Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The blurbs on the back

A few days ago, a nice PYE from Julie over at A Cracked Bat showed up. PYE is plain yellow envelope, FYI.

At some point Julie reached out to me about this cool lot of Don Mattingly cards she had. Or maybe I reached out to her about them. I actually don't remember. And that's why I was surprised when they showed up. Because I just don't remember!

These cards are incredibly cool, from 1991 Impel Line Drive. From what I can tell, this was a 20-card set. I'm a few short, but will track down the rest.
It's a fun set, with the design reeking of 1991 off-brand. But it fits.
A lot of the photography is refreshingly new, as it wasn't seen in 80s Topps or Donruss issues.

Beyond the range of photos, what impresses me most is how the write-up on the back the cards tries to tie in to the image on the front. When does that happen now? Mostly never, unless it's a World Series or AS Game subset. Usually the modern blurbs feel thoughtless and disconnected, so much so that I rarely read them.

That is right. I rarely read the backs of current cards.

But these cards are great. For instance, here we have Mattingly in a fairly unexciting spring training shot. But I like it! Feels behind-the-scenesy.
The back fo the discusses Don's performance in 1983 spring training as he battled to make the team.
Or look at this one. Don coming off the base likely as a pitch is being delivered.
The back of the card talks about Don's fielding being overshadowed by his bat. I don't fully buy that, even in 1991. He was always known as an excellent fielder. So maybe I don't believe the story, but hey it's a 20-card set. Gotta find some content.
I love this one, with Donnie peppering a practice net while hitting off a tee.
The back of the card talks about his dedication and work ethic.
Check out Donnie here. During BP just causally pumping so iron by the cage at Yankee Stadium. Lifting weights leads to more homers!
And the back talks about not knowing if Mattingly would develop any power. Young Donnie must not have hit the gym enough, but he obviously did develop into one of the games premier power hitters for a time in the mid-80s.
What a cool set. It's probably a lot to ask for nowadays, with card backs referencing the front.

But it sure is cool, and leads to some really interesting card backs.


  1. Now that's a cool set of cards, you'd think that they'd just coast off of the strength of the pics but they went the extra mile with the write-ups.

  2. I wonder what the story behind this set is. I feel like it's one of those sets of cards that would come in a card collecting kit from the late 80's/early 90's.

    Anyways... I'm one of those collectors who is guilty of not appreciating card backs enough. I definitely would if Topps took the time to write up accurate descriptions of what was going on in the photo though.

    As for Donnie's defense... I think most baseball fans knew about it. But I also think that fans and collectors cheered and chased his cards more for his accomplishments at the plate.

  3. Nice Set.

    I admit that I too tend to ignore card backs now days. For the same reasons already mentioned.

  4. Beautiful set. I have a few of these but not most of them. What is the story for the first one? Walk off HR? Empty bleachers for a day game are not unusual but almost all of left field is empty too. I know those were rough times but still . . . maybe it was a weekday day game?

  5. AJ - happy to send something 'new' to your collection! These were headed to the Pick Pocket page. I found them at my last card show a year ago - a nickel each! I kept only one for myself. Hope you can find the remaining Donnies!