Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Swimming in Some Junk Wax

In my last post, I shared my newly acquired 1993 Topps set. I also mentioned my goal to retroactively complete one set from each year that I was actively collecting. The first step in achieving that goal is to select the sets I'm going to build, of course. I already have a complete 1996 Score set and I've been working on 1994 Finest--both thanks to Dennis. 1993 has been taken care of. By my recollection, my first pack of baseball cards came in 1989, so I'm starting there.


My options are Topps, Donruss, Fleer, Score, and Upper Deck. Stupid oversized Bowman is not an option. I'm not a fan of gray Fleer, either. Topps is okay, but it's not my favorite. Upper Deck is a solid choice, and probably the set most collectors would want. However, I don't have much from that set, so that isn't a great starting point.

That leaves Donruss and Score. Donruss has a couple of advantages. Of all the 1989 sets, I think I would most like to see pages of Donruss together in a binder. And it has all the major 1989 rookies, most notably Ken Griffey, Jr. Score is also a pretty decent-looking set to me. Its major advantage, though, is the fact that I've busted a box of 1989 Score within the past three years and had a large stack in my possession already. I hadn't even entered them into my collection because I hadn't figured out what to do with them, but they were there. Plus, the only 1989 packs I ever opened at the time they were released were Score. I still remember my six-year-old tongue trying to figure out the name "Luis De Los Santos" from his '89 Score rookie card. So there is an element of sentimentality involved, too.

In the end, I chose to build with the cards I had rather than accumulate even more 1989 cards and duplicates that I'm not sure what to do with.

So I'm building the 1989 Score baseball set. I'm currently sitting at 72% completion, with 448 of 660. Some are in current/pending trades right now. I'm adding my set needs to my wantlist page here on the blog.


Set design is a major factor when I'm considering a set build. After all, I want to enjoy looking at pages its cards when I've finished. 1990 isn't the best for looking at. I don't love Fleer or Score. I detest Donruss (though it would have been the easiest, based on the number of cards I own). But I've always appreciated Topps. 
And there is some sentimental value, too. I have a memory of holding a pack of 1990 Topps (which included Doug Dascenzo and Doyle Alexander, if I remember correctly) while my family visited Devil's Kitchen up Payson Canyon. I guess my parents must have gifted me a pack at a gas station on our way.

As of a few weeks ago, I had only a small stack of maybe 100 cards of 1990 Topps still in my collection, but I wanted to collect it. I jumped on eBay and found a vending box. I'd never gotten a vending box before. I even had to research a little to understand exactly what it was. I may be the only one who needs this explanation, but just in case: a vending box was sold as a box of 500 loose cards (not in packs). The cards could be loaded into vending machines. It wasn't a box of sealed packs or a complete set. I picked one up for $10 and made a major dent in the set.

TCDB has already come through with a bunch of needs through trades. As of right now, I have 615 of 792 cards for 77.7% of the set.


1991 Topps is a classic and I've always loved it. I bought a lot of it, one pack at a time, at the one convenience store in my hometown. But I also got a lot of Score and Fleer. In fact, I have opened a box of both of those sets in the recent past. Call me crazy, but binder pages full of yellow-bordered cards just sounds like a beautiful thing. *Pauses to listen to bloggers hit the floor after fainting.*  
And I think I was right. This looks good to me. I picked up another box of 1991 Fleer wax for cheap off of eBay, and my set is getting close to finished. As of this writing, I have 696 of 720 cards, or 96.7%.


Now that you have all recovered after hearing me profess my desire to see all the yellow together, let me drop another bombshell: 1992 was a tough year for me to decide on a set. The problem? It's twofold. Fold #1: I don't have a lot of 1992 cards lying around. For some reason, I just don't. Fold #2: I think 1992 was a good year for card design. Yes, I like 1992 Topps. And Upper Deck with its great, interesting photography. And Fleer's green borders. And I've always liked the blue stripes on Donruss. Score is even okay, but not the one I would choose.

I strongly considered Upper Deck because I could spend hours looking at the great photos. I still might do it someday. But after deciding to build 1989 Score, 1990 Topps, and 1991 Fleer through trades and box breaks, I decided to take the easy route in 1992. For less than the price of any unopened 1992 product, I found a factory set and decided to do this all in one fell swoop.

And 1992 Fleer looks pretty good together. Though I never did much collecting in 1992 as a kid, I still have one very vivid memory. My grandma and grandpa went to a Native American Pow-wow every year and they took me a couple of times. On one occasion (I'm going to guess it was 1992), we stopped at a little barn and bought some fresh peas and corn. They were selling little blisters of team sets, and they bought the Texas Rangers--because Nolan Ryan and Juan Gonzalez were two of my favorites--for me. That day is actually one of my favorite childhood memories. That scores some points for Fleer.

With these decisions, I've spent the past six weeks wading drowning swimming in junk wax heaven. TCDB trades have been plentiful. And it gave me a reason to update my trade lists with lots of overproduced cards to trade for other overproduced cards. I'll have more on the trades later, but I've been busy with this influx of cards and loving it. I feel pretty optimistic that at this rate I'll be able to complete these sets before the year is over. If you are dying to rid yourself of any 1989 Score, 1990 Topps, or 1991 Fleer, check out what I need and send some my way!


  1. I know we're in the minority... but I agree with you on 1991 Fleer.

  2. Happy to help with this, I can hopefully knock off most of these needs. Are the lists on your wantlist page current?

  3. I didn't like '92 Fleer at all back when it was, and am still not crazy about it. But, with the memory that you have attached to it, I could see why you would want to complete it.