Well, after much internal debate and many hours spent pouring over the budget, I caved and bought a box of 2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions (aka Allen & Ginter Jr.) from blowoutcards.com ($60 plus shipping). I really fell in love with the design of the base cards from previews of the set and even after seeing some not so stellar box breaks, thought I would give UD a shot to wow me. Overall, I was fairly happy with the cards I pulled from the box, but I don't think it's feasible for me to try and collect the whole set (too many super-short prints and not enough cards per pack), so this may be the only Goodwin I buy this year. Here's a look at what I got:
Short-Print Base Cards: Brooks Robinson, Kevin Garnett, Brian McCann, Cole Hamels, Kosuke Fukudome, Ryan Howard, Alex Hinshaw, Jonathan Albaladejo, Justin Verlander, Adrian Beltre, Gavin Floyd (I had a difficult time deciphering which cards were SPs, but apparently cards 151-190 in the set are short-printed, as are cards featuring a logo on the front).
Super Short-Print Base Cards (1:10 packs): Don Newcombe and Geovony Soto (I'm not sure that I would consider 1 in 10 packs super short-printed, but I've only been collecting for 16 years, so what would I know?)
Regular Minis: C.C. Sabathia SP, Lebron James SP, Rick Ankiel, Miguel Cabrera, Nolan Ryan, Chris Young, Buffalo Bill Cody, Aaron Harang, Jason Giambi, Joe Dimaggio, Ryan Sandberg, Rich Harden, Carey Price, Paul Maholm, Chad Billingsley, Ken Griffey Jr, Bucky "Effin" Dent, Prince Fielder, Ozzie Smith, Jim Palmer (I'm not sure that the Sabathia and James are SPs, but they are the only minis I pulled that had a logo on the card front).
Black-Bordered Minis (1:4 packs): Dennis Eckersley SP, Carlos Zambrano SP, Conor Jackson, Carl Crawford, Joe Mauer (The black borders are cool, but how can they compare to the ornate black-bordered minis for Allen & Ginter? Simple, they can't).
Foil Mini (1 per box): Carlos Gomez #248 (I really like the look of this card, but it's Carlos Gomez, so the excitement of pulling it was rather short lived. If any kind person wanted to send me a foil mini of one of my favorite players, I certainly wouldn't object).
Citizens of the Century/Day (1 in 10 packs): Winston Churchill and Will Rogers (These are kind of a boring insert set, but maybe that's just because I wasn't alive in mid-1900s).
Autograph (1 per box): Alex Hinshaw (At first I was glad to get an auto of a baseball player and not a marathon runner, even though I didn't know much about Hinshaw. A little research showed that he is a 26-year-old relief pitcher with a career 4.53 ERA. Maybe I wanted that runner after all. How did this guy make the checklist?)
Game-Used (1:10 packs): Cal Ripken Jr. and Cole Hamels (I was very happy with the game-used I pulled from this box, especially after I took a gander at the checklist. Hamels is one the game's brightest young stars and Ripken was my favorite player besides Griffey Jr. growing up, so both jersey cards were good pulls for me).
Final Thoughts: There is a lot to like about this set, and it is definitely one of Upper Deck's finest offerings in quite a while (apologies to "X"). Personally, I enjoyed the base cards (far superior to A & G base cards in my opinion), the hand-signed autographs and the design of the memorabilia cards (built around the swatch, a nice clean look). I don't like the fact that there are only 5 cards per pack and 20 packs per box; it makes completing the entire set a tall task. Additionally, I think just about everyone has had enough of the UD 20th Anniversary Cards, I pulled 10 in this box (thats 10% of all cards in the box!!!) If you like A & G, but are burnt out like me and looking for a nice alternative, this is a fun box to open.
Like any of the cards you see? Just email me and we will try and work out a trade!