Friday, March 25, 2022

What Happened to 2010 Upper Deck Wave 2?


2010 Upper Deck was a gigantic middle finger to MLB and as a result, to the fans as well. Upper Deck responded to losing the MLB license similar to a vengeful toddler stealing cookies after being told they couldn't have any. The release became the pettiest excuse of a set, trying to push the envelope of what they could "accidentally" get away with. There were more logo slips than a Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake Super Bowl routine. Logos were in your face, taunting MLB, implying that Upper Deck was above the law.

I definitely agree that logo-less uniforms seem amateurish and very beer softball league. In fact, I commented on that in a card spotlight (that evolved into a now deleted Baseball Digest post), turning Ron Karkovice's 1989 Upper Deck card into a logo-less softball card, removing logos from his jersey and hat, plus removing the logo from the edge of the card too. Karkovice looks like an electrician who is on a bar's sponsored softball pickup team. Not exactly a card someone would feel inclined to collect. The only difference is the lack of logos, but sometimes that makes all the difference. It's between a fully licensed card and one you cut out of the back of a box of macaroni and cheese.

That being said, being only licensed with the MLBPA does not mean your product is doomed to languish at the bottom of the bargain bin with most late 80's/early 90s junk wax. Panini does a wonderful job with their limitations and they truly seem to respect the game and their small part of it. I can't recall seeing a logo on a Panini product, but I certainly remember them on 2010 Upper Deck. All over the place. On the card pictured on this post, there are four instances of logos. One on each photo with the hat, one on the sleeve, one on the front of the jersey. A case could be argued for each photo of the hat. The X is only visible on the head shot. That's not too bad. The left side of the logo is visible on the main photo. Not horrible, but lazy. The alternate logo on the sleeve is in full view and there is no mistaking the top of the S on the jersey. Each logo slip is distinctive enough to realize what the logo is. All four together creates a terrible circumventing of the rules. It's fine if Upper Deck wants to be anti-establishment, but it should not have been surprised at the swift reaction and ban it got.

Under an agreement, Upper Deck was allowed to sell through it's existing inventory of product that was already released. This meant that the public was bombarded with 2010 Upper Deck Series One product for the rest of 2010. That brings me to Wave 2.

Wave 2 was supposed to be a fifty card extension released on or around May 4, 2010. It would be an extension that would be one card per fat pack or two cards per rack pack, to my understanding. There is not a checklist of what was supposed to be in this extension, that I could find. I would be very interested in knowing what was on that checklist.

Here's what makes Wave 2 intriguing to me. The lawsuit that ceased baseball operations for Upper Deck was finalized in March 2010. That was roughly two months before Wave 2 was supposed to drop. With that short window, I would believe that some cards were actually printed. At the time, I was actually expecting them to randomly show up in packs of remaining inventory. I thought that I had heard of a few cards doing exactly that, but I can find no evidence of that actually happening.

At this point, twelve years later, I would like a few things to happen. I would like to see a checklist of those cards. I would love to see pictures of each card that was in the set. The cards were definitely finalized by this point, so there should be at least a finalized mock up of each card. If any cards were printed, and they featured White Sox players, I would love to have them in my collection.

I understand that is a pretty tall order, but for someone who is still trying to complete White Sox related mirror card sets from 2008 (not to mention a complete set of Heritage from that year), I figured this would probably happen before I get those sets completed. One can always dream.

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