Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The 100 Best Finds in a 30-Dollar Lot: #99

1995 Fleer Ultra All-Star #18 Ivan Rodriguez

I believe it's safe for me to say that Fleer (and by association, Fleer Ultra) had the best inserts in the history of baseball cards. The problem is that we collectors tend to look at the 1990s as a haven for gaudy design, foil, and, to a certain extent, the color turquoise. During Ultra's heyday, yes, it's true, these design elements came to overtake trading cards. However, if eyesore design had remained an intra-insert phenomenon, things would have been different. Inserts could have been as ostentatious as card companies would have wanted, but these would have been the desserts to the meat and potatoes of a clean, conservative base set.

My favorite Fleer inserts have long been Pro-Visions, but others throughout history have stood out. The 1992 Ultra All-Star team cards with the classy black marble framing still hold up today. Smoke n' Heat popped up a few times, never looking better than its most recent issue (2006). The 1994 Fleer flagship All-Star inserts with the American flag backdrop are also pretty nice.

To sum things up, do you think we could get Michael Imperioli to do some baseball card commercials. If someone could lure him away from 1800 Tequila, he could star in a great, minimalist ad where he wonders aloud what happened to the hobby and waxes poetic about remembering when pulling an insert actually meant something. Click on this link, close your eyes, and listen while envisioning Imperioli disgustedly shaking his head in reference to the Topps monopoly. I think it could work.


Ryan G said...

I second your comment that the Fleer line of sets (flagship, Ultra, and many of the others) had the best inserts. They were themed, and the cards really showed that theme. Each insert set was its own work of art, really. Compare that to the Topps inserts and really there's no comparison.

Dhoff said...

The Pro-Visions inserts were fantastic looking cards. Hard to believe we're nearing the end of the 30-dollar lot. It sure yielded a lot of post fodder and too many great cards.