Trader Crack's

2008 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball Review

Traditionally I'm a Topps guy. Every year I build my Topps set and file it away as a record of the baseball season. I like order and continuity. This year I've become a little cynical, though. While I like the Topps design for 2008 (it's not the best, but it's far from 1991 Fleer Baseball), there's too much being spent on the gimmicks like fake players, Photoshopped ex-New York mayors and not enough on the main selling point of the brand: the base set.

There's three elements for a successful base set that appeals to set builders like myself: design, information and attainability. Info is the easiest of these. Complete careers stats and, space permitting, a short bio. Topps always comes through here. Design is all right from an overall perspective. It looks sort of retro cool. However I've seen plenty of crappy photography to turn me off. The big ugly in 2008 Topps Baseball is the obtainability. I like my complete sets complete. Now I have to go out and get an April Fool's joke, a variant with a one-time mayor pumping his fist in celebration in an on-field scrum and a near impossible to find "Highlight" card of something that hasn't happened yet. Yes, I'm anal about stuff like that when it comes to my complete sets. Inserts aside, if it's on the checklist, I want it in my box.

But you've come for a review of 2008 Upper Deck Series 2, not Topps. The reason I've set it up this way is because Upper Deck trumps Topps in every category this year. For the set builder in me, this is a dream set. Sure, there's gimmicks, but they're left to the inserts for the most part and nothing is too impossible to obtain.

2008 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball carries on where the first set left off. Starting at card 401, the checklist includes another 400 cards including subsets for Team Checklists and Season Highlights. The rest is all player cards.

Although the design has been justly compared to Upper Deck's 1995 set, it's still very strong. Front pictures run full-bleed with the players' names, team, position and the Upper Deck logo to simple silver foil. It's a basic design but it captures the awesome photography that runs throughout the set. I could gush all day about the action and/or emotions captured in most of the cards. Nothing is blurry and almost all contain some intensity, even if they show a cliche pitch delivery or slugger's swing.

Card backs are loaded with information including both career stats and bios. My one minor quibble is the photos on the back are the same for both the base cards and the checklist and highlights subsets. It's a minor complaint but that's all you're really going to get from me as far as the base set goes.

Each hobby box is very friendly for the set builder, offering a whopping 20 cards per pack. Sixteen packs make up a box. I managed to get nearly three-quarters of the base set from my box with only a handful of doubles to trade with. It's nice because it will take me a bit of leg work to track down what I'm looking for but it's not going to make me broke or drive me nuts.

The inserts for Series 2 are driven by the stars and stripes. There's three different levels of college and high school players in the National Team inserts: National Team, Junior National Team and Team USA Highlights. Packs state USA cards land 1:4 packs, or four in a box. My box yielded eight USA cards, or one in every other pack. It's just too bad that I live in Canada and would rather have Canadian National Team players instead or at least a couple of different insert sets to go along with these.

Team USA is also featured in the memorabilia and autograph portions of hobby boxes. The odds predict one autograph and two game-used cards in a box. I managed to land one autograph, one autographed jersey and one sweet three-colour autographed patch (the red and white are prominent and the blue can be seen on the edge of the swatch). One of these guys might make the Majors in ten years but I'm not holding my breath. Still, to get a total of three autographs in a base product reeks of value.

Inserts are rounded out by a couple of continuations from series one. The first is the hilarious Presidential Predictors. Seeing as how it was obvious McCain and Obama were going to be the nominees for the November election, they're featured on most of the cards duking it out on various hot topics. There's also Hillary Clinton variants to add to the discussion. Upper Deck also included a replacement for the much talked-about "pulled" Clinton card from Series 1. Finally there's more of the Yankee Stadium Legacy cards that have run across all of Upper Deck's 2008 baseball products.

Overall, 2008 Upper Deck Baseball is my favourite set of the year. As a result I'm breaking my tradition of putting a Topps set together. I'll probably buckle in the off-season and snag a factory set or a set that someone else has put together but my hobby dollars are going elsewhere this season in part out of protest for an inferior product but mainly because this is how I'd like to see a base set to be.

2008 Upper Deck Series 2 Box Breakdown:

Packs per box: 16
Cards per pack: 20
Total cards: 315

Cards in set: 400
Singles: 286
Doubles: 13
Triples+: 0

Inserts: 18
Gold Parallel (#/99): 1 (528. Tony Pena [13/99])
Team USA*: 4 (USA-2. Brian Matusz, USA-10. Jordy Mercer, USA-15. Lance Lynn, USA-16. Mike Minor)
Team USA Junior Team*: 3 (USJR-3. Harold Martinez, USJR-16. T.J. House, USJR-17. Tim Melville)
Team USA Highlights*: 1 (USAH-3. USA Wins Thriller)
National Team Autograph**: 1 (USJR-JS. Jordan Swagerty [279/350])
National Team Autograph Jersey**: 1 (USJR-TW. Tyler Wilson [007/235])
National Team Autograph Patch**: 1 (USA-BH. Brett Hunter [68/99])
Presidential Running Mate Predictors: 2 (PP-7B. Obama edges Clinton, PP-10. Obama/McCain - The War in Iraq)
Yankee Stadium Legacy: 4 (602. Tony Lazzeri, 627. Bill Dickey, 652. Lefty Gomez, 677. Red Ruffing)

* Stated odds overall for USA cards: 1:4 packs
** Stated odds overall for game-used: 1:8; autographs1:16

 


2008 UD Upper Deck Baseball Series 2 HOBBY Pack Factory Sealed 8-card
$5.95
Time Remaining: 22d 18h 5m
Buy It Now for only: $5.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2008 Upper Deck Series 2 UD Jersey Card Brandon Phillips
$6.95
Time Remaining: 6d 16h 51m
Buy It Now for only: $6.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2008 Upper Deck Series 2 UD Jersey Card B.J. Upton
$6.95
Time Remaining: 6d 16h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $6.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Derek Jeter 2008 Upper Deck StarQuest Series #2 Card# SQ-42
$7.00
Time Remaining: 20d 19h 46m
Buy It Now for only: $7.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2008 Upper Deck Series 2 DAVID ORTIZ Jersey Insert RED SOX
$5.00
Time Remaining: 24d 4h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $5.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2008 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball Team USA Autographs & Autographed Patch
$5.00
Time Remaining: 11d 20h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $5.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2008 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball Team USA Autographs & Autographed Patch
$5.00
Time Remaining: 11d 20h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $5.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

UPPER DECK 2008 SERIES 2 BASEBALL CARDS TWIN PACK OF 36 SEALED
$5.96
Time Remaining: 27d 18h 35m
Buy It Now for only: $5.96
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Kosuke Fukudome 2008 Upper Deck Series 2 RC #708 NRMT
$7.00
Time Remaining: 8d 2m
Buy It Now for only: $7.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

UPPER DECK 2008 BASEBALL TWIN PACK OF 36 SERIES 2 NEW SEALED
$7.00
Time Remaining: 21d 21h 38m
Buy It Now for only: $7.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2008 Upper Deck UD Game Jersey Series 2 #UDJ-CA Matt Cain San Francisco Giants
$5.05
Time Remaining: 9d 2h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $5.05
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

2008 Upper Deck UD Game Jersey Series 2 #UDJ-CA Matt Cain San Francisco Giants
$5.05
Time Remaining: 9d 2h 26m
Buy It Now for only: $5.05
Buy It Now | Add to watch list