I found my first packs of Upper Deck Masterpieces at Target this weekend. I was hoping to get a blaster of this stuff, but the only blasters they had of Masterpieces were of hockey. I picked up four packs though just to get a taste of the set. The borders are slightly different from last year' s model and the backs are white instead of burlap, but it's pretty much the same set. There are less retired players, the paintings seem to be a little darker and there are 30 short prints (with no indication on the pack of how hard they are to get), but if you liked last year's set, you'll probably like this one.
Thorzul got the Yount from the set recently and noticed some shenanigans on the back. Upper Deck completely butchered the write up, insisting that Yount won the 1974 AL Rookie of the Year award. I think Grover might want a word with UD. Since I'm always up for piling on Upper Deck, I'm going to personally fact check the write up on the back of all 16 cards out of these four packs. This will be meticulously researched so it might take a few months.
#45 Hunter Pence
See what I mean by dark? It's a painting, lighten it up a bit. Here's the back:
CLAIM: It didn't take Pence long to get the knack for ML Hitting in 2007.
Verdict: TRUE. Hunter got his first major league hit during his debut on 4/28/07 and hit a grand slam a few days later on May 5th.
CLAIM: the term rookie was formed in 1957
Verdict: FALSE. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term is a corruption of the word 'recruit' and was first used in print in Rudyard Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads which was published in 1892.
CLAIM: [Pence] led the loop in batting at the All-Star break with his .342 average.
Verdict: TRUE. Confirmed on his Astros biography page.
First card and UD has already been caught in a fib. Let's see if their nose grows on the next one.
#31 Todd Helton
More dark. They got some goth kid to paint this year's set.
CLAIM: With his smooth swing at the plate.
Verdict: TRUE. Todd Helton does in fact have a smooth swing.
CLAIM: Helton has turned into one of the game's premier hitters
Verdict: TRUE. His production has dropped off in the past three years, but someone who has hit .372 can certainly be classified as a premier hitter.
CLAIM: On 9/16/07... he peppered his 300th HR.
Verdict: TRUE. He did hit his 300th homer on that date.
CLAIM: ... and received his first curtain call in Colorado.
Ok, time out. No freakin way did he receive his first standing O in his eleventh year in Colorado. I call bullshit on this one.
Verdict: TRUE. Holy crap it's true! Right out of the man's mouth. What's wrong with Rockies fans??
#9 Brooks Robinson
First Hall of famer. Nice. Not a short print though I don't think. Let's check the back.
CLAIM: The honors piled up for Robinsonduring the 1966 campaign...
Verdict: TRUE. This one's pretty easy, all these awards are listed on his Baseball Reference page. They completely forgot his 1966 World Series victory, so it's a lie by omission! FALSE
Shame on Upper Deck for misleading the customer like that. Here's the last card from this pack.
#74 Luke Hochevar RC
Ah, a rookie! Let's get this sucker graded Gem Mint so I can sell it to rubes on eBay. Oh wait, look at the back:
Thaaaat's gonna knock it down to a near mint, I'm afraid. Oh well.
CLAIM: Hochevar jumped out to a stellar start in 2008
Verdict: FALSE. Luke gave up 6 runs and lost to Oakland on his season debut on April 20th. FAIL.
CLAIM: when the right-hander propelled Kansas City to a 2-1 triumph over the Blue Jays on 4/26
Verdict: TRUE. Ok, yeah, so he did do that. Six innings pitched, one earned run, that's all correct. But he started the season 1-1 with that win which is merely average, even for Kansas City.
So there's the first pack. A Hall of Fame third sacker, a beat up rookie and three blatant, filthy lies. Upper Deck better get more truthy on the next pack or I'll be washing someone's mouth out with soap.