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Card back countdown: #15 - 1993 Upper Deck

When I look at the 1993 Upper Deck base set, one question almost always comes to mind:

Is this the best executed base set in card history?

For me, it might be. There are other sets that I like better, but in terms of the concept of the set and the devotion to making each individual card stand out on its own, I don't think it can be beat.

I already gushed over how much I like it awhile ago, so we're going to turn the card over and examine the back.

The card back did something that I had never seen before. It placed a second photo on the back, but it provided the canvas that you would normally see on the front of the card. Two-thirds of the card back is photo.

I know Upper Deck put prominent photos on the backs of its cards from 1989-92, too, but the photos were never as large as this.

The increased size gave Upper Deck the chance to really display more of its fine photography, not just try to wedge it into a narrow, vertical space like it did previously.

Some of the photos were as good as the photos on the front, although the one on the front of this Howard Johnson card (the rubber bat photo) is pretty good.

The complaint by old-school collectors is there were, at maximum, five years of stats on the back. But this was nothing new for Upper Deck, and it certainly made that practice work for it better than Donruss did in the '80s. Besides, if you add stats, you lose the giant photo.

The photo on the back of the card has been done before, and you'll see it again several times in the countdown. But I don't think it's ever been done quite as well -- in a traditional sense -- as it was done with 1993 Upper Deck.

My favorite card back photos in this set are the candid, goofy shots that Upper Deck did so well.

Here are a few others:

Best of the set:

I'll go with the Mickey Morandini card. Here is the front:

And there is the back:

Just a couple of seconds prior. Good stuff.

(previous card back countdown selections):

50. 1978 SSPC Yankee Yearbook
49. 1993 Score
48. 1999 Skybox Thunder
47. 2000 Upper Deck
46. 1999 Skybox Premium
45. 1953 Johnston Cookies Braves
44. 1995 Topps
43. 1997 Fleer
42. 1992 Pinnacle
41. 1989 Bowman
40. 1977 Kellogg's
39. 2004 Topps
38. 2004 Topps Total
37. 1992 Topps
36. 1992 Donruss
35. 2008 Upper Deck Documentary
34. 1963 Fleer
33. 1955 Bowman
32. 2006 Topps
31. 1961 Topps
30. 1955 Topps
29. 1967 Topps
28. 1970 Topps

27. 1969 Topps
26. 1966 Topps
25. 1963 Topps
24. 1911 T205
23. 1962 Topps
22. 1981 Topps

21. 1981 Donruss
20. 1958 Topps
19. 1977 Topps
18. 1974 Topps
17. 1957 Topps
16. 1988 Score


Tony said…
I believe that is Tony Fernandez that tagged out Mickey Morandini. I agree it's a fabulous set!
Spankee said…
tagged out?!? he was SAFE dammit!!!
Community Gum said…
I love this set so much. That is all. -Andy
thosebackpages said…
Fantastic! Thanks for sharing this.
That Brook Jacoby picture looks like he's getting out the way of a punch thrown by the ump.