Sunday, May 24, 2009

Up to Snuff?

Here's something not related to baseball cards that I felt compelled to share nonetheless. Let me tell you a short story about one of the third graders in my class. We'll call him "Mr. A."

To give you a little background, Mr. A. was born in Somalia in the year 2000. At some point, his family had to flee their home country, and they sought refuge in Kenya. A few years ago, the family left the Kenyan refugee camp and settled in Wisconsin. Mr. A. has only been speaking English for a few years, there is no father in the picture, the mother does not speak English, and at home there is nothing (according to the social worker that has sponsored this family) resembling any sort of even loosely structured order that would remind you or me of what a family living situation looks like. Mr. A. spends the majority of the time at home watching cartoons; yes, he is the reason I know that a show called "Ben 10" exists, as he is apt to repeat the title as a non sequitur several times throughout the day. When not in school, cartoons are his life.

The last story my class read in their basal readers was called Rocking and Rolling, a nonfiction text covering an array of geologic phenomena that occur in and under the earth's crust. Basically, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis...

Each week there is the option of giving a test. I gave the test on Friday and corrected it soon thereafter. Here's Mr. A.'s answer to question 20, the last on the test.

He had me up until that last sentence. In the process of reading his answer, I was pleased to find that he even responded to both parts of the question. I was primed to give a full point to his response, but that last sentence was the proverbial other shoe dropping. Partial credit seemed to be the way to go. I'm not heartless, after all. And for anyone wondering, I used an orange marker to grade this test, not red, the color of failure.

Oh, and as I promised in my last post, here's a card from 1997, the year chosed by the first commenter, FanOfReds.
1997 Fleer #642 Eric Davis

The amount of cards I own from 1997 could possibly be used to level a wobbly table and not much else. A lot of cards I purchased earlier this year included some 1997 Fleer, one of the most cheaply-produced sets I have ever witnessed. Honestly, it's as if John Quincy Fleer took the master copies down to Kinko's and asked them to make a hundred thousand of everything as cost effectively as possible. I have received homemade cards that have been of a better quality than this. The scan really does no justice to the lack of quality workmanship of this set. The colors are washed out, the stock is that of a dollar-store index card variety, and the cards are slightly rough to the touch. Interestingly enough, I found that Fleer produced a parallel "Tiffany" set, seeded at one in twenty packs. These Tiffany cards appear to be up to normal Fleer quality for its day and age.


dayf said...

Hey, you get caught up in a tsunami and once that wave hits land you'll be flying like a superhero too!

Fleer did the rough matte card stock in '96 and '97 on purpose. Once everyone started using uv glossy coating on every single card, the autograph hounds complained because it was hard to get a good signature. Fleer used the matte stock that could suck up the ink and promoted them as good for autographing. Then, the choose photos like this one where 75% of the card is too dark to sign properly.

Scott said...

I knew there was a reason I came over here. Thank God for the Mr. A's in our life. Here's my Mr. A, luckily he has a hard working Mom, but without her, he sounds like your Mr. A. A note from Frank. -Scott