In the years of companies adding autographs to their sets, there was always a limit to the people that they could include. You needed to be alive to sign the card. In 2001, Upper Deck completely changed the concept of what could be put into packs in a few different ways. This was one of them. I put Jackie Robinson into this spot, but it could have been any number of legendary players in the set. What Upper Deck did was give collectors the ability to chase autographs they could never dream of having before this point.
Upper Deck dipped their toes into the concept of cut autos with a 2000 set dedicated to the Yankees, but this was the set that blew the doors off of the cut autograph industry. Cut autos came one per case in this high end set, which had a retail price of 180 dollars per box. This set gave you the ability for the first time to collect autographs from everyone from Babe Ruth and Satchel Paige to Branch Rickey and Roger Peckinpaugh. For the first time, the autographs industry became an infinite adventure.
Random Jackie Robinson Facts: While it would never be in question now, Jackie Robinson nearly didn’t make the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He ended up getting 77.5 percent of the votes, with 75% being the number you needed to get in. It should be noted that his first time being eligible was only 15 years after Robinson broke the color barrier, and had to fight the very same stereotypes while trying to make the Hall of Fame.