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Bud Black: The Giants years

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Despite my disdain for the Giants, the card pictured above is my favorite of the several Bud Black cards I own. It helps that it's from 1993 Upper Deck, which is my favorite set of all time. Everything about it comes together for me. I love the understated design, which was Upper Deck's first departure from the theme they'd been tweaking each year from 1989 through '92. The gradient nameplate and script font was the perfect combination of unique and restrained, tying everything together like the perfect rug. But under all of that was what set Upper Deck apart from day one: great photography you wouldn't find anywhere else.

While Upper Deck's '93 set was loaded with offbeat shots highlighting the lighter side of baseball, Black got a straightforward action shot on the front of his card. Not that I'm complaining; it's a great mid-windup photo, and I've always appreciated a nice horizontally oriented card. However, as is the case with so many cards in this set, the real gem is tucked away on the back.

bud black new york giants

Ironically, in that I was just crowing about Upper Deck's approach to card photography being unique, the front of Black's 1993 Donruss card also features a photo of him rocking a throwback New York Giants uniform. That was more a case of them playing catch-up, and beside, Upper Deck still did it better. The picture on the back of this card is much brighter and crisper, shows a less-obscured view of the jersey, and lets us see those perfect stirrups.

I have two other cards of Bud Black from his time in San Francisco, but they're fairly basic as far as baseball cards go. I'd show them here, but they'd be a letdown after this card.