Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks: 2002 Upper Deck Ovation Baseball

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Upper Deck introduced Ovation as a new baseball brand in 1999. Right away, at least for me, it was a hit. The base cards look like pieces of baseballs and even have raised stitching. The sophomore release in 2000 is very similar, and that is just fine. However, the third Ovation set went in a different direction. Gone are the raised baseball seam base cards. The base cards still have a textured front, but it just isn’t the same. It does still have a bunch of inserts, though, which is a saving grace. 

2002 Upper Deck Ovation Baseball drifts even further away from the original release. The baseball-designed cards were gone by 2001, but that set still had a bunch of solid inserts. The 2002 set, though, saw the insert sets disappear as well. The only standalone inserts are relic cards, and they are found just once per box. There are also Silver and Gold parallels.

2002 Upper Deck Ovation Baseball also features 29 serial-numbered World Premiere cards to highlight the rookies. Unfortunately, 2002 does not a very good rookie class. 

2002 Upper Deck Ovation Baseball Box Break

Cards per pack: 5
Packs per box: 24
Price paid: $38

Shop for 2002 Upper Deck Ovation Baseball boxes on eBay.

Pack 1 highlights:

Kevin Brown, Ken Griffey, Jr. SS & Ichiro Suzuki SS

The set contains five Superstar Spotlight subset cards of each of the six UD spokesmen: Ichiro, Griffey, A-Rod, McGwire, Sosa and Jason Giambi. 

Pack 2:

Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez SS, Jimmy Rollins, Roger Clemens & Scott Rolen

Pack 3:

Pedro Martinez, Mark McGwire SS, another Big Mac SS, Edgar Martinez & Ichiro Suzuki SS

How did Ichiro’s 2001 rookie season go? He just led the league in hits, stolen bases and batting average while winning both the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. Not bad. 

Pack 4:

Todd Helton, Albert Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki & Ivan Rodriguez Silver (1:4 packs)

Pack 5:

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Hudson & Mike Piazza

I like the Hudson card because of him being shown in an alternate jersey. I appreciate these because they are something a little different. 

Pack 6:

C.C. Sabathia, Ken Griffey, Jr. SS, Jason Giambi SS & Jeff Kent

Pack 7:

Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey, Jr. SS & Alex Rodriguez SS

Manny had just finished his debut season in Boston in 2001, hitting .306 with 41 HR and 125 RBI. 

Pack 8:

Nomar Garciaparra, Gary Sheffield & Adrian Burnside WP (1521/2002)

Pack 9:

Carlos Delgado, Mark McGwire SS, Ichiro Suzuki SS & Ken Griffey, Jr. SS Silver (1:4 packs)

Kind of a forgotten slugger, Delgado hit 473 home runs during his major league career. He also held a .280 career batting average. 

Pack 10:

Sammy Sosa, Slammin’ Sammy SS, Ichiro Suzuki SS & Rafael Palmeiro

Pack 11:

Bernie Williams, Sammy Sosa SS & Alex Rodriguez SS

Steady, but not spectacular, Bernie Williams hit 30 HRs in a season just once in his 16-year Yankees career. He finished his career with a .297 average. 

Pack 12:

Roberto Alomar, Derek Jeter, Lance Berkman & Sammy Sosa SS

Pack 13:

Jason Giambi SS, Barry Bonds & Randy Johnson Silver (1:4 packs)

2002 finished a stretch of four straight Cy Young Awards for Randy Johnson. Over those four seasons, The Big Unit struck out 1,417 batters, an absolutely amazing stretch of pitching. Making the run even more impressive, Johnson started that streak at 35 years of age. 

Pack 14:

Ken Griffey, Jr. SS, Vladimir Guerrero, Jason Giambi & Mark McGwire SS

Pack 15:

Ichiro Suzuki SS, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas & Nomar Garciaparra Silver (1:4 packs)

How good was the late-’90s crop of shortstops in the AL? Nomar finished second in the AL MVP voting following the 1998 season, but failed to make the All-Star team. 

Pack 16:

Jason Giambi SS, Josh Beckett, Alex Rodriguez SS, Greg Maddux & Larry Walker

Pack 17:

Sammy Sosa SS, Mo Vaughn, Jim Thome & Alex Rodriguez SS

2002 was Thome’s last season in Cleveland. What did he do on his way out the door? Hit 52 home runs. 

Pack 18:

Magglio Ordonez, Mark McGwire SS, Ken Griffey, Jr., Chipper Jones & Ivan Rodriguez Diamond Futures Jersey Relic (1:72 packs)

Pack 19:

Pedro Martinez, Mark McGwire SS, Ichiro Suzuki SS & Ken Griffey, Jr. SS Silver (1:4 packs)

While Randy Johnson was dominating in the NL, Pedro was doing much the same in the AL. Pedro’s first six seasons in Boston saw him combine to go 101-28 with a 2.26 ERA. He also won two Cy Young Awards, while finishing in the top three in voting three other times. 

Pack 20:

Todd Helton, Albert Pujols, Ichiro Suzuki & Jason Giambi SS

Pack 21:

C.C. Sabathia, Ken Griffey, Jr. SS & Jeff Kent

Jeff Kent played six seasons in San Francisco. He knocked in more than 100 runs in all six. 

Pack 22:

Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey, Jr. SS & Alex Rodriguez SS

Pack 23:

Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Giambi SS & Luis Gonzalez Silver (1:4 packs)

Luis Gonzalez hit 57 home runs and knocked in 142 RBI in 2001. That was only good enough to finish third in the NL MVP voting. He didn’t stand a chance against Barry Bonds, who hit his record-setting 73 home runs. 

Pack 24:

Ken Griffey, Jr. SS, Randy Johnson & Sammy Sosa SS

Lastly, the Randy Johnson card back. Not a lot going for this one here. Same player photo as the card front and limited stats don’t do much for me. 

This isn’t one of my favorite Ovation designs. It still could have been worse. The embossing is a nice touch but it just wasn’t nearly as good as their baseball seam designs. I also wish there were some inserts to chase.

I did pull the expected one jersey relic per box in this one, and I won’t complain about Hall of Fame catcher Pudge Rodriguez. Keep in mind, this was back when jersey cards still meant a lot more to the hobby than they seem to today.

Hopefully someday I will be able to track down some of the other Ovation releases to feature here.

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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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