like I was 12 and opening my first pack again.Here’s where the new kid part comes in.  As is my own nature, the Twitter Community was originally skeptical of me I’m sure.  I would pick up a follower or two here and there.  I kept writing and kept reaching out to important people in the hobby like Eric Norton and Ryan Cracknell to try and navigate this new world.  I picked up the occasional MLB player as a follower, including my favorite player Ron Gant (thanks to somewhat of a Twitter movement started by NRUSSweTRUST).  But all the while, I’ve kept blogging and trying to share my experiences with other people.  And that’s what’s so cool about this whole community.  I haven’t had to be anyone I’m not in order to fit in.  I am being J-Dub, who likes sports cards, 90’s references, old cheesy movies and Deftones and I have found other people who actually like those same things!I have experienced in the last few months what we should all experience in a perfect world.  Coming together with people who share similar interests and talking, sharing and being there for each other.  If somebody on my timeline catches me talking about something I’ve been looking for, it all of a sudden shows up at my door.  I try to do the same thing.  When I see people really like something I share that I don’t PC, it’s likely going to them in the next mail run.  I think that is the way the hobby should work.  It is a hobby after all.  And at some point, we all lost ourselves in the business aspect of card collecting and it became less enjoyable.  I’m not there anymore and that’s thanks in large part to the new community that welcomed me in like one of their own.  I didn’t feel like a new kid for too long.I know it’s a bit of a reach but I am going to bring this full circle and talk about another new kid on the block in 1989.  No, I’m not talking about Jordan Knight.  If you get that joke, you earn the respect of Dub.  If you don’t, you are probably too young to know what I’m talking about.  In 1989, Ludwell Denny, an oil as described on the back of his football card, obtained a football card license from the NFL and began printing Pro Set football cards.  Topps had been the only game in town until 1989, with the exception of Bowman in the 50’s.  There may have been some brands here and there but by and large, Topps was the player.  In ’89 that changed with the introduction of Pro Set and Score.  They opened the door for Fleer, Pro Line, Action Packed and countless others to begin producing football cards.I have established here on the blog before that 1989 was my rookie year of collecting.  I happened to join the fray when a lot of others were jumping in.  Don’t forget Upper Deck and Bowman’s return in baseball.  Basketball saw Hoops start printing cardboard and Skybox would be one year later.  But in football, Pro Set was a new, colorful design that was very popular in my collection.  Score turned out to be the cash cow but hindsight is 20/20 right?  Anyhow, Pro Set was readily available at Wal Mart, Piggly Wiggly and Big B in my home town and when I wanted football that was the pack I bought.  Dubbed as “The Official NFL Card”, Pro Set was also the Official NFL Card of Dub.The set was broken up into two series’ and included only a few inserts.  Those inserts were a 30 card Announcers set and a 23 card Super Bowl Logo set.  It is known for its strong rookie class of Barry Sanders, Troy Aikman, Derrick Thomas and Deion Sanders.  There was also a new insert with Santa Claus on it.  I don’t really know how Santa made it into the set but I know that collectors still like to pull that card when ripping Pro Set.  The set was made up of 561 cards and a wax box came with 36 packs of 14 cards, 1 Extra Point Game Piece and 1 Super Bowl Collectible.The design of the card is pretty memorable as Pro Set used a base color for different teams that included purple, green, orange, red and blue.  There were small white lines on either side of the card slightly reminiscent of ’86 Donruss.  The players name was in the center at the top with the NFL and Conference Logo on either side.  The bottom of the card had the Pro Set slogan, “Pro Set – The Official NFL Card.”  The backs of the cards had a small inset photo of the player, which was a deviation from the years of Topps with no photo on the back.  The back also included statistical information, highlights from their career and the usual vital stats that included birth and draft information.The set has a nice mixture of 80’s and 90’s stars as pictured above.  These were some of the best players in NFL history and any card with them is worthy of a spot in my PC.There were also several Tecmo Super Bowl stars that I would use to dominate the competition on NES.  While they may not have been household names worthy of mention with Montana and Rice, they were definite studs in the gaming world.The coaches were depicted on cards just as managers in baseball.  There are several notable names here including Bill Parcells, Sam Wyche, Chuck Noll and Mike Shanahan with the Raiders.These were the Super Bowl Cards that were included 1 per pack.  I ripped through 20 packs and pulled these 4 over and over.  At this rate, it would take a full case to build the Super Bowl Logo set.  This set should be worth a mint!While I opened a Series 1 box, which I picked up at the LCS for $9.95, I do own the big rookies so I thought I would share them here as well.Even though I didn’t win a trip to the Pro Bowl, I consider the box a success.  For under $10, you are really just looking for nostalgic value and this box had a ton.  If you are trying to score the big rookies, you have to go with a Series 2 box but if you just want to take an inexpensive trip down memory lane, you could do a lot worse than 1989 Pro Set.  The cards were in good condition in the “baggy” packaging and there was no UV coating or Gum getting in the way.  I loaded up with duplicates of Kelly, Montana, Bo and Elway.  It’s really a nice value for late 80’s football.  In fact, it is a fraction of what a box of Score costs.  I’d rip another box without any problem and just add more Falcons and legends to my PC.  It’s not a set that will knock you dead but it still holds up in my opinion.  The cost, rookies available and checklist of superstars makes this a solid 4 on the Dub-O-Meter.


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?

13 thoughts on “1989 Pro Set Hits The “Prime Time””

  1. I remember buying a ton of these cards from the gas station on the corner. Cheap and always seemed to pull a “star” player.

  2. Thank you again for a great read.
    But that set puts a knife to my heart.
    I remember trading off so many 86-87 fleer basketball cards for those.

    Still have them and that memory for sure.

    1. Ooooh – that one stings. At the time, there was no way to know. Hopefully you didn’t ship off a Jordan for a Bo.

  3. One of my favorite sets. I was crazy over series 2. Travis and I would take our allowance and buy as many packs as we could.

  4. PS is a lot of fun. Busted ton of it on the day. I bought 2 packs on ebay the other day. May have to go back and buy a box. Thanks for the great blog this week. It is how I am feeling about the hobby as well. Needs to get back to fun! I have been doing that on my youtube channel. Thanks for subscribing.

  5. I cant find a breakdown of the checklist by series 1, 2. I can find the total checklist! Does anyone know how many cards in series 1, and what is first card in series 2.

    1. It was called a “living set” and there is actually a series 3 as well. The packs found in Series 2 and 3 also had Series 1 cards in them with only 3-4 new series cards. It’s a very odd setup. I think I had a card numbered in the 400 range last night in Series 1. I’ll take another look when I get home.

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