1994 Studio Baseball Takes Collectors in Locker Room, Debuts Numbered Inserts

The 1994 Studio baseball set was comprised of 220 base cards released by Donruss/ Leaf on the heels of the strike shortened season. Even through the eighth work stoppage in baseball history, the company continued to push the envelope.

Hobby boxes consisted of the standard 36 packs with 12 cards per pack.

The hobby box art was upgraded yet again this season as a featured piles of baseballs as the backdrop with the gold Studio logo towards the top of the box and pictures of the front and back of the Barry Bonds card from the set. The text made note to tell collectors to look for randomly inserted Heritage Collection, Editor’s Choice and Silver and Gold Series Stars cards.

The artwork on the packs was consistent with the box art with the piles of baseballs in the background, the same deep green/blue coloring, the Studio logo and other similar styling.

The card fronts feature a full color posed image of the player in the foreground with the backdrop being an image of the player’s locker, which includes bats, balls, gloves jerseys hanging, family photos, various articles of clothing on racks and items above in cabinets and things of that nature. It’s fun to see some of the imagery in the lockers in the background. It appears as though Houston Astros slugger Louise Gonzalez has some type of toy animal crawling down the wall of his locker.

Atlanta Braves slugger David Justice has a pretty messy locker, if that is indeed his spot behind him in the picture.

The design of the 1994 Leaf Studio base set is borderless with the player’s name listed in cursive in the center bottom of the card and the team name listed below the player’s name. There is a gold foil Studio logo in the upper left hand corner of the cards.

It’s a unique and fresh design and very different from the previous years design styles. We have to give props to Studio for sticking with the origins of the brand but also finding a way to reinvent themselves each and every season.

The Studio card backs feature a small image of the player on the left hand side of the card, the player’s initials in cursive with the action shot underlying those images.

The right hand sliver offers basic bio information and the same fun information that was found on previous Studio card backs is limited to an “Up Close” section, which just mentions where the player may live, hobbies and another tidbit or two.

For the first time Studio has some legitimate statistics including the players career stats- from average to home runs to on base percentage to slugging and more.

There are no rookies of note with the lone rookie card and he said being Florida Marlins prospect Kurt Abbott. That’s it.

A three card promo set was released that featured card number 83 Barry Bonds, card number 154 Juan Gonzalez and the last of the series being card number 209 in Frank Thomas. The words “Promotional Sample” are scrolled across the face of the card and again on the card back.

The cards are identical to the ones found in the set other than the promotional sample words being stamped across both sides of the card.

The Heritage set became an insert synonymous within the Studio product and it’s prominently featured once again. Star players are featured in old uniforms of their current teams. The new background in 1994 was an image of the team’s home stadium from back in the day.

There is a new gold foil Heritage logo and a gold logo indicating the year of the uniform featured found on the front of the card, which is a nice educational touch.

The eight card set it is printed on non-glossy matte card stock and features superstars such as Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina and more.

A new acetate insert set called Editor’s Choice is a film strip style card set that features an in action shot of the player with the back of the card being the reverse negative of the front.

 Superstars include Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza and more can be found on the strips.

Series Stars is another new insert in the Studio product. It’s a 10-card acetate set that features all the top Stars. The set is limited to 10,000 copies.

A gold parallel set is available with each Gold Series Star card being serial numbered to 5,000 copies. Most notably, this is the first serial numbered or knowingly numbered insert set in the history of the Studio product. Again, the roster is loaded with big names including Ken Griffey, Jr., Barry Bonds, Tony Gwynn, Mike Piazza, Cal Ripken Jr. and more. The card design is an action shot of the player with the circular star pattern leading to the player’s name in a black box at the top of the card. The bottom of the card features a Studio seal of approval that designates whether it is a Silver or Gold Series Star card. The team name is found in the lower left-hand corner and the limited edition numbering is found in the lower right hand corner of the card front.  Series Stars came at the beginning of what would become the hobby’s infatuation with acetate technology. 

The 1994 Studio set does not carry much monetary value.  Complete sets typically cost $20 or less. Singles and inserts are also inexpensive. Unopened boxes can be had for under $40 today.  You can see base and insert cards here.

Your best bet is to enjoy the cards for their photographic excellence, unique design style and their glimpse into mid-1990s baseball.

About Tony Reid

From the time he was a little kid, Tony has been a huge sports fan. If he could play sports, watch sports and talk about sports it was a great day. From as early as he was drawn to sports, Tony was drawn to collecting sports cards. Not much has changed over the years. He collects RCs of star players in baseball, basketball and football. He also has a soft spot for first autographs of MMA stars. If you want to talk to Tony about the greatness of Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson or Ken Griffey, Jr. you can reach him at [email protected] and @OffCenterTR on social media.

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