Archive for Vernon Wells

Original artwork used on 1990 Upper Deck Roger Clemens card acquired

Posted in Collcting Clemens with tags , , , , on February 6, 2020 by Cardboard Icons

Sometime last summer one of my friends brought to my attention that Dave and Adam’s Card World was selling original artwork used to create some iconic Upper Deck cards from the early 1990s.

The pieces were used on the Heroes inserts and the team checklist subsets. Among the artwork available was that of Vernon Wells — renowned sports artist and father of the professional baseball player — who’d created a single piece that depicted Roger Clemens in two different poses. The image is one that I remember vividly from my youth as a collector of 1990 Upper Deck cards.

I first saw the piece on the Web site over the summer but did not buy it. Around that same time Ryan Cracknell of Beckett Media wrote about his acquisition of the Joe Montana “Football Heroes” piece, which is gorgeous.

I wanted the Clemens but really wasn’t in a position to acquire it. Then recently former Beckett Media editor Chris Olds, the one who first alerted me to the piece, told me the Clemens was now on sale, for 50% off. I toyed with the idea of owning it and even checked with Ryan about whether he ever regretted buying his Montana. (hint: He still loves it.)

So after about 12 hours of debate — and making a sale on eBay to free up some funds — I took the plunge and made the purchase using the profits from a thrift flip.

And no less than five days later the piece arrived, professionally framed as it likely had been so that the art work could hang in the Upper Deck offices.

I was excited to receive the piece and actually had my son record my unboxing because that’s what we do when we make big acquisitions for our personal collections. (

Thanks Chris for the heads up, and Ryan for offering insight.

Card of the Day: 1991 Upper Deck Nolan Ryan / Rickey Henderson SP

Posted in Card of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

There are so many things to love about Upper Deck of the early 90s. The company invigorated the hobby with a new type of product that appealed to more than just your average kid saving his lunch money. UD was the first to insert autographs into packs, the first to use holograms, and the first to introduce the seeded special cards that we’ve come to know as SP.

The initials SP could mean many things, and to this day I am still unsure if Upper Deck meant for it to mean special or short printed, such as the letters are used in Beckett. Regardless of what they mean, they were affixed to certain cards that hobbyists chased with their hard-earned dollars. Continue reading