Friday, October 14, 2011

Time to judge us some Upper Deck

If I was determining the biggest improvement or biggest bust among all of Upper Deck's flagship sets, 2006 would figure in there somewhere. It's not quite as good as 1993, or maybe 1995, but I do like it a lot. It's better than 2005, which is just like 2004, which is a lot like 2003. And it's better than 2007, which is a big disappointment.

But 2006 didn't get a lot of mention in the previous UD post. There was also love for an Upper Deck set that is just awful. The whole 1999 set looks like giant salad tongs are trying to devour every card. It's horrific. I was shocked to read that people like it.

But that's Upper Deck for ya. I'm out of element with UD. It attracts many collectors whose card habits are different than mine. And that's why I'm letting everyone else decide the biggest bust and biggest improvement in UD's brief baseball card history. It shouldn't be me. Except for 1993 and 2006, I barely collected the set.

So here are the four candidates each for the biggest year-to-year improvement and the biggest year-to-year bust for Upper Deck from 1989 to 2010, based on your comments:


1992 to 1993

Summation of comments: 1993 is the best set Upper Deck ever created. Great design. Even better photos. And, yes, full-bleed fanatics, a classy border to tie it all together. I kind of like the '92 set, too, but it just can't match fantastic '93.

1994 to 1995

Summation of comments: This gets my vote. Sure, '94 is different, but it's weird. And it spawned that awful, copy-cat 1996 Topps set. Plus, the cards end up nasty looking with all the chipping going on. The 1995 set, meanwhile, is tremendous. Minimal design works if you can get away with it. And UD broke out of jail in '95.

2002 to 2003

Summation of comments: Who came up with the design in 2002? What is that? The white rectangle at the bottom is enormously distracting and almost seems like it's not part of the card. The 2003 set isn't anything special, but it's not 2002, so that works for me.

2007 to 2008

Summation of comments: 2007 is just a less in-your-face version of the 1999 set. Still don't like it. I almost get claustrophobia looking at it. The '08 set is another minimal design set -- a little too much like 1995. But it's nice-looking. It makes '07 look like a passing phase rather than a complete nervous breakdown. If only UD scrapped its logo in the corner.


1989 to 1990

Summation of comments: You had to be there for the debut of Upper Deck in '89 to understand. Unfortunately, I wasn't. But what I gather about '89 and '90 is that UD was trying to ride the '89 high for another year and collectors saw right through it.

1993 to 1994

Summation of comments: They sure are two different sets. 1993 has immediate appeal. 1994 confuses. And, please, stop with the sideways type.

1997 to 1998

Summation of comments: You'll have to explain this one to me. I think '97 is a gimmick set. The little caption on each card wears on me after reading 4 or 5 cards. 1998 has that annoying sideways writing again, but I never realized it was hated so much. There is major scorn for '98.

1999 to 2000

Summation of comments: For me, anything after the salad tongs would be welcome with open arms and lots and lots of kisses -- that's right, I would consider kissing my baseball cards. But I can see why people don't like 2000 Upper Deck. The bottom of the card almost defies you to read it. (Love the card backs though).

And those are the leading candidates.

I've got two polls going on the sidebar for each category. So vote to your heart's content. (Actually you can only vote once in each, so never mind that).

When the results are in, I'll try not to take five months to discuss them.


  1. I like the captions on the '97s, it's neat to know where and when the photos are taken.
    I like the '94s too, except for the distorted "echo picture" under the name block, those are stupid.
    One of the better features of the later sets is the copper foil instead of the silver. At least it's READABLE. Even the muddy logos on the '94s are kinda annoying. Now Topps has taken over for all the other companies and is now Upper Deck Jr. with all the silver foil, (and Donruss Jr. with all the parallels in Update).

  2. I really never collected UD baseball but I think the early sets were the best and I would actually give the nod to 1992 as the best design. After they went full bleed, I could not tell them apart except for 2003 set which is the only one that stands out in my mind

  3. Of the 89-92 pretty much look-alike UD sets, I always liked the 92 set the best. I didn't like 93 when it first came out, and first impressions being what they are, it's taken me a long time to warm up to it. It's moved up the ranks. I Liked the 94 set and still do. Most of the rest of UD I can take or leave, although 95 is among my favorites.