The 1980s. Many of the card people we most respect checked in on this matter, and helped us think through the cards we don't consider much: the (mostly) junk wax of that decade. The cards that mainly aspired to be repack fillers. Those early vestiges of overproduction. The cause of needless death of trees by baseball card.
We're still headachey, but one conclusion vividly emerged from that post:
1983 Topps is widely viewed by one and almost all asthe best baseball card design of the 1980s. On the other hand, 1984,
which vaguely recalls 1983 but changes the circular picture to square, moves it to the left, messes with the bottom band, brightens the cardstock, and garishificates the team name, loses all card feng shui because it didn't get a single mention as a favorite.
Now, Bo, the sensible proprietor of Baseball Cards Come to Life!, in a comment noted that even though there are clunkers in the 1980s, Topps cards of the early 1990s make the 80's cards look like Da Vincis by comparison.Thus, we are left to wonder: did the 1990s in fact, with even more overproduction, variations, crowded company and design decisions, produce far worse cardboard? The worst in history? Were 1990s baseball cards the equivalent of 99 varieties of cola in the supermarket aisle?
And in fact, in the sheer prevalence of "eh" in the 1990s designs coupled with rising prices, do we find in that decade the root cause of kids departing the hobby of baseball card collecting FOREVER?
Actually, it was probably the advent of video games that really did that. But still. The nineties helped.