Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 JustCommons purchase #2: Hal Morris, part 1

My Hal Morris PC was by far the biggest beneficiary from this round of JustCommons pickups, enough to the point that I'm splitting up those scores into three posts.  Today's cards hail from 1990-1994.  With the non-supercollection players (e.g. the ones I'm not pursuing to completion), I just tried to add whatever seemed above-average but was still reasonably priced, and I obviously had some luck with Hal:
Hal Morris 1990 Leaf
Some of you may recall that throughout the 1980s, Leaf was a French Canadian version of Donruss' sets, much like O-Pee-Chee and Topps.  That changed in 1990 when Leaf produced its own set with its own design.  1990's ended up looking pretty good--much better than the crapfests of 1991-1992 before '93's set got things rolling again.
Hal Morris 1991 Stadium Club
I loves me some Stadium Club, even though it's apparent that Topps will never return that set to its former glory, at least not based on what I've heard about this year's revival.  The debut of the set is one of my favorites because of the way Topps includes a shot of what it considers the player's RC, like-a so:
1991 Stadium Club #339 - Hal Morris - Courtesy of
I say "what Topps considers" because while '90 Topps may have been Hal's first card they made, Donruss and Fleer beat them to the punch in 1989.  So really it's better to think of that as "First Topps card" and not "Rookie card," no matter how much Topps argues otherwise.
Hal Morris 1991 Ultra
Hal Morris 1992 Ultra
I didn't plan for these to be back-to-back, but I think it's awesome that they are, because you get to see the evolution of another brand new set from 1991, and in this case it changed big time!  The '91 version wasn't bad, although it's hard to look back at it and consider it as something "premium."  The '92 set upgraded to the glossy, foil-infused version seen in the second scan.  But these aren't the only Ultra cards we'll get today.
Hal Morris 1993 Flair
Man, this post is just packed with debut releases today.  Flair was another of Fleer's stabs at a premium-type set, with thicker, glossy stock, foil, and high-quality photos.  It doesn't hold up quite as well as some others, but it's still pretty nice to look at.
Hal Morris 1993 Pinnacle
Well, we were close, but this isn't quite Pinnacle's debut, which came a year earlier.  It's too bad I don't have the '94 base card to show off (here's the Museum Collection parallel) for a comparison because that was a huge change as well, as the newer version shucked the black border in favorite of a far superior full-bleed design, whose pinnacle (pun very much intended) was 1995 for me.
Hal Morris 1993 Select
Ok, back to another debut set.  Select was another Score offering that year, and for some reason the coloring reminds me a bit of Donruss' Triple Play set.  This product also underwent a cool (in my opinion) redesign the following year, as you'll see shortly.
Hal Morris 1993 SP
Upper Deck, the manufacturer that's typically credited with bringing the idea of a "premium" set to the hobby, bumped it up another notch four years after it burst onto the scene, and released SP, which hit the ground running and became highly sought-after for its foil rookies.  Most notable that year was what's often considered Derek Jeter's best RC.
Hal Morris 1993 Stadium Club
And we're back with Stadium Club again, featuring a typically excellent shot, in this case freezing Morris in action in the field.  A funny side effect of the cartoony baseball on the bar that includes his name is that the ball looks like part of the shot, and Hal's about to scoop it up.
Hal Morris 1994 Finest
Here's Topps' answer to the "premium" set race, although, like SP, it debuted in 1993.  This version got a bit goofy with the border colors, but is still pretty good and remains recognizable 20 years later.
Hal Morris 1994 Leaf Limited
This was one of Leaf's attempts at a higher-end set, and I'll admit that I forgot what these looked like (JustCommons doesn't do scans) when I grabbed it.  It's not that I hate it, I just wouldn't have picked it up myself otherwise.  The foil part of the design is fine, but the small photo border and weird 3D lines just don't do it for me.  Later versions of the product did improve a bit, though.
Hal Morris 1994 Select
Like I said, Select underwent a pretty big shift in design between 1993 and '94.  This horizontal card is a great example, and I like what Score did with the pair of photos separated by the player's last name running up the card, fortunately with the letters turned 90 degrees to the left so they look better.
Hal Morris 1994 Ultra
Our last card of the day is this offering from Ultra's '94 set, which features one of my favorites of their designs (though '97 is usually at the top of my list).  The set is very Stadium Club-like in many ways, and that's probably why I tend to like it so much.

A lucky 13 new Hal cards gives him a shiny new total of 64 in his growing PC, and the fact that I had to split his pickups into three posts means you can expect a bunch more soon!

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