Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Year Top 50: 1998 Upper Deck Retro

#29- Today, the countdown continues with a trendsetting set of the late 90s.  Several card companies had dabbled with bringing Hall of Famers from the 50s, 60s, and 70s to modern cardboard, but this set kicked off something special that would allow modern collectors access to cards of the previous generations stars.  Before I start breaking down the set I just wanted to mention the packaging.  The boxes for these cards were old school metal lunch boxes.  In my several moves since 1998, I do not have mine anymore, but I encourage you to look around and find one.  Really cool.

1998 Upper Deck Retro Al Kaline

Upper Deck always had some good photography and decent designs with their cards.  The Upper Deck Retro set isn't the flashiest or shiniest designed card set they've assembled, but I like the basic design given the premise of this set being a "retro" set.  The photographs are not all up to the usual Upper Deck standards.  For example, I have always hated the Lou Brock card in this set.  Upper Deck has made hundreds of Lou Brock cards with a decent photo.  Why is he in a celebrity softball game or something with a goofy white hat?  

1998 Upper Deck Retro Lou Brock

The set also has some cool inserts and great autographs.  The autographs are all on card, but are condition sensitive.  Similar to the Upper Deck Sweet Spot autographs, the Retro autographs have a slight tendency to fade.  I own two autographs from this set and unfortunately both are on there way downhill.  The first, Nolan Ryan, isn't bad since I can find other autographed cards.

1998 Upper Deck Retro Nolan Ryan Autograph

More unfortunate is the condition of my second autograph from the set which belongs to Kirby Puckett.  Puckett was not a huge signer and has few autographs out on the secondary market.  He also passed away in 2006 after being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  

1998 Upper Deck Retro Kirby Puckett Autograph

Most Puckett autographs from this set have some degree of fading which is quite sad.  Beyond the Ryan and Puckett there are actually a lot of great autographs in this card set.  Many of the autographs can be found in other products, but the condition sensitivity makes them a great collecting challenge.  

Like the 1998 Upper Deck Retro Set?  Not in my Top 50 is the 2001 Upper Deck 70s set.  This set is filled with big hair and polyester.  The base cards have a similar simple design like the Upper Deck Retro set, but photography might be a little bit better.  There are also fewer autographs, but these are still great cards worth looking into for your collection.  

2001 Upper Deck 70s Andre Dawson

I was thinking of putting a Bellbottoms insert card in this space, but I am going to go with this Disco Dandies set.  The inserts are one of the coolest parts of the Upper Deck 70s set and can all be found generally for under five dollars.  

2001 Upper Deck 70s Disco Era Dandies Tom Seaver

There are autographs in this set, but the list is short and the relics checklist is much longer.  There are some cool relics out there though.  

2001 Upper Deck 70s Eddie Murray Bat 

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