Saturday, December 5, 2020

What's on the Sheff's Menu: Entry 2

Last month I discussed my appreciation for Gary Sheffield and how he was a favorite player of mine growing up.  The bat speed, strong arm, and angry swagger made me really like him in my little league days and early teen years at high school.  

My all time favorite player is obviously Andrew McCutchen.

Each month I am going to try to show off a card of Gary Sheffield that has also had the design used for an Andrew McCutchen card.  You can view all items on the Sheff's Menu by clicking here.  (Title for this subject to change and open for suggestions)

Today I am going to look at the Donruss Studio line.
Donruss Studio began in 1991.

It quickly became known as a set for getting to know the actual faces of the game by not only showing bust up shots of the players, but also getting more personal on the backs.
Early Studio releases didn't talk about stats, they talked about hobbies and heroes.

I didn't go through all the card backs and tried to shy away from the "Superstars" of the release time so I can get a better understanding of what athletes were into in 1991.
Well we learn that John Smiley, Pirates pitcher, and Juan Gonzalez, Rangers Outfielder, both enjoy watching Miami Vice.

Do you think that Joe Girardi and Goose Gossage ever got together to talk about their favorite Sanford & Son episodes?  Did you even know they both liked that show?
1991 Studio provided us with that tidbit of information.

Studio was made until 1998, then resurrected in 2003 and lasted for a few more years before becoming an insert set in 2014-2016 Donruss releases.  1993 Studio also had one of the coolest insert sets ever made for the early 90s Junk Wax Era when they had modern players wear the old throwback uniforms. 

It is the original 1991 design that was used in 2013 for a Panini Father's Day product that we are going to look at today.

Here are the Cutch and Sheff side by side.
As you can see, much of the original 1991 design was sustained for this limited hobby store only release in 2013.  The photos are black and white with a border.
The biggest difference is the city name replacing the team logo in the bottom left corner and the complete omission of player position in the bottom right corner.

And here are the backs.
The most notable difference on the back is the current is a sepia style card back, where the original 1991 is strictly black and white.  PERSONAL, CAREER, HOBBIES & INTERESTS are all still featured on the back.  The biggest omission is that we no longer know who the athlete's hero is. The copyright details are also different since Panini only has a player's license and not an MLB license. 

Overall, I thought the 2013 Panini Father's Day paid a very nice homage to the 1991 Studio set. Due to legal reasons there are some things they can't do with the set now that they were able to do back then and I actually like the Sepia tone more on the back than the traditional black and white.

Couple questions for today

Did you collect 1991 Studio at release and what were your thoughts on it?

(Without cheating) Can you recognize these 6 players? Hint, they all won an MVP Award


  1. I wasn't collecting in 1991, but I did buy a box of 1991 Studio a few years ago. I wasn't terribly impressed. One problem was that collation was terrible, which I suppose was typical of wax boxes of that era. I wasn't at all close to a complete set but I had a big stack of some players. The other thing is that while the gimmick of writing about more personal aspects of the players' lives was smart, all they ended up doing was repeating similar stock survey answers. Knowing that a player listens to country music, watches LA Law, and chooses his father as his hero doesn't exactly make me feel as though I know him personally. The backs needed a little effort.

  2. It’s a pretty cool set looking back. I liked a lot of the Studio releases, including when they started bringing in foil signatures. Oh snd the credit cards!

  3. I bought a few packs back in '91. Such a departure from everything else on shelves at the time. Photos seemed classy and it was neat to learn a little more about the players as people.

  4. I got a couple of the 2013 Father's Day cards, because they included NBA players in that multisport release. The design was all new to me as I'm not a baseball guy, although I eventually did get a card or two from the baseball set in lots. I don't like the design all that much to be honest. I would have liked full color photos a lot more.

  5. i came to appreciate sheffield while he was with the dodgers - he raked while with them. i never bought any studio packs, but i did recognize five of the six mvps shown - just missed the one in the upper left corner.

    1. Heres another hint for him
      He won a batting title the same year as his MVP.

  6. I love the personal tidbits in sets like Studio. I've thought about doing a series on the movies, TV shows etc that they liked but haven't gotten around to it. I'm glad the new Studio brought it back.

    I wonder if Sanford & Sons were heavily in syndication in '91?

    I recognized the six MVP winners instantly. I didn't even recognize the names of the rookie of the year winners this year. I'm perpetually stuck in the past . . .

  7. Went 3 for 6 at photo recognition. And yup... I bought some of this product. It was different and I had to give it a try. Can't say I loved it... but I didn't toss them in the trash either.