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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2003 Play Ball - Base set

Time to wrap up the Play Ball set so I can finally move on to the next Upper Deck set on my list. The set had two angles to reel in customers. The Retro nostalgia hook and the 'all painted base set' gimmick. Retro sets were on fire in 2003, especially after Topps206 hit the hobby like a ton of bricks. Art cards have also been wildly popular since Diamond Kings first hit Donruss packs, and an entire set of the suckers complete with paintings had just hit the market. This was Upper Deck's way of countering both the Topps Topps206 and Topps 205 sets as well as the Diamond Kings set with a product of their own. Each card in the set used a painting instead of a photo or photo badly doctored to look sort of like a painting. The paintings are all very well done too, they've got the same feel for the backgrounds as the original '41s while putting a little more details into the players' faces. Some of the original portraits looked pretty bland and generic, especially the ones where the full player was visible.

The mini card parallel set didn't copy the base card exactly, but added a new background. The basic backgrounds used are fluffy clouds, a stadium scene and abstract colors. Upper deck mixed these up pretty well on the cards and made the parallel set just as fun to collect as the base cards.

Along with the mini parallels there were also black and red back parallels of each card. I am not sure what the insert ratios were for the the red backs were but they are fairly common. As far as I can tell all the cards in the set including SPs and the Joe DiMaggio inserts can be found with both black and red backs. I have not seen any mini cards or jersey cards with red backs though so they may or may not exist.

Another cool thing about the set is the large number of Hall of Fame players in the set. The checklist is ordered by teams so you can fine the legends peppered throughout. You can't complain about a set with Stan the Man, Pops and Yogi.

The one thing that this set does not have in abundance is rookie cards. This was more of a star/legend vehicle and UD wisely decided not to clutter things up with a bunch of prospects. Sure, you miss out on rookies of Ryan Howard, Chien Ming Wang and Hanley Ramirez, but on the other hand there's no Bryan Bullington, Ben Howard or Mike Neu in there either. Upper Deck did manage to sneak in one big name rookie into the very last card of the set, Hidecki Matsui. The set was originally supposed to be only 103 cards, but Godzilla was added as card 104. Yep shenanigans were happening in 2003 as well...

Each box had 24 packs and a pack held five cards. In any given box you could expect 90 base cards, 12 reprint minis, 12 parallel minis, one Ted Williams SP, one Summer of '41 SP and four Joe DiMaggio Streak cards. Every other box had a jersey card, with numbered and autographed variations being much more difficult to find.

Yankee Clipper 1941 Hitting Streak Box Score cards: 1-42 - 1:8, 43-56 - 1:24
1941 Play Ball reprints: 1:2
Mini card parallels: 1:2
Game-Used Jersey cards 1:48
Tribute to Ted Williams: 1:24
Summer of '41: 1:24

I couldn't find a decent checklist for this stuff anywhere online, so here ya go!

1 Troy Glaus
2 Darin Erstad
3 Randy Johnson
4 Luis Gonzalez
5 Curt Schilling
6 Tom Glavine
7 Chipper Jones
8 Greg Maddux
9 Andruw Jones
10 Pedro Martinez
11 Manny Ramirez
12 Nomar Garciaparra
13 Billy Williams
14 Sammy Sosa
15 Kerry Wood
16 Mark Prior
17 Ernie Banks
18 Frank Thomas
19 Joe Morgan
20 Ken Griffey Jr.
21 Adam Dunn
22 Jim Thome
23 Todd Helton
24 Larry Walker
25 Lance Berkman
26 Roy Oswalt
27 Jeff Bagwell
28 Nolan Ryan
29 Mike Sweeney
30 Shawn Green
31 Hideo Nomo
32 Kazuhisa Ishii
33 Richie Sexson
34 Robin Yount
35 Harmon Killebrew
36 Torii Hunter
37 Vladimir Guerrero
38 Roberto Alomar
39 Mike Piazza
40 Tom Seaver
41 Phil Rizzuto
42 Yogi Berra
43 Mike Mussina
44 Roger Clemens
45 Derek Jeter
46 Jason Giambi
47 Bernie Williams
48 Alfonso Soriano
49 Catfish Hunter
50 Barry Zito
51 Eric Chavez
52 Tim Hudson
53 Rollie Fingers
54 Miguel Tejada
55 Pat Burrell
56 Brian Giles
57 Willie Stargell
58 Phil Nevin
59 Orlando Cepeda
60 Barry Bonds
61 Jeff Kent
62 Willie McCovey
63 Ichiro Suzuki
64 Stan Musial
65 Albert Pujols
66 J.D. Drew
67 Scott Rolen
68 Mark McGwire
69 Alex Rodriguez
70 Juan Gonzalez
71 Ivan Rodriguez
72 Rafael Palmeiro
73 Carlos Delgado
74 Ted Williams Summer of '41 SP
75 Hank Greenberg Summer of '41 SP
76 Joe DiMaggio Summer of '41 SP
77 Lefty Gomez Summer of '41 SP
78 Tommy Henrich Summer of '41 SP
79 Pee Wee Reese Summer of '41 SP
80 Mel Ott Summer of '41 SP
81 Carl Hubbell Summer of '41 SP
82 Jimmie Foxx Summer of '41 SP
83 Joe Cronin Summer of '41 SP
84 Charlie Gehringer Summer of '41 SP
85 Frank Hayes Summer of '41 SP
86 Babe Dahlgren Summer of '41 SP
87 Dolph Camilli Summer of '41 SP
88 Johnny Vander Meer Summer of '41 SP
89 Ted Williams Tribute SP
90 Ted Williams Tribute SP
91 Ted Williams Tribute SP
92 Ted Williams Tribute SP
93 Ted Williams Tribute SP
94 Ted Williams Tribute SP
95 Ted Williams Tribute SP
96 Ted Williams Tribute SP
97 Ted Williams Tribute SP
98 Ted Williams Tribute SP
99 Ted Williams Tribute SP
100 Ted Williams Tribute SP
101 Ted Williams Tribute SP
102 Ted Williams Tribute SP
103 Ted Williams Tribute SP
104 Hideki Matsui

1941 Play Ball Reprints
R-1 Ted Williams
R-2 Hank Greenberg
R-3 Joe DiMaggio
R-4 Lefty Gomez
R-5 Tommy Henrich
R-6 Pee Wee Reese
R-7 Mel Ott
R-8 Carl Hubbell
R-9 Jimmie Foxx
R-10 Joe Cronin
R-11 Charlie Gehringer
R-12 Frank Hayes
R-13 Babe Dahlgren
R-14 Dolph Camilli
R-15 Johnny Vander Meer
R-16 Bucky Walters
R-17 Red Ruffing
R-18 Charlie Keller
R-19 Indian Bob Johnson
R-20 Dutch Leonard
R-21 Barney McCosky
R-22 Soupy Campbell
R-23 Stormy Weatherly
R-24 Bobby Doerr
R-25 Bill Dickey

Hope you enjoyed 2003 Play Ball, up next - 2001 Upper Deck Legends.


Gellman said...

Side note: Has anyone seen what Stan Musial looks like lately? Wow, he has not aged well. Plus I heard he isnt in the best of health lately. Really too bad.

GCA said...

Whoa, a retro set with actual retro players and current stars without being infested with rookies that have no history? And boxes are available under $80 SIGN ME UP!! That's my kind'a set!