2015 Goodwin Champions – base cards

10 08 2015

I said a year ago that I thought the 2014 Goodwin Champions list of athletes was diminished a bit from the year before.  Of course Upper Deck will always have some hockey stars – they have an NHL exclusive license (yawn).  But the number of baseball players in this set is slowly going down, which is probably a function of the fact that they haven’t had an MLB license for 5 years (and they are actually more restricted for how they can depict baseball players because of a lawsuit settlements).

But there are still some real stars in this set.  I’ll start off with my 3rd favorite card of the set.  Doc Rivers was a very good basketball player, but he’s made even more of a name for himself as a coach.  But this is just a cool picture of him from what I assume are his college days.  I wonder how Upper Deck found this picture.

2015 Goodwin Doc Rivers

My 2nd favorite card is of Rory McIlroy.  Today’s best player (apologies to Spieth), in a cool picture taken as he picks up a ball (a Nike ball at that) from the hole.

2015 Goodwin Rory McIlroy

My favorite card, however, is of the Golden Bear.  This was taken on July 15, 2015, Jack’s last professional round of golf.  It’s at St. Andrews, as he crossed the famous Swilcan Bridge.  Nicklaus would go on to birdie his final competitive hole, and I believe he missed the cut by 1 stroke.

2015 Goodwin Jack Nicklaus

Upper Deck finds some different kind of photos for this set.  You’ll have some good ones like the 3 above.  But you’ll have some clunkers, too.  This Lebron James card is just terrible.  I have no idea where the photo is from, but it hardly looks like him.

2015 Goodwin Lebron James

The next one isn’t quite as bad as the Lebron card above, but it just seems like something’s off with this Griffey card.  If it was just a photo, I would actually like it, but it seems like the painting effect they went with just doesn’t work.

2015 Goodwin Ken Griffey Jr

Good or bad photography, those are some truly great names.  But that’s not all of them.  Upper Deck always has the best hockey and basketball players included.  2015 Goodwin is no exception.

2015 Goodwin Michael Jordan Wayne Gretzky

There are a few other guys in this set who are true royalty as far as sports icons.  Mike Tyson and his dove (or is that a pigeon?) are one.

2015 Goodwin Mike Tyson

Maria Sharapova, owner of the career Grand Slam, is also in this set.

2015 Goodwin Maria Sharapova

Of course there are still a few dead ball era baseball players.  I think these 5 are it, though.  And none of them were in the original Goodwin set, unlike last year.  John McGraw is a good one, and it’s not too often you see a card of Kennesaw Mountain Landis.

2015 Goodwin dead ball baseball players

There are a few all-time basketball players in this set as well.

2015 Goodwin Shaq Bird West

And there are also quite a few historic football players.  The best receiver ever, the best running back ever and the best pass rusher ever.  Getting Mike Ditka in this set is really cool, too.

2015 Goodwin NFL players

And there are plenty of athletes from outside of the 5 biggest sports in our country.  Carl Lewis is back for his second time in Goodwin Champions.  Meb Keflezighi is an American marathoner who has brought some glory back to that event for the U.S.A.  He has notched victories at the Boston and New York marathons, and he brought home a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics.

2015 Goodwin Meb Keflezighi Carl Lewis_0001

Here are a few other athletes from outside of the traditional sports.

2015 Goodwin fringe sports

The Barber brothers, Tiki and Ronde, are both in this set.  Ronde will probably be in the Football Hall of Fame someday, and Tiki was an excellent running back who came across some controversy after his playing career.  When I was a junior in high school, I visited Virginia and met with the track coach there.  I was good enough to meet with a division 1 coach, but not good enough to actually run in college.  I saw them both practicing on the team, which was surprising.  It was their senior year, and both guys were getting drafted, but the speedster duo were still on the track team.  It was fun to watch.

2015 Goodwin Tiki Rondae Barber

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