Even though the concept of the autographed card on ball material didn’t originate with Upper Deck, one can say they certainly took the idea to heights that made them very popular with collectors. Today, we’ll look back at what turned out to be a pretty groundbreaking insert, the original Sweet Spot Signatures set.
Each box of 2001 Upper Deck Sweet Spot consisted of 18 packs and each box guaranteed to land a game-used jersey card, one game-used bat card, and either a game-used base card or a Sweet Spot Signature card in addition to a special cross-brand Joe DiMaggio box topper pack. This Paul O’Neill card has been one of my favorites in my personal collection for years and luckily for me, the ink on this card has managed to hold its own, which is more than you can say about some of some the cards produced in the years that followed. This card is one of 53 in the set and other subjects include Ken Griffey, Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Nolan Ryan, Stan Musial, and even cut ball cards of Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, and BABE RUTH!
Boxes of 2001 UD Sweet Spot are pretty difficult to find and when they surface, they can rarely be found for under $200 so keep in mind before you make a purchase, that your big box hit may be of Mike Lamb.
In 2001, for the very first time, Topps Gallery featured an all-painted set. Every card, from the base set and autographed and game-used sets, was painted. Among these sets is the Heritage Game Jersey set, which you may recognize as being patterned after the 1965 Topps set. In total, there are five players on this set’s checklist: Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, and Vladimir Guerrero (who was available only via redemption). In addition, Cepeda and McCovey had autographed variations limited to just 25 copies (Cepeda was a redemption). Heritage Game Jersey cards were inserted at a rate of 1 in 133 packs. That’s only 1 per every 5.5 boxes of Heritage!
Material Issue Scott Rolen jersey (Phillies – Dan)
Final Cut Troy Glaus jersey (Angels – Play at the Plate)
Autographics Dee Brown (Royals – darkship)
Autographics Silver Kip Wells 054/250 (White Sox – Lonestarr)
This is the third time I’ve broken a box of this and for the second time, no numbered rookies were to be found. We did get an extra insert and an extra hit in this box, a trend we’ll see plenty of later on! It was also nice to see the hits spread around this time! More results coming Saturday…
Here’s a quick recap, with scans, of the box of 2001 Fleer Genuine I recently busted. For a full review of this product, click here (broken 1.5 years ago).
Base set: This box yielded 99 out of 100 short set base cards (99%) with 14 duplicates. The only missing base card was #14 Sammy Sosa.
Pennant Aggression (1:23 packs): Pedro Martinez
This is the second time I’ve pulled this card. The first copy I had was sent over to the UK.
Autographics (1:24 packs): Brad Radke
Silver (/250): Julio Zuleta
I was very surprised to pull two autographs. I know Radke had a pretty decent career with Minnesota, but I had no idea who Zuleta was until just now. Meh.
The inserts and “hits” both delivered as promised (3 hits/box), but the lack of numbered rookies was a bit odd. There are no specified odds on these rookies, but considering my first box yielded two, it was a bit strange not pulling any this time around. Also, it would’ve been nice to put the base set together in this one box (rather than fall one short), but there were a LOT fewer base dupes here than in my first box!
Everything from this box was exceptionally clean. Usually, I get at least one or two cards that I find totally mangled inside the pack, but not this time. It’s always great finding die-cut inserts that are unscathed as well.
I loved finding the Maddux and Jeter cards. The others? Not so much. It was cool to pull two autographs, but it would’ve been even nicer to pull one that wasn’t considered a common.
The Baseball Card Exchange has these listed for $70, by far the lowest price I’ve seen on the internet. Naturally, that is where I picked up my box. Most other places ask for around $100 or more. $70 for 3 “hits” (amongst several other inserts and virtually a complete base set) is not too shabby by any means, especially when cards like this are waiting to be pulled. Long story short, my box wasn’t anything special, but this product is still strong. Go try one.
Overall Grade: B+