Card of the Day – HEADS UP!!!

I don’t think I have ever had a more love/hate relationship with a player than I had with Mike Jacobs in 2008. Here was a behemoth of a player who was as soft spoken as they came. Mike had the look and build of a player who could easily crank out 50 home runs a season but instead spent most of the year swinging at everything that came his way.

At first I was devastated when Jacobs was traded and then began to look at the positives. With Jacobs out at first, it meant Jorge Cantu would be moved to first (where he won’t have to throw much) and a starting job would be available for last year’s Minor League Home Run King, Dallas McPherson, a natural Third Basemen.

Instead, the Marlins have been thinking of keeping Cantu at Third and keeping rookie Gaby Sanchez at First Base when Spring is done, once again blocking a healthy Dallas McPherson. Thankfully, McPherson has been outspoken about the issue and has even begun looking at other teams who might be looking for a cheap 40-home run guy.

As for Jacobs, so far in Spring Training he is hitting .317 with 5 home runs in just 15 games. As for the card below, it comes courtesy of 2009 Upper Deck Series 1 and this guy alone makes it one of the most unintentionally funny cards I have ever seen.

2009 Upper Deck review

(For a full listing of all Wax Heaven reviews, click HERE)

Coming into 2009 there was  a lot of hype surrounding Topps’ flagship design. While I gave Topps kudos for their grand effort this year, they simply did what Upper Deck had been doing for the last couple of years. Simply design + great photography is what comes to mind when I think of U.D’s legacy and this year was no different.

Below is my review of 2009 Upper Deck Series 1.

Design: A

To me, this is as good as it gets. No border, bright photography, and a full checklist of players not often found in other releases.

One of my pet peeves from 2009 Topps was the inserts. I felt that after Topps Turkey Red, the rest of the pack lacked quite a bit. Upper Deck on the other hand has the great O-Pee-Chee inserts, followed by Documentary, which works much better as an insert than it does its own product.

Stars of the Game and Rivals pack the shiny foil for those in need of a little MOJO.

Price: B

Upper Deck’s flagship is now selling for under $70 dollars per box online. Consider the fact that you will get over 300 cards, three “hits”, and some nice inserts that’s not too bad but a $60 dollar per box price tag could have been the perfect solution to those collectors looking for a great-quality, low-price Hobby box with autographs and game-used jerseys.

Pulls: B

Having seen many box breaks, including Wax Heaven’s Man on the Street… we could have done a lot worse than an anonymous Yankees pitcher, Derrek Lee, and Connor Jackson.

You can expect to pull most, if not all of today’s superstars in base form along with two relics and an autograph. Unless you pull a Griffey Jr. buyback or one of the big pulls from the product, odds are you will end up with worthless “hits”.

Still, Upper Deck Series 1 is a set-builder’s product so no real complaints here.

Overall: A

Once again, Upper Deck has come through with beautiful baseball cards and inserts galore. When the day comes that I walk away from the Hobby, Upper Deck’s flagship will be the one product I bust every year simply because it provides more “flash” than Topps and it easily transcends trading cards more than any other brand, in my opinion.

It’s not perfect but with Masterpieces gone and ‘X’, SPx, A Piece of History, and other releases around the corner, it just may be Upper Deck’s best product of 2009 and their last flagship in baseball cards period.

Thumbnails lead to full-size scans

Did Upper Deck give up on baseball?

Take a look at the images below. You are gazing into previews for 2009 ‘X’, Spectrum, SPx, Icon, and a Piece of History. I have to say this right now before my head explodes: FIRE WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE OF DESIGNS!

Not counting the good showing of U.D’s flagship brand, you are looking at three brands with almost identical designs and two which look like Update versions of 2008 products. Where did the creativity go? You are fucking Upper Deck for Christ’s sake, you can do a lot better than this. Don’t believe me? Buy a box of ’08 Ultimate Collection or ’07 Sweet Spot.

Please don’t take this as anything more than constructive criticism. It’s almost 4 in the morning and here I am staring at your 2009 designs in Photoshop wondering how you could possibly let something like this happen to your company. Right now is not a good time to get complacent, look no further than your basketball department for proof.

You guys know Topps’ flagship and Heritage completely took you to school. With no Masterpieces or Sweet Spot slated for 2009 it’s starting to look like an unfair fight. Please, for the love of the Hobby… get this train back on track before it’s too late. I have been supporting you guys since the beginning of Wax Heaven but I cannot hold my tongue any longer.

Upper Deck collector since ’90

-Mario Alejandro

Upper Deck welcomes back “The Kid”

The Upper Deck Company has released images of two short-print baseball cards being seeded into 2009 products which feature Ken Griffey Jr. in a Mariners uniform.

The caricature, created by Court Jones, will be available free with purchase of any product at participating Hobby shops shortly before Opening Day (April 6th, 2009).

The second features Ken Griffey Jr. at his press conference and will be available through Upper Deck’s ‘A Piece of History’, which hits shelves in early April.

Happy hunting!

Man on the Street – 2009 Upper Deck

While Wax Heaven is technically “sponsored” by the two big companies, sometimes it takes a little longer than expected to received boxes for review. Thankfully, Shane, Wax Heaven’s ‘Man on the Street’ came through and bought four Hobby boxes to show some of the “hits” you might receive as an average, non-Beckettized collector.

Sure, Becket Media will get a “1 of 1” dual autograph Ken Griffey/Derek Jeter… but for the rest of us, we’d be happy with a David Murphy autograph and a B.J Upton game-used relic. Oh, joy!

Below is the haul from the four boxes opened by Shane. If these were your four boxes, would you feel like you got your money’s worth? He paid just under $70 dollars for each one. I don’t know about you guys but judging from the box breaks I have seen, I’d stick to one box of this product.

As always, thumbnails lead to full-size scans.