This set is a pretty big feather in my cap! I’ve been working on finishing the 2011 Goodwin Champions set since it came out 2+ years ago. There are four tiers of SP cards, and that’s made it tough. This was Upper Deck’s first real comeback attempt in my eyes. They took the old Goodwin design and put starts from all over the sports landscape – and even some historical figures – in a painted effect. They had to work around the fact that they can’t use retired players that look in any way like they’re wearing MLB uniforms.
I’m not quite done with the master set yet – I still need to finish up the World Travelers box toppers. Those will be tough, but I do have two-thirds of that set done.
Info about my set
How I put the set (base / SP / SSP / mini) together:
- 161 (142/12/4/3) cards from my two hobby boxes
- 10 (5/3/1/1) cards from a blaster
- 5 (3/2/0/0) cards from trades
- 34 (0/12/8/14) cards from Sportlots
- 14 (0/11/3/0) cards from a card show
- 7 (0/0/4/3) cards from COMC
Card that completed my set: #194 – Rube Foster (completed via a Black Friday Check Out My Cards purchase). I’m pretty sure this was the last card on my wantlist for over a year.
General Set Info
Set composition: 231 cards (150 base, 40 SP, 20 SSP, 21 mini-only)
There are 191 athletes
- 61 Baseball (no active MLB, 23 minor league)
- 31 Basketball (8 active NBA, 2 WNBA)
- 25 Ice Hockey (2 women hockey players)
- 17 American Football (8 active NFL)
- 14 Golf (9 men, 5 women)
- 12 Olympian (8 summer, 4 winter)
- 9 Soccer (6 women, 3 men)
- 5 Horse Racing (3 jockey, 2 horses)
- 5 Lacrosse
- 4 Boxing
- 3 Surfing
- 2 MMA
- 1 Martial Arts
- 1 Race Car Driving
- 1 Cricket
There are 40 non-athletes or “famous figures” in the set
- 9 Political Figures (6 U.S. Presidents)
- 6 Outlaws/Lawman
- 6 Authors
- 3 Military Figures
- 3 Inventors
- 3 Musicians
- 2 Actors
- 2 Showmen
- 2 Artists
- 4 “Other” (Magician, Native American, Mountaineer & Grigori Rasputin)
Earliest active player from this set: Baseball – #209 – Albert Spalding
Spalding played amateur baseball at a time when it was becoming a professional sport. In 1866 he began playing for the Rockford Forest Citys of the National Association of Baseball Players. At the time, this was the highest level of organized baseball. The league eventually became the National Association of Professional Baseball Players in 1871 – with Spalding switching over to the Boston Red Stockings. He and Cap Anson are the two players in this set who both played in that 1871 inaugural season of the National Association – though I’m giving Spalding the credit here since he played semi-pro ball before Anson.
This set may have the largest time span of baseball players! From Spalding, who started his semi-pro career in 1866, all the way to a few 2011 minor leaguers who are in the Majors today. Including 4 who made their debut as late as 2013:
All sports – #187 W.G. Grace
Grace, who is possibly the most accomplished cricketers of all time, is probably the earliest athlete on this list – his earliest “official” cricket match came two years before Spalding’s semi-pro start, in 1864. He had actually been playing for quite some time before that official date as well.
First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – King Kelly, #100 – Candace Parker, #200 – Pierre Lueders
Highest book value: All of 20 the SSP’s are listed as higher than any other card in the set.
Most notable card: #1 – King Kelly, #26 – John Sullivan, #119 – Cap Anson, #165 – Isaac Murphy, #172 – Buffalo Bill Cody, #184 – Dan Brouthers
Six players have cards in both the 2011 Upper Deck and the 1888 original Goodwin sets. I did a post comparing them here.
Best card (my opinion): #164 – Old & Young Tom Morris
There have been a number of books written about Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris – but very few cards of the two. Old Tom Morris had a few tobacco cards in the early 1900’s – but I don’t know of any other card with Young Tom Morris. As a golf fan – this is pretty cool.
Second best card (also my opinion): #1 – King Kelly
I thought about putting Nolan Ryan here; he’s shown in a cowboy hat and ranching gear. But to me, the King Kelly card is really cool. He’s shown in the colorful uniforms that were sometimes worn in the day – this is from a pose during his time in Boston.
Best subset card: N/A
Favorite action photo: #84 – CJ Hobgood
This card of the surfer catching a mammoth wave is pretty sweet.
Favorite non-action photo: #38 – Nolan Ryan (see above)
My Favorite Reds card: #120 – Tony Perez
The Perez card beats out fellow Big Red Machine member Johnny Bench.