This one is from the 1992 Donruss debut of Diamond Kings as their own insert set, and as usual the manufacturer and artist Dick Perez nailed it. These served as a good indication that the Diamond Kings name was in good hands, and cardboard history shows that they improved from there. Definitely a gem from the waning days of junk wax and boring designs.
And now we're looking at card #7 from Fleer's 1995 Flair insert set focused on Cal. "Enduring" is of course a good word to describe Ripken throughout his trademark streak. The back of this one talks about how he won the 1991 All-Star Game MVP before being named the most valuable player in his league later that season. With this in my collection I just need four more cards to complete the set--one of three Ripken-specific inserts I'm working on that you'll see in this post!
Given Cal's stardom you'll be hard pressed to find many "cheap" quality inserts of the HOF shortstop, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. The 1996 Ultra Rawhide card above is a case in point with its cool textured surface and great shot of the two-time Gold Glover in the field.
Throughout these posts you'll get a chance to see where I "splurged" a bit this time, spending more like $3-$10 on single cards when I usually don't. One player in particular benefited from that more than the others, but Ripken did get in on the fun with this awesome die-cut/acetate 1997 Studio Hard Hats (#3043/5000) offering. Hello, "90s inserts rule" tag! I've had Barry Larkin's card from the set for a while and have Griffey's card on my wantlist because these just look too cool to ignore. You won't find anything like this in the era of the Toppsopoly but my fellow 90s collectors and I can enjoy endless creativity like this!
All Cal All the Time set #2 for today is 2000 Fleer Gamers' Cal to Greatness. This is one I've been trying to tackle for a while because, while the first five cards are relatively cheap and easy to find--I've had them all for a while--the next five were 1:25 pulls and the last five were 1:144, making them much harder to track down, at least at prices I could stomach. The one you see above is #10 in the series, leaving me short #s 6 and 9 plus the entire run of 11-15. I'll get there at some point!
This nice little nine-spot of Cals bumps his PC-leading collection up to 795 cards with another milestone--100x his jersey number--in sight thanks to some Sportlots reinforcements. While I wait on those you'll get a look at a few more COMC PC cards soon!