Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks: 1994 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball Central

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Upper Deck tried something different with their 1994 release and it was not well received. 1994 Upper Deck Baseball boxes were available under three different labels and distributed regionally. The part of the country you were in (east, central, or west) dictated which box was available through your distributor.

The cards packed into the regional boxes were the same, with one exception. Each series there was one insert set that differed between regions. In Series 1, the 30-card Diamond Collection insert set was split regionally, while the same was true of the 15 card SP Previews set in Series 2. Why was this so bad? Well, with Michael Jordan being the new hot commodity in the baseball card world, his Diamond Collection and SP Previews inserts could only be found in Central boxes. As you can imagine, distributors and hobby shops outside of the central region weren’t happy with this.

1994 Upper Deck Series 2 is made up of 270 base cards and includes four different subsets. Home Field Advantage cards highlighted each player’s home stadium. Upper Deck Classic Alumni cards showcase players that participated in the Upper Deck Classic high school tournament. Diamond Debuts cards featured players who made their major league debuts in 1993. Lastly, the Top Prospects subset is pretty self explanatory. Some of the “prospect” cards are considered rookie cards, including Billy Wagner.

Fun Facts are provided by Bleacher Report National MLB Columnist Joel Reuter. You can follow Joel on Twitter (@JoelReuterBR) and check out his work at Bleacher Report.

1994 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball Central Box Break

Cards per pack: 12
Packs per box: 36
Price paid: $20

Shop for 1994 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball boxes on eBay.

Pack 1 highlights:

Rafael Palmeiro, Kirby Puckett HFA, Jeff Bagwell, Brooks Kieschnick TP RC & Mo Vaughn HFA Electric Diamond (1 one in every pack)

Pack 1 fun fact: After flopping as an outfielder, Brooks Kieschnick became a two-way player before it was cool. In 2003, he hit .300/.355/.614 with seven home runs in 76 plate appearances and posted a 5.26 ERA in 42 appearances out of the bullpen for the Brewers.

Pack 2:

Cal Ripken, Jr. HFA, Shawn Green UDA, James Mouton DD, Matt Williams & Randy Tomlin Electric Diamond

Pack 3:

Preston Wilson TP, Jim Abbott, Jose Silva TP RC & Henry Rodriguez Electric Diamond

Pack 3 fun fact: Henry Rodriguez had a pair of 30-homer seasons and 160 total home runs in an underrated 11-year career.

Pack 4:

Edgar Martinez, Tim Salmon HFA, Paul Shuey DD, Jack Morris, Johnny Damon TP & Lee Smith Electric Diamond

Pack 5:

Cal Ripken, Jr. (Great shot. Remember the days when the base runner really tried to break up a double play?), Steve Soderstrom TP RC, Billy Wagner TP RC & Mickey Tettleton Electric Diamond

Pack 5 fun fact: Steve Soderstrom was the No. 6 overall pick in the 1993 draft. He was taken one spot ahead of Trot Nixon and also ahead of Billy Wagner (No. 12), Derrek Lee (No. 14), Chris Carpenter (No. 15) and Torii Hunter (No. 20).

Pack 6:

Randy Johnson, Eddie Pearson TP RC, Arquimedez Pozo TP RC, Lou Whitaker & Brian Harper Electric Diamond

Pack 7:

Jim Thome (Another good shot. How often do you see Thome sliding?), John Hudek DD & Edgar Martinez Electric Diamond

Pack 7 fun fact: John Hudek made the All-Star team as a rookie in 1994. He converted 16 of 18 save chances with a 2.97 ERA in 42 appearances and finished runner-up to Raul Mondesi in NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Pack 8:

Pokey Reese TP, Tim Salmon HFA, Robert Eenhoorn DD & Ron Darling Electric Diamond

Pack 9:

Jermaine Allensworth TP RC, Tim Hyers DD, Brian Harper Electric Diamond & Mickey Mantle Baseball Heroes (1:35 packs)

Pack 9 fun fact: Among all catchers with at least 3,000 plate appearances since 1900, Brian Harper ranks 10th with a .295 batting average.

Pack 10:

Craig Biggio, Dennis Eckersley, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey, Jr. HFA, Paul Molitor, Brad Fullmer TP RC & Omar Vizquel Electric Diamond

Pack 11:

Dennis Eckersley, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Kirby Puckett, Mike Piazza, Terrell Wade TP RC, Greg Vaughn HFA, Shannon Stewart UDA & Travis Fryman Electric Diamond

Pack 11 fun fact: Terrell Wade was a rising star in the Atlanta farm system heading into the 1994 season after going 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA and 208 strikeouts in 158.1 innings over three minor league levels in 1993.

Pack 12:

Daron Kirkreit TP, Omar Vizquel, Jason Giambi TP RC & Mel Rojas Electric Diamond

Pack 13:

Gary Sheffield, Lee Smith, Tim Davis DD, Hector Carrasco DD & Derek Bell Electric Diamond

Pack 13 fun fact: Lee Smith led the AL with 33 saves in 1994, marking the fourth and final time in his career that he paced his league in saves.

Pack 14:

Moises Alou, Mo Vaughn HFA, Frank Thomas, LaTroy Hawkins TP RC, Todd Dunn TP & Dante Bichette Electric Diamond

Pack 15:

Barry Bonds, Matt Brunson UDA, Derek Jeter TP (now I am a huge Red Sox fan, but even I can admit that this is a great looking card!) & Paul Molitor HFA Electric Diamond

Pack 15 fun fact: Matt Brunson was the No. 9 overall pick in the 1993 draft and he is one of two players from that year’s top 10 to never reach the majors.

Pack 16:

Dante Bichette, David Justice, Eddie Murray, Jim Thome, Mike Bell TP RC, Don Slaught Electric Diamond & Mickey Mantle Baseball Heroes (1:35 packs)

Pack 17:

Cal Ripken, Jr. HFA, Bobby Bonilla, Alex Ochoa TP (I find it interesting that they did the Orioles photo shoot at Fenway Park), Todd Hollandsworth TP & Rheal Cormier Electric Diamond

Pack 17 fun fact: After flopping stateside, Alex Ochoa hit 97 home runs in six seasons in the Japanese League. He starred alongside Kosuke Fukudome in 2004 for a Chunichi Dragons team that reached the Japan Series.

Pack 18:

Juan Gonzalez, Tim Hyers DD, Chan Ho Park DD RC, Randy Johnson & Mike Blowers Electric Diamond

Pack 19:

Ken Caminiti, Jason Giambi TP RC, Wayne Gomes TP RC, Greg Maddux & Scott Cooper Electric Diamond

Pack 19 fun fact: Wayne Gomes was the No. 4 overall pick in the 1993 draft after posting a 2.03 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 26.2 innings out of the Old Dominion bullpen as a junior. He had a solid six-year MLB career, tallying a career-high 19 saves in 1999.

Pack 20:

Juan Gonzalez HFA, Larry Walker, Ozzie Smith, Shannon Stewart UDA, Herbert Perry DD RC & Tim Hyers DD Electric Diamond

Pack 21:

Cal Ripken, Jr. HFA, John Valentin (another great photo choice), Roberto Alomar, Brad Fullmer TP RC, Neifi Perez TP RC & Paul Sorrento Electric Diamond

Pack 21 fun fact: Paul Sorrento was an underrated slugger during the 1990s, launching 166 home runs to rank 48th for the decade.

Pack 22:

Ken Caminiti, Joey Hamilton DD, Tavo Alvarez UDA, Dante Bichette & Scott Sanders Electric Diamond

Pack 23:

Larry Walker, Greg Vaughn, Eddie Murray, Derrek Lee TP RC, Brad Fullmer TP RC & Gregg Olson Electric Diamond

Pack 23 fun fact: Larry Walker hit .322/.394/.587 with an NL-leading 44 doubles, 19 home runs and 86 RBI during a contract year in 1994. He signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract with the Rockies that offseason.

I had to share this Eddie Murray card back…because Eddie is on the mound.

Pack 24:

Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn HFA, Joey Hamilton DD & Gary Sheffield Electric Diamond

Pack 25:

Paul Molitor, Frank Thomas, Derrek Lee TP RC, Charles Johnson TP & Terry Mulholland Electric Diamond

Pack 25 fun fact: Terry Mulholland was traded to the Yankees prior to the 1994 season after earning his first and only All-Star selection in 1993. He played 20 MLB seasons spanning three different decades.

Pack 26:

Craig Biggio, Bobby Bonilla, Matt Brunson TP RC, Charles Johnson TP & John Franco Electric Diamond

Pack 27:

Greg Vaughn HFA, Roger Clemens, Dennis Eckersley, Matt Brunson TP RC, Wayne Gomes TP RC & Reggie Jefferson Electric Diamond

Pack 27 fun fact: Roger Clemens led the AL in ERA+ (176) and H/9 (6.5) in 1994, limiting opposing hitters to a .204 batting average. Despite that dominance, he did not receive a single Cy Young vote.

Pack 28:

Matt Williams, Cal Ripken, Jr., Pokey Reese TP, Trot Nixon TP RC & Mickey Morandini Electric Diamond

Pack 29:

Frank Thomas HFA, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, John Hudek DD RC, Paul Molitor HFA, Alex Rodriguez UDA & Bobby Munoz Electric Diamond

Pack 29 fun fact: Alex Rodriguez hit .312/.376/.577 with 28 doubles, 11 triples, 21 home runs and 20 steals in 114 games in the minors in 1994. He also made his MLB debut that season at the age of 18.

Pack 30:

Will Clark, Sammy Sosa (yet another great shot), Arquimedez Pozo TP RC, Jermaine Allensworth TP RC & Shannon Stewart UDA Electric Diamond

Pack 31:

Shawn Green, Robert Eenhoorn DD & Will Clark Electric Diamond

Pack 31 fun fact: Robert Eenhoorn is one of just 12 players born in the Netherlands to reach the major leagues. Bert Blyleven and Didi Gregorius headline that exclusive list.

Pack 32:

Jim Abbott, Greg Maddux, Albert Belle HFA, Eddie Pearson TP RC, Steve Soderstrom TP RC & Daron Kirkreit TP Electric Diamond

Pack 33:

Wally Joyner HFA, Ozzie Smith, Rafael Palmeiro, Paul Shuey DD, Billy Wagner TP RC & Lou Whitaker Electric Diamond

Pack 33 fun fact: Paul Shuey was the No. 2 overall pick in the 1992 draft, four picks ahead of a Michigan prep shortstop named Derek Jeter. While he failed to live up to his draft position, he was a useful bullpen arm for the Indians in the late 1990s.

Pack 34:

Roberto Alomar, Travis Fryman, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Jose Silva TP RC, Johnny Damon TP & Hector Carrasco DD Electric Diamond

Pack 35:

Cecil Fielder HFA, Sandy Alomar, Jr., Preston Wilson TP, Shawn Green UDA & David Justice Electric Diamond

Pack 35 fun fact: Preston Wilson played just eight games in a Mets uniform before he was traded to the Marlins in 1998 as part of the deal that brought Mike Piazza to New York.

Pack 36:

Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martinez, James Mouton DD, Curt Schilling, Brooks Kieschnick TP RC & Sandy Alomar, Jr. Electric Diamond

Lastly, the Randy Johnson card back. Another great card back photo, especially since The Big Unit is an avid photographer.

So I did not pull an MJ SP Previews insert card. I didn’t pull any SP Previews despite the 1:35 odds. It seems as though my extra Mantle Baseball Heroes insert replaced that one. I am actually just fine with that.

I enjoy this set. There are quite a few great photo choices used on the base cards and the Top Prospects subset looks great. It helps that there are some good names included, like Jeter, Wagner and Giambi. If I could find the other regions for this price (I bought this box on eBay in May of 2019), I would give those a shot as well.

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Want more installments of Shane Salmonson’s Cheap Wax Wednesday? Check out his other breaks in the archives.

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