For about a month now I had been intrigued by the Upper Deck Artifacts boxes. They guarantee three memorabilia hits and one autograph. The price of $100 – $125 a box is way too steep for my blood, so I was relegated to just looking. Until yesterday when I went to my new favorite hobby shop. I decided to try my luck at a $10 pack of artifacts. Stacy (the owner) told me that 2 of the 4 packs that had hits were taken but that still left 2 of 8 (25% chance of a hit). She selected the pack for me and I went out to the car where my wife and I opened the pack together. Here is a summary of what we got:
1. Mike Rabelo – C – Tigers – Don’t adjust your monitor, the picture is indeed crooked. At first I was excited about seeing a rookie card, then I realized it was of a catcher. Can you really get excited about a catcher’s card? Maybe Joe Mauer or a rookie Piazza but that’s about it. Mike is really a one tool player and that tool is pretty dull. He is a 0.275 hitter and got about 150 at bats in the pros last year. At 28 he has shown little power and it would be hard to believe he will at this point in his career. About the only thing he has going for him is a nice smile which could get him a spot on dinged corners.
2. Justin Morneau – 1B – Twins – The secret is out. Justin is a hell of a ballplayer! He won the MVP in 2005, then put up almost identical numbers for 2006 (except this average dropped 50 points). If I had to guess, I would say his numbers for this year will look more like his 2007 numbers than his MVP season. If he stays healthy, look for 0.280, 30, 100, I don’t think that is out of the question, even if they lost Torii Hunter, they still picked up Delmon Young.
3. Grady Sizemore – OF – Indians – I think Grady is more valuable than Morneau. He has a better average, may hit fewer homers but makes up for that with his 20+ steals a year. Because he plays on a small market team, he doesn’t get the same exposure as someone like Soriano. I think though with time, he may end up as a consistent 30/30 guy with the potential of a 40/40 season. Just think about this, he’ll be turning 25 (right around his peak years) he is already hitting 0.280 25, 80, 20, he could start hitting 0.290, 30, 100, 30 as soon as this year. He has good protection in the lineup with Garko, Blake, Hafner, Peralta and Martinez. With most of those guys in the middle of their prime years, it’s just a perfect storm of sorts. He never be a valuable commodity in the baseball card universe but overall he is a very good player we’ll see how that translates out throughout his career.
4. Jeff Bagwell – Matinée Idol – 1B – Astros – This is one of the best pack pulls I have ever gotten (along with the Manny RamirezTopps 08 Jersey). How can you not like Bagewell, he played his entire big league career with one team. He’s a career 0.297 hitter, had 449 home runs, over 2300 hits. Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards and four All Star appearances. He may not get into the Hall of Fame, but if I had a vote I would put him in. An interesting aside to this card, it is a 2007 card but he hasn’t played since 2005.
5. Derrek Lee – 1B – Cubs – He put up some great numbers with the Marlins in the earlier part of this decade, but in 2005 he had a career year 0.335, 47, 107, 15 SBs. He followed that up by getting a new contract and getting himself injured for most of 2006. He came back in 2007, still a solid hitter but not the 2005 hitter he was. My guess as he turns 32 this year, you will see more of his 2007 self kind of a 0.310, 25, 90, 10 season for him. As long as e stays healthy which to this day seems to be his norm and 2006 looks like a aberration.
Overall a very nice pack. We got a memorabilia card of Bagwell, two regular issue cards of the hottest young guys in baseball, a rookie card (puke) and an aging veteran. It’s been so long since I had to break down the set in my five part rating process that I had to look up how I did it. Here are my ratings:
Cards in Pack – 5 – 2.0 stars – I gave it the bare minimum. I know this is considered a premium set, but I try to think if this pack didn’t have the Bagwell in it, and had some other insert would 5 be good or bad. I’ll go with OK.
Cost of Pack – $10 – 2.0 stars – At first glance $10 seems like a lot of money for a pack, and it is, but you do have a 40% chance of hitting a relic or auto card. So I had to give it the benefit of the doubt here. If I didn’t hit a relic card I would be pissed!
Stars in Pack -4 – 4.0 stars – How can I say any of these guys aren’t stars with the exception of Rabelo. Heck we might even have a Hall of Famer in here someday.
Value of Pack – $10 – 3.0 stars – I’ll use the Beckett guide on this one and say I got my money back on the pack.
Design of the card – 2.0 stars - This was actually pretty disappointing to me. If you are going to charge 10 bucks a pack, you better have a superior design for a card. Old treasure maps of ballplayers is just not going to cut it at that price. Why not make the set look beautiful. I think that’s where UD gets taken down a notch. They have the best signature and memorabilia cards but the base cards just look plain.
Overall, the pack gets a 2.6 stars rating. That may be great for some packs, but for mine it kind of stinks, especially since I got a memorabilia card in this pack. I am still not a fan of $10 a pack for cards, but I can live with it as long as the pack searchers stay out of the boxes. A 40% chance to pull a memorabilia card is about as good as it gets so I do recomend giving it a shot. I think though my limit as far as price per pack will be $10. It’s just not worth more than that.