Monday, October 24, 2011

Dear 1994 Upper Deck, you suck

Hey, it's not me. The polls said it.

As you'll remember, I wanted to know the biggest year-to-year improvement in Upper Deck's history and the biggest year-to-year bust, too.

Well, 1994 Upper Deck came up the loser in each poll.

Here are the results:

Biggest Bust

1993 to 1994: 13 votes

1989 to 1990: 4 votes
1997 to 1998: 3 votes
1999 to 2000: 3 votes

Biggest Improvement

1994 to 1995: 12 votes

1992 to 1993: 6 votes
2007 to 2008: 3 votes
2002 to 2003: 2 votes

Not a ton of votes there, but I thank those who checked the little boxes.

Look, 1994 Upper Deck isn't the worst base set UD ever put out. I think it's a lot better than some of those late '90s things they produced. In terms of photo quality, it's an improvement over some of UD's earlier sets, too.

1994 Upper Deck simply had the misfortune to appear between two of the most pleasing Upper Deck sets it ever produced -- the near perfect '93 set and the simplistic beauty of the '95 set.

But if we're going to point out flaws in '94 UD, I need to know what ever possessed Upper Deck to put that squashed mini version of the main photo in the bottom left corner. What a pointless design element. The black-and-white photo is barely legible in some of the horizontal cards.

Throw in the ever-unpopular sideways type and the index-card-like stock, featuring black edges that chipped, and now you know why the set gets grief.

If you ask me, Upper Deck was just part of an all-around so-so year for card designs. Sure, 1994 Fleer was awesome, '94 Score had the neat blue borders, and I smooch '94 Finest with all of my carnival-midway-loving heart. But '94 Topps is one of my least favorite Topps designs ever, '94 Donruss is boring as hell, and '94 Bowman had way too many full-bleed close-ups of boys in necklaces.

I think the card folk in '94 were putting too much effort into spin-off sets like Stadium Club, Finest, Flair and Ultra to concern itself with the base set. In fact, it's that kind of cavalier attitude toward the base set that we still experience today!

Gee, thanks, '94!

(See, it didn't take me 5 months to get to this this time. There's hope for me yet).


  1. There's always hope. Yes, I read the fine print.

  2. That '95 set was excellent. It's hard to miss with borderless cards and limited distractions (re: early Stadium Club). Surprised we don't see it more with current releases.