A tribute to ’88 Score

Life is unfair sometimes. You don’t always get dealt the best hand. All of the kids on my block received box after box of ’89 Upper Deck, pack after pack of Leaf, Bowman, Stadium Club. Me? I was the kid with a shoe box full of ugly Sportsflics, K-Mart Topps and plenty of ’88 Score. You know which one I’m talking about, right? The cards that were brighter than the rest combined. The ones that no matter how many stars you put together for a trade, somehow were never enough to get an ’89 Jose Canseco Upper Deck for. Let’s face it, these cards were worthless.

Well, it’s been twenty long years since the debut of Score, and a few since its demise. The other day I began to reminisce over this unique but now ancient sports card brand. Did you know that despite all the hype that surrounded Upper Deck’s “glorious” debut into sports cards in 1989, that Score was actually the very first baseball cards to include color photography on the front and back of each card? Also, unlike most brands the went for Spring Training and portrait shots, Score dealt directly with action shots from actual Major League Baseball games? Pretty impressive considering that we are talking about 1988. Look at other 1988 releases. I don’t know about you but most of them scream out “lazy” if you ask me.

Finally, many companies did wonderful jobs of making the card backs fun to read in the 80’s and early 90’s but did you know that Score hired none other than Sports Illustrated to write up pieces for the back of 1988 Score? Try finding anything to read from card backs in 2008. You are lucky to come away with a sentence or two from most cards. So while later releases of Score didn’t quite live up to the original, Wax Heaven and Cardboard Junkie proudly bring you a tribute to one of the most underrated brands of the 80’s; ’88 Score!

First up on the plate is Cardboard Junkie’s Top card of ’88 Score from each color released.

1. Red – Barry Bonds (with Pirates, minus Steroids)

2. Orange – Tom Glavine (in his familiar Braves uniform, minus 300 wins)

3. Yellow – Reggie Jackson (when the hell was he on the Orioles?)

4. Green – Paul Molitor (pretty eyes, minus 3,000 hits)

5. Blue – Ken Caminiti (Rest In Piece, slugger)

6. Purple – Jose Canseco (when he was still a Baseball God!)

Not enough ’88 Score for you? Well, check this out!

5 thoughts on “A tribute to ’88 Score

  1. I remember when this set came out. Oh, The ACTION photos!!!! At my local hobby shop, they had the preview cards of Tony Pena in full catcher gear. I wanted that Tony Pena!

  2. They had action in the front and portraits in the back. This was the perfect card for someone like me, and thus I kept buying Score in preference to practically everything else (like every kid back then, I loved UD but could only get it when Mom was feeling extra-nice.) Notice how many companies started copying Score after that ’88 release.

  3. Wouldn’t be nice if nowadays we judged a product just for a simple thing like action shots?
    When I collected as a kid I would go through my cards constantly, and to this day I still remember most of the players from 86-94 just by their face, and there was only one variation of those cards-Tiffany/Glossy.
    Since we are all collectors here, I don’t need to elaborate on what a difficult and scattered situation the hobby has become since those days.

  4. This was the first full set I collated by hand. I have so many doubles because I bought several boxes. And then for Christmas, I got the Traded set, and MAN that was hot for a few years! Rookie cards of Grace, Sabo, Biggio, Roberto Alomar…it was a great set! It even booked for over $100 for a while…now can be had for under $20 on eBay, but it was a great ride while it lasted.

  5. Two cards I remembered: Matt Nokes in a close up batting stance in what looks to be a night game…for me one of the best 1988 cards. The other is Eric Davis, looks like he is about to send it over the park.
    To me this set is really underrated. Just compare the cards. How would someone prefer a Topps Tom Glavine vs Score version? it blows my mind.

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