Why My Disdain for Upper Deck

Featured Cards: 2009 SP Legendary Cuts Legendary Cuts Autograph #LC-115, Fred “Cy” Williams; 2006 SP Legendary Cuts A Place in History Cut Autograph PHC-CW, Fred “Cy” Williams

Yesterday, I ended my non-checklist post by stating that I wish desperately that MLB would grant a baseball card license to any of the other sports card manufacturers, and that included Upper Deck. In order to fully appreciate the severity of that statement, I’d like to illustrate why it’s such a big deal that I’m even willing to welcome back Upper Deck into the baseball card market.

It all started with my purchase of a 2009 SP Legendary Cuts Legendary Cuts Autograph of Fred “Cy” Williams. Now, at the time I purchased the card, I was just happy to have it — after all, we are talking about a certified autograph card of a pre-Depression Era Phillie. I needed to use tax refund money to make the acquisition, but at the moment I got the card, I immediately viewed it as one of the jewels of my collection. It still is, but my appreciation for the card diminished as I came to better understand what it was exactly that I now had in my collection.

When I first held the card in my hands (it was an eBay purchase), I noticed that there was some writing that Upper Deck sliced through in its effort to create the “Cy” Williams cut. I wondered what it could be, but initially didn’t think much of it. Shortly thereafter, I realized that it might very well be the “d” in his first name, a portion of the left quotation mark for “Cy,” and some sort of connective stroke between his first name and nickname. I no longer recall what first caused me to make that connection, but the somewhat odd framing of the cut autograph may have provided some other inspiration in formulating the thought, I quickly went online to look for other examples of his autograph, and that’s when I found a copy of Upper Deck’s 2006 SP Legendary Cuts A Place in History Cut Autograph for Williams:

(No, I don’t have this card — unfortunately)

On one hand, I still have what appears to be an authentic Williams autograph. On the other, it’s clearly an incomplete autograph. Upper Deck bought an autograph that was just a little too big for a standard-sized card and bastardized rather than take a loss on it. Worse still, both the 2006 version and the Callison certified cut autograph I posted yesterday suggests that Upper Deck might have been able to properly salvage the “full” autograph if they had framed it the same way as the those two autogaphs and had been willing to instead slice some of the tail off of the “s” in Williams. However, that’s just a guess.

Unfortunately, given the scarcity and cost of the Williams cut autographs and, I’m just not comfortable selling the one I have in order to procure one that shows the autograph in its entirety. So, unless I start playing the lottery and get lucky, I’m stuck with the bastardized 2009 version. Yes, it is a certified Williams autograph, but it’s also the reason why I’m no fan of Upper Deck.

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