The sixth installment of USA Baseball’s annual box set was officially released June 3rd, 2008. Boasting a print run of just 10,000 sets, initial MSRP was $64.95 per set. Again, the set featured the full National and Junior National Team roster of players from the previous summer (2007), but new for this set was the inclusion of the players from the 16U Team that appeared on “triple player cards”. USAB continued to innovate on the prior year’s set by including 7 autographed cards across several new insert sets (2 of which were “on-card” autos for most every National and Junior teamer) and 2 memorabilia cards spanning several insert sets. (View the complete set checklist here)
Continuing the precedent started with the 2007 set, this release included the debut of even more inserts:
- On-card autographs of most every National & Junior teamer; in 2007, USAB randomly inserted a handful of cards that players hard-signed on the card itself, while in 2008 nearly every player in the base set had on-card autos; these were inserted 2 per set but were not numbered; six other on-card autos comprised the “Battleground Autographs” line and featured multiple player autographs and these were seeded at a much lower rate; from personal experience, I pulled about 1 of these multi-player-signed cards per 15-set case.
- “Camo Cloth” jersey cards featuring cut-swatches from the players camoflaged jerseys worn in their July 4th, 2007 game; these cards were unnumbered and fell approximately 1 per 3 sets.
- “Bound for Beijing II” autographed/jersey cards featuring the 24 players and coach from the USA World Cup team; this insert set was actually a continuation from the 2007 Bound for Beijing autographed set but included a game-used jersey swatch in addition to the cut autograph; these cards were all numbered to 50 copies each; although there was no official statement from USAB or Upper Deck, several of these cards have never surfaced in the secondary market, leading many collectors to believe they were not actually released in the sets.
- The Bound for Beijing II line also spanned an autograph/patch (#’d/10) and letterman patch series (#’d/3 – 11).
- A complete line of Japanese Collegiate All-Stars jerseys, autographs, patches, letterman patches and flag patches; Team USA played the Japanese team in a series in Tokyo in midsummer 2007; Japanese collegiate freshman Yuki Saitoh drew huge interest and big money at the time of release from Japanese collectors; this international insert set would be continued in 2009 with the addition of the Chinese Taipei collegiate team and the international line was discontinued in the 2010 box set.
- Letterman Patch cards featuring one of the letters from the nameplate on the back of each player’s jersey; this line spanned all of the teams represented in the set except for the 16U team.
- “In His Own Words” autographed cards featuring players from the National, 18U and 16U teams; these were novel cards autographed by the players and included an inscription of the player’s choosing; popular inscriptions were ”thanks mom/dad/coach/aunt Betty/etc…”; however, most players elected not to add an inscription and those cards featured only the autograph; these were all #’d/20; the “IHOW” series lived on in the next 2 box set releases
- “Q&A” Autographs featured only the National teamers; there were 5 varations of each card (i.e. 5 different “questions”) and the players wrote their answers to the question on each card and then autographed it; common questions included “Who’s your favorite MLB team”, “Who’s the biggest influence on your life”, etc…
- Printing Plate Autographs were included for the National and 18U players; these were the actual Black, Cyan and Magenta metal plates used to print the base cards; they were autographed directly on the plate and included the plates used for the front as well as the back of the cards; each was numbered 1/1
- “Starting Lineup” autographed cards were included for the National and 18U teams; this line was an improvement over the 2007 debut version where the players simply printed their last names on a mock “lineup” card; this version consisted of 10 variations of 10-player-lineups and each player actually signed the card instead of printing their names
Filed under: 2007-2008 Upper Deck USA Box Set