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Tag Archives: 09 Upper Deck

Rather than giving each box its own post, I figured I’d condense by compiling everything into one post.

First up, Upper Deck. Most of us already know what the base cards look like. A pretty easy task considering many players had double issues in this set — among the Dodgers, Ramirez, Blake, Billingsley, Martin, Kemp, Loney, Furcal, Broxton, Kuroda, and Ethier were all repeats in series II. UD could’ve easily made this set considerably easier to finish (and a lot less boring and repetitive) had they not insisted on going with a 1000 card base set.

So did the inserts get any more interesting this time around? From left to right, a 1989 UD buyback, an O-Pee-Chee preview, and a USA National Team card.

I imagine there are more than a few collectors out there with piles and piles of worthless early 90s Upper Deck cards. Sure, 1989 was UD’s “rookie year,” but a foil stamp isn’t going to make me want those old cards any more than I already do (which is not at all).

All legal issues aside with O-Pee-Chee, I almost wish the base set looked like these rather than the design they went with.




The Ordonez jersey was a box-topper “buyback.” I don’t quite understand the meaning of the term buyback in sports cards vernacular. I do imagine it’s along the same lines as an investment “buyback,” which is an effort to re-acquire outstanding shares in order to reduce the available quantity. So in that sense, vintage “buybacks” such as Heritage, Play Ball, Goudey, etc. make sense in that they’re reacquiring old cards — though not specifically to reduce available quantity, but to include as purchase incentives.

But do cards from 2006 (such as the Ordonez) and the production glut of the 90s really fit the definition? Isn’t it fair to say that UD probably already had these on hand to begin with, thus negating the need to buy back anything?

As entertaining as it is to open a pack and find an auto/gamer in it, I really would rather it didn’t, especially if it meant box prices would be that much lower. A huge consideration since this particular box produced only 300 cards of the 500-card base set.

And now, Topps. The base set continues where series I left off, with much of the same stellar photography. Predictably, lots more spring training photos had to be used in order to accomodate many of the rookies/free agent signings who were unavailable the first time around. Given that, wouldn’t it make more sense — and add value to series II — to wait to depict the big free agent signings?



Nothing really too exciting here, although the Pedroia silk should command a nice trade/sell premium. The insert sets are continuations from series I, with Legends of the Game (10 in this box), Ring of Honor (10), and Turkey Red (10) returning. New for series II are Career Best Legends (two in this box) and WBC stars (five). Returning from 2008 are the Red Hot Rookie redemptions (two).

This jumbo box produced the entire base set (331-660) and 96 base doubles. Although the insert ratios are better for the jumbos, ending up with nearly 100 doubles and the increased MSRP for jumbos in 2009 ($95) will force me to reconsider if this is the path I’ll take for 2010.


I’ve been opening all sorts of UDS2 packs, and found these two cards:



Two versions of the #855 card, Ken Griffey Jr. A quick and dirty eBay search turns up quite a few more. I’m assuming these are going to be mega-super-duper short prints, a la “Jon” Smoltz.

All I want to know is which is the base #855, so I can ignore all of the other variations of the card. Beckett currently only lists one version of #855. Then again, ignoring the ultra-SP’d version hasn’t brought me any closer to acquiring David Price’s #401 in series I.

I guess I also want to know if the Topps variation police are going to throw a fit over this unnecessarily short-printed card like they do for every other Topps ultra-short-print.

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.

After an aggravatingly dry January, and several spring-like 60-degree days, winter finally came back last night.


There were intermittent snow flurries, and at one point, traffic slowed to a crawl as the snow turned into a blinding sheet. It also snowed for about an hour or so today, and was quite a lovely sight to see. And those temps — now back to a more appropriate high-20/low-30 level. Cold winter days and snow flurries all about — some of my favorite things.

But hey, this isn’t about the weather. It’s about the 2009 product …


A jumbo box of Topps S1, a box of Upper Deck S1, and what I was really looking for — a box of American Heritage. Fresh wax waiting to be ripped — definitely some of my favorite things.

The guy at my hobby source was awesome. I called this morning looking for all three, and all he had were Topps S1 hobby boxes. He said he’d save me one, and when I came to pick it up, I was surprised to see all three of these were waiting for me. Score! And to top it off, he charged me MSRP ($63) for the box of American Heritage, which is more than I can say for DACW ($95), Blowout ($75), or The Card Kid ($75). I’m VERY surprised that DACW is charging $30 more than MSRP on these boxes.

Saving that extra $30 — I figured on paying DACW’s price of $95 for a box — means I’ll be for sure buying two boxes of baseball Heritage when it comes out. Saving money — also one of my favorite things.

Strangely enough, I have no idea when I’ll be able to actually break the boxes — it’s going to be a very busy week, and then there’s Valentine’s Day this weekend. In the mean time, I bought a couple loose packs of UD S1 to satiate the pack-breaking urge until then. Too busy a week to find the time to bust wax — not a favorite thing, but a good thing nonetheless.

I had an unexpected day off today, so I thought I’d kill some time at the local card source. I was hoping to find some deals — specifically, I was hoping that 07 Topps 52 packs would’ve been marked down by now. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort was there. There were a few random markdowns — 07 Ultra, 07 Topps Update, 08 Topps fat packs — but nothing that really caught my eye.

For a second, I even conidered something high-end, as there were mini-boxes of 07 Bowman Sterling for $20. I fought the wax-ripping urge, and boy, was it strong. I even pondered buying Garbage Pail Kids, or even Obama cards. But I fought it off; and it’s probably one of the few times I went in there without spending a penny.

All this to say I cannot wait for the 2009 product to come out. I’m eagerly awaiting putting together the Topps set, and I have enough spare change I may even contemplate putting together the Upper Deck set.

This is a strange time of year. It seems like only yesterday when Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena were wishing for a miracle; when Manny was picking curveballs from his shoetops and launching them into the Wrigley Field bleachers. Knowing that pitchers and catchers report in a little more than two weeks is making me salivate at the thought of baseball. And the little tidbits — the MLB network, 2009 baseball cards — oh how they tantalize the senses.

I’m sure most have read this, but I feel it’s poignant….

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

– former MLB commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, The Green Fields of the Mind

p.s. Manny needs to sign with the Dodgers already. Scott Boras’ game of chicken is getting tiresome.