Saturday, December 5, 2009

2009 UD Piece of History Box Break: A Success Story

I admit it.  After buying a UD 'Piece of History' Hobby Box (but before opening it) I had heard only bad things about the product.  Boring design.  Too many non-sports cards.  Weak pulls.  Mundane pictures.

My high hopes had been lowered.  Sometimes low expectations make it easy to be pleasantly surprised.  Sorta like when you decide to rent a Will Ferrell movie.  I don't know if that's what is at work here, or if I just got lucky with a good box, but I had more fun opening this box than I did the 2009 Topps Chrome and 2009 Goodwin.

2009 Upper Deck 'A Piece of History'.
16 packs, 7 cards per pack.
(1) Piece of Hollywood Memorabilia Card, (2) MLB Memorabilia Cards, (1) Autograph Card, and (8) UD 20th Anniversary Cards per box on average.
$40 paid.

True, the pictures are not spectacular.  However I do find the base design to be clean and classy.

Click on the pic for a bigger look.

Teixeira looking into the sun.  Rollins laughing.  Crawford with a sea of empty teal seats behind him.  These nine were some of the best base photos.  Looks pretty cool to me.  The marble border really makes the team logos standout as well.

About 20% of the cards you receive will be 'Historical Moments' (22 out of 112 total cards in this box).  At 36 cents a card (if you pay $40 for the box) that is almost $8 allocated to cards most people don't collect.  On the bright side, as non-sports cards go, these are some of the most beautiful photographs I've seen.

That D-Day picture is haunting, striking. 

The Pluto picture is amazing.  The card explains that Pluto was downgraded to a Dwarf planet in 2006.  How humiliating.  You can bet the first thing Neptune said was "I knew it!" 

I find it interesting that the 20th Anniversary Cards are often mentioned in the description of "what you get".  Any Reggie is a good Reggie.  Shef in a Marlins uniform brings back memories.  But most of these 20th Anniversary Cards are again, non-baseball.  I received seven total (two were baseball).

The other ones you don't want to see: Bill Paxson from the Bulls, Dolly the cloned sheep, two Bill Clintons (I guess he cloned himself), and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, shooting a stern look from behind a podium.

Dolly the cloned sheep looks particularly dazed.  A piece of straw is hanging from her mouth.  Another is stuck in her wool.  She looks a lot like people look when they get off a plane after a long flight:  Disheveled and spacey.  What?  You say you DO want to see Dolly?  Okay, fine.

See?  I told you.  She appears to be searching for the Hotel Shuttle Bus.

Dolly was later bred with a nameless Welsh Mountain ram.  The two produced six lambs in total:  Bonnie, Sally, Rosie, Lucy, Darcy and Cotton.  Cotton?  What the... 

Unfortunately Dolly's life was cut short by a progressive lung disease and severe arthritis.  Actually, now that I think about it, Dolly lived a life almost identical to my late Aunt Franny, except Aunt Franny's husband was Irish and called her Fanny whenever he drank too much, which was often.

The five non-sport 20th Anniversary cards amount to a cost of $1.80.  So add that to the $8 for the 'Historical Moments' cards and about $10 of this box is dedicated to randomness.  But hey, honestly, if we do the math on any box break you almost always come out of it looking bad.  Try this with Goodwin and you will gasp.  Part of the cost is the enjoyment of opening packs anyway.

Now to the stuff I love.  If you like pulling serial numbered cards this box is for you.  All sixteen packs had either a serial numbered card, a game used card, an auto, or a Hollywood Piece of Memorabilia.  The breakdown was 14 serial numbered cards, 1 auto, 1 game used and 1 Hollywood redemption.

Johnny Cueto (#410/999), Chavez (368/999), Matsuzaka (#793/999), and Posada (#434/999).

I know a lot of people don't care much about serial numbered cards but I am a big fan.  These cards are particularly nice. I like the stadium idea.

Pujols/Ankiel/Ludwick (#754/999), Ichiro/Crawford (#882/999), and Oswalt/Lincecum (#850/999).

David Wright (#258/299), Juan Miranda Auto (#16/99), Justin Morneau (#01/25), and Chris Lambert (#222/299).

The Morneau #01/25 is a pretty sweet card to pull.  I only have a few #1 serial numbered cards.

The good news about Juan Miranda is he has a whopping .368 lifetime batting average in the majors.  The bad news is it's just 19 at bats and he is stuck behind Teixeira (Miranda plays first base).  He will turn 27 in early 2010.

Miranda is another one of those guys that started his professional career in America late (Age 24).  He defected from the Dominican Republic in 2004.  His minor league numbers are decent (.280 lifetime with a .840 ops).  He apparently can play the outfield as well.

The Yankees did give him a four year $2 million contract in 2006, so perhaps they expect him to be a role player off the bench someday soon.  I am not sure and am too hungry to look into it more.

Jake Peavy (#768/999), Ryan Braun (#32/50), and Derrek Lee (#56/75). 

The Derrek Lee card is eye-catching, but the Upper Deck logo looks like a cheap stamp on a nice portrait.  The base cards have an unobtrusive gold foil Upper Deck logo, yet many of the inserts have the less attractive logo.  And the placement drives me nuts.  Right on Derrek's helmet.  I'd prefer the logo always be bottom right or left so it doesn't distract.  No matter where it goes it reminds me of cable TV stations that have their channel name on the screen 100% of the time.  It is just one of those things nobody likes but we all accept, I guess.

Nick Markakis (Game Used Jersey #147/180)

Yes!  One of my favorite players on my favorite team.  What a fine looking card.

And finally, drum roll please...Time For Show Biz. 

Arnold!  Wow!  I had completely forgotten that I was going to get a genuine piece of Hollywood Memorabilia.  Afterward, I looked at the other possibilities from the set and this seems like one of the best.  I am a big fan of Arnold's movies like 'Terminator' and 'Predator'.  'Pumping Iron' is one of the best documentaries ever.  Arnold will always be the Godfather of the bodybuilding world.

I don't know what #ING CD means exactly.

I already redeemed it.  What could it be?  Please not hair.  Maybe it's pants.  I could use some slacks.  Or maybe it's Danny DeVito!  Arnold was in 'Twins' with Danny so Danny could be my memorabilia piece I assume.  I could use a little helper around the house to straighten up and all that jazz.

This box was FUN.  And really, did I even get lucky?  I only got one MLB memorabilia card (instead of the expected two) and the auto I pulled is not a score.  So, maybe the next one will be even better.  I will certainly buy another one at some point.  No complaints from me on this box break.  

Okay, I've played with cards all day.  It's ridiculous.  I'm a grown man.  I can't waste more time today.  I have to do something productive.  I'm off to buy wine.


  1. Nice break man! Is the Miranda ft? I'd be interested if it is. Lmk, thanks.

  2. Very nice breakdown. If you want to work out a deal for the non-sport cards you pulled, feel free to drop me a line (ditto for the ones from Goodwin). The Ah-nuld is interesting. The numbering you were wondering about I think can be deciphered "No numbering; Card number POH-AS. Very cool card, depending on the movie the costume is coming from. I'll try and do a little digging.

  3. I just found the list. The Arnold is planned to have a sweater piece from "End of Days." Still cool, but not super-ultra cool.

  4. Thanks for that info, Ryan! Very helpful. 'End of Days' ahhh. I didn't even see that movie. I was hoping 'Terminator' or 'Total Recall'. Like you say, still cool.

    Yes I think we can work out a deal. Actually, I am willing to trade the Arnold too, but that may take 6 months to get here.

    I'll send you an email.


  5. Thnx, Swag. Yeah, the Miranda is up for trade. Maybe you have a similar type player auto of someone on the Orioles?

    I'll email you.

  6. I think I'm gonna have to break down and get a box of this at some point. It's getting inexpensive enough now to justify for three or four hits, and I'm definitely in the minority that likes how the base cards look. I wasn't aware of how many numbered cards there were though. They may be arbitrary, but I think that's the final straw for me in getting a box, because they might be the best kind of trade bait for team and player collectors. It seems most of them rarely go out of their way to track them down (myself included, I've let so many #ed Fukudome's, Griffeys, and Ichiros go because I couldn't justify the extra $3 shipping).

  7. Is the Ichiro/Crawford for trade? I have some O's I could send your way if you're game!

    Nice break.

  8. Ah, sorry. I like that card and those players too much to give it up, but if I get another (or a Crawford insert)I'll trade you. I'll probably open a few more boxes within a few months.