The mystery of what Upper Deck's going to do without an MLB license is starting to become a little clearer. About a month ago they released preliminary details about how Exquisite inserts would be inserted in all their 2010 baseball releases. Now the breakdown of their flagship set is out, but still no pictures.
The base set will chime in at 600 cards. This is a nice size as long as there's not a lot of subsets. I'm also loving the fact packs come with 20 cards. Sixteen packs make up a box and 12 boxes per case. Each box is set to have one atograph and two game-used cards.
As far as inserts go, there's a little retro appeal with the apparent return of the Baseball Heroes line, this time showcasing Joe DiMaggio. Not surprisingly, there'll be DiMaggio cut signatures as well. 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the Baseball Heroes line, which brought the first cerrtified autographs to baseball cards. Upper Deck is celebrating the anniversary with one 20th Anniversary art card in every box. There will also be autographed versions.
Even though we laugh a little now at 2008 Upper Deck Documentary, there's a bit of a second swing at it, sort of, in the Season Biography inserts that will fall two per pack. Each day of the season will be given a card. Hopefully the pictures will match the content. Base set gold parallels numbered /99 return once again and once again few will pursue them.
As far as new ideas go, Portraits have me most intrigued. Inserted 1:4 packs, they should be somewhat plentiful. There's also a black and white parallel for the set limited to 99. Here's hoping they're something like the V.J. Lovero portraits from 1996. Other inserts include All World, Pure Heat and throwback-themed 10th Anniversary cards of the 2000 rookie class that never had Upper Deck cards at the turn of the milennium. Expect Johan Santana and others.
The autograph program is highlighted by buyback autographs from the biggest stars 20 years ago. I'm very excited about this and hope it turns out to be like the Topps Fan Favorites sets that mixed big stars with popular characters of the game. Additional autographs will fall under the Signature Sensations banner.
In the continuity department, Gary Sheffield will join Upper Deck's A Piece of History 500 HR Club collection of game-used bat cards. Other game-used cards include basic UD Game Jersey cards and patch parallels limited to 25 copies.
2010 Upper Deck Baseball is scheduled for release the first part of February.