Maddux Overload – 1996 Edition


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.

Thanks to the generosity of reader Jeremy, originally mentioned in our landmark 500th post (and in my 1993 Overload post, and 1994 post, and 1995 post), I now have over 25% of those 305 cards.

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 can’t tell the years apart with this product

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.

I like the All-Star designation

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.

It’s a very important award

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.

That’s an insane ERA

More subsetting.  When you’re the best pitcher in the League, you’ll have a lot of leader cards.

That’s a not unexpected win total

Anyone else envisioning a wacky 90s sitcom opening here?  Mike and Madd?  Muss and Madd?

Sweet snag

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.

They should have used this picture on the HOF plaque

I love these raised paper borders.  I guess that’s why I still tolerate the Gypsy Queen set.

Perennial gold glover

And just like that I have 2/3rds of the E-XL cards.  The only one missing is N-Tense.

I ain’t peelin’ nuthin’

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.

Check and List

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.

This should be a journal page or something

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.

That’s not a natural ground color

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.

Shiny alien ground

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.

I think I’ll like the press proofs better

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.

But how limited?

And oddly, Leaf Limited was not numbered this year. There is one insert, but otherwise no.  I wish this foilboard scanned better.

Anyone play Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney on DS?

You can’t hold the Mad Dog back with chains.  Your mortal shackles do nothing.  He is the Houdini of the hill.

One more to go in the Metal Universe

Okay, I don’t have anything to say about this one.  It’s a silver card with a giant baseball in the background.

What’s with those hash marks on the foil?

I’ve mentioned before how I don’t much care for the Pacific cards most times.  This is also one of those times.

I don’t get it.

This sucker just looks like there’s too much static on the video yearbook background.

There should be a pitcher in the foil

Pinnacle is much better.  The foil looks nice instead of obnoxious, although I can’t explain why it’s different.

That’s Mr. Checklist, if you’re nasty

Hey, another checklist.  Either that, or Greg covertly changed his name to “N. L.” in the off-season.

That background looks really fake

Now, instead of seeing a foil pinnacle peak, we get two parts of a mountain range.  Either that or an escalator.

He held this pose so long it got dark out

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.

Grubby mitts

But, thanks to Jeremy, I only need 1 – which is another checklist.

Aww, cheer up buddy

These cards are really nice.  The etched foil is raised and textured. The only downside is that wood grain effect on the name.

That’s more like it

Card companies were Maddux happy with their checklists in 1996.  I don’t mind checklist cards featuring players, but spread the wealth a little.

Were you in the crowd?

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.

I miss Score baseball.

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.

Digging the dual picture

It’s sort of like Aficionado, but with no texture and better looking wood grain.

The scan makes it look like another shadow

Sure, you can try to switch it up with a symbol, but we all know we’re looking at another checklist card.

Peel to reveal

What a goofy grin on a goofy looking card.  That curling plastic effect is so incredibly cheesy.

Hmmm, more wood grain.

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?

Who is the other half of this Marquee?

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.

Lenticulars are cool, but holograms are better

Who needs to make a flip book when the card will do it for you?

That would be a hardcore face tattoo!

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.

You can’t box Greg Maddux in.  Well you could, but you messed up the placement

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.

You should find and watch The Taste of Tea

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.

Burning ring of fire

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.

Even Maddux is getting upset with all the checklists

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.

Really nice frame effect here

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.

World champions for this year only

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.

Anybody know how these were distributed?

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.

You know he’s serious when the tongue comes out

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.

Ooh, glittery

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.

Coat of “arms”

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.

Sorta pitcher

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.

The fact on the back is that no one else has one more than 3 consecutive awards

Strange but True:  If you make that face too much, it’ll freeze that way. Or be immortalized on cardboard.

Someone looks scared

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.

Game Jacket

There’s that game face.  Don’t mess with the ATL, boy-yee!

Bats do not make the best surface to project an image

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.

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