5. (tie) 1995 Topps Traded- One of the real problems with the 1995 card products was the lack of star rookies. Important rookie cards drive excitement with collectors. At the time of the card releases there was a pretty big rookie card floating around that year, we'll get that later, but there are also cards that have become important with time. The Carlos Beltran/Juan LeBron card is a great example. Beltran was a really well thought of prospect around the time of the 1995 Topps Traded release, which continued for more than a decade later, but it's not like this card...or is it this one.......
5. (tie) 1995 Topps- There were some bad efforts by Topps around this time, but this set stands out for me. The photography was on par with the Upper Deck sets, and while I liked the clean borderless look of the Upper Deck set better, this was still a really nicely designed product. While it lacks important rookie cards I still really love looking at this set. One interesting wrinkle to this set is the CyberStats parallel which projected the stats the players would have ended the 1994 season with if the strike had not cancelled games after August.
I do not have a full set of the CyberStats cards, but this would be a really really fun project to complete one day when I have a little bit more time.
4. 1995 Emotion- I really liked this set. Strictly a design thing. I am not sure they are really too expensive, exotic, or difficult to find. This Fleer product offered collectors full card photos with an adjective describing the player stamped onto the card. The complete set can be found for $10-$15 on Ebay, but the boxes are only $25-$30. Why not have a little fun and put the set together yourself? The set is 200 cards and the most important card in the set is the Hideo Nomo rookie card. I love this card and it's always been my favorite Nomo rookie card.
3. 1995 Upper Deck- These cards were really simple, but I loved the looks of these cards. The photography was really nice and there were some cool inserts to go along with the base set. In particular, I am a really big fan of the autographed cards.
By the mid 90s I felt like Upper Deck had reached the company's base sets are worthy of a look from any collector. There was also a Minor League version of this set put out by Upper Deck that has the same design and a few nice cards in the set.
2. Bowman- The 1995 Bowman set was weak on design, but it did have a few really nice cards in the set. No they were not Hideo Nomo. The big three rookies in the set belonged to Andrew Jones, Scott Rolen, and Vladimir Guerrero. Nice names and in the late 90s/early 2000s this set was really hot. Unfortunately Jones and Rolen faded due to injuries or strike outs or temper tantrums. Vladdy was a great player, but the last few years of his career seemed to have softened his hobby power. Still, this is one of the more important Bowman sets from this era.
1. Select Certified- This is a small, 135 cards, set that was only given to Hobby stores. This set had a low production run for the time, something like only 60,000 boxes were made, and had some cool features which made it competitive with the Topps Finest set. The Mirror Gold cards were the equivalent to the refractors and played very well with collectors. This product also had a Hideo Nomo rookie which was deemed an important card at the time. Naturally it's lost a lot of it's value. This thick set is another fun set to flip through 20 years after it's release and can be found for a few bucks on Ebay. Although the boxes do tend to sell for a decent amount ($45-$50).