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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Second Thoughts on 2008 Goudey part 2

Ok, time for part two of the Goudey preview review. Mario at Wax Heaven has images from the power sell sheet point thing up on his blog. I'll defer to him for images of the actual 2008 cards because I don't want to bother with trying to gank them off the ad. If you want to see the images, so check out Mario's site.

The base checklist is 330 cards, that can be divided into 5 subsets. Base cards, Short Prints, Presidents, '36 Goudey and Sports Royalty. 200 of the cards are common, 130 (!!!) are short printed 7:18 packs. Sound utterly absurd? Well, it's not quite as bad as it sounds. I'll go through each subset individually.

Base cards (1-200)

Last year's base set design was based on the '34-'36 Diamond Stars design, with a few details from '41 Play Ball and '33 Goudey thrown in to make a very attractive design. The 2008 edition keeps it simple and directly steals the 1934 Goudey design. It's one of the great designs of the Bubble Gum era and has already been swiped by a mid nineties Fleer football product, 2002 Fleer Tradition and an insert set from 2006 Fleer Tradition at least. There might be more, that's just all I can remember right now.

1934 Goudey is a great choice for designs and Upper Deck does an excellent job if the sell sheet is any indication on what the final product will look like. The sell sheet only shows the fronts, but last years set nailed the backs of the '33 set so I have full confidence that they'll do it right again. Here's the front and back of a couple of vintage '34s that I have. .

Compare the two and you have the closest reproduction of the original set in any card set so far. Replace Gehrig with Jeter and add the team name and position and you've got basically the exact same design. Good Job on the design by Upper Deck. I'm still sore about them wrecking the mini cards, but at least the card didn't suffer for it. It's a very bright colorful set, which was '07 Goudey's greatest strength.

Now for the checklist. Once again the non-short printed set is 200 cards. Who knows if they will pull the Red back/Green back thing again to double the set to 400 for us collectors with OCD, but there are 200 different subjects anyway. The player selection (at least according to the pre-sell checklist) is heads and shoulders above last years. The key: vintage stars in the base set. They took a page from the 2003 Upper Deck Vintage Set and liberally sprinkled old-time stars and Hall of Famers in the common cards after restricting them to the SP's last year. For example, here is the Braves base team set:

7 Mark Teixeira
8 John Smoltz
9 Jeff Francoeur
10 Phil Niekro
11 Chipper Jones
12 Kelly Johnson
13 Tom Glavine
14 Yunel Escobar
102 Eddie Mathews
103 Warren Spahn

Now that's a team set! Pretty much every pre-expansion team and the Mets have old time stars in the set. These 200 cards are enough to make me collect this set, SPs and minis be damned. Good looking cards and a great checklist equals a good set to build even for the casual collectors out there who don't have to have every single card. Of course I'm not one of those people, so here are the short prints:

Short Prints (201-230)

There are actually ten less base card short prints in 2008. The other difference is that all the subjects are retired stars. That is, assuming Roger Clemens stays retired, which is a good bet. A lot of the players were seen in last year's set like Ruth, Jackson, Ryan and Schmidt, but an interesting newcomer is Bo Jackson. Where are the short printed contemporary players, you ask? First we need to address a different subset.

Goudey Presidents (231-250)

Let's face it, this subset shouldn't even exist. Presidents have been done to death already and we haven't even hit Topps' full court press on campaign cards this summer yet. Upper Deck seems to know this, because they totally half-assed this set, but someone in upper management probably insisted on it's existence since Topps was threatening to dominate the serious political junkie demographic. There are three BIG problems with these cards as I see it.

One: They did a subset honoring presidents and then go and cut out half the dang presidents! There are forty-three presidents if I remember correctly, but only twenty in this set. While the reduced cards is actually an act of mercy by UD, there's really no point to doing this if it's not going to be done right. They freaking left out James K. Polk for chrissakes, what the hell??

B) There's no reason at all for this to be in the actual set. Make it an insert for cryin' out loud and don't put it smack in the middle of the set! No one wants this.

Also - They bungled the design. A Goudey stripe on the bottom, boring presidential portrait and flags in the background is not attractive or historically relevant. If they had blatantly swiped the 1932 American Caramel Presidents set design, then I'd be all for it. As it is now, it's annoying and unnecessary.

1936 Goudey Black & White (251-270)

This is where all the contemporary short prints went. 2007 honored the '38 Heads Up design (going so far as to include the cartoon high series) and 2008 takes on the 1936 Goudey set. Here's what the cards look like, please excuse my scroungy Berger.

The basically look like the larger premiums from that year, just in traditional Goudey size with a rudimentary baseball game on the back. I want to say Leaf appropriated this set for a numbered insert a few years ago, but I honestly don't remember and don't feel like digging through my collection to find one. The checklist is ok, and includes the usual superstars and a few youngsters like Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun and Matt Holliday. I'm bummed that there are no Braves in any of the SP cards (where's my Brian McCann, dammit??) and unlike last year where UD copied the Heads up set obsessively, there's only 20 cards in the subset instead of 24 like the original set. Hopefully another five get added including Mac. One other thing about this set... in the preliminary checklist there is a distinct lack of RCs. I see a couple like JR Towles and Steve Pearce, but you have to think that at least a couple will be added by July. You can't tell me Upper deck isn't watching Evan Longoria's progress in AAA veeeeeery closely.

Sports Royalty (271?-330?)

These cards aren't actually on the checklist, but there are 100 Sports Royalty autographs on there. I'm guessing that 60 of those will be whittled down and put in the set. the sell sheet emphasizes the Olympic athletes, so maybe they are trying to capitalize on Bejing. This is another subset I don't understand why it isn't just an insert set. It bloats the SP list and just makes set building a daunting task. There's a lot of cool names on there though and as far as sheer athletes go, it puts Topps' selection of dogs, poker players and spelling bee champions to shame.

Berk Ross Hit Parade of Champions

This is in the checklist but not the sell sheet, so I don't know what the heck it is. The set is numbered HPC-# so it looks like an insert, but I don't know what kind. Could be inserted into packs, could be a box topper like last year's Sports Royalty cards. It's basically a collection of Superduperstar athletes, this time focusing on the big four sports. Babe Ruth, Joe Montana, Michael Jordan and Wayne Grtezky. That sort of thing. Here's what the original 1951 st looks like, courtesy Jet Jethroe and a badly trimmed Spahnie.

So there's the set, although I'll bet that there are several tweaks to the checklist (.pdf) before it's released if only to beef up the rookies. It's not perfect, but once you get past the 130 card short print shock it should actually be easier to complete than last years. How do I figure that? I really want the base set, and I'll get it if I end up just buying a collated one from a casebuster on eBay. That's 200 cards. If I actually rip wax, I'll be looking for the short print sets though. However, I care nothing for the Presidents and little for Sports Royalty. Cut those two subsets out and you have a 200 card base set with 50 short prints. That is very easily completable even for blaster buyers. While you'll get a lot of presidents and Sports Royalty cards in among the short prints, you can sell 'em and trade 'em for what you want. That's how I'll be building this set, unless some new info comes along to change things.


shoeboxlegends said...

Awesome cards!

Anonymous said...

Alright another Phil Kniekro card to get. That makes me smile. Brings back childhood memories too.

Captain Canuck said...

no McCann??? WTF???

Best catcher in the NL hands down, maybe all of baseball... and nuthin???

Anonymous said...

Great preview! I'm pretty pumped for yet another Tulo card. Keep up the good work... this is the type of preview I really enjoy reading.

- J.C.F.