Monday, June 28, 2010

Completed Set - 1994 Upper Deck All-Star Baseball

Yes, I'm still around. It's been a while since I posted anything at all, and even longer since I posted something that wasn't vintage. Since I had a couple free hours today, I figured I would do a post on a smaller set from the 1990's. This set was released by Upper Deck in 1994 to commemorate the season's All-Star game, held in Pittsburgh. The set consists of 48 cards and comes in this nice green cardboard box for storage:

As you can see, the official 1994 All-Star game logo is foil stamped into the box, and we learn that the cards are going to feature the past and present photography of Walter Iooss Jr. Walter is a sports photography icon, with his shots gracing the cover of nearly 300 issues of Sports Illustrated! You can see some of his work on his website. Some of you may also recognize the name from the Iooss Collection insert set from 1993 Upper Deck. Let's see what the cards look like...

#1 - Ken Griffey Jr. - The fronts of the cards are pretty basic. Three of the edges are borderless, basically they are full bleed photos with a small green title bar across the bottom containing the player's name and the words "The Upper Deck Company". The same 1994 All-Star game logo that is on the front of the box is also foil stamped onto each card. Here is the coolest thing about the set though:

Yes, the cards are extra large in size. I scanned Griffey Jr. next to a standard size card so you can see the difference. The scan doesn't really do the card justice, but the sharp photography really stands out in the larger format. Here are some of my other favorites from the set...

#2 - Ruben Sierra - I always remember Ruben as a Ranger. I chose this card for a different reason though, to show what the backs look like:

90% of the cards feature just a small black section on the left back that contains a cropped version of the front photo with a little blurb about the player and the team logo at bottom. In the larger area on the right there is usually a different player pictured (always from the same team but generally a prospect or younger player). Ruben gets to share his card with Todd Van Poppel, probably one of the biggest busts from the early 90's.

#4 - Gregg Jefferies - Gregg was recently written about over at The Baseball Card Blog. I love the background on this one, what a great shot!

#5 - Ryne Sandberg - Most of the shots in the set are posed rather than action shots. Usually I prefer action but these posed photos are done so well I don't mind.

Some players are high profile enough to occupy the back of their own card as well. Either that or Iooss didn't have photos of any good Cubs prospects at the time.

#8 - Don Mattingly - I believe Don is standing in a hallway that connects a clubhouse and dugout. That's about all I have to say.

#12 - Mo Vaughn - Mo seems excessively sweaty, yet is wearing a jacket...

#14 - Kirby Puckett - This might be my favorite photo in the set. Fantastic picture of the late great Puckett...

#15 - Cal Ripken Jr.

#16 - Roberto Alomar - This would be pretty boring if it weren't for all the Jays helmets in the background.

#17 - Tony Gwynn

#20 - Randy Johnson - Randy's most likely talking with his BFF. I like the empty Gatorade cups lurking in the background.

#22 - Will Clark - I've recently started adding to my Clark player collection again, so this was a pleasant surprise.

#24 - John Olerud

#29 - Kenny Lofton - Always good when some clouds appear on a card.

#30 - Mark Grace - This card really reminds me of the 1974 Topps Steve Garvey.

#32 - Ramon Martinez - Another great shot, this one featuring little brother Pedro in Expos uniform.

#33 - David Justice - One of the few (sort of) action shots in the set...

#36 - Jeff Bagwell

#38 - Jeff Kent - Free advertising for Budweiser.

#39 - Andres Galarraga

#40 - Frank Thomas - The Big Hurt in the midst of a contemplative stare.

#43 - Cincinnati Red Stockings - 1869 - The last 6 cards of the set make an awkward attempt at summarizing baseball's first 125 years. They don't really fit with the set. First of all, this set is based around the '94 All-Star game, so why wouldn't they use these 6 cards to discuss the history of the All-Star game specifically? Not only that, but trying to summarize 125 years of baseball on 6 cards seems pretty futile.

Here's the back describing how the Red Stockings became the first professional baseball team back in 1869. Click on the image of any of these backs for a larger, easier to read scan.

#44 - Ty Cobb - 1915 - Jump ahead over 40 years and we have a Ty Cobb card, representing the Dead Ball Era. The black and white action shot is awesome.

As you can see, the backs of all cards have an Upper Deck hologram just like standard sized Upper Deck cards. This way you know your card is not a counterfeit, or so they claim.

#45 - Babe Ruth - 1927 - My one gripe with this card is that Ruth was playing with the Yankees in 1927, and in fact had not been on the Red Sox since 1919. I'm not sure why they chose a photo of the Sultan of Swat in a Sox jersey for a card that says 1927 on it.

#46 - Mickey Mantle - 1953

#47 - Reggie Jackson - 1977 - Man I despise Reggie. I know he was the man, especially in the clutch, but for whatever reason he's one of those players I've just never liked much...

#48 - Ken Griffey Jr. - 1993 - Griffey Jr. is the last card in the set, since he "symbolizes baseball's renewal".

Included in the box was this insert:

Unfortunately I missed the deadline by about 16 years or so. It's too bad, because it would be nice to have a binder to display these oversize cards in.

Finally, here is the back of the box, which contains an alphabetical checklist. If you'd like to see a card that I didn't show, just leave a comment and I'll post it for you.

All in all, I have to say this wasn't a bad set. I bought this a while back from Dave and Adam's Card World, and I think I paid about $5. I'm pretty satisfied given that this is the price of many single packs of modern day product.


Chris Stufflestreet said...

That '77 Reggie card...was it absolutely necessary to use the same exact photo THREE times on that card?

What a cool little set. I hadn't ever seen those before.

shoeboxlegends said...

Thanks for the comment, I thought the same thing about the Jackson card!

Anonymous said...

How much is this set worth?

shoeboxlegends said...

Not much unfortunately Ryan. My brand new, mint set only cost me about $5. Definitely not an investment piece by any means, but a cool little set nonetheless...

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