Eleven years ago, as Upper Deck’s days of producing licensed baseball cards were winding down, the company released one of its most successful products of all-time. Upper Deck Sweet Spot had been around long enough but it really hit its stride in 2007 with some of the most elegant, well designed cards to ever be seen and an autograph checklist so stacked we will likely never see another product of its kind.
Unfortunately, in late 2008 word started to spread about fading autographs on card forums and even on this very blog. I myself had three different Andrew Miller ’07 Sweet Spot autographs which I purchased in mid-2008 that had already begun to fade away. One of them, a low-numbered, gold ink autograph cost me $80, a figure I usually never spend on a single card but with this set, I couldn’t say no.
By 2009, two years after its release, everyone on Twitter and card related forums were complaining about fading autographs. Sale figures of Sweet Spot aren’t available but with a retail price point of well over $100 dollars a box and cases of ’07 Sweet Spot still hitting $1,000 dollars today even with the fading issue, it is not out of the question to assume Sweet Spot was a million dollar selling product.
Not only did Upper Deck inadvertently screw collectors out of hundreds and thousands of dollars with 2007 Sweet Spot, it also brought on heat by Major League Baseball by producing an asterisk card of Barry Bonds and several other gimmicks, when factored all in together, could have been one of Topps’ cases against Upper Deck and may have been used to get MLB to revoke their baseball license.
It’s easy to forget some of Upper Deck’s flaws now that we are stuck with Topps’ monopoly but one must not forget instances like this which certainly did nothing to earn Upper Deck more business or keep collectors happy. Ultimately, Upper Deck did replace fading Sweet Spot autographs but how many total and for how long remains a mystery. Many believe that the fading issue was due to the faux leather used by U.D.
In 2007, there was no sweeter video box break than Sweet Spot. It put Topps’ Triple Threads to shame and were some of the most fun box breaks in memory. As a player collector, the brand went to the front of the line when making a trade or a card I needed appeared on eBay. Simply put, it was Upper Deck’s greatest release and potentially one of the best products of the decade.
I still support Upper Deck returning to the baseball card market in 2021 if the powers that be allow them. I certainly hope Topps’ monopoly comes to an end soon but most importantly, I’d love to know what Upper Deck does to make up for the absolute disaster that 2007 Sweet Spot turned into and those collectors who ended up with completely worthless autographs.
Only time will tell.