Friday, March 8, 2013

A Baseball Card: 1992 Fleer Ultra #11 Cal Ripken Jr.

One of the original premises of Ryan's Pitch was going to be the exploration and appreciation of some of the gems in my collection.   It's very easy to adore the vintage and most recent additions.   But there's a whole bunch of cardboard goodness that was gathered by yours truly back in the....oh, you know it well - 1988 to 1993 time frame that deserves some attention as well.

Sure, these cards haven't panned out to be the most coveted in terms of value, design expertise or general collectability......but they're still my baseball cards!  

Here's a '92 Fleer Ultra Cal Ripken Jr.   It's #11 from the set and I clearly liked the card 'back in the day'.   It was separated from the other Cal's in my "Star Players" binders, having earned it's very own top loader along with the other apparently special cards.   I think these cards were originally quarantined due to expected value?

No matter. This Cal was special and I still kind of dig it today.   Here's the front:

I love the design.   It's got that early 90's flash of extravagance with the slanted gold-foil stripe towards the bottom and the shiny "92 Fleer Ultra" stamp in the upper right......but I think it works. It's a great shot of Ripken after a decent cut at the ball.   It almost seems unreasonably posed with the fully extended leading leg, precariously balancing on the heel. How about that grasshopper-like finished form with the right arm, perfectly level with the ground and all fingers extended together? He's all business with the "thousand-yard stare", peering over the traditional strips of eye black.......and best of all?   Why, it would have to be the Iron Man's ripped pants!   We all either saw for ourselves or have heard about the durability of Ripken and his reputation for playing - no matter what.   Yeah, he holds that record, right?   And ripped pants is a pretty good indication that somebody was playing some gritty baseball on this day.

Wait! The stirrups visible on the back leg are awesomely retro (awesomely retro?), too!  Okay, maybe the rip and stirrup should be considered a tie.

Can anybody tell me if this is a regular season or spring training shot?   It looks like 'away grey' jerseys....but there sure is a lot of Orioles Orange in the stadium seating background.   And I wonder who could be on deck....this might call for some cardboard detective work!

Here's the back.  because this is how we roll around here:

More homage to the Tron-like tendencies of the early 90's is evident in the graph paper grid background.   Not to be too accused of being one-dimensional with the graphics, some ROCK ORE imagery was used to bookend the infrared grid like a good truck commercial or something.   Yes!   I love the view of Ripken in the field, shades up, in the ready position.   Cool Adidas kicks, Cal!

Interestingly, 1992 would be one of ONLY two years that Ripken pulled down a gold glove.   I didn't know that?!   I also don't remember him as being a prolific home run hitter.....but apparently, he won the Home Run Derby for the AL in 1991 by mashing 12 dingers!   Second place, you might ask?   Cecil Fielder with 4!   Womp, womp........

I really kind of like this card so I wanted to share it with you guys.   I think the design is fairly sharp and bet the whole set would be kind of nice to flip through in binder presentation.   If I remember correctly, these Ultra's had a great smell out of their packs, too.....

Thanks for reading!

Real quick note - thank to all who have recently conducted trades with me lately (or just sent over cards!).   I've enjoyed getting back into the trading aspect of our hobby these past couple of months and it has helped to bridge the gap as I venture through my 2013 challenge of limited card buying.  So far? Two blasters (Series 1 flagship and Heritage).    Hanging in there so far.......

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