Friday, October 25, 2013

Tom Brunansky Autographed Card

The World Series are on, pitting the St. Louis Cardinals against the Boston Red Sox - two teams for which Tom Brunansky played in the years where I followed baseball the most (1988-1994).

He was a decent outfielder, 8 times hitting 20 or more home runs in a season, 6 times batting in over 80 runs, seven times walked more than 70 times, and one All-Star Game appearance (1985). He never batted anywhere near .300, though, his best season in that regard being 1982 when he batted .272. He won the World Series in 1987 as a member of the Minnesota Twins and is now, ironically, their hitting coach.

But this post is less about him than about the card. (More specifically, the brand):

It pictures Brunansky as a member of the Cards, showing him in the grey (away) uniform and is from Upper Deck's 1989 Upper Deck set (card #272) - not only their first baseball set, but their first major-league sport card set. The white border, the stellar photography, the logo, the hologram on the back - all elements still found in most UD sets to this very day. This was the first large-print premium set of its time, one that changed the card collecting hobby forever, from the quality of the cardboard itself to the pictures to the wrappers (and the sales price).

Of course, UD no longer produces baseball sets - kind of; their MLB license was revoked, but they kept their MLBPA license, so they can have pictures of the players and their likeness, just not show the teams' logos, like they did for a few seasons of their Be A Player hockey sets.

As a matter of fact, UD has been a magnet for controversy foor the past few years, from having been caught counterfeiting Yu-Gi-Oh cards to questions about the legitimacy of their swatch cards to their CEO Richard P. McWilliam OD-ing early in 2013 after years of alcohol and cocaine abuse (officially, he died of alcohol poisoning), to a rate of three-lawsuits-a-year for the past decade, and a European branch that went bankrupt, Upper Deck seems like it's in deep turmoil.

Anyhow, I acquired the card via trade because I absolutely wanted a signed card from the inaugural UD set; it cost me a couple of football jersey cards two or three years ago.

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