Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Thoughts On The Ultimate Patches

There have been a lot of swirling rumors about the recent jumbo patches in Ultimate Collection, mainly stemming from the patches actual use in games. Many of the questions have come from people with a background in game used jerseys of older baseball players, and those people are bringing up some very valid points as to where the patches are coming from.

After the solidifcation of the rumors surrounding the counterfeit yu-gi-oh cards, people are quick to jump to conclusions on the recent release, especially when conspiracy is brought up. The general feeling is in relation to the fact that creating counterfeit gaming cards is not far off from creating counterfeit patches in baseball cards. Despite the fact that Upper Deck did admit to creating fakes, I doubt they would risk fake patches with all the ways it could come back to bite them. There are just too many experts out there, and way too many avenues of creating a problem if they were discovered. Does that mean it isnt possible? No, but it definitely makes it a little more than improbable that this is the truth behind the curtain.

Obviously, the top draws in the set are players like Ted Williams and Roberto Clemente, and the problem stems from the makeup of the patches. According to these people, its mostly the way the swatches in Ultimate compare to game used jerseys that people know to be game used. What the "experts" are saying is that these jerseys were not from the timeframe specified because of the way they are stitched, as well as the material of the jersey. Their prediction is that the jerseys are from old timer games and from situations like that, to which many people are echoing their sentiments. Personally, after reading a lot about this subject, I have to agree with the people who know their stuff. However, I don’t think that it completely damns UD into a new realm of deception. That’s where I differ on this.

The reason I have this belief comes from two specific products that are NEVER blasted despite obvious correlations. The first is Topps Triple Threads, and the second is Topps Sterling. Both are heralded products among the legally blind portion of our hobby, despite the fact that its obvious that the same type of swatches are used, with language on the card that is even more vague than UD's. Im sure you all have seen the stark white swatches on many of the cards from those sets over the years, but no one seemed to care about it. I guess when you arent screwing the pooch every other week, people overlook things.

In fact, the language on the back of a Triple Threads cards reads that the swatches are not from any specific game or season, while the Upper Deck says that they are used "in a game." From these statements, its easy to see that the companies are leaving the door open for jerseys used outside a regular season MLB game. Although I don’t support or buy cards like that, others have never had a problem buying both Triple Threads or Sterling despite this terribly worded statement on the back.

To that, I say, if you have a problem with player worn versus game worn, don’t buy the Williams or Clemente cards. If you don’t, go right ahead. For the other players, im sure the cards are real, yet if you don’t feel comfortable buying them, that’s up to you. This is the joy of competition, and I am sad that exclusivity has gotten to this point in the hobby.


  1. It is a shame that the card companies are not more open about the source of the memorabilia that they insert into their cards. And you rightfully point out that it's not just a problem with UD.

    Due to the speculation about the authenticity of the patches for the older players, there's no way that I'd buy any of those cards.

    However, I think the likelihood that the patches from CURRENT players are legit is pretty high. After all, it shouldn't be too hard for UD to acquire game-used stuff from guys that are still playing.

    With that said, I splurged last night and added what will be one of the best looking and most awesome cards to my Evan Longoria player collection:

    I can't wait til it shows up in my mailbox!

  2. The Ted has widely been widely speculated to be a coach or spring training jersey, and anybody dropping $1k on a card should be able to figure that out.

    The Clemente however, could not possibly be from an "old timer's game", for obvious reasons.

    People are questioning the material and stitching of the Clemente patches, yet with 2 minutes of research you can find out that the Pittsburgh Pirates were in fact the 1st MLB team to experiment with "double-knit" material jerseys. They wore these vest-style jerseys for the 1st time during the 1970 season, and Clemente wore them for the final 3 years of his career.

    I know people's 1st instinct nowadays is to cry FAKE at every nice patch, but a little research goes a long way.

  3. The patches in this set look great, but I have been skeptical about some of the cards of older players like Williams and Clemente.
    The damn pieces of jersey look brand new. They just don't look like they could have been worn 40 - 50 years ago.
    On another note...
    Just b/c Topps has used questionable practices for it's game used cards doesn't make it ok for Upper Deck to do the same.
    They should both be held accountable. UD has been documented and sued for making counterfeits. Many people will be skeptical of them b/c of their past.

  4. I agree with Bryan. We are talking about Upper Deck being shady at the moment, and there is reasonable doubt here. I don't believe these patches are "game-used" for a second.

    Triple Threads has it's flaws, and mysteriously, all of the patches & swatches featured on those cards also look brand new. You are definitely on to something with the vague language used on the card backs, but we're talking about Upper Deck at the moment, so why go and bash Topps?

    Devils advocate?

  5. I was just showing that it is nothing new, and yet people are acting like UD is some new brand of villian because of it. Event worn vs Game worn is huge, but why are people only complaining about UD?

  6. Plenty of people complained about Topps, too ...

  7. Yes Gellman, you have had a go at Topps on a number of occassions for the vague language they have used on the back of Triple Threads, yet here you are defending Upper Deck for using similar vague language? Why is that?

    Is it because Upper Deck has stroked your ego by giving you "exclusives" and getting you to write for their blog?

    I'm starting to think this blog should be called Sports Cards Uncensored (except when it comes to Upper Deck).

  8. Im not defending UD on this one, I think both them and topps need to notify collectors better.

    As for your other concerns, they are noted, but I have addressed your complaints numerous times and would direct you to the search function for my response on the matter.

    In other words, you have no fucking clue what you are talking about.

  9. I think it would be better for us all - and for all companies across the board - if they simply labeled them correctly. "Player worn" "Event worn" "Game-used worn" "Game-attended worn" (seriously, there has to be a difference if one old timer wore a jersey in a game as a player, and another if he was sitting in a box with a uniform on) and "Personal attire (clothing)" and just leave it at that. You know?