20 cards per pack/16 packs per box
Base set completion: 290 of 500 (58%)
As usual, UD’s photography is excellent. Unfortunately, that’s where the accolades end.
2009 Upper Deck is in many ways far from being an ideal set. The first problem: a 1000-card base set. That’s just way too many, and UD ends up filling out the checklist with players who are probably better suited for a Bowman Draft release.
My biggest issue with a 1000-card base set? A single hobby box, even at UD’s bloated MSRP of $70, doesn’t come close to finishing the set. This box was produced just a shade more than half of series 1. A 1000 card base set forces the collector to buy more than one box (or spend that money in trades) if they want to finish the set. I feel that a 1000-card base set is nothing more than hubris from UD — we can make a base set this big, so we will!
The second problem: lackluster design. While 08 UD was simple (although somewhat derivative of 95 UD), 09 UD lacks that simplicity. The gold bar across the bottom of the card is distracting. And then there’s the team logos superimposed over a non-matching color. What’s up with that?
When juxtaposed with 09 Topps, there simply isn’t any comparison. Topps’ photography is on par with UD’s this year, and their design is exponentially better. After looking at these cards, you get the feeling UD simply rested on its laurels and mailed it in this year.
And then there’s the insert cards. Topps tapped into its CMG deal andthe popularity of retro sets and gave collectors Turkey Red, Legends of the Game, and Ring of Honor. And while UD wisely brought back the USA National Team subset, the rest of the inserts are essentially an epic fail. I didn’t care for Documentary or Yankee Stadium Legacy last year, and I certainly didn’t want to see them again this year. And what a waste of space the 20th anniversary subset is.
Topps is often derided for their creativity, or as others put it “gimmicks.” Whether it’s gimmicks or creativity, or a little of both, their 09 set shines, and UD’s offering pales in comparison.