Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Nostalgic Box Break: 2003 Upper Deck Series 1 (Part Two)

The more generic, been-there Topps products I see, the more I want to go back to the days when Upper Deck wasn't afraid to take risks. And here we are, back in 2003, sifting through colorful, inspired, well-designed cards, back when card products actually mattered.

Today, the last 12 packs of this retail box of 2003 UD. I teased a major hit in this part of the box, and i aim to deliver.

 Pack 13-
Steroid Abusers: 3/8
Borderline Hall of Famers: 1/8
 I always loved the static photos we'd get from the Tigers' Spring Training field. So many grassy backgrounds, so many fun shots. This one, of Da Meat Hook, is no exception.

 Gagne and Green were coming off of fantastic 2002s, and were about to fall off the face of the earth. Carlos Lee was about to get a little leaving the White Sox a year later.

 Jason Giambi played first base for the Yankees from 2002 until 2008. In that interim, they didn't win any championships. Coincidence? I think not.

 And, a rare shot of Larry Walker on the pasepaths, looking pretty cool, too.

 Pack 14-
Future Hall of Famers: 1/8
 Just look at this photography for a moment. The attention to detail, the zooming in, the awesome 2002-era D-Backs uniforms. Just a lot to like.

 Albert was about to begin his third season, which is odd considering what he's become in Anaheim. Huff was a year or so away from becoming a requisite aging outfielder on a number of squads.

 Pack 15-
Cardinals: 3/8
 Just a really nice 'dust-clearing' shot of Mark Kotsay, a guy who was essentially on a different team every year for a better part of the 2000s.

 A pair of fringe players- Phillies starter and eventual bearded reliever Brett Myers, and impressive St. Louis closer Jason Isringhausen.

 Pack 16-
Former Managers: 1/8
 I just really like this card, too. So much really nice emphasis on the catcher, and a very 'moment-in-time' type shot as well.

 Another Gagne. It was 2003, I'll give them a break.

 Oh yeah, and Robin Ventura played for my team for a bit at the end. He was far from 1999-awesome-Mets-infield era Ventura, but he was still a solid third baseman until we'd get A-Rod.

 Pack 17-
2000s Star Infielders: 2/8

 Eric Chavez in a fantastic 1970s-era throwback, which is refreshing as hell.
Also, Omar Vizquel holding court in Cleveland, rocking one of the early-phase hat insignias that marked the Indians' first attempt at getting away from Chief Wahoo. It didn't work.

 Pack 18-
Hall of Famers: 1/8
 RICKEY HENDERSON, IN A BOSTON UNIFORM. I love so many of Rickey's late-career stints, so it's always nice to land cards of him in unfamiliar uniforms. This one's no exception.
Also, Livan Hernandez, in his post-WS-win era of play.

 Aw god, the angle on this one. Absolutely wonderful, even if Reggie Taylor didn't last in Cincinnati.

 Pack 19-
Hall of Famers: 1/8
Future Hall of Famers: 1/8

 In 2002, Michael Young was still 'Mike', and he was still a second-baseman, waiting for Kinsler, Hamilton and Andrus to come along and jump-start the back-to-back AL Champion rosters.
Also, another Vladdie card, which I can never say no to.

 Our Big League Breakdown insert is of Todd Helton, then just cementing his reign in Colorado. I wonder how much fun the sportswriters are gonna have with his numbers when he's up for Hall of Fame induction.

 Pack 20-
Guys I adore collecting: 2/8
Guys Who Played for one of my teams for exactly one year: 2/8
 Raul Mondesi was a Yankee, and actually didn't do too badly. This was in the brief portion of the 2000s where we were still finding our identity, so while he wasn't a bad choice for us, he didn't last long for a reason.
 AJ Burnett looks really cool on this card, as do the shadows. Meanwhile, Fred McGriff is still pounding it out in Chicago, in his penultimate year in the bigs.

 Another CHASE FOR 755 insert, this one depicting Shawn Green, who wouldn't really get close.
And a really cool dugout shot of a very cold Bobby Abreu.

There was one more card in that pack, by the way...

 ...yes, it's a white patch...

...but it's a white patch of TOM GLAVINE. In all his Braves glory. I don't care what color it is, I'm taking it, and I'm not complaining. It's not often to pull a relic of a Hall of Famer, especially one like Tom Glavine.

Probably one of the better pulls of these Nostalgic Box Breaks. I'm very impressed with this one.

 Pack 21-
2012 Postseason Heroes: 2/8

 Rafael Furcal in action, well-depicted.
And, of course, a card of Raul Ibanez during his brief time in Kansas City.

 Pack 22-
Hall of Famers: 2/8
Current Managers: 1/8

 SUCH GOOD STUFF. The Roberts card is pretty great, even if he'll probably be better remembered for his managing in that uniform.
The Pedro card is great because of the shadows, and the intensity of this particular throw. And the Hudson is great because of how we've zoomed just far back enough.

 And a cool, back-side shot of Trevor Hoffman, in the midst of his HOF career in San Diego.

 Pack 23-
Legendary Fringe Players: 2/8
World Series Heroes: 1/8
 Eric Karros was, in fact, still playing in 2003, and he'd be traded to the Cubs very shortly after this pretty cool BP shot.
Meanwhile, Mike Lieberthal would be a steady backstop for a few more years in Philly, before the arrival of one Carlos Ruiz.

 A pseudo-rookie of John Lackey, which is nice, despite the uninspired background/pose.

 And a card of Rafael Palmeiro. Does he still want to come back to the bigs, or has he gotten the message?

 Pack 24-
HOFers: 1/8
And we end on a shot of Roberto Alomar, past his prime with the Mets, two years until retirement. Still looks pretty great, though.

As does 2003 UD. Despite one or two issues, this was a well-collated box that had a lot of star cards and great photos, and two hits (one of them being fantastic). Glad I ripped this one.

I think I do have one more Nostalgic Box Break in the pipeline, and it's one that goes back to my roots as a box-breaker on this blog.

1 comment:

  1. That's too funny. I was just on eBay last night and found two boxes of series 1 & 2 of this set for a good price. I've been wanting to start this set for a while. From this post, I think I'll be glad I did.