Say what you will about Upper Deck. I could practically feel the joy some collectors felt through my computer on the day U.D lost their MLB license. Never mind the fact that Upper Deck introduced autographs and game-used memorabilia into baseball cards, they had committed their fair share of trading card crimes and this was a long time in the making. Fine, I get it.
That being said, someone needs to thank the guys from Carlsbad, California for the pure brilliance that came from 2007 Sweet Spot and their cheap shot aimed at both their rival Topps and the new Home Run King and now criminal, Barry Bonds. The card below is real and supposed to be an asterisk, suggesting that while Bonds may have cheated his way to number 1, Hammerin’ Hank would always be baseball’s real King.
As you can imagine, lots of drama ensued by the release of this card. Topps was pissed, so was Bonds, and don’t forget the collectors who were paying $150 and more for a Sweet Spot tin only to find their autograph be part of a hoax. Sure, the first couple of these sold for over a grand a piece on eBay but as you can imagine, eventually interest died down and it became just the beginning of Upper Deck’s war with MLBPA, which they ultimately lost.
I am thankful Upper Deck at least tried to make a statement. They did the same right before their license was yanked by producing a card of baseball’s pariah, Jose Canseco, long after Topps washed their hands clean of him for exposing the cheaters and con men of the game. Unfortunately, that card never made it out until a year later minus the baseball logos collectors love. By then, the moment had passed.
On a personal note, this gimmick card below is the only reason I was not able to bust 2007 Sweet Spot as my local card shop raised the price from $150 a tin to $300 simply because the asterisk card and a less publicized gimmick might have been in the product. Sadly, I missed out on one of Upper Deck’s greatest baseball releases in the company’s history.
Stay tuned next week for a story on yet another gimmick which cost a trading card company way more than their MLB license. It too features a card with another one of baseball’s most infamous cheaters and one who much like Bonds, will likely never reach the Hall of Fame despite some phenomenal numbers.
Can you guess who?