Time for the 5th installment of my virtual Allen & Ginter hobby box. You didn't think I would get through this whole thing without some hockey did you? Included in each pack of 1993-94 Upper Deck Series 2 hockey was one Upper Deck SP insert card. They weren't really inserts I guess so much as a separate set comprised of 180 cards, but I don't recall being able to obtain them any other way. Anyway, this set has always been a favorite of mine, and in my opinion still stands as one of the top hockey sets Upper Deck has ever released. I only had 36 of these though (one from each pack of my Series 2 hobby box) so I decided to try to grab a bunch more. Buying them individually through sites like Sportlots seemed to get expensive fast, so I went the eBay route instead and won an auction for 71 of them for a mere $3. Here are a few of my favorites from the lot:
#21 - Theoren Fleury - You've all seen the design I think, I know there was a baseball set that looked the same, and possibly even a football or basketball set as well. Full bleed photo, stripe across the bottom of the card in team color with player's name and position, then the silver foil Upper Deck SP logo in the lower right corner. The design element that the set is best known for though is the foil line that comes up the right side of the card from the SP logo, juts back down and then arcs out over the photo, with the team name written in foil above the arc. This gives the card a very classy look. I generally detest foil and prefer vintage, cardboard cards, but this is a lesson in how it can be done right.
#22 - Al MacInnis - Another thing I'd like to point out about the design is just how good a job Upper Deck did with cropping and placing it's photos in respect to that foil arc. As you read through this post, just take a look at how well they placed every single photo and really made them fit within the framework of the design. This brings the cards together well.
#23 - Joe Nieuwendyk - Upper Deck's wonderful photography is present throughout this set as well. I don't know if this was done on purpose or not, but there are quite a few cards in the set for which they chose a shot where even the advertisements on the rink boards mesh will with the player's jersey. The Yellow Pages ad on this Nieuwendyk card for example really makes the player pop out, but is also complimented by the golds and yellows on Joe's equipment/jersey.
#37 - Derian Hatcher - I like this one just because Derian is in the midst of a sea of Blackhawks, and it's a good pic of Eddie Belfour as well.
#41 - Dino Ciccarelli - I believe that's a blood smear on Ciccarelli's left shoulder.
#45 - Keith Primeau
#65 - Geoff Sanderson - I had to show at least one Whaler, and Geoff was the best of the 3 I received.
#71 - Kelly Hrudey - I really don't see how you could make this card any better than it is.
#77 - Vincent Damphousse - A card where great photography and great cropping/placement come together. I really like the photo, with the ref and the Blues bench all watching from the background. The picture is cropped like all the others so that the foil arc bends nicely over Damphousse's head, and best of all they even got the floating puck in the lower right corner. You could almost flip by this in a stack without even noticing, but what a fantastic looking card.
#99 - Adam Graves - Here's another example of how Upper Deck even took background scenery into account while selecting their photos. Like the Nieuwendyk card above the boards match up nicely with the Rangers' blue and red, and the striped jerseys and red pants above the boards add to it even more.
#106 - Robert Burakovsky - I don't really know a thing about this guy, but thought it was an interesting photo.
#116 - Eric Lindros
#118 - Mikael Renberg
#125 - Martin Straka - Goal!!!!!!!!!!
#128 - Owen Nolan - Please bring back the Nordiques. Please!
#140 - Brendan Shanahan - The best thing about this card is the toothless, scary looking Ken Daneyko bearing down on Shanahan:
#148 - Brian Bradley - Swing...and a miss!
#153 - Denis Savard - I always forget that Savard played for Tampa Bay. Look at the determination in his face on this one!
#158 - Doug Gilmour
#161 - Greg Adams
#164 - Trevor Linden
#177 - Teemu Selanne - Another good photo where once again the board ad kind of jives with the player uniform. I can't believe this guy is still in the league (and is still an effective goal scorer too!).
Well there you have it, not too bad for $3 huh? I definitely want to finish this set. I'm more than halfway there thanks to this lot and I have about a dozen doubles to trade if anyone's interested.
Running Total: $58
Tommy John and Me - Tommy John turned 75 today. Well, I'm trying to whip up this post quickly in the evening of May 22nd, but we'll see if I finish it before bedtime. My glo...