Monday, March 15, 2010

1999 Skybox Metal Universe Hobby Box Break (Metal is a Monster!)

1999 Fleer Skybox Metal Universe Hobby Box
24 packs, 8 cards per pack

This set is flat out bad ass.  There, I said it.  I feel better already.

From pack one, card one, I was a fan.

Beckett describes the cards in this set as 'Brushed metal backgrounds in 100 percent etched silver foil and an embossed nameplate with the look of forged steel.'

That sounds like the description of a stolen firearm a fugitive might be carrying.  That's not a card, that's an A.P.B..

Griffey front, Griffey back.  Industrial.

None of these shots were taken with a flash, I just finally managed to get a lamp closer to the cards.  These cards shine like mad in general, but at an angle or in direct light, they explode.  All you Shinesters out there would be hypnotized.

The set has 300 cards.  Cards 1-232 are like the ones I've posted so far.  Cards 233-300 are subsets.

The MLPD subset has 25 cards.  Most of the ones I pulled look gold but some have more of a silver background tint.  What does MLPD stand for?  Gotta be Major League Police Department, right?


Notice anything similar about the players in these pictures?

They literally all look angry.  The All-Angry-All-Star Team.  

It's almost as if the photographer insulted each player right before clicking.  "Hey Johnson!  Dork Bird!  Ya you!"  Click.  Sweet.  

Look there, two of them even have their arms crossed.  Tall glass of obstinate, anyone? 

This is hands down the angriest subset I have ever seen.  No way anything tops it.  "How can we intimidate the kids?"  "How about we take their heroes and make them look full of hate?"  "Perfect."  Click.  Click.  Click.  Just another Metal moment of perfection.

The Caught on the Fly 15 card subset is pure silver mirror.  It's nearly impossible to photograph these without getting the camera reflection.

See?  There's the camera and my finger in the lower left.

Also, never touch the front of these cards even lightly or you will leave your fingerprints behind.  There they will stay until 3978 A.D. when a fair haired orangutan named Dr. Zaius will find your precious trunk of baseball cards under a heap of rubble and sadly say "Oh great, another perfectly good cardboard mirror ruined by stupid fingerprint smudges.  These things never come off."

There's the camera again, BUT in this close up you can really see Fly.  How cool is Fly?  Fly is of course, bad ass cool.  Just as he should be.  It's the first fly I would gladly accept advice from.

On the back of Chipper Jones' card Fly calls Chipper, 'Chipster'.  He says 'Hey-yo' to Ben Grieve.  He notes the Cubs are 'Fuzzy Cubbies' on the back of Sosa's card.  He tells the Angels they look 'divine' with Erstad leading off.   And perhaps best of all, he calls Barry Bonds 'B-squared', apparently referencing the 400/400 club Bonds had recently joined (400 lifetime HR/SB). 

On one card Fly even claims he has spies working for him that are constantly feeding him all this information.  Now that I think about it, I have seen flies at ballparks.

The Building Blocks subset consists of 25 cards.  I truly think this is one of the best card designs I have ever seen.

Sir Beltre.

The overall look is so unique and creative, but what takes it to the top for me is that the team logo colors are non-traditional.

The backs are hysterical. 

Back to back 'Yo' cards!

This Drew back gets the crown.  What the heck is going on with this card?  Iron on the inside?  Pilot in a snow storm?  Zeus?  I love it.  Pure Metal.

The only bad thing about this subset is most of the players didn't make it to stardom.

Actually many of them didn't even stick around in the majors (here's Jeremy Giambi - he did okay, Cliff Politte, Carlton Loewer, Ryan Minor).

No matter.  They are all more than worthy of my binders.  I just wish an entire set was made exactly like these cards.  It's sad it will never happen, unless....Wonder Twin Powers Activate!  Form of...a card set!  Meh.  Nothing.  Darn it.

There's only a few of these Building Blocks cards on Ebay.  You'd think there would be a few hundred. 

Seeing one in person is like seeing Zeus pilot through a snow storm with iron in his backpack.  What the?

Now for the inserts...

According to my research, in the entire history of baseball cards, these are the only ones that use the word Neophytes on the card front (seriously).  This is also the same set that uses the word 'phat' several times on card backs.

The Neophytes inserts drop 1:6 packs on average.  Yeah, I said drop.  Problem?  That's how we roll in a Metal Universe post.  I'm trying to fit in.

Here's the back.  That's right, they went there.  Pop tune lyrics from the 80's:  'Oh, Ricky.  You're so're so fine you blow our minds!'  Plus there's a big picture and three IDENTICAL small pictures.  My God, Metal.  Fearless.

Uh, er....ahem.  Here's a Boyz With The Wood insert.  Yeah.  Yup.  These fall 1:18 packs.  So...anywho.  Alrighty.  Okay then.  What's next?  Ah...the final insert.

Mark McGwire Diamond Soul insert.  These are seeded just 1:72 packs so this is a nice pull if you don't mind McGwire.  Looks wild.

There it is:  The madness, brilliance, meanness, beauty, goofiness, too-coolness, and all around genius of 1999 Metal Universe.
What do you guys and gals think?  Did any of you collect these in 1999?  Do you like this set?  I'd be interested to know the general thoughts out there.

Thanks for reading!


  1. I wasn't really collecting in 1999 but i did try dipping my toe into collecting again after a five year hiatus. But because of the amount of things that were out, I was all confused and only picked up a Topps set and Update set. The Metal look really nice, thanks for the run down. I had never seen any before.

  2. Only in a Metal Universe could cards like these happen. Love it!

  3. This set is awesomely bad. And by "bad" I mean any way you want to define that word. It makes me laugh out loud.

    I love the fly cards.

    Unfortunately I didn't collect at all in the late '90s.

  4. A truely great set lost in the abyss of bad sets in the late 90's. I gotta find me some of those bad boys!