Saturday, December 6, 2008

2008 Baseball Cards in Review - Upper Deck

The 2008 Upper Deck base set contains 800 cards issued in two 400-card series. The design this year is pretty clean, a full-bleed photo with the Upper Deck logo in one of the upper corners and the player name, position and team name centered at the bottom. The text and card logo are in silver foil. The cards are glossy front and back. The fronts feature a nice mix of on-field shots and studio photos. The action shots are crisp and well done. I like this shot of Roy Oswalt delivering a pitch.
Here is a studio shot of Ryan Howard, in horizontal mode. Notice that Upper Deck redesigned their logo a bit this year, sort of an italicized version of the old logo.
And here's a nice shot of Chase Utley taking a throw at second base. You can just see the outstretched hand of the runner. He's outta there!!
All of these cards above illustrate my main complaint against the set and it's a problem that may sets have had over the years. On many of the cards it is very difficult to read the player's name and team. Often, the silver foil just fades into the background. It's not the worst I've seen but I hate having to turn a card over to see what the player's name is. Speaking of the back, the back features a full career of stats plus a head shot of the player. And of course the Upper Deck hologram.
Unlike Topps, the Upper Deck is thin on subsets. There are team checklists like the David Wright card above. There is nothing on the front to distinguish this as a checklist card. The back features the team checklist in place of the player stats. There was a team checklist for each team in each series.
The other subset was Season Highlights. The front looks pretty much the same with the addition of the SEASON HIGHLIGHTS line. The back features a short text description of the highlight. For the Braun card, the highlight was Braun's 2007 season.

Upper Deck also issued a parallel set called "Upper Deck First Edition". This came in two series matching the two series of the regular set. The first series cards are glossy and are only different from the main cards in that the First Edition cards do not have any foil. The second series, called "Upper Deck First Edition Update", not only didn't have foil, the cards don't have any gloss. The only virtue of these cards is that they were a bit cheaper than the regular cards. But the set has no insert cards so I think they were a waste of money.

Like Topps, there are a lot of insert cards which I'm going to feature in another post. I'm going to mention just one now, the Star Quest inserts. These came in 5 flavors, Common (one per pack), Uncommon, Rare, Super Rare, and Ultra Rare. And the first Edition set had its own set of just Common Star Quest. I've shown below the Chase Utley Common, Uncommon, Ultra Rare and First Edition. As you can see they came in different colors and the finish got fancier the less common the insert. The Ultra Rare have the rules for a contest and a scratch off patch on the back but I haven't bothered to read the rules.

1 comment:

deal said...

I think the hard to read text on the card fronts may run across the UD platform this year. I just opened my first pack of Masterpieces and was complaining about the unreadable player names.