Ah, here we go. Bowman finally comes into its own. The design is still kinda just “eh”, but they went with a higher-quality card stock and a glossy finish, which did a lot to upgrade the experience. And, of course, it was also short-printed thanks to Topps only printing enough for the orders placed. Unfortunately, given some of the iconic cards in this set, it’s a damn shame Olerud’s card falls so far short. Yeah, a shot up the nostrils, that’s what we need.
Olerud improved at the plate in 1992, posting a .284 BA and .825 OPS, clearing an .800 OPS for the first time in his career. His OPS+ jumped to 125 after hovering around the 115-118 range previously, and his strikeouts dropped by 20 to 61 after 84 the year before. His eye was developing.
1992 Donruss represents a much-needed improvement. While the design certainly has its problems and gets wearisome when you look at too many of them, gone is the bizarre paint splotch designs and random lines, replaced with a more utilitarian, straightforward design. Yeah, it’s boring, but at least it’s not hideous. This shot is okay, I guess. Like 1992 Donruss, it’s competent, but boring. I could imagine some better things to do with a first-base shot.
John was showing his competence with the glove in 1992, as well. Having taken over for Fred McGriff, he was tied for fourth in the AL in 1992 with three total zone runs at first base, putting him behind Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire (surprise), and Rafael Palmeiro.
1992 Blue Jays Fire Safety
This is another latter-day find, and it’s an interesting design for a 1992 card. Not sure that I like the whole “fanatic” logo in the upper-right, but I kind of like the torn paper at the bottom, and the large number is interesting. Not sure why they identify him as an infielder when he only ever played first base, though. I was happy with it as an addition to the collection, however.
Olerud showed up to Spring Training, 1992, having bulked up. He said:
“”I think I got to make adjustments. I got to figure out how they are gonna pitch me to get me out. The pitchers are always changing. If you hit a particular pitch, then they’ll try something else. And if somebody gets you out with a certain pitch, pretty soon everybody is throwing it.”
Everything’s Gone Green. That’s all I can think of when I see this set. I mean, it’s all right design-wise, I guess. Would team-coded colors have killed them? And what’s with losing so much space to design elements? The photo itself is all right, but good lord, are there enough shots of Olerud at first base? It’s like the companies decided now that he was out from being a DH it was time to compensate completely.
Olerud missed some games in the middle of 1992 with a strained hamstring. His time out of the lineup coincided with an offensive slump throughout the Jays lineup. Of course, they would end up rallying down the stretch, but his absence hurt the team.
1992 Fleer Ultra
With 1992, Ultra started finding its legs. 1993 is probably my favorite Ultra set ever, but 92 was pretty damn good, and a much-needed improvement. My only quibble is the green marble border along the bottom – it gets awfully boring after awhile. And, of course, it’s yet another shot of John playing first base. Like I said…the card creators must have been overjoyed. OVERJOYED. Heh.