This Year’s Heritage Might Give This Set A Bump… And I Don’t Mean 1965 Topps

Over the weekend I was going through some of my “craptacular” Upper Deck cards that were a reasonably fun diversion at the time, but now just take up space… MVP, Victory and the like. While digging through my Upper Deck monster box, I also thought of another UD brand…

Eleven years ago, Upper Deck released one of their “Vintage” sets that paid shameless “homage” to the 1965 Topps design… Oh, excuse me, it paid shameless homage to 1965 O-Pee-Chee, a brand that Upper Deck owns and which – Jeepers! – happened to have used the design created by Topps that year.

Here’s an example of that set…

2003 UD Vintage Roberto Alomar

What I hadn’t completely remembered about this set is that it used the same basic design, but it wasn’t the EXACT same design.  The pennant is shaped slightly differently, the fonts are different and the colors aren’t done by team.  Here’s a 1965 card that shows how Mets were done “back in the day”.

1965 Topps Larry Miller

…and here’s another UD Vintage Mets card done in completely different colors, just to emphasize the fact that nobody was copying Topps.  Not UD. Nuh-uh.

2003 UD Vintage Edgardo Alfonzo

The backs of the card were also similar, but not quite… Here’s a back I’ve shared before…

1965 Topps Lenny Green Back

And here’s a UD Vintage back.  Not only is the “cartoon” just a piece of clip art, it also has little-to-nothing to do with the caption.

2003 UD Vintage Roberto Alomar back

Despite the fact that it’s the baseball card equivalent of “Imitation Cheese Product”, I will say that opening a couple of packs of 2003 Vintage made me appreciate the original set a bit more… prior to 2003, the 1965 set hadn’t really stood out from the rest of the 1960’s sets, at least not to me.

2003 UD Vintage Tom Glavine

I thought I had bought a fairly large amount of these, but I only had 56 in my collection… and now I have even fewer because I decided I didn’t need 2003 Vintage cards of Bret Boone, Barry Zito and Mark Bellhorn.

2003 UD Vintage Hideo Nomo

…But you can see that UD didn’t waste any of their good photos on the non-flagship sets.  Nomo here isn’t bad, but this Griffey…

2003 UD Vintage Ken Griffey Jr

…This Griffey is just strange.  I mean, is that even Griffey?  It looks like him, sorta, and yet it doesn’t.

One cool thing about 2003 Vintage is that it also had some legend-type players in the set as well.

2003 UD Vintage Yogi Berra

The set also had 3-D cards, but they weren’t inserts, they were actually part of the set… They may have been short-printed, I know I don’t have any.

Later in the year when Upper Deck 40-Man came out, the packs of that product also included “Vintage Update” cards, which continued the numbering of the Vintage set, but had a different design.

2003 UD Vintage Update Ty Wigginton

So the whole point of all of this is that we’ll probably be hearing more about 2003 Vintage in the year to come… I know someone at Fairfield is on the ball, because I’ve seen these cards gracing the fronts of 100-card repacks, presumably to get people to say “Oooh, look!  Heritage!”

Did anybody actually collect this set?  Is there any information about this set you can add for all the folks at home?


6 thoughts on “This Year’s Heritage Might Give This Set A Bump… And I Don’t Mean 1965 Topps

  1. When UD licensed the OPC name, I don’t think anyone figured they’d pull that stunt. There are some of their vintage-inspired hockey releases that did the same thing. After their 2008-09 retro set, which was a pure clone of 1979-80, Topps put a stop to it. The next project was a 1971 baseball “tribute,” and Topps was having none of that.

    They did do an homage to some of the 1930s OPC hockey sets, which were OK, but most people wouldn’t recognize them.

    • I’ve got at least some of the cards of each of the UD O-Pee-Chee baseball sets, but I wasn’t aware of the hockey set. I was into hockey in the late 1970’s and collected a pretty good chunk of that set – no Gretzky, naturally – but I’d stopped collecting new hockey long before that 2008 OPC set came out… if I had been, I would’ve been all over it.

  2. I never knew that Upper Deck owned the OPC line at the time. Now I know how they were able to get away with such a blatant rip-off of ’65 Topps. However, I WILL say that the 3-D cards from this set are pretty cool. I have a couple.

  3. The 2008-09 o pee chee set got me back into collecting hockey as it blatantly ripped off the 79-80 o pee chee set, the first set I collected as a kid. I wish they were still able to replicate the old o pee chee sets, but understandably Topps has put and end to it.

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