Sorting through my 93 Topps cards from that giant cello box I opened, I suddenly remembered something.
Of course, I already mentioned that those were my very first baseball cards (I'd pick them up when the sole place in all of France to carry baseball cards, ie a book store with very little choice, did not have any Upper Deck), which means it brings back a lot of memories of opening packs in the Paris subway with my best friend. The thing is that I knew nothing about baseball. I didn't know any players, hardly any teams and only the very basic rules. As I've said before, there was (and still is) no baseball on French tv, no newspaper coverage, no mention of the World Series. Baseball is non-existent here. And of course, since those were the early nineties, I didn't even know the existence of that thing we call the Internet.
And since I was fascinated by those 2 x 3 cardboard pieces, I wanted to know everything there was to know about the sport and its players (I did the same with Hockey a couple years later, but only for a short time).
What I had forgotten was how it was made possible thanks to 93 Topps. Here's why :
League leaders in red and italic, and ties have that little diamond beside (I suppose the asterisk is too connoted). All I had to do afterwards was compare stats and players to each other. It then became apparent that 20 wins, 200 Ks, 40 saves, an ERA around 3, 40 HR, 100 RBIs, 200 hits, a .300 avg etc. was what I was looking for to know which players were above the others. Thank God this wasn't a sabermetrics era, as there's no way I would've figured anything out ! (yeah, I'm not that smart, don't let my French accent fool you).
And when I went to Cleveland in the summer of 93, I made some friends there with whom to play baseball, and they explained to me what those stats actually meant. And I was even more hooked.
So yay, UD made me love baseball cards, but Topps made me love baseball.
Oh, and looky what I pulled :