Monday, July 4, 2016

Complete sets: 1997 Upper Deck Home Team Heroes

Happy 4th, everyone!  I hope you all had a relaxing and safe holiday (unless you had to work for whatever reason) doing American things like blowing stuff up, grilling, and especially watching baseball.

Since the latter is such an American tradition, how about I show off more cards from that sport?  Though I did make it to a show on Saturday--and had reasonable success while spending just $12--I'm going with the "in for a penny, in for a pound" mindset this evening and showing off one more oversized boxed set:  1997 Upper Deck Home Team Heroes:
(I'm pretty sure this is the last such set I own that I haven't shown off, but no promises!)

Y'all are in for a treat today:  these 3.5x5" cards feature Light F/X™ Foil technology!

This is a 12-card set UD put out in '97 celebrating popular pairs of teammates and their clubs' cities.  Each oversized card is horizontally oriented with kind of a banner or marquee die-cut on the upper quarter.  The main color is based on the team and pretty much everything else is silver foil, from the outlines/accents to the set name in huge letters at the top to the players' names and logos--team and UD brand.

The "Light F/X Foil" refers to the background of each card into which the teammates are superimposed.  This is a shot of the stadium done up in Upper Deck SP-like foil with a sort of textured look that's easier to show than describe.

Backs include an additional photo of each player, their names in huge letters up top, the typical write-up, their positions and team logos, plus height/weight/age.

With 12 two-player cards we get a total of 24 players, and even almost 20 years later the player selection is excellent, not to mention representative of player popularity during that era.  I consider the Mets card the only misstep, and really only half the card looks all that bad now.  UD was understandably excited about Todd Hundley breaking the HR record for catchers with 41 bombs in '96, but they were fooled by Bernard Gilkey and his flukey 30-HR campaign--almost double his previous career high--the same year.

Everyone else seems spot on, though, from Griffey/A-Rod to Piazza/Nomo to the young duo of Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams, who'd just won a World Series the year before.  Atlanta is especially well-represented with a pair of cards, but considering one is a pair of pitching legends--Maddux and Smoltz--and the other, Andruw and Chipper Jones, had just starred in the '96 Series, which was Atlanta's second straight Pennant, you can't really blame Upper Deck.

So enjoy this trip down memory lane looking over some of the stars of 20 years ago as I get new cards added for my four big non-Detroit/Michigan PCs:  Griffey, Gwynn, Maddux, and Ripken!


  1. There's some irony in the fact that UD used the iconic Wrigley Field marquee as their design template, yet failed to include the Cubs within in said set. I can't say I blame them though, the Cubs were pretty awful at this time.

    1. Yeah, I doubt fans back then complained too much about that even though a Sosa/Sandberg card could have worked. I looked back at the roster and had forgotten that Turk Wendell was their closer that year!