Upper Deck throws out big changes


November 28, 1993|By Ruth Sadler | Ruth Sadler,Staff Writer

Even devoted Upper Deck fans may need a scorecard to recognize their favorite brand of baseball cards in 1994.

Upper Deck, which pioneered the premium card and came out with a super-premium line this fall, has big changes in the works.

The premium cards, called Upper Deck since their inception in 1989, will be known as Collector's Choice. The suggested price is dropping to under $1, and buyers will get 12 cards per pack. The two series of 320 cards each will be out in December and May.

Upper Deck cards will be upgraded and be similar in quality to SP football cards, which made their debut this month. The two series will be issued in March and July.

There will also be an SP baseball line, which will be out in September. No details, but it will be the top of Upper Deck's line.

Upper Deck again will be producing minor-league cards. Look for them in February.

PTC Collectors who have wondered how companies arrive at their numbering need not wonder about Collector's Choice: Regular player cards are in alphabetical order, and so is the 20-card rookie subset. However, draft pick and top-performer subsets are not.

Card fronts have the Collector's Choice logo as well as a position/club logo with a stylized player. Backs have the familiar Upper Deck hologram and large color photo. The orientation is vertical.

The 1995 Collector's Choice will have something different: A lucky collector will be on the card with Ken Griffey as the grand prize in a contest run in conjunction with the line's inaugural season.

Bi-lingual in baseball

Pacific Trading Cards, which produced a Spanish-language baseball set last year, is bringing out the Crown Collection, with text in English and Spanish. Cards will be borderless, coated and embossed with a gold-foil crown. The cards, which will be shipped in late January, will include three insert sets and feature

660 players.

The future in December

Fleer is expanding its minor-league Excel set from 250 cards to 300 and releasing it at the time of the winter meetings in December. There will be three insert sets: all-stars, league leaders and players who made their pro debuts in Rookie and short-season Single-A leagues. Last year's Excel set featured 247 players, 70 of whom played in the major leagues in 1993, including the Orioles' Kevin McGehee. Orioles fans will find outfielder Stanton Cameron, who played for the Baysox last season, classified as an Oriole, although he went to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the Lonnie Smith trade.

TV tie-in

SkyBox Premium's NBA playoffs insert set has a twist. The 18 cards were selected by SkyBox and NBC Sports, which broadcast the playoffs. Each card features a different player inside a simulated TV screen.

Masters cards

Golf cards go super premium with Grand Slam Ventures' The Champions of Golf -- The Masters Collection. The 57-card set, limited to a production of 5,000, comes in a custom album and gift box. Each card gets its own page, which includes the winner's facsimile signature in gold. The album contains a foreword by four-time champ Arnold Palmer. Sets, which will retail for $149.95, will be available Wednesday.

Top picks added

Four of the top five NHL draftees are late additions to Upper Deck's first series. Look for Alexandre Daigle, Chris Pronger, Chris Gratton and Rob Niedermayer, all of whom made their NHL debuts.

Coming events

Through Dec. 17, exhibit on Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Marquard, Babe Ruth Museum, 216 Emory St., (410) 727-1539.

Today, card show to benefit St. Michaels Soccer Association (expected signer is Harold Baines), Talbot County Community Center (Route 50), Easton, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (410) 437-9927.

Today, card show to benefit Reisterstown Rec Council (expected signers include Rex Barney), Hannah More Park, Reisterstown, noon to 4:30 p.m., (410) 833-5039.

Saturday, card and comic book show to benefit Boy Scout Troop 672 (expected signers include Harold Baines), Old Mill High School, Millersville, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., auction at 3 p.m.

Next Sunday, card show, Holiday Inn-Cromwell Bridge Road (I-695, Exit 29 south), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.


Press Pass' 34-card Winston Cup set includes drivers (such as Sterling Marlin, shown), owners and cars. Collectors will have the opportunity to obtain race-used memorabilia such as lug nuts, tires and fire suits through a mail-in offer.

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