2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces Baseball Review

Masterpieces, Masterpieces, Masterpieces.  Bring back Masterpieces.  Why won’t they bring back Masterpieces.  I’ve heard from bloggers over and over lately.  One of you even took it upon yourself to create a placeholder virtual set.

While this wasn’t a product I knew about until I came back to the hobby (just like virtually every product, really), I do have some experience with the 2007 stuff.  Will the verdict this time around be the same?  I bet you can guess the answer, but just humor me.

By the way, this was the last box I busted for the Community Break.  So, that means we’ll be resuming our normal posts from here on out.  Which is good, because I have a bunch of trades to get up!  Everybody loves trade posts!

12 packs per box, 6 cards per pack

Will any of those three big contracts on the top row get moved this off-season?

Main Set
One year later, it appears that the theme of celebrating historic achievements is now gone.  That’s fine, really.  What’s a little worse, however, is the loss of many classic players.  This set focused more on highlighting team standouts while peppering in the HOFers.  I believe most of those are short prints, like the Banksy you see.

Probably my main criticism of this year is that it doesn’t look very different than the previous years.  There’s a double gold line and a little arrow type thing on the sides, and the set name is on the borders now, and that’s about it.  It would be cool to see a slight variation, or maybe have the base set be one of those colored borders, no?  The other unusual thing is that the back of the card highlights only one year.  Usually that’s the player’s best season, but sometimes, not so much.

All the other stuff that makes this set exactly the same as last year is all the positive stuff that you wanted to see return.  Interesting, detailed paintings put on textured, canvas-like card stock.  Simple, classy, effective design.  This is why people want to see this return.

Hello. My name is Joe. And I work. In a Pepitone factory.

Inserts
I’m just going to get these Yankee Stadium Legacy craps out of the way.  This would be why I wouldn’t want them to return, but really this is a commentary on Upper Deck rather than this specific product.  If you watch the video, all of these came at the end.  I had completely forgotten they were an option, so I was opening away, happily moving along and then Blam-o!  Four of these suckers and three of them have to be Joe Pepitone!  Please tell me someone out there collects him.  Please.

A muted rainbow

This is the insert that more people seem to care about (in relation go the other one, that is).  For those that are interested, the Red Utley (1 per box) was sent in the break goods and the Brown Hu (numbered to 100, I think?) was sent off in trade already.  But the other four black border variations are still in my possession right now.  That Nolan is pretty sweet.  The two Brewers I could do without.

Thankfully, Upper Deck came to their senses and made these nice and easy to distinguish.  Those black borders can only be black and not five different names for black (like Midnight, black hole, Wesley Snipes, etc.)  The guesswork is gone!  I would still request that there be a couple less if it ever does get revived.

I should be seeing this guy pitch tonight

Hits
These come two per box.  One of them is a relic and the other is supposed to be an auto.  Technically, this is a downgrade from 2007 when you got 4 per box (3 relics, 1 auto).  Matt Cain isn’t too bad of a get.  Plain white swatch isn’t too great of a get.  I still want to see paintings of these guys to help integrate them within the rest of the set, but I guess you can’t get everything you want.  But, you can rest knowing that the parallels of the hits are no more.  I wasn’t sure of that when I pulled this guy:

Green border, which means nothing.

Not all of the autos also include relic pieces, but mine did.  Good ol’ BMC signed this puppy right on the canvas, which is another big benefit and selling point to bring the product back.  And the set name is spelled correctly on these autographs, unlike last year.

Conclusion
So, should they bring this product back?  Yes, absolutely.  This is the perfect time for Upper Deck to do something like this.  Anything that doesn’t require pictures that they don’t have to doctor is a step in the right direction.  Show them in plain clothes or whatever you need to do, but let’s get this rolling again, guys.  Thanks for listening.

Design – ****
Set Collecting – ****
Inserts – ***
Hits – ***
Overall – **** out of 5

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