In rush to beat season, Fleer's NBA set will be out-of-date for some players


September 27, 1992|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

The trading-card business respects no seasons, so NBA players are cavorting on cardboard before they hit the hardwood.

Fleer began shipping its 264-card set last month, and NBA Hoops expects its 350-card Series I to be available by mid-October. So collectors will have John Salley still with the Detroit Pistons, Pooh Richardson with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Rodney McCray with the Dallas Mavericks. But Hoops is marking cards for prominent movers Charles Barkley, Jeff Hornacek, Rolando Blackman, Tim Perry and Jay Humphries with "Traded To" banners on the front.

Fleer continues to improve on last year's product with eye-catching design. The motif is the pebbling of a basketball's surface, and it serves as the background of the card backs and as a team-color-coded accent on card fronts.

Fronts feature action photos. Backs of the regular player cards ,, feature career stats and nearly full-length portraits.

Subsets include league leaders, award winners, coaches, Schoolyard Stars and ProVision Art cards. There will also be a limited edition, 24-card subset of All-Stars randomly inserted in wax packs. Rack-pack purchasers may find team leaders, and cello packs feature a 10-card Rookie Sensation subset. Fleer has issued a 12-card "signature series" featuring 1991-92 Rookie of the Year Larry Johnson, who autographed more than 2,000 of his special cards.

The Johnson cards may be found in all three types of packs.

NBA Hoops has added a transparent stripe with the player's name down the left side. A ball, hand, foot or head runs onto the border of each card, adding to the impact of the larger action photos (borders have been reduced). Backs are basic white, as they were last year. Head shots are framed in a key as they were in the inaugural 1989-90 set. Pro and college stats are included.

The centerpiece subset is the only card commemorative of the U.S. Olympic team's Tournament of the Americas appearance. It has 12 cards. Other subsets highlight coaches, All-Star teams, team cards (which feature players superimposed on their city's skyline), league leaders, a four-card Magic Johnson retrospective, stay-in-school public service announcements and Inside Stuff (featuring Patrick Ewing and Drazen Petrovic).

There are four random inserts: Ewing and Magic Johnson gold-stamped, UV-coated cards, some of which are autographed; a USA Basketball team card with all 12 team members, and an NBA draft-lottery exchange card. Collectors can redeem the lottery card for a pack of up to 11 cards of lottery picks.

Extra-large football cards

Pacific Trading Cards is trying extra-large football cards. Triple Folder cards are four times the size of regular trading cards, measure 3 1/2 x5 andcontain four full-color photos. As the name implies, the large top photo unfolds to reveal a double-sized action photo flanked by a smaller action photo and a smaller studio-type shot. Backs give last year's stats and a short blurb on the player's career. The 28-card set includes Barry Sanders, Neil O'Donnell, Mark Rypien, Emmitt Smith and Reggie White. Each pack contains one Triple Folder card and a bonus card from one of Pacific's 1992 subsets.

Special Sanders cards

Action Packed's 1992 factory set has two unique cards honoring Barry Sanders, its Player of the Year. The cards, 43G and 44G, contain gold leaf and detail Sanders' 1991 and career accomplishments. The factory set also contains Action Packed's eight 1992 Braille cards, honoring AFC and NFC leaders of

the 1991 season.

Upcoming events

Today, baseball card show to benefit Baltimore Colt Band, Towson Center, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (expected signers include Y.A. Tittle, Brady Anderson, Mike Mussina), (410) 254-2729.

Today, baseball card show and silent auction to benefit four charities and seven community projects will be held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (expected signers include Randy Milligan, Arthur Rhodes, Bruce Laird and Toni Linhart), (410) 335-8551 or (410) 879-1633.

Today, baseball card show, Glen Burnie Mall during mall hours.

Today, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.

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