Thursday, May 28, 2020

Know the Score

Score is another baseball card manufacturer lost to mergers, acquisitions, and the vagaries of the hobby. Score cards almost always feature in random job lots or repacks. They have one very specific feature that is consistent across almost every card - their backs are more interesting than their fronts. I'll show you what I mean...

Card Number 52: Score, 1988; #385

You see? Look at that card back. It has a colour headshot, stats, an epic-length write up (it's so big it has paragraphs!) and lots of colour. This was 1988! People rave about how Upper Deck shook up the card hobby, but Score got there first. I mean, this is what Topps card backs looked like in 1988.

In comparison to the back, the front of the score card is a meh action shot in a dull border, a look that Score used for several years. You know what, for the rest of these cards, I'm going to show the backs first.

Card Number 53: Score, 1989; #90

Tony looks distracted in this photo. There's something definitely more interesting to look at than the photographer. In the blurb, he's called a "defensive whiz". If I'd been proofreading this I would have corrected that to 'whizz'. Or possibly 'wiz' as in short for wizard. 'Whiz' with one z means, well, taking a whiz.

When looking through cards I tend to struggle telling Score cards from 1988 and 1989 apart. The front are more similar than the backs.

Card Number 54: Score, 1990; #255

For three years in a row, Tony is wearing a brown cap with an orange logo. He was always on brand. In the blurb he gets a nice endorsement from his team-mate Marvell Wynne.

Score made it easier for me in 1990 by putting the year on their cards. You can also tell this is from 1990 because they have italicised the font for the player's name.

Card Number 55: Score, 1991; #500

Score went landscape with the card back in 1991. I don't approve of this change. There's that brown cap again. (I gotta get me one of those caps!) He gets two endorsements in the write up this time, from the GM and from a team-mate.

This is the best card front so far - the moment of IMPACT! That 's a hit right there. (Or maybe not, but he has hit it!) Also another card with the year helpfully included on the front.

Card Number 56: Score, 1992; #625

Back to portrait orientation on the card back for 1992. Tony looks slightly quizzical in this picture and that looks like a blue hat!

I like the use of a mild yellow colour as it makes the card easier to read. Of note in the blurb is the factoid that he uses the smallest bat in the major leagues - something that would actually change around about this point in his career after his famous encounter with hitting legend Ted Williams who called Tony's bat a "toothpick". Also, the endorsement this time around is a quote from then Cardinals manager Joe Torre, rather than one of his San Diego team-mates.

The front has another bat-on-ball shot! The design has changed here at last. The big chunky borders have gone. We are entering the 90s design frenzy, with the bat breaking the edge of the photo and into the large gutter margin.

Card Number 57: Score, 1993; #24
This is the end of my run of Score base cards.

What a smile! His headgear looks really odd. I think it's his sunglasses perched on a batting helmet. It's a shorter write up, livened up by the word "inexorably".

And the front marks a radical design change. This actually looks like it could be a mid-90s Topps card.

I have some more Score cards which are good examples of how they seemed to get things back-to-front, but I'm going to save them for another post.

Total: 57/394

1 comment:

  1. Score definitely took it to the next level in 1988. That's a beautiful set. The one-upped 1987 Sportflics... which also had full color backs with a player photo.