Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks: 1994 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball Central
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.
1994 Upper Deck Series 2 Baseball Central Box Break
Cards per pack: 12
Packs per box: 36
Price paid: $20
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.
Cal Ripken, Jr. HFA, Shawn Green UDA, James Mouton DD, Matt Williams & Randy Tomlin Electric Diamond
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.
Edgar Martinez, Tim Salmon HFA, Paul Shuey DD, Jack Morris, Johnny Damon TP & Lee Smith Electric Diamond
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).
Randy Johnson, Eddie Pearson TP RC, Arquimedez Pozo TP RC, Lou Whitaker & Brian Harper Electric Diamond
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.
Pokey Reese TP, Tim Salmon HFA, Robert Eenhoorn DD & Ron Darling Electric Diamond
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.
Craig Biggio, Dennis Eckersley, Roger Clemens, Ken Griffey, Jr. HFA, Paul Molitor, Brad Fullmer TP RC & Omar Vizquel Electric Diamond
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.
Daron Kirkreit TP, Omar Vizquel, Jason Giambi TP RC & Mel Rojas Electric Diamond
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.
Moises Alou, Mo Vaughn HFA, Frank Thomas, LaTroy Hawkins TP RC, Todd Dunn TP & Dante Bichette Electric Diamond
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.
Dante Bichette, David Justice, Eddie Murray, Jim Thome, Mike Bell TP RC, Don Slaught Electric Diamond & Mickey Mantle Baseball Heroes (1:35 packs)
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.
Juan Gonzalez, Tim Hyers DD, Chan Ho Park DD RC, Randy Johnson & Mike Blowers Electric Diamond
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.
Juan Gonzalez HFA, Larry Walker, Ozzie Smith, Shannon Stewart UDA, Herbert Perry DD RC & Tim Hyers DD Electric Diamond
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.
Ken Caminiti, Joey Hamilton DD, Tavo Alvarez UDA, Dante Bichette & Scott Sanders Electric Diamond
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.
Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn HFA, Joey Hamilton DD & Gary Sheffield Electric Diamond
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.
Craig Biggio, Bobby Bonilla, Matt Brunson TP RC, Charles Johnson TP & John Franco Electric Diamond
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.
Matt Williams, Cal Ripken, Jr., Pokey Reese TP, Trot Nixon TP RC & Mickey Morandini Electric Diamond
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.
Will Clark, Sammy Sosa (yet another great shot), Arquimedez Pozo TP RC, Jermaine Allensworth TP RC & Shannon Stewart UDA Electric Diamond
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.
Jim Abbott, Greg Maddux, Albert Belle HFA, Eddie Pearson TP RC, Steve Soderstrom TP RC & Daron Kirkreit TP Electric Diamond
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.
Roberto Alomar, Travis Fryman, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Jose Silva TP RC, Johnny Damon TP & Hector Carrasco DD Electric Diamond
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.
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.
Shop for 1994 Upper Deck Baseball on:
Want more installments of Shane Salmonson’s Cheap Wax Wednesday? Check out his other breaks in the archives.