The trucks have left for spring training and 2009 baseball card products are starting to hit shelves. Can spring be far behind?
Upper Deck’s standard issue 2009 baseball cards are rolling out this week with a larger base set and some new insert programs celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary.
The 500-card first series is 100 subjects larger than the 2008 Upper Deck effort.
The company is promoting its brand around an ode to its inaugural 1989 set with 89 signed and several hundred unsigned buyback 1989 Ken Griffey Jr cards randomly inserted. Upper Deck has also sprinkled in cards chronicling 10 "Historic Firsts" that took place during 2008 and nine "Historic Firsts Predictors" that could come true in 2009.
A special 2,500-card insert set gets launched with Series One. Cards from the monster set will be featured inside each of the company’s ’09 releases. The retrospective "20th Anniversary" cards, appearing at a rate of one in every other pack, celebrate special events from the past 20 years that have occurred in sports, politics, pop culture, world history and even technology.
“This year represents a special one for the Upper Deck Company, so we knew that our original brand – Upper Deck – would have to have some special bells and whistles associated with it," said Jason Masherah, Upper Deck’s senior sports brand manager. “I think we really captured some pivotal pieces to the puzzle, from the autographed Griffey rookie buybacks to the 20th Anniversary retrospective cards, we’ve really packed a lot of cool content into this year’s flagship release.”
Hobby boxes will yield, on average, two MLB memorabilia cards, one of which is either a dual, triple or quad serial-numbered to 199 or less. In addition, hobby boxes will bear, on average, one “Inkredible” autograph card as well as up to four “Yankee Stadium Legacy Update” cards and four “MLB Documentary Update” cards.
To honor the card that started it all, Upper Deck had Griffey sign 89 of his 1989 rookie cards and include the special inscription: “20 years.” These cards were randomly inserted into the product. Griffey signed the first 13 cards in black ink and the remaining 76 cards in blue ink.
The “Historic Firsts” cards, meanwhile, inserted at a rate of 1:6 packs in Upper Deck’s 2009 Series One Baseball, include notable achievements including from the political arena: the "First African-American elected to the U.S. Presidency" (Barack Obama); the “First Female Candidate on GOP’s Presidential Ticket” (Sarah Palin); from the military sector, the “First Female to be Promoted to U.S. Four-Star General” (Army General Ann E. Dunwoody); and from the science-and-technology region, the “First Privately Developed Space Launch” (SpaceX Falcon 1).
Upper Deck also included a few sports-related predictions. The scenario most likely to come true is that the National League ends a 10-year drought and actually wins this year’s MLB All-Star Game, which is being played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The two remaining sports predictions include Chicago being named host city of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, and college football adopting an actual playoff system to determine the national champion.
Cases, boxes, singles and sets are already selling online.