SCORE SERIES 1 BASEBALL CARDS

The Score trading card company released their first baseball card set in 1989 and called it Score Series 1. This release would be the start of an iconic baseball card brand that continued strong through the 1990s. Score Series 1 cards featured a wide array of stars from both the American and National Leagues and could be found in packs at hobby shops and mass merchandisers across North America.

Some of the biggest stars featured on the fronts of Score Series 1 cards included Ozzie Smith, Nolan Ryan, Ryne Sandberg, Don Mattingly, Tony Gwynn, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, and Jose Canseco. These players were among the game’s biggest attractions in the late 1980s. Score promoted this set as having “the biggest names in baseball” and they weren’t exaggerating with the talent featured on the cardboard.

In addition to current superstars, Score Series 1 also paid homage to retired baseball legends with subset cards honoring past greats. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, and Mickey Mantle were some of the legends honored in this inaugural Score release. The cards in this “Baseball Hall of Fame” subset included photos from the players’ playing days along with profiles of their career highlights and hall of fame plaques on the reverse.

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Score packed their series 1 baseball set with 330 total cards to collect. In addition to base cards of current players and hall of famers, the set also included parallel versions called “Action All-Stars” which featured photos capturing the athletes in mid-swing or mid-throw. Rookie cards, league leader cards, and team cards rounds out the checklist. The base cards in Score series 1 featured a photo of the player above their name and team with stats below.

An innovative feature of Score series 1 cards was the inclusion of stickers that could be adhered to the card fronts to categorize the players by position. Options included “Pitcher”, “Catcher”, “Infield”, “Outfield”, etc. This allowed collectors to more easily organize their collections. The card backs provided more stats as well as fun facts about the players. Score emphasized fun with their early releases and the series 1 cards definitely delivered on that front for the young collectors of the late 80s and early 90s.

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While Donruss and Topps had long dominated the baseball card market, Score series 1 found success right out of the gate and helped establish the brand as a major hobby competitor. Score would continue to release popular and innovative baseball sets on an annual basis throughout the 1990s. Their signature hologram technology really took off with later series like Stadium Club and Elite which featured premium refractors and parallels that drove excitement within the collecting community.

Over the decades, Score series 1 cards of the all-time great players featured like Ryan, Ripken, Clemens, and Thomas have become highly sought after by collectors both young and old. The condition of the cards really determines their value in today’s market. Near mint examples of the legends can fetch hundreds of dollars on online auction sites. But even well-loved copies in played condition that bring back memories are worth hanging onto for nostalgia sake. Whether completing a set or reliving childhood summers ripping packs, Score series 1 kicked off a stellar run for the storied card brand.

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The Score company folded in 1999 after a strong 12 year print run. But their early releases like the pioneering Score series 1 showed they knew how to combine the biggest names in baseball with innovations that captured kids’ attention. This first offering helped cement Score as a collector favorite during the hobby’s boom years of the late 1980s and 1990s. The legacy of Score series 1 lives on as one of the most memorable card sets for a generation of baseball card fans.

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