Monday, February 25, 2013

What is Love? '95 Leaf, Don't Hurt Me

In my collection: 7 regular, 7 Great Gloves, 1 Slideshow, 1 Heading for the Hall

Griffey looks: dynamic

Is this a good Griffey card?: Yes.  This is 1995 Leaf, and you're about to get creeped out by how much I love this card. 

The set:  Is it strange to call a set of baseball cards sexy?  Well, I guess I'm just a big ol' weirdo. 

This is the sexiest sets of the 90's and one of my favorite sets ever made.  The cool inserts, the aesthetics, the's the perfect storm of baseball card greatness.  I am physically attracted to this set.  I just want to take all the cards out of their sleeves and cases and fondle them until the gold lettering wears off, like so:

The product of excessive fondling?  Naw, just a few error cards I pulled from packs.

When I discovered, this is the first box I looked up.  There are none available there, but if there were I would tear...that...thing.......up.  I mean, I would destroy that hobby box, giggling all the while.  

Here's a bunch of them from the binders.  Try not to go blind:

The gigantic refracting team name in a cool modern font vertical along the side leading up to the refracting portait in the little baseball field accented by the sweet minimalist gold foil Leaf logo also keeping with the baseball diamond theme, the exquisite font of the player name in luscious gold foil accented by a single color bar appropriate to the player's team, and some really solid photography featuring great action shots all rocket this baby into the upper atmosphere of super-awesome.  Face melted.

There are no horizontal shots in 1995 Leaf (Leaf Limited or Donruss, either for that matter).  DaVinci also didn't paint horizontal versions of the Mona Lisa.  So there.

I bought many, many packs of 1995 Leaf when I was a wee lad, and I pulled a lot of great cards which you are going to see, including one of the greatest insert pulls I have ever gotten from a pack.  Here we go:

Griffey looks dynamic, juking to his left but running right like a running back avoiding a tackle.  A sweet action shot.

Hey, who likes cool inserts?

The Great Gloves inserts were plentiful at 1 per 2 packs, and I think I got every Bagwell they made that year.  Here's another sweet cursive font for ya, and a solid design for such an easy-to-pull insert.

Aw, yeah.  That's nice.

These popped up one per 30/36 packs.  There are both A and B versions of these that you put together to form a disc.  They are made of hard plastic that doesn't damage easily, and they are translucent in the photo sections.  The fronts are refractive with one of those removable protective film layers that someone removed from this one long ago.  I only have the A version, so the B version is high on my want list.

Here's a couple with the film still on:

The Slideshow insert is a great example of the technological advancements made in the card industry in the mid-90's.  It could be argued that these are a little gimmicky, but they're really well-done and the design is just an instantly-recognizable classic.  Haters, step off.....

Here's the only Leaf '95 insert that I like better:

At a scant 1:80 packs, this die-cut masterpiece is one of the coolest inserts ever made.  Super-limited to a checklist of only 8 great players, the Heading for the Hall insert features the timeless look of the Hall of Fame plaque in lovely glossy cardboard.  This is the one that all the other HOF-related inserts aspire to be but ultimately fail.

Check out this bad boy (but don't look directly into his eyes):

This Cal Ripken is the first individually numbered card I ever heard of/saw/pulled from a pack all at once.  I bought a pack of '95 Leaf at Lakeside Mall 18 years ago and pulled this card.  The guy running the kiosk flipped out and told me, "That's one of those serial numbered cards - there's only 5000!"  I had never heard of this concept before, so I was pretty happy with myself.  Being the stupid kid I was, I ended up trading it at a card show for a box of 1995 Topps Embossed Series 2.

Also, that was the day I learned to not trust old fat guys at card shows.

Thanks to eBay, I picked up another one recently for a nominal price.  It is by far one of the great cards of my collection.

There are other great inserts in this set that I don't have the Griffey for, but it would be wrong not to mention them.  Here's more 1995 Leaf from the binders:

300 Club - 1:18 packs - another great-looking set.

Statistical Standouts - 1:70 packs, numbered /5000 - embossed and very cool.

Frank Thomas insert - 1:18 packs, a set of only 6 cards, refractive and beautifully designed

There's also the Gold Leaf Stars insert and the Cornerstones insert.  Sadly I have no examples to scan for you, so I lifted some images from the Interwebs:

Gold Leaf Stars - 1:110 packs, numbered /10,000 - this one may cost me.

Cornerstones - 1:18 packs - no Griffeys, but I spy Will the Thrill!

Gold Leaf Stars features a star-shaped cutout in the bottom left and plenty of gold leaf and shininess.  Cornerstones depicts great 1st-3rd basemen pairs.  If you've seen either of the above cards, give me a shout!

I think 1995 may be the year card designs really fell into place for me.  Stadium Club, Upper Deck, Collector's Choice, Pinnacle, Select, Studio, Emotion, Leaf Limited, Bowman's Best, SP, Donruss, even Fleer (hee hee, yeah, Fleer too) were all above-average in 1995.  The base cards were all amazing, and the inserts were the best of the 90's.  The only exceptions were Score which kinda sucked and Topps and Flair which were just OK. Besides those, the sets of 1995 are some of my favorites ever made.

And 1995 Leaf is their Daddy.


  1. You made my day just for reading your selection of the sexiest set of baseball cards!

    That is an extremely interest approach to the hobby ;)

    I don't know about the set design or the rest, but sure the photos are quite nice and!

    Nice post. Keep it!

  2. 2 nice Ripken inserts you got there. Both of those are pretty high on my wantlists!

  3. Great post, brotha. I really dig those HOF inserts. Cool idea by the brains at Leaf.

  4. I had the very same Griffey card in a plaque growing up.

    Tremendous set. I miss Leaf so much.