Saturday, July 16, 2016

Traded Set Showcase: 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition

This is the first in a new series, one I'm certainly willing to keep going for a while, as I've come into contact with quite a few overproduction-era traded sets lately. Today, I wanted to take a closer look at one of them, because you don't get to see a ton of publicity from them, especially compared to flagship sets.

This set, 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition, is different from 1991 Upper Deck High Series, which acted as a true Update set, with traded players and everything. This one was released later in the year, and had a more impressive lineup of rookies, All-Stars and traded guys. As I don't have High Series, I'm not 100% sure the difference.

Still, this is an impressive set, with a lot of great photos and great effort put in.

We'll start the Showcase with card #1...

 Card #1 this year was UD's pick for the top two rookies in the game, Reggie Sanders and Ryan Klesko, two players that were pretty great for their respective teams, but wouldn't last beyond 2007.
Now, the real impressive rookies don't come in until card #2...

 Pedro Martinez' rookie card is Card #2, and it's a pretty great one- aside from being a rare issue of him on the Dodgers, it's a cool looking card, and one of the few true 'ROOKIES' that exist of Pedro.

 A couple interesting rookies- Rondell White's expression is pretty great, looking comically focused, and Ryan Klesko's just happy to be here.

 Todd Van Poppel, the Webster's definition of a disappointing prospect, actually has a pretty nice action shot as his rookie card.

 This is one of the last of the true worthwhile rookies in the set, at least in the Diamond Skills subset of the series- Jim Thome, looking impressive in his spring training uniform, would hone an impressive career as an Indian.

 Now onto the regular base set, starting with Kenny Lofton, pictured before his trade to the Indians, looking pretty cool in a ST Astros shot.

 A lot of this set is giving showcase to lower-tier players who shone in '91, or guys who got traded midyear, like Candy Maldonado, seen here with a pretty cool flexing shot in the batter's box.

 A pair of relatively cool cards- Darren Lewis hitting off a tee in an empty Candlestick Park, and Scott Coolbaugh in a really nice fielding shot.

 There was a special insert card, commemorating Dennis Martinez' perfect game, which was presented as a pretty cool drawn highlight card, like a lot of major highlights in early UD history.

 A couple of nice base cards- Oil Can Boyd after a warm-up session, in Arlington, and a nice shot of Glenallen Hill fielding.

 One of the other major rookie cards in this set, of Ivan Rodriguez, who'll most likely be joining the Hall of Fame next year, in a pretty nice red-accented card.

 Still, UD was still capable of throwing in some pretty fun cards, like this one of Roger McDowell cooling off at the sprinklers.

 A couple of nice shots of Phillies, including a rare shot of Andy Ashby on the team.

 Before we get to the ASG subset, I did want to point out this Mark Whiten card- it's a static shot, but it's pretty fun, and it's got the right kind of lighting. UD could do no wrong in this era.

 This card, of both reps from each team, starts off the All Star Game subset- Griffey and Sandberg look great here, and both are in opposite parts of their career- Griffey's just entering his prime, Ryno's just exiting.

 A nice assortment of AL All Stars- the photos varied from batting practice shots to actual in-game shots. The Robby is a pretty nice one, as is the memory of Jack Morris' time on the Twins.

 More AL guys. Reminds me of how many A's were on this team, including a really fun shot of Hendu fielding. Cal seems happy to have gotten the MVP, and Griffey's Batting Practice shot is a nice one.

 What's noticeable is how much less star power the NL squad, compared to the Al squad. Glavine was one of the starters, and Sandberg, of course, started at 2nd base.

Rounding out the NL guys is a great shot of Tony Gwynn signing an autograph, a cool shot of Ozzie Smith, and Ivan Calderon focusing. No real losers here.

So, those were the highlights of that insert set- a cool, quick little foray into the last quarter of the 1991 season. A lot of good stuff in here, and a few really nice rookies. I'm glad I looked at it.

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