The first iteration of the set arrived one year earlier in the form of "Century Legends," which made sense since the 21st would be dawning in just a couple years. Also, MLB announced its All Century Team that year, so the name definitely made sense.
In 2000 the set dropped "Century" from the name and rolled with that theme. The product features a mix of then-current players along with undisputed legends, and in general the player selection is pretty good (I'll note my objections later). As you'll see, the design is foil-heavy (including borders) with the player's name running vertically up the right side in a box based roughly on team colors. A box of the same color runs most of the length of the bottom and includes a blurb about that player, which is cool since that's the kind of thing usually confined to a back. The player's position (again vertical) and number round out the bottom-right corner.
The set is organized by team, alphabetically by the nickname instead of the city, which is a bit of a curveball. All 30 modern teams have at least one representative (which makes things...interesting at times), with a few inclusions for relocated teams as well. The Dodgers (including Brooklyn), Orioles, and Yankees lead all teams with five cards apiece while the Mariners, Marlins, and Padres balance them out with just one.
Whether or not you're like me and love smaller sets that are multiples of nine, please enjoy all 90 cards of 2000 Upper Deck Century Legends!:
dealing with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and returning to a pretty high performance level, if not as good as his prime years. Yount is a no-brainer while Burnitz was in the midst of some nice power numbers, though hindsight makes this choice look terrible. UD was able to squeeze Molitor in right next to the Brewers (for whom he played for 15 years) but picture him as a Blue Jay (three) instead, which was questionable. Delgado was an easy choice, but I thought Wells got in only on the strength of his 2000 season. Hey, that's a great shot of Banks!
Since I didn't bother to scan a card back, here's one courtesy of COMC:
Not so much foil on the back, eh? You get full career stats, a pretty good blurb (in addition to the one on the front) and the usual biographic info, all on top of a black-and-white version of the front photo. It's different than the front but looks just as good.
Well, what do you all think of this set which, once again, has always been one of my favorites? And what would you have done in my shoes--buy the complete set, or piece it together the hard way? Let me know in the comments!