The Dallas Cowboys won their third championship in 4 years (and haven’t won since).
Chicago, and Michael Jordan, returns to the NBA Finals to win their 4th title. This capped the record-breaking 72-10 season.
Devastation struck Atlanta when a bomb went off during the Summer Olympic games.
Stefi Graf, again, is one major away from winning the Grand Slam. Again, only losing the Australian Open.
The Colorado Avalanche (formerly Nordiques) in their first season as a US team beat the Florida Panthers in 4 straight games for their first Stanley Cup victory.
The Atlanta Braves lost to the Yankees in the World Series.
And in 1996, card manufacturers released 305 cards of Greg Maddux that I deemed worthy of my collecting efforts.
1996 Before Jeremy – 32/305 cards – 10%
1996 After Jeremy – 82/305 cards (including 4 upgrades) – 27%
1996 represents a major jump in the amount of cards to chase. 1995 “only” had 160 cards, so to have that number almost double one year later is quite significant.
Since Jeremy’s package, I’ve acquired 19 more 1996 cards, putting me at about 1/3rd of the grand total, so there’s plenty of progress yet to be made. For now, let’s focus on what Jeremy sent.
I’m going to try not to play this game the whole time, but Bowman’s Best gives me 8 more cards to seek out, including 6 refractors and atomics. This is where the parallels are going to start getting really expensive.
Collector’s Choice was one of my favorite sets. The superstars got several cards in any given year. I think this is the most basic of base cards for Maddux.
One of the great things about the set were the subsets that looked like inserts. That really doesn’t happen any more. One look for the set. Inserts get their own thing.
More subsetting. When you’re the best pitcher in the League, you’ll have a lot of leader cards.
Anyone else envisioning a wacky 90s sitcom opening here? Mike and Madd? Muss and Madd?
It must be tough pitching with a giant block in the way like that. I will say that I’m quite thankful there aren’t endless parallels of this weird looking thing.
I love these raised paper borders. I guess that’s why I still tolerate the Gypsy Queen set.
And just like that I have 2/3rds of the E-XL cards. The only one missing is N-Tense.
Okay, forget Bowman’s Best. Finest may be even more expensive. With refractors for 2 silvers and 1 gold to worry about, and with a more interested fan base, Finest could overtake the 6 Bowmans in price.
I really don’t have much to say about this. I can tell you that this is actually an insert card, which is odd, but it saves the hassle of going after another Tiffany version.
The back of the card commemorates his 4 consecutive Cy Young awards as well as his crazy consecutive road win streak. The front makes it look like he died.
Card 3 in our Fleer-venture is from the update series. That set was full of roster filler, so to beef it up we get a subset.
Jeremy even threw in the Tiffany version of this card. These are a little tougher to come by at 1 per box. Glad to have it checked off.
Leaf leads the pack in releasing cards with lower and lower print runs. I count a total of 17 cards from them, all numbered 5000 or less.
And oddly, Leaf Limited was not numbered this year. There is one insert, but otherwise no. I wish this foilboard scanned better.
You can’t hold the Mad Dog back with chains. Your mortal shackles do nothing. He is the Houdini of the hill.
Okay, I don’t have anything to say about this one. It’s a silver card with a giant baseball in the background.
I’ve mentioned before how I don’t much care for the Pacific cards most times. This is also one of those times.
This sucker just looks like there’s too much static on the video yearbook background.
Pinnacle is much better. The foil looks nice instead of obnoxious, although I can’t explain why it’s different.
Hey, another checklist. Either that, or Greg covertly changed his name to “N. L.” in the off-season.
Now, instead of seeing a foil pinnacle peak, we get two parts of a mountain range. Either that or an escalator.
Hey, we’ve seen this one before. N.L. also comes in a “foil” version. From what I can tell, this is a series 2 only parallel, which means I needed 3 of these, instead of 4.
But, thanks to Jeremy, I only need 1 – which is another checklist.
These cards are really nice. The etched foil is raised and textured. The only downside is that wood grain effect on the name.
Card companies were Maddux happy with their checklists in 1996. I don’t mind checklist cards featuring players, but spread the wealth a little.
I’ve uploaded over 500 different Maddux cards for these blog posts so far, and this is the only one that features him signing anything. Variety is a very good thing.
Then, for yet another checklist, we go back to the normal boring pitching stuff. I bet I could make a flip book of the entire motion.
It’s sort of like Aficionado, but with no texture and better looking wood grain.
Sure, you can try to switch it up with a symbol, but we all know we’re looking at another checklist card.
What a goofy grin on a goofy looking card. That curling plastic effect is so incredibly cheesy.
Did Upper Deck ever say what “SP” stood for? I know we commonly refer to it as Short Print. Is that the idea here, since these were more high end?
These cards remind of old sticker books where you needed 2, 4, or more stickers to complete a picture, and you had to line them up juuusst right.
Who needs to make a flip book when the card will do it for you?
Remember when I said companies should spread the wealth for their checklist cards? This is a perfect opportunity for that. Throw the picture of several people on this sucker.
TSC is Topps’ own advanced metric. Maddux was the best at not allowing his runners to score once they got on base, denying them 77.6% of the time.
I like this design for Studio. It’s a solid balance of in-game picture with the posed stuff that the brand is known for. Sadly, Leaf made lower print run versions of this too.
These are tough to figure out. A good way to tell these foil apart from other Summit cards is that the pinstripes are darker on the foils.
I checked my list and this is the last checklist we will be seeing today. At least on the blog. Or on my blog. What you look at in your own home is your own business.
Topps Gallery is an easy set in numbers, as I only need one more. But, the other one is the Player’s Private Issue version out of 599.
I had a hell of a time finding these on my spreadsheet. Sure, they look like regular Topps cards, but there’s that little stamp in the corner. I guess it’s not that little, but if you weren’t looking for it, I could see some people missing it.
I eventually found them under “Team Topps.” I don’t know if other teams had special stamps, but I would venture to guess that they didn’t.
A bland outing from the folks at Fleer. I’m sure they’re trying to focus their attentions on the full bleed photography, but even if that’s true, we’re left with a bland card.
I always thought the line in Aretha Franklin’s song “Repect” said “Take out the P-E-C.” That would leave the word “rest” and it came right before the part handled by background singers. Anyway, Maddux is taking out the PEC.
I love plastic/acetate cards, even when the design is too busy like this. I wish there were more of them. Hell, I wish there was another product made only of them. Make it happen, someone.
It’s hard to follow a set as good as 1995 Upper Deck. They went from minimalism to ornate foil. Could have been worse, I guess.
The back of the card says that in 1995, Maddux allowed only 1 run all season in the 4th-6th innings. That doesn’t seem possible. But it’s in print, so it must be true.
Strange but True: If you make that face too much, it’ll freeze that way. Or be immortalized on cardboard.
Why? Every single time a card is called “game face” it inevitably shows a less than intimidating face. Maybe that was his strategy. Lull the batters into a false sense of security.
There’s that game face. Don’t mess with the ATL, boy-yee!
We come to the end of our 1996 card-venture with a subset of Zenith. These cards look better in person, but isn’t that often the case? I still need the artist proof versions of these two and all of the inserts from the set, but Jeremy’s unbelievable kindness checked off a lot of boxes on my checklist.