Recently, Mario over at Wax Heaven said he had some Indians from the '09 UD Icons set and asked if I would like to have them. Naturally (not the 1st baseman*), I happily accepted the offer. The cards came with a condition: In addition to receiving several Icons cards, would I be willing to do a review? Again, I happily accepted the offer!
The first three cards in the package are Ian Kinsler (Rangers), Kerry Wood (Indians!), and CC Sabathia (Yankees):
The front of the cards feature a gold-foil "Upper Deck" logo with the "ICONS" moniker. The players featured on each card are HUGE, taking up a large chunk of card real estate. For me, this is an improvement over the designs that lose the player in the muck and mess of borders, text, and minutiae that often fills late-model cards. Speaking of borders, these feature some kind of 'dynamic ribbon design' (not to be confused with Pepsi or Coke) that uses team-like colors at the top and bottom of the card. There is a silver accent that separates the border from the main background. The main background is a weird smoky sepia that looks like it is supposed to be parchment, maybe? What ever it is, the background works well to let the player image stand out.
In the lower portion of the front of the card shows the player's name, team, and position.
The next three cards are Jason Giambi (Athletics), Jim Thome (White Sox), and Albert Pujols (Cardinals):
I wanted to show the back of the Icons card, so I picked Giambi (because there was no way I would do that to a Thome and I'm not going to get Pujols' publicist in a tizzy). The backs feature the card number in the upper left corner and the team logo on the upper right. The border on the back uses the same 'dynamic ribbon design' featured on the front, along with the same colors and smoky-sepia-parchment thing. The middle show the player's name, biographical information and stats for the past few years. The bottom has the required logos and copyright info, but also shows "2009 Icons Baseball." At first, this seems innocuous. It isn't. I'll explain in a minute.
Up next, we have Cliff Lee (Indians!), Alfonso Soriano (Cubs), and Jimmy Rollins (Phillies):
The final "regular" Icons card in the package is Curtis Granderson (Tigers). This is followed up by an Alex Rios (Blue Jays) silver foil serial card (#036/125). I don't know the significance of the silver foil versions. The back of these cards say "2009 Upper Deck Icons Baseball." Did you see what happened there? The regular cards do not have the "Upper Deck" as part of the set name, whereas each insert lists the brand as part of the set. I'm sure someone knows why that is, and will gladly share the reason in the comments. Or not. You never know.
Also included with Wax Heaven's package (hey, keep it clean folks) were two "Legendary Icons" cards, Tony Gwynn (Padres) and Nolan Ryan (Rangers):
As you can see, the design for the border is shifted 90 degrees, such that it runs down the sides instead of along the top and bottom. They are serially numbered and have a copy of the player's face on the back, along with pertinent information about the player's career. These also include the Baseball Hall of Fame and Cooperstown Collection logos on the back.
The next card is ultra thick and sports the letter "H" on a "manufactured MLB patch." It's a Lettermen card of James Shields (Rays):
I have to say, the border on this bad boy is very cool! I love the effect and how the patch's window mimics the flow of lines. I have to admit, though, it looks a but like one end of a football, but that's just me. I like the player photo squeezed onto the front because it also fits into the design. By far one of the nicer patch cards, even if it is a "manufactured" patch.
What Mario DIDN'T tell me (so far as I remember) is that one of the swatch cards is VMART! Victor Martinez (Indians!) appears on a game-used memorabilia card. The card is foil, features a nice photo, and the swatch is located in the "O" of Icons across the card. I just realized the logo on the front of the cards labeled as "Upper Deck Icons Baseball" has a different look and feel than those of the "Icons Baseball" cards. I'm sure that means something....
The final card in the package is ALSO a Triber! It is an autographed card of Trevor Crowe (Indians!). The auto is on-sticker vs. on-card, but I don't card where the auto appears - it's an auto! The card itself uses another modified version of the border seen in the set, and basically looks like the "Icons Baseball" base cards - in fact, it is listed as an "Icons Baseball" card on the back.
Overall, I really like the design of these cards. It's too bad UD lost their MLB license because this would make a great-looking set for the regular series of cards - or something like it anyway. I also like the idea of a card set that features the greats of today (the "icons" if you will). I'm looking forward to building my collection of Indians ICONS cards. And, thanks to fellow bloggers, including Mario at Wax Heaven, I've got a great start!
Thank you VERY much, Mario!
The Non-Indians ICONS cards will be placed in their respective team boxes (except the Thome, of course) to be given away at some point in a future contest/giveaway.
*For those that missed the 1st baseman reference: Here is another clue:
"So, I pick up the ball and throw it to Naturally!"
"No! You don't! You throw the ball to Who!"