Upper Deck A Piece of History 500 HR Club
The Upper Deck A Piece of History 500 HR Club, is a multi-brand, game-used set featuring all members (except Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez) of the 500 Home Run Club.
Beginning in 1999, Upper Deck inserted into various products cards featuring a piece of a game-used bat. The first group of 15 cards were randomly inserted into 1999 and early 2000 Upper Deck baseball sets.
With the exception of Babe Ruth, approximately 350 of each card was produced. Only 50 Babe Ruth's were made.
Barry Bonds hit his 500th home run in 2001; however, there were no plans to extend the A Piece of History set at that time. Eventually, as more players began to reach the milestone, those players began to be added to the set. Unfortunately by 2004, Bonds had signed an exclusive contract with Topps and was unable to be included in this set.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 500th home run in 2007. While Upper Deck could have added A-Rod to the A Piece of History set, Rodriguez at the time had an exclusive autograph contract with Topps. Because of this, Upper Deck decided not to make an A-Rod A Piece of History card.
The series ended in 2010 after Upper Deck lost their MLB license.
1999 Series One Babe Ruth
Randomly inserted into packs of 1999 Upper Deck Series One, was a special card featuring chip from an actual game-used Louisville Slugger swung by Babe Ruth during the late 20's. Upper Deck purchased a (cracked) Ruth bat at an auction for over $23,000 in 1998 for the expressed intention of cutting it up and mounting the pieces onto trading cards. Upper Deck received plenty of negative publicity in the mainstream sports media for destroying such a "priceless" (albeit chipped) artifact.
Approximately 350 cards were made and seeded into packs at a rate of 1:15,000. Another insert card incorporates both a "cut" signature of Ruth along with a piece of his game-used bat. Only three of these cards were produced.
Neither the bat card, nor the cut signature card are considered part of the A Piece of History 500 HR Club set listed below; however, becuase the Series One Ruth card is titled "A Piece of History," we are checklisting this card for your collecting convenience.
PH Babe Ruth
PHLC Babe Ruth CUT AU
A Piece of History cards from the original 1999-2000 run were released in the following products:
- 1999 SP Authentic: Ernie Banks
- 1999 SP Signature Edition: Mel Ott
- 1999 SPx: Willie Mays
- 1999 UD Choice: Eddie Murray
- 1999 UD HoloGrFX: Eddie Mathews and Willie McCovey
- 1999 UD Ionix: Frank Robinson
- 1999 Upper Deck Series Two: Babe Ruth
- 1999 Upper Deck Century Legends: Jimmie Foxx
- 1999 Upper Deck Challengers for 70: Harmon Killebrew
- 1999 Upper Deck MVP: Mike Schmidt
- 1999 Upper Deck Ovation: Mickey Mantle
- 1999 Upper Deck Retro: Ted Williams
- 2000 Black Diamond: Reggie Jackson
- 2000 Upper Deck Series One: Hank Aaron
It is unclear how card #ARM was distributed; however, less than 10 copies of this triple-bat card are known to exist.
A one-of-one "Instant Winner" card was randomly inserted into packs of 2000 Upper Deck Series One, in which one lucky collector would win one copy of each card from the 1999-2000 run.
- EM Eddie Murray
- BR Babe Ruth
- EB Ernie Banks
- EM Eddie Mathews
- FR Frank Robinson
- HA Hank Aaron
- HK Harmon Killebrew
- JF Jimmie Foxx
- MM Mickey Mantle
- MO Mel Ott
- MS Mike Schmidt
- RJ Reggie Jackson
- TW Ted Williams
- WM Willie McCovey
- WM Willie Mays
- NNO Instant Winner Card
- ARM Hank Aaron / Babe Ruth / Willie Mays
This card was released into packs of 2002 Upper Deck Series Two. McGwire, who had hit his 500th home run during the 1999 season, had requested to not be included in the original 1999-2000 run. However in 2002, McGwire signed an exclusive autograph contract with Upper Deck and as part of the deal, UD was finally allowed to include McGwire in the A Piece of History set.
- MMC Mark McGwire
This card was released into packs of 2003 Upper Deck Series Two.
- SS Sammy Sosa
Cards from 2004 were released into the following packs:
- 504HR Rafael Palmeiro
- KG Ken Griffey, Jr.
These cards were released into packs of 2008 Upper Deck Series One.
- FT Frank Thomas
- JT Jim Thome
This card was released into packs of 2009 Upper Deck Series One.
- MR Manny Ramirez
This card was released into packs of 2010 Upper Deck. To date, this is the final card in the set.
- 500HR-GS Gary Sheffield
As part of the Upper Deck A Piece of History 500 Club series, Upper Deck had most of the living members of the 500 homer club autograph a number of their bat cards. Each player's autographed card was inserted into the same product as the unautographed versions listed above.
In most cases, each autographed version is serial-numbered to the player's uniform number. Unlike the non-autographed version, each autographed card is hand-numbered.
- The Mickey Mantle card is a one-of-one cut-signature.
- The Sammy Sosa autograph card packed out as an exchange card which expired June 9th, 2006.
- The autograph program was stopped after 2004, and as a result, autographed A Piece of History Cards do not exist for Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, and Gary Sheffield.
- Ken Griffey, Jr. autographed 25 copies of his card for random insertions into packs of 2004 Upper Deck Etchings. As any Griffey fan knows, he never wore uniform #25. (You'd think Upper Deck would have known this, too.)
- 536HR Mickey Mantle CUT 1
- EBAU Ernie Banks 14
- EMAU Eddie Mathews 41
- FRAU Frank Robinson 20
- HAAU Hank Aaron 44
- HKAU Harmon Killebrew 3
- KG Ken Griffey, Jr. 25
- MSAU Mike Schmidt 20
- RJAU Reggie Jackson 44
- RPAU0 Rafael Palmeiro 25
- SMMC Mark McGwire 25
- SSAU Sammy Sosa EXCH 21
- TWAU Ted Williams 9
- WMA Willie Mays 24
- WMAU Willie McCovey 44