A 30-Year Mystery Finally Solved

One of the main reasons I love baseball cards and have been an avid collector for 32 of my 41 years on this planet is the feelings of nostalgia certain sets, cards, and even players are able to conjure up in my mind. While my collecting rookie year is officially 1990, the set that really captured my imagination as a child is 1991 Score, specifically the All-Star caricatures subset. Over the years, I often wondered who the artist that created these cards was and even wrote about it to help get the word out.

In my article published five years ago, I received a tiny lead in a comment that ultimately helped solve this 30+ year mystery. The comment told me to look at old issues of Beckett price guides as he remembers there being an article about the artist published in the 90s. That was all I needed, as my next step was to reach out to Beckett’s hobby editor (and blogging legend), Ryan Cracknell. In less than a day, Ryan was able to track down the specific article as well as the artists’ name.

Chris Greco is the man responsible for some of the most memorable artwork on trading cards from the Junk Wax Era glory days of the 90s. These days, he doesn’t seem to delve too much into sports anymore. You can see his portfolio on his Instagram here. Aside from those big head caricatures, Greco was also responsible for 1993 Pinnacle’s Team Pinnacle inserts. It would be interesting to know if Topps made any effort to bring him on-board for their Project 70 set.

Speaking of Topps’ Project 70, the once insanely popular set seems to have fallen on hard times. The project, which was set to celebrate Topps’ 70 years in baseball, will ironically forever be known as a celebration of the year Topps lost their MLB license to Fanatics. Now word is spreading on several rejected designs due to possible infringement complaints, which may have come to light with Shohei Ohtani’s Ace of Diamonds card which appears to be more of a rip-off rather than a tribute.

Ermsy, one of the more popular artists producing cards for Project 70, posted on his Instagram that his World Series / Squid Game card was rejected by Topps. It’s a shame because Netflix’s Squid Game is one of the most popular shows of 2021 and these cards would have been an absolute monster had they made it to production. It’s understandable that Topps, fresh off losing their MLB & WWE licenses, is probably not eager to fight off Netflix and the creators of Squid Game in court.

It would be interesting to find out what other subjects have been rejected by Topps and a possible reason why. One thing is for certain, the buzz around Project 70 has all but died down. The print runs on new cards have decreased dramatically as collectors seem to have grown tired of the same teams/players being featured weekly and/or have been left with a bad taste in their mouth due to artist renditions from the likes of controversial contributors, Ben Baller and Keith Shore.

With over 300 cards remaining to be released for Project 70, the entire project is in real danger. There appears to be a lack of interest by some of the artists involved in continuing to produce cards, with many releases appearing rushed and/or lacking much creativity and passion. To make matters worse, MLB is a month away from a possible lockout, which could ultimately lead to a baseball strike. Last time that happened in 1994, it nearly killed baseball and the baseball card industry.

Are we headed for a repeat of 1994?

2 thoughts on “A 30-Year Mystery Finally Solved

  1. Pingback: Topps Continues to Flirt with Lawsuits | The Baseball Card Blog

  2. Pingback: Score’s Sin of Gluttony | The Baseball Card Blog

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