Back in 2006, there was about as much demand for a high end baseball product as there is now for another version of Topps Moments and Milestones. So, instead of producing a standalone product to meet the small demand of a hobby geared more towards traditional collecting, UD produced the now infamous 2006 redemptions for the Exquisite baseball set inventory in their products for the year.
I absolutely loved 2006 Exquisite Baseball, if not only because I completely avoided the unredeemed redemptions until I saw the actual cards. I know there were as many people who were pissed about the cards they got, but for those of us who stuck to buying singles, it was a fucking blast. Still, to this day, the cards I purchased from the set are still my favorite baseball cards in my collection. They may have been stickers (the norm at the time), but the cards looked better than anything else on the market.
To this day, I still have a bunch of the Twins cards that were part of the set, my favorite being the two Mauer patch autos that I obtained when the product was released. At the time, I spent more money than I had ever spent on a card to get both, and since that date, they have not left my shelf. I still am pretty much in the school that believes the cards are some of the best looking cards of the decade, especially the ones based on the iconic 2006 Exquisite football set. Dont get me wrong, there were a lot of drawbacks to doing it the way it was done, but the results are sure impressive by 2006′s standards.
Today, looking back on these cards, I am definitely glad to see them take another shot at Exquisite, this time with on card sigs and live cards in the packs. Chris Carlin said that card previews should be coming later this year, and I cannot fucking wait to see what they have in store. So far, it looks like they are going to be sticking with the formula they had for 2006, a good mix of vets, HOFers, and rookies, as well as cuts and stuff. Considering that all of the cards will be available right away, this could get ridiculous very quickly. If you see the Jumbo patch cards from the first set, as well as some of the retired player relic cards, they have a lot to live up to even with the bottom part of this set. Then, since they are also going to have to fill the shoes of the autograph cards of last time, UD better be aiming to please.
The only hope I have is that they dont overload this with dual rookie autos and other crap, which poisoned a lot of people’s view of the last set. Then, when the random redemptions started to be assigned, and people waited months for a dual Brian Bannister auto with some other junk rookie, those opinions headed further south. However, after reading the press release and getting some preliminary explanations from UD, this seems like they have addressed all of the problems that plagued them the first time around.
Its been made pretty obvious here that I live for High End autos, and Exquisite is the granddaddy of them all. After constant disappointment from Triple Threads and Sterling, I hope this ends up more in the direction of a better looking, on card auto version of Prime Cuts, rather than a rehashed stale product that has no legs or inspiration. It cannot be all action and no substance. It has to be what we have come to expect of the Exquisite brand, complete and utter awesomeness. If it cant play ball, its going to be a VERY long year for UD baseball.