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Tag Archives: Good Ideas Gone Bad

2009 UD Goodwin Champions

Base set completion: 74 of 150 (49%)
Short print set completion: 16 of 40 (40%)
Super short print set completion: 4 of 20 (20%)

Goodwin Champions was the only other 2009 UD releaseĀ  — aside from the flagship — that I had been looking forward to. It’s hard to not to be enamored with the modern reincarnations of the early 20th-century tobacco inserts.

Having seen the previews, it looked as though for once, UD had chosen to actually exercise some creativity sorely lacking in their baseball releases. Interestingly enough, it’s been pointed out that there doesn’t appear to be any lack of creativity in UD’s basketball or hockey releases.

I should’ve known better. In a year in which UD has shown just miserable effort in baseball, UD once again failed to deliver the goods. A rhalladay150-card base set is nice, but a 40-card short print set and a 20-card “super” short-print set should’ve been warning enough that this would be yet another epic fail from UD.

Sure, 150 base cards is a good number, but when packs come with only five cards, it makes it that much more difficult to complete a set. It gets even more difficult when those five-card packs would often come with more than one mini-card. It gets frustrating when every other one of those five-card packs came with those absolutely pointless 20th anniversary cards.

And that hasn’t even touched on the awful collation. Two hobby boxes produced a pathetic 74 cards out of the base set. Not even half.

It’s amusing how this was being touted, pre-release, as being UD’s answer to Allen & Ginter. What a pathetic failure it instead turned out to be. If this was the answer to A & G, I’d hate to think of what the question was.

All of these issues hinder what really could’ve been a fantastic release from UD. There’s no doubt about it — these are some wonderfully beautiful cards. After striking Masterpieces from their lineup, and with Goudey being yet another epic fail, Goodwin Champions really had the potential to make a statement for UD. It did, but sadly, I doubt it’s the one UD wanted to make.

As I’ve mentioned before — I’m looking forward to the day UD ceases to produce baseball cards. Their 2009 releases may very well serve to be their epitaph. It’s sad to think that a company that was once on the edge of innovation has become so stale and lifeless.

2009 Topps Ticket to Stardom

Base set completion: 198 of 200 (99%)

Imagine this idea: buy a single hobby box, complete (or come pretty close to) the base set. Mind you, I’m not accusing Topps of somehow jreyesunderstanding the type of consumer I am — the sort that wants a little more bang for my buck. Nonetheless, Topps delivers in this regard, with an $84 hobby box packed with 12-card packs (who does that anymore?) yielding just about the entire base set.

The base cards themselves are nothing out of the ordinary. They obviously bring to mind the old Fleer Authentix sets. I also think they look a little derivative of this year’s Finest base cards as well. That said, TTS’s design, while it borrows elements from those two sets, doesn’t appear to be a carbon copy either.

cjonesBut what really sets TTS apart are its relic cards. Typically, I don’t care much for relic cards. But after pulling the ones I did, I actually contemplated keeping them rather than sending them straight to the trading block as I normally do. How often do you see boring, generic relic card designs these days? More often than not — which as an aside, makes it all the more confusing to me why anyone even bothers packsearching most non-premium product — relic cards are really just throwaway cards. But TTS shows a lot more effort on the part of Topps’ designers, I feel, than I’ve seen in recent releases. It’s no Donruss Prime Patches, but for a mid-range product? I’ll take it.

Topps has really done well this year with its products. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not they can carry that momentum into next year’s dramatically different landscape. While UD will still have its brand recognition, let’s face it — non-MLB-licensed cards is Donruss territory. And other than 08’s Threads, all of Donruss’ non-MLB-licensed card releases were mediocre, to put it gently.

08 UD Timeline hobby pack (3,99) x2
Eight cards per pack

7 John Smoltz
21 Tim Lincecum (RC)
48 Ichiro Suzuki
73 Alexei Ramirez (RC)
100 Nick Adenhart (RC)
109 David Murphy
121 Kosuke Fukudome (RC)
170 Ryan Howard
178 Kosuke Fukudome (RC)
193 Jeff Baker
210 Travis Hafner
300 Albert Pujols
303 Evan Longoria (RC)
353 Clint Sammons (RC)
365 Clay Buchholz (RC)
YSL3026 Moose Skowron

Impressions: This could’ve won a vote for coolest product of the year. As far as I’m concerned, you can rarely go wrong when you’re doing retro card designs. UD does a great job tapping into its past, using among others, the 1994 Timeless Teams design.

So where does it go wrong? As usual for UD lately, there’s about a gazillion parallels in this set. Even worse, the same team checklists are used over and over in order to fill out a 385-card set. Not including parallels and autographed versions, the Dodgers in this set include:

23 M Kemp
31 M Ramirez
56 B DeWitt
61 C Hu
64 H Kuroda
98 C Kershaw
103 C Billingsley
156 M Ramirez
173 C Hu
187 C Kershaw
206 R Martin
224 M Ramirez
259 C Hu
260 H Kuroda
261 M Kemp
262 J Loney
304 C Kershaw
306 R Martin
318 C Hu
333 C Kershaw
359 C Wade
368 C Hu
378 R Troncoso

That’s 23 Dodgers, including Chin-Lung Hu five times over. I’m sorry, but I really don’t want five different Chin-Lung Hu cards. Did they forget all about Andre Ethier? Takashi Saito? Chad Billingsley? Sure, the cards are in different “subsets” featuring a different card design. But they, once again, could’ve easily expanded the checklist by using different players. Or better yet, here’s a novel idea — why not make the set smaller?

This could’ve been an awesome idea. And with hobby boxes at around $50 or so, there’s a little bit of appeal in buying a box. Knowing however, that I’m not going to end up anywhere near the full set, kills any motivation to do so.

Even stranger is the short print collation for this set. In each eight-card pack, there are SIX SPs. SIX! There are a ton of official SPs in the set, although the distribution almost makes the base cards SPs by default.

I was pretty excited opening these packs. Learning how crazy-long the checklist is quickly negated that excitement.

timeline