Feb 21, 2009

Ranking the Sets: The Junior High Years: 1993-1996: Introduction

Over the next few weeks (months?), I will be doing a comprehensive (as I can) commentary and ranking of sets from the period when I collected the most cards. This period I refer to as the junior high years, 1993-1996. At this point in my life, other distractions such as girls, garage band music, and after school sports did not encumber my full-on obsession in baseball card collecting, sorting, and trading. I frequented many card shows and card shops and thought I had a good grasp of what sets were out there and perceived value. Previously, I was strictly a Topps collector. Only 69 cents a pack in 1992! Because I had no allowance or birthday money to go beyond that price, that was all I could get by pleading with my mom for some loose change. I also discovered the wonders of breaking an entire box at once during this time period.

This time period was also a tumultuous and game-changing one for the hobby. Say welcome to super premium sets, new technologies that are ubiquitous to this day, Pacific Trading Cards, foil as far as the eye can reflect, and the insert card explosion. Say good bye to cardboard card stock, packs that cost less than $1.00 (for the most part), ease of collecting all the sets in a year, and the Donruss/Leaf company as we knew it (I believe purchased by Pinnacle after the release of 1996 Leaf).

Here's a quick rundown of what to expect:

Description of design
The set's place within the manufacturer's lineup in that year
Pack and box configuration (source: 2003 Sports Collectors Digest Price Guide)
Price at the time of release or when I looked to purchase it (souce: an overly hazy memory)
Insert set worth pursuing (for me)
Nostalgia in the set/insert sets
Positives of the set (some might not have any)
The annoyingness factors of the set (some might not have any)
Rookies of note divided into tiers (some might not have any)
Any originality aspects
Impact on the hobby (immediate and/or lasting)
Favorite card (s) (even for some sets I dont like)
Other notes

h/t to Ben Henry's Baseball Card Blog who finished a 1990-1994 countdown last year.

This is also a personal ranking of sets since these are the ones I had held most in my hands through the years.
There were 120 released sets by the major manufacturers featuring modern players. They will be ranked by my subjective ratings and rantings. Please comment along the journey

Next up...Set #120......1995 Pacific Prisms

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