1997 Upper Deck UD3 was a high quality base set that included 60 cards split up into three subsets--"Homerun Heroes," "ProMotion" and "Future Impact." The first and last are obvious themes while the second isn't quite so clear, but in any event, this split lives up to the box's promise of "three unique technologies."
I'm pretty sure I started this one with a couple loose packs before moving on to a box a while later. Since it's been such a long time I can't remember for sure, but I can definitely say I completed it, which is why you're seeing it today.
Homerun Heroes (#s 1-20):
Mark McGwire, Brady Anderson, Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Belle, Andres Galarraga, Juan Gonzalez, Jay Buhner, Mo Vaughn, Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Todd Hundley, Ellis Burks, Ken Caminiti, Vinny Castilla, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Matt Williams, Eddie Murray
Mark McGwire back
Of the three subsets, I think these are the best looking of the bunch. The holographic, slide-type pictures and action shots look great on the wood grain background. The backs don't give you much in the way of stats, but you do get a different action shot. Living up to the era's preference for roided-up, homer-bashing meatheads, a lot of these guys wouldn't hack it in today's drug-tested MLB, but there's still plenty of names to like. That's just a quintessential shot of Junior Griffey with the backwards hat, and there's favorites such as Matt Williams, Jay Buhner and Eddie Murray.
ProMotion (#s 21-40):
Roger Clemens, Tim Salmon, Robin Ventura, Ron Gant, Cal Ripken Jr., Bernie Williams, Hideo Nomo, Ivan Rodriguez, John Smoltz, Paul Molitor, Greg Maddux, Raul Mondesi, Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Tony Gwynn, Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, Jeff Bagwell, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett
Roger Clemens back
These cards look a bit better than the scans indicate (sometimes foil just isn't a scanner's best friend) but are my least favorite design of the three. That's unfortunate because by far it's the best group of players. A few more fan favorites like Ventura and Williams get grouped in with stars like Thome and Larkin and legends such as Ripken, Maddux, Smith and Puckett. Again, the photography is pretty good and the backs aren't bad.
Future Impact (#s 41-60):
Andruw Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Edgar Renteria, Luis Castillo, Darin Erstad, Nomar Garciaparra, Todd Greene, Jason Kendall, Rey Ordonez, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Todd Walker, Ruben Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Todd Hollandsworth, Rocky Coppinger, Scott Rolen, Jermaine Dye, Chipper Jones
Andruw Jones back
Before I talk about these briefly, I want to mention that I finally got around to peeling these cards. They didn't have an obnoxious label on them telling you to remove the peel, but the cards do look quite a bit better peeled. Por ejemplo:
Now that these are peeled, they look pretty nice, but they still don't top the wood grained Homerun Heroes in my book. Yet there's a lot to like here. First and foremost the action shots really pop off the cards, and they go well with the translucent inset photos, the only of the three subsets to include that feature. The player selection in this group was also better than the HomeRoid Heroes, especially considering projecting rookies is a lot more difficult. The biggest misses were Rivera (the odds must've seemed good so they greenlit yet another Yankee) and Coppinger. A few of these guys already had a couple seasons under their belts, but that's no reason not to label them future stars.
Overall this is a fun set to look at, and even better, pulling it out not only allowed me to take another look at it, it also got me to peel some cards and get better looks at them. This is as good a reason as any for starting up a collecting blog if you've been on the fence about it--doing so has gotten me more involved in my collection after a few disorganized and uninteresting years. I also enjoyed posting a set I don't think I've seen too much about in the blogosphere, perhaps because it's older and not every blogger was collecting at that time. In my case, this was a great set to choose because not only have I not seen it around much, it also continued my trend of smaller, less scan-intensive sets. Still, this is one of the shiniest I've have the experience of showing off, and I hope all of you enjoyed it.
Now, onto the first weekend of the MLB playoffs, college football week five, NFL week four and the opening weekend of college hockey!