Card of the Day: 1998 Upper Deck Tony Womack

Today’s Card of the Day comes from the 1998 Upper Deck set and it features Tony Womack, who was traded away by the Pittsburgh Pirates 24 years ago today. It’s a trade that looks much worse than it actually was, as Womack put up just 2.2 WAR total in eight seasons after the trade. Most people see his high run total from 1999, and his place on the 2001 World Series winning Arizona Diamondbacks, and assume that he had high value. However, he was a low OBP guy, who played below average defense at a key spot.

Player value aside, Womack was an exciting player because he offered speed, which we don’t get enough of in the game today. Teams are playing for the home run now, so any time someone gets on base, they have guys hacking away trying to get him in by hitting the ball over the fence. When Womack played, speed and power were a good combo, and teams were allowed to choose both. He led the league with 60 steals in 1997, then finished first again with 58 steals in 1998. No one has reached 50 steals in the last five seasons.

Today’s card choice shows in detail how fast Womack was on the field. We featured him here exactly two years ago on his 1999 Topps card, taken from a unique camera angle for baseball cards. I really liked that photo because of the perspective, but I think I like this card even more. Here’s card #196 from the 1998 Upper Deck set, featuring Tony Womack.

Here’s the front of the card:

As I said, Womack moved so fast that it looks like there are three of him on this card. This is actually an amazing idea for a card. I don’t think I would like an entire set that looked like this, but doing it for a random card or two in each set would make for a great addition. If I’ve seen this card before, I don’t remember it.

I’m not a fan of the set design here, but the picture really distracts from that. I still don’t get who thinks dark writing on a dark background is a good idea. You can barely see the name or position here. I’m also not a fan of writing names from the bottom up on cards. I was going to try to figure out who the Chicago Cubs player was on the ground to see if I could maybe find the specific play here, but it’s funny that Upper Deck put the R logo right on his face.

This card reminded me one two things. I really hated those pinstripe uniforms from that era. It really looks bad here where both teams were playing with pinstripes at the same time. On the flip side, I really liked those hats. I know I’ve got some negative feedback for saying that before, but the gray with a black bill, and the gold outline for the “P” logo really looks nice. It’s so strange to really like something that goes along with something else that looks so bad.

Here’s the back of the card:

The back design is a lot better here. You also get a different angle of the same type of play by Womack, which is a great action shot no matter which way you look at it. It’s also from a different series (meaning not the one against the Cubs shown above), so Upper Deck was out there taking more pics of the 1997 Pirates in those awful uniforms. You gotta love that Pirates logo from that era, one of the best ever. Upper Deck did another thing I like here, which really adds style points for the back design. The gold and black colors on the back were especially for the Pirates cards. Each player in the set got their team’s colors. That is always appreciated.

If you’re interested in this card, it’s one of those typical commons that you can get for $2 delivered, but some sellers will try to charge extra for delivery. There are no special versions of this particular card, but there is a parallel set called Special F/X, which are harder to find, and you can get one of those for about the same price. They have the same photo, but the design is a bit different in color and the cardboard is thicker.