I quit collecting cards back in 1994, right at the dawn of the most spectacular evolution of the hobby. Sure, there was a sea change back in 1989 when Upper Deck raised the quality bar a country mile, but things were about to get really wacky.
When I came across some boxes (not packs, these are packaged in little card-sized boxes) at my local dust store, a store that has box after box of 1990s cello gathering dust, I picked up a couple packs. When I saw them, I knew they must have blown more than a few minds raised on 1986 Topps.
The pack is 660 cards, in two series. Pretty huge for a "high-end" product that comes in little boxes, although if I remember correctly, the boxes held a dozen cards. The backgrounds are super shiny, speckly, dazzling even. The stock is thick, about a card and a half thick. They are radiant. The name, team and Flair '95 are all embossed. They don't scan worth a damn.
A Frank Thomas insert. These must have been one of the earliest die-cuts out there- I can't remember anything else out there before 1995. The earlier Flair products (it dates back to at least 1993, although I never saw any) might have die-cuts- but certainly, this was an early one. Very simple, compared to some of the Pacific adventures that were in the future.
The positioning of the action photo and the posed/face shot is a bit awkward on this card, but good use of fill flash, at least. Frank Rodriquez holds a special place in my heart because I got his autograph when he was at AA Lynchburg back in 1993 or 4.
I still need the Pedro Martinez from 1995, but I don't honestly see myself ripping any more of this stuff to try and find it. It is a pretty spectacular demonstration of where the hobby was headed- completely over the top. But ripping a pack of 1995 Flair is a lot more fun than ripping a pack of 2010 Topps, that's for sure.
Damn I wish there was still competition in baseball cards.