In the heat of the pennant races, think of something cool -- like ice hockey. Training camps are in session, and trading cards aren't far behind.
Score is ready with a 550-card, single-series set. It will come in two versions, an English language one for the United States and a bilingual one in English and French for Canadian collectors. The sets will differ in design, photographs and limited-edition insert cards. Both will be available in 16-card and 35-card packs, but only the Canadian version will come as a factory set.
Card fronts are clean and logical. Color blocks for players' last names and team names are in the team's primary color, and three of the card's sides have ice-gray diagonal stripes. Backs are simple -- color head shots, team logos, 1991-92 and career statistics and a 10-line blurb.
In contrast, Canadian cards only have thin black borders top and bottom, with enough room for team logo, name, position and Score's logo. Backs have long, interestingly cropped head shots which run from card top to just over the stats lines. Blurbs are six lines in English, seven in French. The overall effect is one of stunning simplicity.
Long-touted rookie Eric Lindros, so tough for the NHL to land, will be easier for collectors to get. He will be on two exclusive cards in his Philadelphia Flyers uniform -- a randomly inserted, unnumbered portrait card only in U.S. packs and an action shot. He will also appear in the 22-card Franchise subset and the 13-card Canadian Olympic Hero subset (Canadian edition).
U.S. collectors can look out for the 15-card subset of U.S.-born stars, while Canadian collectors can get a four-card Maurice Richard subset and the Canadian Olympic subset. Both editions will have the 12-card Dream Team, a Rookie Dream Team, highlights, leaders and prospects.
The NHL's two newest teams, the Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning, each have a five-card subset. There will also be two special cards -- the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and father-son Bill Dineen (Flyers coach) and his player and son Kevin Dineen. For subset specialists, only the 35-card packs will do, because it's the only way to get the 30-card Sharpshooters subset.
Upper Deck's 440-card NHL low series set is expected out next month. It features a new design with a moving puck with the player's team's logo on it. Upper Deck extends its heroes concept to hockey with a 10-card Wayne Gretzky insert set. There is a card of the top six members of the U.S. Olympic hockey team. There's also one commemorating the Stanley Cup's centennial, which features a black-and-white photo of the first Stanley Cup winners.
Collectors can also look for 24 star rookies, 15 Rookie Report cards (with analysis by Mike Eruzione, Bob McKenzie and John Davidson), Bloodlines (including a card of Washington Capitals Kelly and Kevin Miller and their brother Kip), 20 Moscow Dynamo stars, a continuation of the World Junior Championships subset begun with the 1991-92 high number series, award winners and the All-Rookie team.
For those who jumped on the teal-and-black bandwagon last NHL season, your collection may not be complete without the San Jose Sharks' highlight film. The expansion team was a surprising marketing success and a predictable failure on ice. The 76-minute video "Fintastic Voyage" has the usual hockey highlights plus the general manager explaining how he drafted to compete in the Smythe Division, opening night in Vancouver with British Columbians entering the arena in Sharks regalia ("Nice colors," says one young man.) and the opening-night laser light show. The video is $19.95 and available at (800) BE-SHARK.
New guys in the league
Upper Deck has put 10 promising players in a high-series subset, Diamond Debuts. The players are shown in their major-league uniforms, and the cards are randomly inserted in packs. Notable among the 10 are the Seattle Mariners' Bret Boone, who 'made his debut against the Orioles, the Milwaukee Brewers' Pat Listach and the New York Yankees' Andy
Collectors who found autographed copies of Classic Best Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Ken Griffey Jr., Brien Taylor or David McCarty cards can call (800) 486-4263 to receive a certificate of authenticity. They will be registered once they send a photocopy of the card (front and back) along with a photo of themselves, their address and full name. The cards were randomly inserted in 1992 Classic Best Minor League Baseball.
Sept. 26-27, baseball card show to benefit Baltimore Colt Band, Towson Center, Sept. 26 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 27 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (expected signers include Y.A. Tittle, Brady Anderson, Mike Mussina), (410) 254-2729.
Sept. 27, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.
Oct. 4, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26 S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.
Oct. 4, baseball card show, Security Holiday Inn (I-695, Exit 17), 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., (410) 922-8366.