2009 Goodwin Champions Review

When the news came that Upper Deck was retiring the Masterpieces brand, all hope for a well-done U.D. retro-themed product fell on Goudey. Unfortunately, this year’s Goudey artwork was bizarre at times and didn’t quite live up to the hype. Thankfully, Upper Deck had a secret weapon to fall back on.

Simply put, Goodwin Champions is the best Upper Deck baseball release of 2009 and despite a very rocky start, it appears that U.D. will go out on top thanks to the surprise hit, UDx, and SP Authentic. With Sweet Spot going live this week, we could be in for a very strong final performance of MLB-licensed U.D releases.

As for Goodwin Champions, it features some of the best artwork on trading cards I have seen since Masterpieces and the game-used relics and on-card autographs are done just right. While it may not be the Allen & Ginter Killer many expected, it’s still one of the best releases of 2009.


Current eBay price – $45-$55

Guarantees – Three relics or autographs per box

Look for – Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter autographs

The Good:

Excellent artwork

On-card autographs

Well-done game-used relics

The Bad:

Too many mini parallels


Relic – Chris Young

Relic – Vladimir Guerrero

Autograph – John Maine

Printing Plate – Fausto Carmona

Final Grade: A-

(Please forgive the Maine scan, still working out the kinks)



  1. I think you should judge Goodwin based on the price it was when it hit the market well, after that first price hike or whatever the hell happened there.

    This is a beautiful product printed on cheap stock and filled with the shittiest goddamn autographs that you could ever fathom.

    I think I may start completely avoiding any product Upper Deck is sticking any of their exclusive guys in, because the rest of the product turns out to be junk.

  2. For me, this was another product that was ruined by trying to do too much. The design and artwork were generally excellent, but there were too many insert sets that had nothing to do with sports (Landmarks, Entomology, Thoroughbreds, Citizens of the Day, Animal Series, Citizens of the Century) and too many medoicre pulls in the base set to make buying a box a good value.

  3. the 20th anniversary cards being included in boxes with so few cards is really lame… but UD knows that there will be no stupid sets like that again… at least for 10 more years.

    Finally someone that agrees with me that there are too many mini parallels. Pick a base design, short print design, and numbered design… thats it maybe even less. A&G is the worst though about this

  4. The cards look great and they were able to capture the feel of the original set very well. Three problems with this set keep it from being a great set though:

    1)5 cards a pack
    2)60 short prints in a 210 card set
    3)#@$% 20th anniversary bullshit in every other pack.

    Fix even one of those problems and it would be a great set, it just doesn’t quite make it.

  5. I was lucky enought to pull 3 relics in the few packs that i bought. Only issue with them was one was miscut where it is actually bigger then the other cards (almost double the boarder) and the other has the top on the M on the relic is bent.

    Also, when picking out the packs, it is easy to tell which packs has the relic. This makes it difficult to buy by the pack when they are on the counter and can be picked through.

  6. Good idea. Bad execution. The stock that was used gave the appearance of “cheapness.” The “hits” were below average. The autograph list was light; the relic cards contained no hope of a patch. A big disappointment.

  7. ok, i’ve loved the look and concept of goodwin champs ever since the pre-sell images were released. couple that with the chance to get relics and/or autos of non-baseball UD spokesmen like tiger, lebron, and MJ and you have something. a solid ‘A’ for me!

  8. 2009 Goodwin Champions is one of the few Upper Deck sets to be unique, although the retro design is overused in general. This set is somewhat similar to Goudey, but has better graphics, better inserts and really unusual chase cards. This is a more colorful version of Topps Allen & Ginter, with minis in different flavors, but nonetheless is a worthwhile set to collect. Nicely done relics, good variety of autos, and a not-too-difficult base set for collectors. I’d give it a 7.5 out of 10.

  9. Setting aside the price point since this falls around the same as most mid level product, I looked at this in comparrison to other mid level product. The aesthetic of the card is grat, excellent paintings and consideration to the background of the card as well, this allows the central figure to pop out from teh background. The Tony Gwynn just leaps with the perfect day sky background. The typography gives a great retro feel, leaving behind the sleek feel. The fact they used cheap stock only enhances teh feel of this product for those of use that love the vintage days of cards. To even shun modern technology, UD has kept their hands away from their library of autographs on little stickers and have had these cards HAND SIGNED!! MY Joe Carter looks crisp and vibrant on the pale yellow field left for him to sign.
    True, like any UD product there are more parallels to shake a stick at but is this not the blessing and curse for any player collector. The SP black border minis are terrific if you can track down the ones youwant with such a low print run. But the thrill of looking down and seeing that “Magician” staring back at you knowing you just hit a tough card is such an old school feel, and these cards are not foil stamped, every one is hand numbered. I jumped at the chance to procure card #1 of 8 of Joe Carter and it looks great next to the two printing plates of the same (2 more to go!!) As much as I like the minis, the foil enhanced ones seemed to be over done and I think it bucks the spirit of this release. The inclusion of non sport elements left a poor taste in my mouth ; if I am getting only so many cards, I want them all to be sport oriented, not one of a bug! Though many collectors will gripe that there is not enough pizzaz with the “hits” having some multi color patch would seem to look odd with such a simple throwback card, but we all want more bang for our buck. Overall, I think this painted style could bode well for UD as they lose their MLB license. More photos of players with the cap bill masking the team logo, or a glove covering the jersey logo. It is a style that can be used to work around the problem ahead. SOLID A (And if any one has the remaining Joe Carter printing plates please let me know)

  10. I really like the art work in this set. In my opinion, it’s better than Allen and Ginter. Now that boxes have gone down about $20,you can’t beat the price, either.
    I like building sets, so this is one I may go back and collect after UD loses it’s license in 2010.

  11. I love the look of this product and have ever since the first images were released by Upper Deck. It’s just a shame that the packing out of the product became a disaster. There are far too few card per pack for the price and 12 of them are going to end up being 20th Anniversary Waste of Space cards.

    Retail is a better value, but I would suggest that most people stick to purchasing singles. This set is a tough one to chase due to the large percentage of SP and super SP cards and so there should end up being plenty of singles available from people chasing sets.

    With a few tweaks, this could have been on par with Allen & Ginter, but that probably won’t happen now due to Upper Deck’s lack of a license. If this product undergoes the usual one year after release price drop then it could be a more attractive purchase.

  12. As I said on my blog, Goodwin Champions is in top 3 of product releases this year for me. I actually like the base set more than Allen and Ginter. The Ichiro base card is one of the best looking cards in my collection. I also like that they included more MMA fighters in the base set. I also got more old-timers relic cards from this set more so other sets but I don’t know if that me I’m being lucky or that is the norm.

    I don’t spend so much so it doesn’t effect me but the case hits the (bug card and landmarks cards) kind of turn me off.

  13. I like the look of the set and have purchased a bunch. I got a Tulowitzki “Easter Egg” card, which are awesome. A great vintage looking set, well done!

  14. I love the game used cards, i wish A & G looked like those. I’m getting a little board with these types of cards as they are all starting to bleed together, cant tell them apart and no big radical change in design. I like the low sweet point in the price w/ 3 hits per box.

    I give it 6.5 out of 10 stars.

  15. I didn’t even give this set a chance because I think that retro is used waaaaaaaay too much. But after being exposed to it on the blogosphere, I really like it. Take Goodwin, Masterpieces and one other retro set a year and that is the max I need. The base in this set are my favorites. They look really good and will look good for a long time. The autos are good (for autos) and the relics are well designed, but I still like the full card pics of the base. One thing that could wear thin is the overuse of generic sky backgrounds. Maybe a little more thought could be put into that side of design on future sets like this. Nice set!

  16. Someone earlier mentioned the insane amount of insert sets that have nothing to do with baseball and I couldn’t agree more. The artwork is tremendous, but there just doesn’t seem to be any kind of focus. With so few cards in a pack, let’s just stick to, ya know, baseball. Fewer and higher quality inserts would help make this a better product–oh, and fewer short prints, too. A dozen or so is fine, but roughly a third of the set isn’t.

  17. I’d say It’s a decent product for upper deck. It is obviously the biggest rip-off of another card brand ever. The autograph checklist is pretty weak, like most UD sets, but the design and artwork is AMAZING. The whole mini short print exclusive thing was a bad idea, and minis should be one per pack, but the other parallels were great. They were very much Allen and Ginter like with different backs and low numbering. overall, It is a good product.

  18. I loved Goodwin Champions because it seemed liked a low-budget Allen & Ginter that didn’t jump the shark. The basic card design was solid, most of the images used were OK and I loved the mini parallels. One thing that kind of caught me off guard was the use of little icons or weird logos on the base cards. Although I didn’t pull one of the entomology cards, I thought the idea was kind of neat.

    A downside was the number of base cards per RETAIL pack The $1.99 price tag definitely looked good, but when it came down to it, you were paying 50 cents PER CARD. That’s crazy. Having said that, it’s always nice to have a shot at an ON CARD Michael Jordan autograph. I give it a solid B.

  19. The base cards really look great, more of a modern look to the base than when compared to Allen and Ginter. The other major plus are the on-card autos that are featured in this set, always a plus with the on card autos. I am not really a fan of the jersey cards in this set, mind you, the look of the base makes it seem like it is geared towards the set builder.

  20. When Goodwin was 1st announced, I was saving up to buy my 1st case ever. Then I saw what the “nornal” hits were and decided to focus my money else where. Lesser known auto – bad. On Card auto – great. Don’t need an insect or horse hair card.

    I went out and bought a few packs just to see what it was all about. The art was was the best I have seen in years. Better then Masterpeice and Turkey Red. I was lucky enought to pull 3 relics in the few packs that i bought. Only issue with them was one was miscut where it is actually bigger then the other cards (almost double the boarder) and the other has the top on the M on the relic is bent. Quality control issues again with UD.

    Also, when picking out the packs, it is easy to tell which packs has the relic. This makes it difficult to buy by the pack when they are on the counter and can be picked through.

    The mini’s are great and would of liked to see signed minis. Would of added another aspect.

    I was going to attempt the set, for the art work made it worth buying, but betwwen the SP’s and the SUPER SP’s, it just becomes too expensive. If we have SP’s, do we really need SUPER SP’s! A little overkill. I hope this is not the next “THING” with the manufacturers.

    I will brobably wait till the price drops in the future to buy a few boxes. Or just buy the few that I want on the secondary market. Overall, I would give it a B-, mainly for the art work. These can be great for TTM’s.

  21. I think the base cards are pretty decent and the variations are a nice touch. I think the mini’s look good especially the black ones. The memorabilia cards aren’t that great. I think it’s rather boring that all of the memorabilia cards are shaped like the letter M. Otherwise the artwork is great and it’s a really nice set.

  22. Alright, here’s my review, the good, bad, and ugly

    First off I wanna start by saying that I don’t like this of as much as you at all, but hey, a 1/1 is a 1/1, can’t go wrong. Thanks for the contest as usual, hopefully I win!

    The Good: Nice pictures on the cards, cool background shots, on card autos, the magician cards look really cool too, I want the Cano! The hits are designed nicely, but overall, the best part is the phenomonal photography

    The Bad: Foil minis on old school designs is brutal, it’s a copy of Allen & Ginter, and practically the second coming of Goudey, some random players are included (I’m a Yankee fan but I’ll say ENOUGH OF JONATHAN ALBALEDEJO IN SETS!!!!), and some random gimmicks make this set very annoying to collect

    The Ugly: 20TH ANNIVERSARY GARBO INSERTS!!!!! They’re so annoying and so random, plus you get so many it’s ridiculous

    You can tell I’m not a huge fan, but still, I bought a blaster, and I like the Yanks in the set (other than Alby). Thanks, Drew

  23. As I stated in the you make the call thread Goodwin is the best and worst UD release of 09. The artwork is fantastic. In fact, my wife likes it so much that she has asked me to buy more. The GU design is exceptional and the autos are gorgeous. Nothing compares to on card and Goodwin has some of the best looking OCAs ever. The auto checklist is filled with whoozits and the stock is ridiculously flimsy. The original price point is laughable. The super SP, mini only, high #s leave alot to be

  24. the design looks good . the relics are nicely done and i see a lot of printing plates. the only bad things are there are too many mini cards and it is too much like allen and ginter

  25. I’m a little meh on the design, but the photos look great. That Vlad picture is cool, and the Young photo on the relic looks awesome as well.

  26. I like this set, with an nice, classic look. It reminds me of a cheaper Allen and Ginter with some only adequate checklists. Otherwise, I like this set, as it balances quality and reasonable pricing quite nicely.

  27. Well, I will have to disagree with most of the people above me… while it did not move mountains, there is just something about this set that grabs me… I have repeatedly argued against collecting minis… except for the random a&g… so i guess that means arguing against base parallel minis. Well I know have purchased about 80 goodwin minis off of ebay in the past week! They are amazing… I love the black border, and black border foils, although since those are /8, I only have one.

    Regardless, the backgrounds of this set are amazing, they stand out to me almost more than the player, in fact I have bought 2 different autographs off ebay just because I liked the background.

    Needless to say I give upper deck the thumbs up, continue on.

    Please draw my name mario!! please please please…. ok whining won’t get me anywhere, I must resort to bribery ; )

  28. While Goodwin is a nice set I am just left wanting something more. Maybe if we hadn’t been spoiled with the awesomeness that is A&G I would appreciate the set a little more.

  29. I think this was a great move for UD. It gave them something to rival the popular Allen & Ginter from topps. The cards have great design and the relics have a really nice, sleek design.

  30. The design and price point are great.
    I’m not really fond of pulling the UD 20th Anniversary cards but that has been covered.
    I sure wish it was a bigger so instead of the same 200 or so we get in every set. How about some love for us semi-star collectors and TTM ‘graphers?

  31. The debut edition of Goodwin Champions is a good first effort, with many great features and a few detractors to work on.

    Firstly, the artwork is just great. The images really pop and it’s quite obvious great care was taken with their quality. Some other retro-themed sets have suffered in this area by using photos that were simply edited with a special effects filter.

    The information on the card backs is succinct, but informative. It would be nice if more statistics were included, but there’s only so much real estate to use. Given the nature of the set, it passes in this case.

    For the set builders out there, Goodwin is loaded with short-prints and variations. None are so rare as to cause a headache, but just enough to be a challenge. The “Night/Day” variations were a nice touch and created some very cool looking cards.

    Also, the game-used inserts came out very well. Now that these types of inserts are commonplace, they seem to be discounted as just another gimmick by many collectors. However, in Goodwin, Upper Deck has been able to fit a nice swatch of material within the design of the insert, and it works very well.

    As for the low points, the big problem comes in the form of the autograph insert set. Again, Upper Deck has had to rely heavily on their spokesmen for the big pulls. However, these cards are limited, and collectors will often find themselves pulling a “minor” player or “semistar.” Also, there is a heavy lack of the alternative sportsmen that Allen & Ginter provides. Fortunately, the autographs look beautiful, and are presented on-card.

    In addition, some of the inserts just don’t gel with the rest of the set. The authentic horsehair inserts vary from the regular set greatly in terms of design. Goodwin is also riddled with Upper Deck’s 20th Anniversary inserts. These inserts just don’t fit with a retro-themed set. The 20th Anniversary cards should be limited to the modern, UV-coated releases.

    In conclusion, Goodwin Champions has the potential to become a flagship brand. By adding some autograph talent and detracting cross-brand inserts, Upper Deck just might pull it off. Perhaps the biggest hurdle will be producing another edition without the MLB license.

  32. Upper Deck Goodwin Champions is what happens when you mix the Goudey concept with a stolen thought or two from Allen & Ginter, and print it on some cardboard made from recycled newspaper.

    OK, maybe it’s not that bad, but I don’t understand the love affair people have with 2009 Goodwin Champions.

    Hasn’t the idea of base cards of people not related to the sport of baseball whatsoever been done before? Cards (and autographs) of surfers, runners, and whoever else seems silly. And I’m not trying to knock those surfers or runners or whatever else – what they do is difficult. I don’t have many Goodwin Champion cards in my collection, and I don’t plan on adding any in the near future. The relics are OK – as good as any generic relic card in any other release. The autographs are on-card, which is apparently a lot to ask for these days. But the card stock itself is atrocious. It reminds me of that weird, cheapy wet feeling that Topps Total used to have, where it feels like it might be sturdy but also feels like it might disintegrate if you get a drop of water on it.

    I really wanted to like this set, but it seems so incomplete and uninspired. It actually made me appreciate Allen & Ginter more – and Goodwin Champions is awfully similar. And with just a handful of cards per $5 pack, there really isn’t a whole lot of value here, either, and you can pretty much forget about collating the entire thing without turning to bulk lot purchases on the internet.

  33. The artwork is very nice, not the same ol photos usually used. I usually dont care for minis but these ones look nice. and on card autos cant go wrong with that. this is a product ill probally buy at 1 point, maybe try to build the set.

  34. Goodwin Champions = Pepsi
    Allen & Ginter = Coca-Cola

    Like the baseset, variety keeps it fresh, OddBall inserts are weird but this is part of what makes this set stand on it’s own.

    Final Grade: A-

  35. Goodwin Champions is a nice try by Upper Deck. But it’s been done before and done better.

    I can’t say much critical about the set in of itself, because it’s a nice set. Nice artwork. Well-done. But as is the case when someone remakes a classic song, you’d better come up with something completely original, or else people are just going to compare it to what came first, and you’re going to come up lacking. I think that’s Goodwin’s problem here.

    One personal taste issue: there are too many non-baseball subjects. I haven’t counted them, but it seems like there are even more than Allen & Ginter. And they get into sports I don’t follow at all, like college football and the NBA.

  36. I like the set overall the the best thing is the price point. That is a good price for very good looking cards. I am a Ginter fanatic, so I do not believe as past comments that it is better than ginter. The pictures kind of remind me a little of 1991 Fleer Provisions where as the ginter are more professional looking, but as I said in the past depends on the collector, overall I would gibe it a B+. Nice cards and great price.

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