May 23, 2009
The Junior High Countdown: 114. 1994 Score Rookie/Traded
Score/Pinnacle Company attempted a new strategy for distribution of their R/T sets (previously had been box sets from 1988-1992 with a hiatus in 1993), distributing them in packs with an all-new design template and flair. What results is not for those of the faint of heart.
Design: There were two designs for the set. The veterans (or traded) design (not pictured) featured one photo on the front with red scrapbook style borders. The rookie design featured a mashed-up portrait/action shot design with the same red borders and the "Rookie '94" logo prominently featured. The veteran backs had two photos similar to the rookie front while the rookie backs had one horizontal photo. Stats were featured on the backs.
Details: It was released in the fall of 1994 in 36 pack boxes with 10 cards per pack at a SRP of $0.99. There are 165 cards in the base set. One gold rush parallel was inserted per pack. Other inserts included Changing Places (inserted 1:36 packs) and Super Rookies (inserted 1:36 hobby packs only). There was also a September Call-Up redemption card inserted 1:240 packs. Notable rookies in this set were Chan Ho Park, Jose Lima.....and no one else even had a rookie card.
Impact: Well, it was the last Score R/T set ever produced, so it has that going for it. Also, curse you, redemption cards! You cursed mid-'90s staple!!!
Summary: The reason this set ranks so low is essentially three-fold. In the first place, they did not keep with the base set (1994 Score) design to at least create an illusion of a continuation of a pretty decent set. Red is just a poor choice. Any other card sets with prominent red borders? I can't recall any.
In the second place, where are the rookies? This may be my biggest pet peeve of all, touting something as a rookies set and then not including any. Did the card companies not understand the Beckett rookie card rules when putting together a set. Because some of these so-called rookies have had cards out for over two years. This is acceptable for a base set when you want to showcase players who played on the team during the season, but in this type of set, dig a little deeper for prospects. I mean, Sterling Hitchcock was even in 1993 Score....fail!
And the most egregious mistake of all, is having a valuable commodity like the first pick of the draft, Alex Rodriguez (who did not sign an individual Topps contract by the way), and wasting your first card on him on an impossible to get redemption card. An insert card, a la Boys of Summer in 1994 Score would have been semi-acceptable, but this is a high-profile player. Use the draft picks in the Rookie/Traded sets, this is where they go. In addition, the redemption card expired within a year of release. For more on this sordid tale of mismanagement, click here for the words of the expert at Stale Gum.
Lack of rookies, no desirable insert sets, and a lack of foresight reduce this to the ashes of the 50 cent pack bin forever more. I didn't buy it then and I wouldn't buy it now.