In 1990 Score did a favor to young boys everywhere (that none of them consciously asked for): it gave them a fixation for their latent, unrealized homosexual desire. I’m speaking of course about the Bo Jackson black and white photo card of him with no shirt on, but holding a baseball bat and wearing football shoulder pads. If I remember correctly, Beckett had it instantly valued at $5, which was a very big deal, and collating was poor enough by Score to guarantee that you’d never get it in a pack. Despite Score’s best efforts, the sports-star-without-a-shirt-on fad was really a one-card wonder. As was the Bo Jackson special card, because as you can see here, it’s much harder to make anger aesthetically pleasing than raw power.
Not that this card doesn’t have its merits. It was fairly obvious that Jackson was a ‘good guy’; he seemed nice and a good role model for children (if you ask people my age who followed baseball in the late Eighties/early Nineties, Jackson is consistently one of their favorite players). He was also incredibly strong, so the idea that he could smash his bat in two while smashing a home run was no stretch of the imagination. It was also kind of cool (in a very safe way) that someone could be strong enough to snap a bat in half if he got frustrated enough at striking out. This idea would prove quaint by the mid-Nineties when Albert Belle became baseball’s dominating personality and the idea of snapping a bat was more about anger than it was about a blip in personal discipline.