Friday, April 04, 2008

Box Break and Review: 1995 Upper Deck Series One (Hobby)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a box break from last year that I never got around to posting. Until now, that is.

One box of 1995 Upper Deck Series One Hobby (Paid $35)
36 packs per box, 12 cards per pack

The Details

Base Set: 225 cards (no short-prints)

Parallels: NONE

Special Edition: 135 cards*
Special Edition Gold: 135 cards (1:35*)
Hobby Predictors: 20 cards (1:30)
Steal of a Deal: 15 cards (1:34)
Checklists: five cards (1:17)

*Stated odds of finding either a Special Edition or a Special Edition Gold: one-per-pack.

Autogamers: NONE

The Pulls

Base Set: 208 of 225 (92.44%)
166 Doubles
18 Triples

35 Special Editions
1 Special Edition Gold: K. Foster
1 Hobby Predictor: A. Gonzalez
1 Steal of a Deal: D. Eckersley
2 Checklists: K. Rogers, G. Maddux

The Review

One word can best describe 1995 Upper Deck baseball: simple. Considering what came before, and what was about to come, the '95 UDs were extremely minimalist. Just a full-bleed photo, the player's name and team (in very small type), a UD logo, and that's it. Not exactly the harbinger on the "foil-stamp the shit out of everything" fronts that was to come in the late-90s.

'95 was the first year that the UD flagship did NOT open up with the Star Rookies. Instead, they were shifted to the back end of the first series, and merged with a second batch of SRs that opened up Series Two. (A third-year Derek Jeter and a second-year A-Rod both make cameos in the SR subset.) In their place, the Top Prospects open up the set. The was the final year for the TPs, and the only one of note is a third-year card of Nomar Garciaparra. There are also second-year cards of such Hobby flameouts Ruben Rivera, Paul Wilson, and true "Rookie Cards" are of Karim Garcia, Raul Casanova, and Nolan Ryan's son Reid Ryan. Another notable base card is of Michael Jordan being interviewed by a already-on-his-seventh-Budweiser-looking Harry Caray.

There are two differences between the hobby and retail version of '95 UD, and one of which is the one-per-pack insert. In retail packs, you get one Electric Diamond card per pack -- which is a traditional one-per-pack parallel. Hobby packs though, came with their own one-per-pack insert: The Special Editions. The SEs were unique, in that they are a pretty comprehensive set onto itself. At 270 cards (135 in each series), it remains one of the largest non-parallel insert sets every produced, and remains a challenging set to try to complete -- even a dozen years later.

The other difference between hobby and retail has to do with the Predictor inserts. The Predictors were interactive game cards that could be redeemed if the player shown won an award of some sort. The idea for on the interactive insert wasn't new -- 1994 Leaf had the popular MVP Contenders inserts -- but with the effects of a devastating strike still lingering, and with the overall "copycat" mentality of mid-90s era The Hobby, card companies were trying anything and everything they could to drum up sales. There are 40 Hobby Predictors in all (20 American Leaguers in the first series, and 20 National Leaguers in the second), and 60 Retail Predictors (30 AL and 30 NL).

Rounding out the set are the 15 Steal of a Deal inserts, and five checklists -- which, as was the custom of the time, were seeded into packs as inserts.

Technically, there are no autogamers; however, there was a wrapper redemption offer good for for one of 8000 serial-numbered autographed Roger Clemens jumbo cards. This offer has long since expired.

The Bottom Line

Collation was typical for a mid-90s Upper Deck product. It yielded 92% of the base set, and a healthy stack of tradeable doubles. The inserts ran as advertised.

Product Rating: 3 Gumsticks (out of 5)

No one will ever confuse 1995 Upper Deck with 1989 UD. But with that said, it's nice looking, fun, and affordable.


Anonymous said...

I've always liked 95 UD and since I was working at a baseball card shop I took advantage of a lot of the offers that were available for the set. While I had the wrappers, I don't think I got my envelope in the mail in time for the Clemens card. I did get the A-Rod card in series 2 though and was shocked to see what that and the Clemens go for these days. I think I also sent away for three of each of the update sets, same thing with Collector's Choice that year. That was a waste of postage.

Unknown said...

Funny, I just broke a box of 95 UD1 as well. I think my breakdown was just about the same as yours. I'm not an especially great fan of this set, but I'm condensing my collection, getting rid of a lot of random singles (how, I'm not sure yet), but I had a lot of '95 and '99 UDs around, so I figured, what the heck, I'll try to pick up some boxes and finish off the sets. I'm still trying to fetch a S2 box on Ebay, but I landed this box for about $10, and it's got me 2 cards short of finishing off S1.