Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Barry Larkin Collection 52: 2000 Upper Deck Ultimate Victory #87

Barry Larkin
Year:  2000
Brand:  Upper Deck Ultimate Victory
Card number:  87

The Victory brand for Upper Deck was (as I recall) a mostly kid-centric brand.  I believe the Victory line replaced the popular Collector's Choice line for youngsters.  Apparently, Upper Deck Ultimate Victory took the kid-centric set, added a heftier cardboard stock, a serious mount of gloss and shine, and marketed the "new" set to adults*.

*I have no idea if any of that is true, but that's how it appears.  I never saw a pack of Ultimate Victory for sale in any retail store near me in 2000...and I remember Victory being a cheap set.

Anyhow, this particular Larkin card is part of the super shiny Ultimate Victory set.  The front of the card features a bright blue border (which happens to clash terribly with the Reds red and black uniforms).  There is an action shot of Larkin on the right and a small, close-up shot of Larkin's face in the lower left corner.  The top left corner gives the player name, team, and position along with a foil version of the set name. 

The backs of the card look exactly like the Victory backs (I believe - I don't have a copy of Larkin's 2000 Victory card handy...heck, I don't even know if I own one)!  The back steals a page out of Topps' playbook and gives Larkin's career statistics along with a few vitals (height, weight, age, etc.). 

All told, this set seems to be everything that I don't like in a set.  Lazy design (much like my biggest beef with Topps Chrome) with extra shine does not equal an awesome set - at least not to me.  And, apparently, a lot of people agreed with me since Upper Deck has long since discontinued the Ultimate Victory line. 

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