During the 1990s, Pittsburgh-area grocery chain FoodLand sponsored an annual set of Penguins trading cards. Children in and around the Pittsburgh area could get a card for free by from an on-duty police officer, who probably stored the cards in their back pockets, forever keeping them from a BGS 10 rating.
But I digress. The 1993-94 Penguins set looks good and has cards of many star players who went onto Hall of Fame careers.
Player Selection: 5 out of 5
Locally-issued team sets usually do not disappoint when it comes to player selection, including this one. The 1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins team set has 23 player cards, as well as cards of Head Coach Ed Johnston and Assistant Coach Rick Kehoe, for a total of 25 cards.
The set is loaded with some of the best players of the 1980s and 1990s: Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Joe Mullen, Rich Tocchet, Kevin Stevens Bryan Trottier and Larry Murphy. Also included are goaltenders Tom Barrasso and Ken Wregget. Overall, the set includes pretty much every player who played a significant role in the Pens’ 1993-94 season.
Front Design: 4 out of 5
Despite the overabundance — more like borderline abuse, really — of gradients, the set’s design is pretty good. Sure, every single design element, save for the “FoodLandYES!” logo at the bottom, has a gradient: from the border to the team logo to all of the text. But this was the 1990s, so gradients galore is almost expected.
The only drawback of the design is the gaudy “FoodLandYES!” logo, which is red and quite distracting. Had the logo been white, or even black, it would have fit in nicely with the rest of the design.
Stats & Info / Back Design: 2 out of 5
The back of each card does not have any statistics or biographical information about the player. The cards do have a “Penguins Tip” and a “Safety Tip” on the back. The “Penguins Tip” explains the rules of hockey, such as offside, the role of the team captain and the penalty for, as they call it, “fisticuffs.” The “Safety Tip” is the usual advice for children: fire safety, the dangers of drugs, wearing a bicycle helmet and that stealing is bad, mmmkay.
As much as I make fun of the silly little cartoons on the back, if they helped one kid avoid drugs or not get hurt, then they have done their job. I mean, those ridiculous “Say No To Drugs” commercials from the 1980s — specifically the one below — were a positive influence on me during my childhood.
You have a ri-eee-ri-ee-ight to say NO! NO! Right to say NO!
The set was sponsored by the FoodLand grocery chain, and given away by police officers in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. Children could get a card from an on-duty police officer for free. Cards were allegedly rubber-banded together, so it is likely that you may find nicks on the edges of the cards. Also, the cards were printed on very thin card stock.
Despite the flimsy card stock, garish sponsor logo and lack of player statistics, the 1993-94 Pittsburgh Penguins set is worth owning, even if you aren’t a die-hard Pens’ fan. The set looks sharp — albeit a bit “nineties” — and is loaded with stars. Speaking of which…
Six players who ended up in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
1 – Mario Lemieux – Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1997. (back)
12 – Bryan Trottier – Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 1997. (back)
13 – Larry Murphy – Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2004. (back)
14 – Ron Francis – Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2007. (back)
23 – Jaromir Jagr – Hockey Hall of Fame Class of ???? (back)
25 – Joe Mullen – Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2000. (back) ■