Trader Crack's

1993 Leaf Update Series Baseball Cards Review

For whatever reason, I've always been a fan of 1993 Leaf Baseball. It's certainly not regarded as a classic set, there's no standout cards and even with three series, there's no great rookie cards either. So why my fascination with it? That was the driving force in picking up a box of 1993 Leaf Update Series Baseball.

I could have sworn it was Series Two that I bought but when it arrived it was Update and I didn't remember the third series until I was already a few packs in. And after opening an entire box of this stuff, I don't think I want to see any again until I finish off my Series One and Two sets.

1993 Leaf Update has just 110 cards in the set yet it was released in 14-card packs with 36 packs in a box. Yikes! Donruss would have been better off releasing it as a boxed set with maybe a couple of random inserts in each to drive multi-set sales. With the sheer amount of cards I got in my box I was able to build two complete sets and as many as 10 of one card. I don't know what I would have done with them but I think realistically a box this size should have had three complete sets, if not four.

Adding to my displeasure is the fact that the checklist downright stinks. The best players are probably Trevor Hoffman and Raul Mondesi. There's a couple more of that caliber but no hobby superstars. Most are guys who played a year or two and disappeared having not made much of an impact. They're great in a big set, but in a 110-card hit-and-run sort of set like this, you really need an impact rookie or two - especially when you could potentially build four sets out of one box. Instead I pulled eight Tim Costos and ten Doug Henrys.

The card fronts are solid, with a full-bleed photo complimented by the player information and team in the bottom corner. The Leaf logo is done up as a nice gold foil ribbon, giving an up-scale feel to it.

I think it's the card backs that created the lasting impression for me. A second action shot is in the foreground while an iconic close-up of a local monument or landscape is in the background. Very nice stuff. Other trimmings include a holofoil team logo in the top, basic stats and the card number in the bottom. I like that although the numbering continues through all three 1993 Leaf sets, the particular series is noted under the card number.

The inserts in 1993 Leaf Update leave much to be desired. They show little creativity and are primarily recycled from the previous two sets.

Update Gold Leaf All-Stars are retreads of a Series One set that pairs an American League All-Star on one side with their National League counterpart on the back. No insertion rates were given but I got five of the ten in my box. I've always preferred the Team Pinnacle inserts for double-sided cards.

Similarly, Update Gold Leaf Rookies continue from earlier sets. You get a rookie from that year and a boring design. Why these were still around in 1993 I don't know. My box had two of the five cards from the set.

Other inserts include a nice Dave Winfield Tribute card celebrating his 3000th career hit. Although the images on both sides are nice, I would have liked a short blurb about his career accomplishments be somewhere on the card. My box yielded one tribute card.

The final piece of the in-pack puzzle are Frank Thomas autographed inserts. At the time Thomas was at the top of the hobby. Autographs were still a rarity. So were serial numbered cards. A total of 3,500 cards were signed, numbered and put into packs at a rate of 1:785. Not surprisingly, one eluded me.

As an added bonus each box promised an over-sized Frank Thomas card that's serial numbered. I can't recall, but I wouldn't be surprised if the promise of one serial numbered card per box caused something of a stir in the hobby back in 1993. The box toppers were a recycled and blown-up version of the Thomas inserts from the previous sets that focused on different aspects of his playing personality - kind of like SkyBox did with their 1995 E-motion set. Each card is serial numbered to 7500 and there's ten in the set. Each are housed in a custom envelope making it kind of like a bonus pack. My box had two envelopes at the bottom of the box. I thought maybe this meant one was special - as in autographed - but neither were. I just happened to get a bonus bonus card, which was one of the few highlights from this otherwise bland box.

Box Breakdown:

Packs per box: 36
Cards per pack: 14
Total cards: 504

Cards in set: 110
Singles: 110
Doubles: 110
Triples: 101
Quadruples+: 174

Inserts: 10


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