Thursday, September 17, 2020

State of the Set: 1997 Upper Deck Legends


I feel that there are too many sets on my wantlist that have been sitting there for years while I slowly chip away at them. This year I noticed that a lot of those sets are well within striking distance this year, so I've tried to swing some trades for set needs while focusing my recent Sportlots purchase on sets as well. We'll see how many sets I can kill before the year is out.

For the past few years, I have written a post that summarizes my set completion quests for the year. I still plan to do that for 2020, but I also decided to give a progress report for sets that I'm actively acquiring cards for along the way. I thought this might be more interesting than writing one giant post that tries to tie all the different cards from a trade or a purchase together.

I've never, ever opened a pack of today's set. I've seen 20+ year old boxes of it for sale, and it is far too pricey for me. I never even had a card from this set until the day I decided to build the set. But when I first bought a lot of 1997 Upper Deck Legends from somebody on TCDB, it was love at first sight.

Why I'm collecting this set: The checklist. I know I'm in the minority here, but I don't love having retired greats sprinkled in my modern base sets. But that's not the case with this set. This set is an entire set of retired greats in a modern base set. I love the idea. Plus, they're not all the same legendary Hall of Famers you see over and over and over again. In fact, a lot of players in this set aren't Hall of Famers at all. A good portion of this checklist is made up of players who were great in their day, but are less remembered than many of their peers. This is just a flat-out fun checklist.

How long has it been on my wantlist (roughly)?: I'm thinking it has probably been two years now.

Current state of set completion: 186/208 (89.4%)

Current needs: #4 (Walter Payton), #12 (Tony Dorsett), #13 (Fran Tarkenton), #35 (Joe Greene), #36 (Mike Rozier), #37 (Lou Groza), #39 (Elroy Hirsch), #41 (Charlie Joiner), #46 (Bob Lilly), #48 (John Mackey), #53 (Marion Motley), #56 (Mel Renfro), #57 (Jim Otto), #124 (Jack Kemp), #127, (Jerry Kramer) #140 (Tom Landry), #152 (Babe Parilli), #154 (Ozzie Newsome), #155, (Jim Plunkett) #157 (Johnny Robinson), #178 (Joe Montana), #180 (Bart Starr)

Prognosis: Not promising. I mentioned that unopened product for this set is expensive. So are the singles, for simple base cards. Not to mention that some of these cards on my list aren't even for sale on Sportlots, COMC, or eBay at the moment. There is a scarcity to this set that I can't really explain. I'll just keep plugging along, picking up what I can from time to time, like these two cards I got in my latest Sportslot order. And if anybody has some extras they are willing to trade, I'm willing to listen.


  1. Best of luck. This set is gorgeous. Been a fan since the first time I saw these cards.

  2. I love this set. The autographs are really great too, the checklist is absolutely staggering!

  3. I have 10 of your needs of 97 UD Legends that I would trade to you if you're interested. How do I contact you?