April 10, 2007

Fantastic Card of the Day

Riddle me this: Why did Fleer make a faux Pro-Visions card of Robin Yount for its 1992 set and portray him in such a way so that it seems like he enjoys having balls fly at his face? Also, why did they put this card within the base set? Why didn’t they make it a special insert? Did they know how bizarre this card is? So many questions.

And yet, after years of studying this card, I think I’ve found an answer: Fleer knew this card would be bad—I think the only way they could’ve made this level of airbrushing (boardwalk sweatshirt level, for those of you keeping track) work would’ve been to put Robin up on a mountain top against a starry night sky, surrounded by wild wolves (or at least Franklin Stubbs, Paul Molitor and Bill Wegman sitting on the hood of an old Mustang, in what would be ahead-of-their-time gangster rapper full-body fur coats, raising their cans of PBR in an American Gods/Fellowship of the Ring kind of tableau in a toast to Yount’s 2,874th hit, the one this card is supposed to memorialize)—so after viewing the final airbrush from the artist the Fleer executives conferred and threw the card at the back of the set. And for the record, so what if they airbrushed a few rolls of neck fat at the base of Yount’s neck, like the extension of a t-shirt? This card is one of the few highlights of what is pretty much a crummy, forgettable entry by Fleer to the already vast hobby landscape of 1992.

What really puzzles me is why Fleer never did Pro-Visions: The Set. I’m the guy who pretty much kept Donruss in business in the mid-Nineties, the way I bought packs of Studio, and looking back on those sets, they didn’t really have much going on after 1993 (unless you count that one of David Cone and his corn nibblet teeth sitting in front of his locker. That was a great card.) But Fleer Pro-Visions? I’d have to say that, with so much original art, it would’ve been a costly, labor-intensive set for Fleer to produce, so maybe it could’ve been a shorter boxed set with 132 cards. All I know is that Fleer probably would’ve ended up overworking their artists, resulting in stick figure drawings on half the cards, or lousy uninspired backgrounds like the one on this Yount card, which is, by the way, your Fantastic Card of the Day.

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