You know it's football season because the NFL teams are sweating through training camp and exhibitions and hobby shops have boxes full of the latest football cards.
While the NFL is taking its time expanding to two more cities, it was quick to grant new licenses to Upper Deck and Pacific Trading Cards for the 1991 season.
Upper Deck cards have a strong family resemblance to other Upper Deck products. Statistics fans will be interested to note that Upper Deck is not using the NFL's quarterback ratings, but it has included rushing numbers for quarterbacks, an innovation. Collectors can get Upper Deck football prototype cards of Barry Sanders and Joe Montana while supplies last by calling (900) TRADEEM. The call costs $1.95 for the first minute and 95 cents for each additional minute, and proceeds go to NFL Charities.
Upper Deck has produced a special 50-card set of NFL quarterback cards in conjunction with Domino's. Collectors and/or pizza fans will get one four-card pack with each qualifying purchase. These cards are only available through the Domino's promotion and include newcomer Dan McGwire of the Seattle Seahawks and Hall of Famers John Unitas and Roger Staubach.
Pacific's first set has 550 cards with the familiar glossy fronts. Backs feature color head shots, and the horizontal design includes stripes in team colors (burgundy and gold for Redskins) and all information placed on an angle, although it is not difficult to read even if the card is not tilted. Cards come in packs of 14, and there will be factory sets.
Topps weighs in with 660 cards, up from 528 last season. Another change is that Topps is attempting to present a uniform look, so the football cards will resemble their baseball counterparts. Subsets feature the Super Bowl (one card), highlights (six), league leaders (five), Topps All-Pro (26), Topps Super Rookies (27), draft picks (28) and checklists (five). This month Topps brings back the Bowman name on football cards with a 561-card set. Cards will be similar in design to Bowman baseball. Stadium Club cards are expected later in the season.
Score Series I is out, 345 cards strong. There will be more, 341 in Series II, and four bonus cards for factory-set purchasers. In addition, Score has produced a 40-card Young Superstars glossy set, available through a mail-in offer and also expected in hobby stores in October. Of note are the packs, which feature pictures taken from cards in the set.
NBA Hoops and Skybox are teaming with Salem Sportswear to give collectors basketball cards they can wear. Salem is producing T-shirt versions of NBA Hoops and Skybox cards in children's and adult sizes. Shirt fronts show card fronts, and shirt backs show card backs. They will be carried by clothing outlets
as part of the back-to-school line.
Milton Kahn of Santa Barbara, Calif., is producing a limited set) 25-card Bob Cousy set. Sets will be available this fall and can be ordered through the Basketball Hall of Fame Gift Shop for $29, which includes a $4 shipping charge. Checks should be made payable to the Basketball Hall of Fame. For a complete gift-shop catalog, send a stamped, self-addressed business envelope to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, P.O. Box 179, Springfield, Mass. 01101. . . . The 1952 Mickey Mantle card remains at large, but collectors have recently
claimed the 1957 (valued by Topps at $550) and 1958 cards
($500) in Topps' 40th anniversary sweepstakes.
Today, baseball card show, Comfort Inn-Airport (I-695 Exit 6A), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Saturday, baseball card show, Econolodge, 5801 Baltimore National Pike, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 866-3366.
Saturday, baseball card show, Freedom District Fire Hall, Sykesville (Route 32 between I-70 and Route 26), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Aug. 25, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695 Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.
Aug. 31, baseball card show, Towson Sheraton (I-695 Exit 27S), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 922-8366.