Friday, May 24, 2019

Nostalgic Box Break: 2004 Upper Deck Series 1 (Part Two)

Previously on this...admittedly blurry 2004 UD break (I swear, I'm not gonna use my phone camera for the next one), we broke through the first eight packs, along with the 2003 UD Update set. So far, amusing enough.

Now onto the next eight. I forget if a hit falls in this part of the break or not. I guess we'll find out together.

 Pack 9-
Hall of Famers: 1/8
Future Hall of Famers: 1/8
 Some very 2004 names in here; Todd Walker and Tony Womack JUUUST missing out on breaking some curses in the 2003 playoffs. Both would...sort of alter their approach in '04: Walker would join the Cubs, who...wouldn't get further than they did in '03. Womack WOULD get further in 2004 as a member of the Cardinals, though they'd be bested by Boston.
And Chris Singleton's card just looks cool.
Pack highlights: Smoltzie nearing the end of his tenure as Atlanta's closer, Miggy just getting started, and Livan as a member of the last Expos team.
 Pack 10-
Hall of Famers: 2/8
2009 World Series: 1/8
2010 World Series: 1/8
 Mark McLemore seems like he's having a good time. Meanwhile, Michael Young (no longer Mike like he was in 2003 UD) finally comes into his own as Arlington's 2B.

And obviously the two star cards, Pedro and Piazza, winding down the last of their respective seasons with the teams that made them legends.

 Pack 11-
Popular Fringe Players: 3/8
Players with Amazing Names: 1/8 [Jung Bong]
Team HOFers: 2/8
 I can't imagine veteran Overbay as a rookie, but there you go. Also, a welcome card of perennial Philly backstop Mike Lieberthal, more than just a bridge between Darren Daulton and Carlos Ruiz.
And the two awesome outfield shots are of heroes Jim Edmonds and Aubrey Huff.

 Pack 12-
People named after bad Viggo Mortensen movies: 1/8
 Jeremy Giambi gets a 25 Salute insert, which...if anything, just proves how random the player selection was for that set.
Whatever, at least Eck looks cool here.

And two strong position players of the 2000s, Eric Chavez and Richard Hidalgo. I do like the 'moment in time' quality of Hidalgo's shot.

 Pack 13-
Amusing Roster Decisions for the Giants: 2/8
2000 Yankees: 2/8
2001 D-Backs: 1/8
 I love the photography in this set. So simple, yet so impressive.

 2003: A year where Benito Santiago AND Andres Galarraga were on the Giants. Thrilling stuff. In
'04, Benny would be on the Bucs, and Andres would play 7 games in Anaheim.
Meanwhile, Brandon Phillips continued his quiet but building work in Cleveland.

Tino on the Cardinals is an odd but impressive set.
Also...a card of Roger Clemens. I don't collect him.

 Pack 14-
Steroid Abusers: 2/8
2013 World Series: 1/8
2008 World Series: 1/8
 Morgan Ensberg sliding, pre-insane 2005, and a cool perspective shot of Ramon Ortiz.

 Two pitching icons of the 2000s: Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb, and steady closer-turned-starter Ryan Dempster. A reminder of his sole year in Cincinnati before the Cubs went for him.

And two unabashed team heroes: Jimmy Rollins, who still gets a hero's welcome in Philly, and Rafael Palmeiro, who was synonymous with Texas baseball for a while.

 Pack 15-
HOFers: 1/8
Yankees who would never win World Series' as Yankees: 3/8
2005 White Sox: 1/8
 This pack's USA Baseball guy, Eric Patterson, would become a journeyman utility man during the latter half of the 2000s.
Jason Giambi was still hitting dingers in the Bronx.
 Two guys who would miss out on a ring with their pictured teams: Contreras would get one in 2005, but as a member of the White Sox. Ordonez would be in Detroit at the time of said WS win.

Two veterans still hanging around in 2003. Al Leiter would hang around for a few more seasons, giving good stuff and photos as good as this bunt one. And Rickey was about to hang up his spikes for the final time after some decent numbers with the Dodgers.
 Pack 16-
Future Hall of Famers: 2/8
2007 Red Sox: 2.5/8 (Pena didn't make it to October)
HITS: 1/8
 Some amusing survivors of an amusing decade: Antonio Alfonseca, the six-fingered closer; and Wily Mo Pena, the outfield arm who figured out how to hit in Japan.

 Beltre, in his last year with LA, would hit a career high of 48 home runs in 2004. Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez would help his team win a World Series by hitting 43. Nice that we got both leagues' leaders in home run in the same pack.

So let's talk about this hit:

When I saw that this was a USA Baseball hit, I immediately soured. 'Oh brother', I thought, 'it's gonna be a jersey card of some has-been who played 5 games in the majors or something'. You've seen the likes of Brent Lillibridge and Eric Patterson in previous National Pride inserts in this box. I was expecting something of a similar caliber.

...So imagine my surprise when I saw the name 'Dustin Pedroia' on this card. Yes, it's a gray swatch, but it's an XRC-esque Rookie Card/Game Used card of a Boston legend, and someone who may have a decent Hall of Fame case.

...This card might still go for a nice amount of money. Not like I sell my hits often, terms of hits, this was a pretty phenomenal one.

And that's where we end this third of the box. I will tease the last third by saying that we still have one more hit to go, as well as a card that rivals the Pedroia in monetary value...but will not be rivaled in terms of plain...bizarreness.


  1. The design of this set has never really grabbed me, but the photography is among the best in UD's canon.

    1. it's right up there with 02 and 03 UD in its crafty angles and interesting static shot setups, though those two have better designs. I think 04 and 05 have the least interesting UD designs, so thank the gods that the 2006 design gave us something clever.

  2. Not a set I'm familiar with but I like it. Some really nice photos and the design is good. Fun post and cards.