Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oh Where, Oh Where Did Fleer Ultra Go?

I was browsing my insert card binder the other day (just to make sure they were all still there) and was struck by one thought and one thought only: "Fleer Ultra made the coolest cards ever". Sure some other brands have come out with standout insert sets, but year in, year out I was always impressed by what I pulled from packs of Ultra. Whether it was a cool diecut, a card that felt like leather or just the right amount of shine, the brand could do no wrong in my book. Sadly, the company died off with the collapse of Fleer and Upper Deck was never able to restore Ultra to its former glory. It's really unfortunate that companies don't spend much time or effort on insert cards anymore, instead investing all their money into game-used and autos. Truth be told, I would much rather pull one of these beauties than another poorly designed relic card with a white swatch. Here's a sampling of some of my favorite Ultra inserts of all-time:

1999 Fleer Ultra Thunderclap: This card demands your attention with a shine brighter than a thousand suns. How cool of a name is Thunderclap for an insert set? These cards are extremely well designed and at 1:36 packs were obtainable but still fell less than one per box, so you felt a sense of accomplishment when you pulled one. The foil looks phenomenal in person.

1999 Fleer Ultra Damage Inc.: Designed to look like a business card, Damage Inc. inserts highlighted the games best sluggers and were a tough pull at 1:72 packs. The coolest part about this card? It even feels like a business card. How great would this be for a TTM?

2000 Fleer Ultra Diamond Producers: Wow! This might be my favorite insert card of all-time. It's made out of plastic, die-cut, shiny and it features one of the best pure hitters of the last few decades. Almost impossible to track down on the secondary market, these baby's were case hits pack in 2000 (1:288 packs). The scan does not do justice to how amazing this card is, a real gem!

2000 Fleer Ultra Swing Kings: I have already professed my love this insert set before, and it's easy to see why...they look awesome and were not too hard to pull at 1:24 packs. If you store them in toploader it almost looks like the card is floating. Why can't companies make cards like this anymore?

All I want for Christmas is for Ultra to return in 2010...

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