As Father’s Day is right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to talk about the gifts that I got last Father’s Day. My wonderful wife knows how much I enjoy baseball cards, so she likes to have a list of hobby boxes that I want. This time last year, she bought me three boxes of cards: ’11 Topps Series Two, ’86 Topps, and ’07 Upper Deck Masterpieces.
Of those three, the Upper Deck box has no special meaning to my life; my wife was born in ’86 and my daughter was born in ’11. Therefore, I will talk about the Upper Deck box first.
Let me begin by saying how much I love these cards. The images on the cards are paintings and the cards themselves feel like canvas. So each card is like a miniature painting, especially the framed parallels. There are 72 cards per box, and I only had 4 duplicates, which is outstanding in my book.
With only 90 cards in the base set, this is a very succinct product. As opposed to a set having hundreds of mediocre or below average players, most of the players in this set are either retired superstars, hall of famers, current superstars, or rookies. Likewise, the cards of the retired or hall of fame players are iconic images that are instantly recognizable: such as Carlton Fisk waiving it fair.
The box I opened included 7 framed parallels, and this is where things get a little complicated. According to my research, there is something like 10 framed parallels, only some of which are numbered. This is one of the few complaints about this set. Not only are there an inordinate number of parallels, some of them are impossible to distinguish. Case in point, my first group of framed parallels:
These three cards (Hideki Matsui, Walter Johnson, and Bruce Sutter) are actually a shade of green, although my scanner didn’t pick that up very well. However, according to my research there are two green parallels: Green and Windsor Green. So which do I have? Nonetheless, the cards are still fantastic.
Here is a Chase Utley Black Linen parallel or Serious Black parallel, I can’t tell. This card is numbered to 99, but both versions of the Black parallel have the same numbering.
Here are the three hits that I pulled from the box, none of which is very exciting to me. Supposedly, each box should have three relics, on average. But what was I going to do about it? Upper Deck doesn’t make baseball cards anymore. I try not to judge a product based on the hits, as they are just the luck of the draw. However, I will say that I like the design of the relic cards, and J.D. Drew and Tim Hudson aren’t the worst pulls. The Jeremy Sowers on the other hand, that is just a dud. I do like the fact that the signature is in pen as opposed to marker; it works well with the canvas cards.
I was lucky enough to pull a few parallels of Red Sox players, all of whom are players that I collect.
David Ortiz and Curt Schilling Green (or Windsor Green) Linen parallels, not numbered. What can I say? These are two of the most pivotal Red Sox players in the last fifteen years. I am not crazy about the Ortiz image; a picture of him hitting a home run or pointing skyward after crossing the plate would have been much better. The Schilling on the other hand, is by far my favorite card of the set. The image on the card is so iconic. Not only do we see him in the middle of his delivery, we also get a close-up of the “bloody sock.” This is one of the few cards that entices me to get as many parallels of this card as I can.
Here is what I consider the best pull of the box, a Roger Clemens Framed Rusted parallel (although it coud be Ionised) numbered 11/50. It has a copper look to it, so I am going with rusted. Clemens was still an active player in ’07, and actually played for the Yankees, so it is great that he is wearing a Red Sox uniform in this picture.
Included in this box was something that I never experienced as a youth collector, a box topper. The box topper is a giant card measuring 5×7. It is an oversized duplicate of the base card. Mine, while not a player that I collect, is still an iconic player that demands respect.
What a great image of one of the most dominating pitchers, Sandy Koufax.
This was a great box and part of a wonderful Father’s day gift.