Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tuckus Week, Day 3: Old Upper Deck

This entire week will be devoted to an underrated aspect of the card world: Card backs. Rumps. Posteriors. Booties. Arses. Badonkadonks. Fannies. Cabooses. The tuckus. Ok I'm done. Baby got back, and so does Red Cardboard.

For Day 3, we'll look at 'Old' Upper Deck. Upper Deck recognized the importance of the card back right out of the gate. Glossy, full color, unique photography on the back was like getting two cards in one. Most excellent to the young collectors at the time, Red Cardboard included. Moreover, they often saved goofy photos for the backs until they realized they could use those on the front via Collector's Choice sets. Let's have a look-see.

See? Right off the bat in 1989 we have these three magnificent backs. That Danny Jackson is sweet. The half-card crop is actually improving the photo in all three of these, I think. Look at how much is happening on the Nick Esasky card. Great start.

The next year, 1990, saw a regression in the design on the back, but the cool photography still held. We have Paul O'Neill and Willie Randolph in an on-base tussle, Chris Sabo tagging out some hapless Giant, and Rob Dibble tilting from the momentum of his wicked fastball. Nice.

Here are a couple good ones from '91 and '92. Scott Scudder clearly looking for attention and Joe Oliver armored up and warming up his infield.

In 1993, Upper Deck went vertical with the stat line (a shame) but it allowed for some square-cropped photos, like this unfortunate shot of Dave Martinez coming up short on a shallow outfield fly.

Upper Deck's other release, SP, was no stranger to goofiness. Jose Rijo almost always had a watergun during summer games. I'd like to think Joe Oliver was getting revenge on Rijo himself on this card.

1994. Back to vertical. The Reggie Sanders is framed very well. And Larkin hurdling a Padre should have been saved for its own release.

Here's Neon doing some sort of Cha-Cha, I believe, and yet another double-play shot of Barry. Sweet.

Man, MORE Barry turning two. Dude should make a comeback. Ed Taubensee is striking a speed-skating pose. And Deion is contorted in a position unique to baseball. All excellent.

And I'll close by jumping forward a decade with this very odd Joey Votto pose on 2008 UD Timeline. It takes professional athleticism to look this goofy, kids.

Go Reds.

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