Friday, August 7, 2009

Card Spotlight: 8-7-09

1989 Upper Deck #183 - Ron Karkovice

Upper Deck finds itself in the same place that Donruss found themselves a few years ago. I figure that Upper Deck is slightly better off. Upper Deck seems crafty enough to pull off an upset in its baseball line in 2010.

Let’s focus on the beginnings of the company. Specifically, their first mass offering in 1989.

When Upper Deck came out, it revitalized the industry. It didn’t come onto the marketplace like Donruss and Fleer did in 1981. Score made a tiny impact in 1988, but nothing compared to the media frenzy that would surround Upper Deck on its entry into the hobby.

Upper Deck came down from the heavens and instantly forced the other companies to up the level. I can still remember news reports on hologram technology to prevent counterfeiting and footage of employees destroying plates of cards, so they could not be reproduced again. Another in a line of very public anti-counterfeiting displays.

The public ate it up. Many were burned on the counterfeit Pete Rose rookies, so this was an extra comfort to hobbyists. Full color and in focus photographs adorned the front and back of each card. It was a wet dream to the industry.

The design was simplistic and elegant. It conveyed a message and didn’t stray from that formula in twenty years. This is the first wide release that I can think of that incorporated baseball imagery into a card design without looking cartoonish.

In 2010, Upper Deck will release its first cards without team logos. It’s not my idea of a perfect card, but if any company can pull it off, I would wager that Upper Deck will be the company to do it. Just take a look for yourself at what a 1989 Upper Deck Ron Karkovice would look like without team logos.

1 comment:

Hackenbush said...

Looks like one of the guys who plays 16 inch softball at the park near my house. They're good but I don't think I'd pay $3.00 a pack to get their cards.

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