Thursday, May 7, 2015

Trading Card Review: Toys R Us 1993 Baseball Set (Topps)

It's not secret that I frequent second hand shops.   Places like Good Will are common across the country, but something we have in Connecticut which was not in Houston is Savers and it is one of my favorite parts about living back here.   So when I walk into a Savers on a random Friday and find this sitting on the shelf- still in the original shrink wrap- I know I have to have it and when it has Good Will stickers on it that say "9.99" and yet the Savers price sticker says $4.99 I'm even happier.

Back in 1993, I was on the verge of no longer collecting baseball cards as I was beginning to outgrow it in a lot of ways.   It's strange to think back to it now, but when I was a kid, collecting baseball cards (and other various cards) wasn't something I did with other kids as much as I did it with my dad.   I know I did spend some time with other kids talking about the trading cards and going to places which sold them, but I just kind of feel like once we hit a certain age we all started outgrowing it.

This was also probably related to the fact that in the mid to late 1990's I began to stop watching sports such as baseball, basketball and football so collecting the cards became rather pointless as I seemingly no longer knew the players.   Gone were the New York Mets I once knew, Michael Jordan and Joe Montana.  I also enjoyed the more simple, traditional style of baseball cards and as anyone who knows anything about baseball cards in the 1990's will tell you, by 1995 their appearance became so "futuristic" looking that the price also got driven up and who is really going to dish out more money for something so unrecognizable?

So one of my first reasons for liking this set so much is that it represents that time period where I'm right about to stop collecting baseball cards, but yet in 1993, yes, I was still collecting them.    I actually never knew that this set even existed though until I found it at Savers and to me that makes it that much cooler in some ways, because it's not like I was out there searching for something I had never been able to get, but rather it just came as a complete surprise to me, like, "Whoa!".   It'd be like finding out a Howard Johnson Starting Line Up figure I didn't know about existed (But I know about and own them all)

The set of cards itself is nice and I might actually end up getting some pages and putting it together in a book eventually.   I recognize some of the players more than others, but the way that they are pegged as "rookies" and "future stars" has me scratching my head on certain names that seemingly didn't amount to much.   Still, I enjoy the way that the cards look overall and it's just a nice collection featuring enough big names to keep me happy.   Really, this could have read like a list of minor league players from 1993 and I still would have been happy just because of the other unique qualities of this set.

Inside the package itself as well is a set of uncut cards, which it's always nice to have these little extras that just seem to make the experience that much more special overall.   It makes you feel like you're not just buying some baseball cards, but rather are involved in the process somehow that went into making them.    It's one of those personal touches that Topps has always been great at and a) Probably why they still exist while other trading card companies do not and b) Why I prefer them still to this day over the other companies which remain.

And finally we have the display box itself which looks like a miniature version of Toys R Us.   Even if I had never collected a single baseball card in my entire life, I probably would have been inclined to spend the five dollars on this simply because of the Toys R Us replica store.    I've often had conversations with people about TRU and they usually at some point touch on the fact that the store just seemed so much better before their giraffe became CGI.   So now, even with the baseball card set inside an album and the non-cut cards somewhere else as well, you have this version of a Toys R Us store circa 1993 that you can put on your shelf and even if you don't put it in with your sports collectibles it can just as easily fit on a shelf with toys.

So I'm not going to be able to say, "I really like this and you should go buy it" because it's not just sitting on shelves in Toys R Us stores awaiting your purchase.   If you ever find one sealed at Savers you should definitely pick it up, even if it is $9.99, but then there are also some available on eBay (and I would assume other second hand market places online) and what you are willing to pay for it is between you and the sellers but for $4.99 I feel as if I got an amazing deal that will last a lifetime.

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