4.04.2010

Do you miss Masterpieces?

We got this base set from A Cardboard Problem a while back and it's a good thing, because these proved to be yet more cards we couldn't live without. Upper Deck Masterpieces provided a little dash of difference to the same old same old cardiness of baseball cards. Not vintage. Not shiny. A little pale, a little dark. The texture of vintage linen postcards. And yet. Hard to argue with the classic poses and the overall sense of care, of not rushing.
The flying dirt and frozen action of your basic midair moment card is there, plus a little je ne sais quoi.
In some (not all cases), the people in the stands became Monet-reminiscent impressionist dabs.

Many cards reveal an interesting play of light. Inevitably paired with bad backs, though:
The image is repeated (cut and blurrier) and many of the sentences are astonishing examples of grammatical concepts such as "run-on." Baseball card backs cry out for editing in the modern world.

But the poses here are classic. This was one of Night Owl's favorite cards, and it's got everything: the flying catcher's equipment; the focus and muscle of the athlete; the sheer determination in the player's face. This is not a thrown-together baseball card produced by a bored graphics department drone.

Sometimes Mr. Hochevar has a slight Lord of the Rings tinge to his appearance, and his Masterpiece card manages both to acknowledge and dignify that. The Killebrew semi-smile makes you wonder what he was thinking.
Compare the Masterpiece Felix to the current UD Felix. What do you think? Maybe living here in Georgia O'Keeffe country has made us wish it were a painted world.

11 comments:

the sewingmachineguy said...

I appreciate the photography of the modern sets. However, it was the UD Goudey, Turkey Red, Masterpieces, and Allen $ Ginter that got me back to collecting. Heck yeah I miss Masterpieces.

dayf said...

Yes, I missed this one last year. Don't want to think about this year... Baseball's back and I don't want to bum myself out with business decisions.

By the way, new title image is imminent. One of three things I'm doing to celebrate the new season. I'll probably post it before I go to bed.

Matt F. said...

This is probably my 2nd favorite set from the past few years after any of the Allen & Ginters but it was frustrating pulling what seemed to be the same cards over and over again. Especially that darn Michael Young card. I must have about six copies.

I wish they would have kept doing it and someday I'll get all the masterpieces sets together. I also like the bordered cards but they should have also done minis.

paulsrandomstuff said...

As nice as Masterpieces were, it's probably a good thing that they weren't around longer. I don't think Upper Deck could have kept the set from getting stale if they did it for 4 or 5 years.

Jeremy said...

Masterpieces is a fantastic site. The hockey version done in 2008-09 is even better.

White Sox Cards said...

I really miss this set!

Grand Cards said...

Since I got back into collecting in 2007ish, Masterpieces (2007 and 2008) remains the only set that I've pursued in its entirety. I loved the 2007 version, and, although I was frustrated with 2008 collation and thought that a lot of the drawings were worse, still liked that. I think that it could have continued for a while with minor design changes (a la A&G) and I would have still loved it.

I believe that Topps' National Chicle has the opportunity to fill the gap here. For me, the make or break is going to be the card stock and sheen they choose. If they go matte, or canvas (like Masterpieces) or something that feels like it is appropriate for a painted card--maybe their "Turkey Red" material--I think it will be exceptional. If they don't, then I'll still be looking for something to fill that void of art-meets-card.

night owl said...

Masterpieces was hit-and-miss with me. Some of it fantastic (Martin) and others not good at all (Yount, Randy Johnson). And the dupes were almost criminal.

Grand Cards is right -- I'm looking forward to Chicle.

The Wax Wombat said...

Another shout out to the Masterpieces Hockey.. I love those cards.

Cardsplitter said...

2007 was the second set I completed after reentering card collecting this past fall. I have ripped a few packs of '08, but I also got a lot of doubles and the cards are just not as nice, just a few minor variations to the worse. Still nice though.

Looking forward to Chicle too.

Hackenbush said...

I do miss Masterpieces but while the 2007 set was great the follow-up was very hit or miss. Just like in baseball consistency in execution is key. As long as we're wishing, I wish they could bring back sets of all retired/legendary players.