Thursday, April 9, 2015

Friday 5: Best 5 Sets from 1991

I love the 1991 baseball card sets and I had a hard time sitting on this post all week.  If you were not collecting that year and are looking for something fun and inexpensive to open any of these sets would be a great deal of fun to assemble.  Before I show off my Top 5 I am going to have to put up an Honorable Mention for this week for one of my most underrated sets of all time.  It's already had a post or two....

Honorable Mention- I have always loved the 1991 Bowman set.  I will go ahead and admit that I am slightly biased towards it, but it is a well deserved love.  The set has a lot of important rookie cards in it that are of no particular value, but they are a lot of fun to take out of the box and flip through.  Of course there is Jeromy Burnitz and his incredible follow through along with Jim Thome, Chipper, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Mussina, and Ivan Rodriguez.  Those guys are going to be prominent through out this post.

#5- Upper Deck Final Edition- This is a really tiny set that you can probably find for $1.00 on Ebay.  Sure there will be shipping, but they are seriously ridiculously cheap.  How many copies of this set did Upper Deck print?  I am going to guess many many thousands.  Anyway, it's Upper Deck's first stab at an "Update" set and it's not too good except two cards.  First, there is a Jim Thome rookie card in the set.  They also put in a Pedro Martinez rookie card.  Classic also had a Pedro rookie card in 1991, but the vast majority of the Pedro rookie cards appear in 1992 products.  Having a rookie card of one of the best pitchers from the era is a definite plus and makes this set worth owning.

#4- Fleer Ultra Update- The Ultra Update set is a lot like the Upper Deck Final Edition set, but with one huge difference.  It is actually a 1991 product with a somewhat limited print run.  Fleer distributed this product in set form and made it a Hobby only product.  I think it was a pretty crazy idea at the time, but it has seriously made this set more difficult to collect then others of this era.  While there are good rookie cards in the set of Ivan Rodriguez, Mike Mussina, and Jeff Bagwell there are also some other cards which have good value and collectability like the Juan Gonzalez card.  Second year card, but it's hot.  Why?  Not sure.

#3- Studio- This was a really unique set at the time of it's release.  While there were a lot of products that were trying to go high end with foil packaging and different card stocks Studio changed some of the basics of baseball cards.  Studio did that, but there were other changes too.  First, the pictures are black and white head shots.  Is there another set like this?  No.  Really unique.  Flip the card over and there are no stats.  Mark McGwire likes Whitney Houston.  Consider me shocked and disappointed at the same time.  Not the most expensive set, but a really fun product to open from packs.  Or just buy the set and enjoy the pictures.  Either way you're going to be happy.

#2- Topps- Always been a really underrated Topps set in my opinion.  There are not any really great cards in this set, nor Earth shattering design, but there is some really good photography here.  There are a lot of action shots and the staged shots are done really creatively.  Always loved that Benito Santiago card.  This is also the last Topps set before Topps started using thinner card stocks with progressively more and more gloss.  Kind of an end of era set and one that is fun to flip through and look at.  If you don't own this set it is cheap and fun to put together as boxes often sell for less than $10 on Ebay.

1991 Stadium Club- The Topps answer to Upper Deck and quite well done.  The photography was cool, the packs were foil, and the cards were glossy.  These cards also cost a dollar per pack pack in 1991, so they also match Upper Deck's SRP.  Lots of great cards in this set, so I went with the cool Nolan Ryan tuxedo card.  After it's 1991 debut Stadium Club was a staple of the Topps product line for more than a decade.  As a collector during the 1990s is was nearly impossible to not dabble in Stadium Club every year.  Like all of the rest of the products on this week's list you can find packs and boxes of Stadium Club for next to nothing on Ebay.  Fun boxes to open.


  1. Choosing between 1991 Stadium Club, Topps, and Upper Deck is like choosing which of your three children you love the most. It just depends on how you're feeling that particular day ;)

  2. I'm thinking of breaking a box of 1988 Topps.