Monday, October 25, 2010

1992 Ultra

Frank Thomas injured his right shoulder during a 19-inning game vs. the Brewers on May 1, 1991 in County Stadium.

After that game he started to DH fairly regularly during the 1991 season because he wasn’t able to throw.

The injury didn’t effect his hitting. His line for the season was a staggering .338/.453/.553

However, since he exploded onto the scene as a DH it was hard for him to shake that perception even though he didn’t serve as the ‘Good Guys’ primary DH until 1998.

About the Card

1992 Ultra was Fleer’s response to Topps’ seminal 1991 Stadium Club set. In both design and concept Fleer copied what Topps had done with little improvement. The only difference between the sets is that 1992 Ultra had three insert sets. The All-Stars insert was inserted at a very particular ratio of 1 per 6.5 packs.

The front design is virtually the same as ’91 TSC but ’92 Ultra features a slab of grayish green granite topped with a gold trim.  This invokes another American pastime - the kitchen countertop.

The player’s last name is one font size bigger than his first name. Which comes across like a mistake more than an artistic choice.

’91 TSC used a clever marketing ploy by calling attention to the players’ first Topps rookie card on the back. Without a glorious history to reflect on, Ultra went into a different direction for the back of their card. I will examine that on a later post.

I find that 1992 Ultra is an easy card to grade gem. With all its design flubs the production was rock solid. Surfaces are clean. Centering is always dead on and the edges are always sharp.

Although it’s very uninspired and somewhat odd - it’s still a good set that helped make premium cards the norm more than the exception.

The granite slab functions as a background to a monochromatic color scheme, with graph paper on top. The player then has a shadow effect on his photo for depth. Cohesiveness is not today’s key word. 

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