The Good: The paintings are beautifully done. Something about the way they are painted (the slightly exaggerated action shot of Ty Cobb above is no exception) really makes me appreciate the history of the game. The large number of Hall of Famers on the checklist is another plus. Even the canvas-like card stock is just so fitting for these cards. A 90 card checklist and no short prints make this set extremely collectible, even for the casual collector, which is something I really appreciate.
The Bad: I guess the number one debate regarding any set featuring some of the best players from baseball's storied past will always be the checklist. In this case though, I don't think any sane baseball fan would claim that Upper Deck got it right. I think they got sucked into trying to take a gamble on some younger stars to make the set more tempting or to appeal to a more widespread audience, but the set suffers as a result.
I can appreciate that some players were included more for their involvement in a single classic moment that is permanently etched in the minds of millions of people, like Kirk Gibson rounding the bases, than they were for a Hall of Fame career. Here are a few examples I'd love to hear someone from Upper Deck defend...
- There are NO cards of Hank Aaron. Baseball's true home run king. Yet Hideki Matsui gets TWO cards.
- There are NO cards of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio or Pete Rose, yet Delmon Young (who is batting .288 with 1 HR and 18 RBI in 42 games this year) is included because he happened to finish 2nd in A.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 2007. The ACTUAL A.L. Rookie of the Year in '07, Dustin Pedroia? Not included.
- Some of the games greatest pitchers are omitted. No Cy Young, no Warren Spahn and no Nolan Ryan. Kei Igawa, who only two years removed from the release of this set has yet to pitch an inning in the majors, gets a card though...
This has got to be one of the coolest Ozzie cards I've ever seen. While capturing him mid-flip would ordinarily be a bit cliche, I think this card is perfectly done.
This might be my single favorite painting from the set. The Cubs jersey with the baby blue background, the 'fro and moustache, the lighting. What a nice looking card!You can find scans of all of these cards in the Zistle library.
A simple pose from Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr. He seems to jump right off of the card.
Prime example of a checklist mishap...