Mar 4, 2011

Junior High Countdown: 98. 1995 Fleer Ultra



Programming NOTE: Dawgbones and cubsfan731 won the poll of 'Card Love' and will receive their prizes momentarily.   Thanks for voting!  I still need the addresses of Greg Z. and milwaukee southpaw to send on a consolation package.

I did not have much experience collecting this set because I found it so annoying to open packs.
The Stats

Issued in two series with 250 cards in series 1 and 200 cards in series 2 for a  450 card base set, coming in a 36 pack box with 12 cards per pack. I believe the suggested retail price at the time was $1.99 per pack.  Each pack contained one insert card per pack.

The Design

As was the case with previous Ultra offerings, 1995's version featured a full-bleed photo on the front with team-specific colors on the bottom with reverse foiling for the first and last names of the player.  The team logo was also monochromatically foiled on the front.

The back is colored in the same color as the foil on the front of the card with a 2nd large photo of the player.  A 3rd smaller photo of the player is in full color and inset on the upper left.   There are two lines of stats, one for the 1994 season and one for the career stat line.

The Rookies
There are no rookies in the set. 
The Inserts
There are a lot of inserts, keeping up with the Fleer/Ultra tradition of inserting one per pack across the product.  There were 13 insert sets in total across both series.  Most inserts were inserted in all pack types and were fairly easy to find. 

The exceptions were:  All-Rookies-only in 12 card packs
Golden Prospects: Hobby only
Hitting Machines: Retail only
Home Run Kings: Retail only
RBI Kings: Jumbo Packs only

The rarest inserts were Power Plus in series 1 and Rising Stars in series 2 (1:37 packs).

My favorite insert set was Strikeout Kings, which showed how to grip all the pitches (not a new concept, but a fun one)

Then, there was the gold medallion parallel, which was also one per pack, unless it was two per pack.  It was available for all inserts.

The Impact

This can be summed up in one phrase, paralleling of insert sets.  Not only did all the base cards have a parallel with a little annoying gold medallion in the upper left corner, but approximately 10% of the inserts did too.   I think this was the first set to institute this and for this point, it is docked significantly on the countdown.  I am a completist and don't like pointless parallels clouding the set (insert or otherwise) goal.
Summary

For its time, 1995 Ultra was a pretty standard Ultra offering.  It had a clean design (though the foil chipped a lot) and many insert sets (though none were really that memorable or had an original name that carried over through the years of the brand).  The pack opening experience was lacking because of the inclusion of those gold parallels; they were one pack and constantly staring at you, gloating that there was one less card that you could use for those hard to reach insert sets.  Plus, the parallel inserts were not distinguishable.  More value?  I'd call it irritation. 

1 comment:

cubsfan731 said...

I finally won something! Yes! Thanks, Dan! (I'm not even going to mention that I squeaked into second place by a hair).