Now, I have started a countdown on my blog of the fifty coolest baseball card sets of the past thirty years. At the bottom of each entry I dedicate a little space to talk about a set that didn't make my countdown, but has some sort of cool nuance. I thought one post could have a worst sets rant and UD Etchings would be a candidate. What's wrong with Etchings? Ugly, high print runs, sticker autographs. However, I pulled a Joe Mauer autograph.
2004 SP Authentic USA Signatures Joe Mauer Autograph
Loved the autograph and the player, but hated the card. I traded my Etchings Mauer along with some cash for a different Mauer autograph. Then for several years I hunted down Mauer autographs. Picked up a few here and there and had a nice collection going. I am not sure the day I didn't collect Joe Mauer cards, but somewhere along the way they got traded for Cardinals cards, autographs, or something else good. Not sure.
Anyway, this card caught my eye for several reasons. First, the 2004 Upper Deck USA baseball line is really strong. The cards aren't the strongest in terms of book value, but there are some great names across all of the products. This Mauer card is one of the signatures in that set along with Nomar Garciaparra, McGwire, Ryan Zimmerman, and Tulowitzki. The other players in the set range from solid to scrubby. Second, the 2004 SP Authentic autographs were the last that from that product that featured on card autographs. Find an 2005 and it's a stickers. Besides, the 2004 had some great autographs. Great sets of cards if you are looking to add an on card autograph of a great player.