Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another completed set: 1996 Leaf Preferred Steel

Previously:  2000 Ultra Swing Kings, 1996 Zenith Mozaics, 1997 Score Franchise

1996 Leaf Preferred was another one of those gimmicky, one-hit wonder sets that came out during my early collecting years in the 1990s.  Inserted one per pack were actual metal "steel" cards, ostensibly of star players.

I bought a box at a LCS that was just a couple blocks from my house, if you can believe it (or if you can believe that LCSs used to exist) and that gave me a nice chunk of this set.  I really enjoyed the premise so I worked on the remainder via the usual methods at the time--card shops, shows and I think even some trading with my friends, though I think I only had a couple who collected.

One note about this set, if you're in the know about it at all--like Finest, these cards came with the obnoxious protective peel on them.  For a while I owned the complete set with the cards unpeeled, but my better judgment gave in and I freed them for all the world to see, as nature intended.

As I was digging through my completed insert sets to find something to show off tonight, I picked up this one and remembered another reason I really liked finishing it off:  it's very satisfying picking up a plastic cube stuffed with these cards since, despite their relative thinness, they're still decently heavy.  Holding the whole set all at once literally gives you a sense of the weight of the accomplishment.
So here, for your enjoyment, are the 77 cards from 1996 Leaf Preferred Steel:
Frank Thomas, Paul Molitor, Kenny Lofton, Travis Fryman, Jeff Conine, Barry Bonds, Gregg Jefferies, Alex Rodriguez, Wade Boggs

David Justice, Hideo Nomo, Roberto Alomar, Todd Hollandsworth, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmerio, Will Clark, Cal Ripken Jr., Derek Bell

Gary Sheffield, Juan Gonzalez, Garret Anderson, Mo Vaughn, Robin Ventura, Carlos Baerga, Tim Salmon, Matt Williams, Fred McGriff

Rondell White, Ray Lankford, Lenny Dykstra, J.T. Snow, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones, Bobby Bonilla, Paul Wilson, Darren Daulton

Larry Walker, Raul Mondesi, Jeff Bagwell, Derek Jeter, Kirby Puckett, Jason Isringhausen, Vinny Castilla, Jim Edmonds, Ron Gant

Carlos Delgado, Jose Canseco, Tony Gwynn, Mike Mussina, Charles Johnson, Mike Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr., Greg Maddux, Mark Grace

Ryan Klesko, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Michael Tucker, Joe Carter, Randy Johnson, Brian Jordan, Shawn Green, Roger Clemens

Andres Galarraga, Johnn Damon, Ryne Sandberg, Alan Benes, Albert Belle, Barry Larkin, Marty Cordova, Dante Bichette, Craig Biggio

Reggie Sanders, Moises Alou, Chuck Knoblauch, Cecil Fielder, Manny Ramirez

A sample back--Manny Ramirez
Overall, after 15 years this set boasts a nice mix of Hall-of-Famers (and some potential future members), bonafide stars, 90s stars/flavors of the year and of course, the what were they thinkings (I'm looking at you, Michael Tucker and Alan Benes).

Hopefully I'll find some more completed sets to show off to all of you, and I think I have a couple more in mind, so keep an eye out for similar posts soon!


  1. This set is amazing... I had a few of these cards years ago. There's one ending on eBay tomorrow... hopefully I can win it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Awesome. I've thought about picking up a box for a future group break. I just grabbed 22 different steel cards off eBay for $.99! I believe one or two of them were the gold versions. Now I just gotta go after a complete set!