Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Year Top 50: 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends

#28- The Upper Deck Century Legends, or Upper Deck Legends, set was issued several times during the late 90s and early 2000s.  The 1999 release is my favorite for one simple reason: Awesome Autographs.  The base cards were nice enough and there are some other nice looking inserts, but the autographs in this set alone make it highly collectible.

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Rickey Henderson

Again, the base cards are nice and you can see from the picture above, they have better photography than the Upper Deck Retro set.  Now, on to the autographs.  There were two types of autographs available in the set.  There were modern superstars and older player Hall of Famers.  For the most part.  Every set has a fluffy filler autograph you dread pulling which in this set is Don Larsen, not so bad, or Bucky Dent.  

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Don Larsen Autograph

Get past those two autographs and the rest of the set is great.  I think I actually own 75% of the autograph set, maybe more, and rarely part with one.  I have a clear favorite autograph card which you can view in a moment, but I am going to post my favorite three modern autographs I own from the set and my three favorite Hall of Fame autographs I own from the set.  In no order.  

Modern Autographs:

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Tony Gwynn Autograph

Tony Gwynn flys under the radar a lot of times on people's lists of great players from the modern era.  He was also, and still is, a great signer.  I love his autograph and he's pretty easy to find out on the secondary market.  I have several Gwynn on-card autographs, but really enjoy this one.  

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Juan Gonzalez Autograph 

Juan Gone is a little bit trickier to find than Tony Gwynn, but I also love his signature.  In the late nineties Gonzalez signed for several sets and had lots of on-card signatures.  As his career deteriorated he signed more cards, but they tend to be stickers and feature him playing for the Royals.  Yuck.  

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Ken Griffey Jr. Autograph

My personal modern favorite from the set and favorite autograph by a Griffey in my card collection.  Ken Griffey Jr. has one of the best signatures in all of baseball and I love the way it looks on this card.  I am not big on the fact that he signed his name over the little crest in the corner, but beggers can't be choosers.  Awesome card.  

HOF Autographs 

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Carlton Fisk Autograph

If I owned a Harmon Killebrew I would have put it here instead, but that's one of the 25% of the set I am missing.  I own a 2000 Upper Deck Legends Killebrew which is nice, but I would love this one.  Now, Carlton Fisk.  Again, the best autograph of this player that is in my collection.  I love on most of the Hall of Fame players how Upper Deck put a sepia picture instead of the color photograph.  

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends Eddie Mathews Autograph

Eddie Mathews died at the start of the autographed card boom in the mid to late 1990s.  He does have a few certified autographs floating around out there, but this is my only Mathews autograph.  Great signature still, and even though I do love the old fashioned pictures, I like the 70s Braves hat.  Which leads us to what everyone saw coming:

1999 Upper Deck Century Legends San Musial Autograph

I own several and pick them up when I see them in great condition with a good signature.  Musial is getting up in years and his signature has really regressed.  This is an awesome card and can be found with the classic Stan Musial autograph on it.  In the past thirteen years I have traded one copy, it was for an overwhelming return which was sold and reinvested into more Musials, and rank this card as one of my personal favorites in my collection.  

Like the 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends set?  Not in my Top 50 Countdown is the Upper Deck A Piece of History 500 Home Run set.  This multi-year set started up in the late 90s and much to Upper Deck's credit, continued every time a player crossed the 500 Home Run marker.  Really tough to find and really expensive, my collection is home to approximately two of these cards.  

Upper Deck A Piece of History Ken Griffey Jr. 500 Club 

This is the best card from the set that I own.  I know, life is rough, but they rarely come up on secondary market websites and when they do you have to be willing to pay a premium in trade or money.  
Upper Deck A Piece of History Frank Thomas 500 Club 

I also own the Frank Thomas card.  While it is a cool card to have in my collection I wish Upper Deck had taken a little artistic license and put Thomas in a White Sox uniform.  After all, weren't 480 of his home runs hit as a White Sox?  The Gary Sheffield card is like this too.  He is a Met on his card.  

1 comment:

  1. i love the 1999 set, even though upper deck couldn't issue the koufax, dimaggio or rose cards.