I’ve talked at length about Topps 1990. It’s a landmark design in Carlton Fisk’s playing career. Sure, it’s gross, but it’s a landmark. As part of the main 792 card set, the All-Star subset is somehow even worse. We’ve got the “half-tones as design features” and player names in Helvetica (though bold italic on the base card), as well as the terrible player name typeface from the rear making its way to spell “All-Star” on the front. But then they added. . . more.
First, while the normal set allowed “3D” cropping to put features on top of the team name at the top, this set adds huge borders at the top and right (smaller ones on the left and bottom) all of which allow features from the photo to mask the border. Check out the Eric Davis All-Star.
Also, the hand masking of the details in the photos isn’t great. Check out Fisk’s left foot . . . yeesh.
Next, the background of the pictures have been made black and white. Classy? The masking for the desaturation again looks like it was done by hand (hey, it was 1989, I’m not judging). And, I’m not sure when computers were first used for creating (print) separations, so maybe it wasn’t even “desaturated,” the background maybe just wasn’t part of the detail on the C, M, and Y plates.
Woof. Next, the back. The horrendous greenish-yellow main rear color of Topps 1990 never looks good, and it really doesn’t look good on a non-typical baseball card back. At least a stats table taking up most of the back draws the eye. This All-Star card has a ton of “white” space around the legitimately interesting 1989 Fisk trivia on the left and the inexplicable 1989 Stolen Base leaderboard on the right. For the record, Fisk tied with 48 other MLB players in 148th place with one stolen base in 1989. For the actual record, he wasn’t an All-Star in 1989 or 1990, but such is how Topps fills a 792 card set in 1990. (and Topps included him in their 1990 All-Star alternate set, too, so who knows.)