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1998 Metal Universe

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Description

1998 Metal Universe was a 220-card single-series set produced by Fleer/Skybox and released in the summer of 1998. Unlike previous years where card backgrounds revolved around space and fantasy comic book designs, the 1998 set design shifted to focus primarily on environmental backgrounds from the state/city that the player represented; however, some players still had space-themed backgrounds. All cards are printed on etched foil and were highly susceptible to chipping along the edges and were marked as "condition sensitive" by Beckett, just like the 1996 and 1997 sets.

This year marked the introduction of the famous and popular "Precious Metal Gems" (PMG) parallel to the baseball brand, which was already wildly beloved in the basketball hobby.

Being the face of Fleer/Skybox, Alex Rodriguez once again was the featured frontman for this product, just as he was for other Fleer/Skybox products released that year (e.g., 1998 E-X 2001, 1998 Ultra).

There were no notable Rookie Cards in this set.

Distribution

Although Hobby boxes were wrapped in plastic marked "Hobby Exclusive", Retail boxes were also distributed.

Hobby: 24 packs per box, 8 cards per pack.

Retail: 18 packs per box, 8 cards per pack.

Insertion Ratios

Cards Total Cards Numbered To Hobby Odds Retail Odds
Base 220 - ? ?
Precious Metal Gems 220 50 ? N/A
Universal Language 20 - 1:6 1:6
Diamond Heroes 6 - 1:18 1:18
Titanium 15 - 1:96 1:96
All-Galactic Team 18 - 1:192 1:192
Platinum Portraits 12 - 1:360 1:360

Checklist

Promos

Alex-Rodriguez.jpg?id=8bd8e070-a965-4c10-96d1-702c7deb53a5&size=original&side=front&.jpg Alex-Rodriguez.jpg?id=8bd8e070-a965-4c10-96d1-702c7deb53a5&size=original&side=back&.jpg

Alex Rodriguez promo cards were distributed with all dealer order forms. The card is identical to Rodriguez's base card except for the text "PROMOTIONAL SAMPLE" written diagonally along the card back and the card being sequentially-numbered as "SAMPLE."

  • SAMPLE Alex Rodriguez

Base Set

Derek-Jeter.jpg?id=5eeafd8f-b68e-45b3-9f8d-dcfeda4712f2&size=original&side=front.jpg Derek-Jeter.jpg?id=5eeafd8f-b68e-45b3-9f8d-dcfeda4712f2&size=original&side=back&.jpg

  • 1 Jose Cruz, Jr.
  • 2 Jeff Abbott
  • 3 Rafael Palmeiro
  • 4 Ivan Rodriguez
  • 5 Jaret Wright
  • 6 Derek Bell
  • 7 Chuck Finley
  • 8 Travis Fryman
  • 9 Randy Johnson
  • 10 Derrek Lee
  • 11 Bernie Williams
  • 12 Carlos Baerga
  • 13 Ricky Bottalico
  • 14 Ellis Burks
  • 15 Russ Davis
  • 16 Nomar Garciaparra
  • 17 Joey Hamilton
  • 18 Jason Kendall
  • 19 Darryl Kile
  • 20 Edgardo Alfonzo
  • 21 Moises Alou
  • 22 Bobby Bonilla
  • 23 Jim Edmonds
  • 24 Jose Guillen
  • 25 Chuck Knoblauch
  • 26 Javy Lopez
  • 27 Billy Wagner
  • 28 Kevin Appier
  • 29 Joe Carter
  • 30 Todd Dunwoody
  • 31 Gary Gaetti
  • 32 Juan Gonzalez
  • 33 Jeffrey Hammonds
  • 34 Roberto Hernandez
  • 35 Dave Nilsson
  • 36 Manny Ramirez
  • 37 Robin Ventura
  • 38 Rondell White
  • 39 Vinny Castilla
  • 40 Will Clark
  • 41 Scott Hatteberg
  • 42 Russ Johnson
  • 43 Ricky Ledee
  • 44 Kenny Lofton
  • 45 Paul Molitor
  • 46 Justin Thompson
  • 47 Craig Biggio
  • 48 Damion Easley
  • 49 Brad Radke
  • 50 Ben Grieve
  • 51 Mark Bellhorn
  • 52 Henry Blanco
  • 53 Mariano Rivera
  • 54 Reggie Sanders
  • 55 Paul Sorrento
  • 56 Terry Steinbach
  • 57 Mo Vaughn
  • 58 Brady Anderson
  • 59 Tom Glavine
  • 60 Sammy Sosa
  • 61 Larry Walker
  • 62 Rod Beck
  • 63 Jose Canseco
  • 64 Steve Finley
  • 65 Pedro Martinez
  • 66 John Olerud
  • 67 Scott Rolen
  • 68 Ismael Valdes
  • 69 Andrew Vessel
  • 70 Mark Grudzielanek
  • 71 Eric Karros
  • 72 Jeff Shaw
  • 73 Lou Collier
  • 74 Edgar Martinez
  • 75 Vladimir Guerrero
  • 76 Paul Konerko
  • 77 Kevin Orie
  • 78 Kevin Polcovich
  • 79 Brett Tomko
  • 80 Jeff Bagwell
  • 81 Barry Bonds
  • 82 Dave Justice
  • 83 Hideo Nomo
  • 84 Ryne Sandberg
  • 85 Shannon Stewart
  • 86 Derek Wallace
  • 87 Tony Womack
  • 88 Jason Giambi
  • 89 Mark Grace
  • 90 Pat Hentgen
  • 91 Raul Mondesi
  • 92 Matt Morris
  • 93 Matt Perisho
  • 94 Tim Salmon
  • 95 Jeremi Gonzalez
  • 96 Shawn Green
  • 97 Todd Greene
  • 98 Ruben Rivera
  • 99 Deion Sanders
  • 100 Alex Rodriguez
  • 101 Will Cunnane
  • 102 Ray Lankford
  • 103 Ryan McGuire
  • 104 Charles Nagy
  • 105 Rey Ordonez
  • 106 Mike Piazza
  • 107 Tony Saunders
  • 108 Curt Schilling
  • 109 Fernando Tatis
  • 110 Mark McGwire
  • 111 Dave Dellucci RC
  • 112 Garret Anderson
  • 113 Shane Bowers RC
  • 114 David Cone
  • 115 Jeff King
  • 116 Matt Williams
  • 117 Aaron Boone
  • 118 Dennis Eckersley
  • 119 Livan Hernandez
  • 120 Richard Hidalgo
  • 121 Bob Higginson
  • 122 Tino Martinez
  • 123 Tim Naehring
  • 124 Jose Vidro
  • 125 John Wetteland
  • 126 Jay Bell
  • 127 Albert Belle
  • 128 Marty Cordova
  • 129 Chili Davis
  • 130 Jason Dickson
  • 131 Rusty Greer
  • 132 Hideki Irabu
  • 133 Greg Maddux
  • 134 Billy Taylor
  • 135 Jim Thome
  • 136 Gerald Williams
  • 137 Jeff Cirillo
  • 138 Delino DeShields
  • 139 Andres Galarraga
  • 140 Willie Greene
  • 141 John Jaha
  • 142 Charles Johnson
  • 143 Ryan Klesko
  • 144 Paul O'Neill
  • 145 Robinson Checo
  • 146 Roberto Alomar
  • 147 Wilson Alvarez
  • 148 Bobby Jones
  • 149 Raul Casanova
  • 150 Andruw Jones
  • 151 Mike Lansing
  • 152 Mickey Morandini
  • 153 Neifi Perez
  • 154 Pokey Reese
  • 155 Edgar Renteria
  • 156 Eric Young
  • 157 Darin Erstad
  • 158 Kelvim Escobar
  • 159 Carl Everett
  • 160 Tom Gordon
  • 161 Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 162 Al Martin
  • 163 Bubba Trammell
  • 164 Carlos Delgado
  • 165 Kevin Brown
  • 166 Ken Caminiti
  • 167 Roger Clemens
  • 168 Ron Gant
  • 169 Jeff Kent
  • 170 Mike Mussina
  • 171 Dean Palmer
  • 172 Henry Rodriguez
  • 173 Matt Stairs
  • 174 Jay Buhner
  • 175 Frank Thomas
  • 176 Mike Cameron
  • 177 Johnny Damon
  • 178 Tony Gwynn
  • 179 John Smoltz
  • 180 B.J. Surhoff
  • 181 Antone Williamson
  • 182 Alan Benes
  • 183 Jeromy Burnitz
  • 184 Tony Clark
  • 185 Shawn Estes
  • 186 Todd Helton
  • 187 Todd Hundley
  • 188 Chipper Jones
  • 189 Mark Kotsay
  • 190 Barry Larkin
  • 191 Mike Lieberthal
  • 192 Andy Pettitte
  • 193 Gary Sheffield
  • 194 Jeff Suppan
  • 195 Mark Wohlers
  • 196 Dante Bichette
  • 197 Trevor Hoffman
  • 198 J.T. Snow
  • 199 Derek Jeter
  • 200 Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • 201 Steve Woodard
  • 202 Ray Durham

Hardball Galaxy

Larry-Walker.jpg?id=ebb401bf-559b-4705-8b3d-fc0d210e6b66&size=original&side=front.jpg Larry-Walker.jpg?id=ebb401bf-559b-4705-8b3d-fc0d210e6b66&size=original&side=back&.jpg

This 15-card subset (203-217) caricatured top players in the game as fictional superheroes based on their baseball talents. Each card was drawn and designed by Dan Lawlis, a TV storyboard artist that drew for Marvel Entertainment at the time.

  • 203 Barry Bonds
  • 204 Tony Clark
  • 205 Roger Clemens
  • 206 Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 207 Deion Sanders
  • 208 Derek Jeter
  • 209 Randy Johnson
  • 210 Brady Anderson
  • 211 Hideo Nomo
  • 212 Mike Piazza
  • 213 Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • 214 Alex Rodriguez
  • 215 Frank Thomas
  • 216 Mo Vaughn
  • 217 Larry Walker

Checklists

Ken-Griffey-Jr.jpg?id=49a512ae-7658-4943-83d8-632c5ac89330&size=original&side=front.jpg Ken-Griffey-Jr.jpg?id=49a512ae-7658-4943-83d8-632c5ac89330&size=original&side=back&.jpg

  • 218 Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 219 Alex Rodriguez
  • 220 Frank Thomas

Parallels

Precious Metal Gems

Garret-Anderson.jpg?id=f7e42a28-8ffa-4c26-af2b-f7c764c18339&size=original&side=front.jpg Garret-Anderson.jpg?id=f7e42a28-8ffa-4c26-af2b-f7c764c18339&size=original&side=back&.jpg

Precious Metal Gems fully paralleled the 220-card base set (including the checklists) and were exclusive to Hobby packs. Each Precious Metal Gems card featured the same background as the base set but was finished with a holographic spiral and concentric circle design and serial-numbered to 50.

This parallel set is one of the most appreciated and sought after from this era due to the unique card background designs for each player, aesthetics of the holographic foil finish, rarity due to the low serial-numbering, and extensive player checklist.

Further, only the first 45 copies of each Precious Metal Gems parallel for each player (cards serial-numbered 1-45) were seeded into Hobby packs. The remaining Precious Metal Gems parallel for each player (cards serial-numbered 46-50) were originally only available through redemption: five "Ultimate Gems" redemption cards were randomly inserted into packs. Each Ultimate Gems card could be redeemed for the entire Precious Metal Gems set with matching serial numbers.

Inserts

Universal Language

Hideo-Nomo.jpg?id=2160ec9c-5d42-43ac-921b-de52ad374f47&size=original&side=front&.jpg Hideo-Nomo.jpg?id=2160ec9c-5d42-43ac-921b-de52ad374f47&size=original&side=back&.jpg

This 20-card set highlighted players in the game that were proficient in "speaking" the universal language of baseball skill and talent. Each card was die-cut, printed on matte card stock, and featured a sepia-colored map background. The reverse side of each Universal Language card was written in each player's native language..

  • 1 UL Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 2 UL Frank Thomas
  • 3 UL Chipper Jones
  • 4 UL Albert Belle
  • 5 UL Juan Gonzalez
  • 6 UL Jeff Bagwell
  • 7 UL Andruw Jones
  • 8 UL Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • 9 UL Derek Jeter
  • 10 UL Nomar Garciaparra
  • 11 UL Darin Erstad
  • 12 UL Greg Maddux
  • 13 UL Alex Rodriguez
  • 14 UL Mike Piazza
  • 15 UL Vladimir Guerrero
  • 16 UL Jose Cruz, Jr.
  • 17 UL Hideo Nomo
  • 18 UL Kenny Lofton
  • 19 UL Tony Gwynn
  • 20 UL Scott Rolen

Diamond Heroes

Ken-Griffey-Jr.jpg?id=8f56d59f-f87b-47d5-8f26-0dce13f0d302&size=original&side=front&.jpg Ken-Griffey-Jr.jpg?id=8f56d59f-f87b-47d5-8f26-0dce13f0d302&size=original&side=back&.jpg

This 6-card set highlighted some of the top players in the game and paid homage to the roots of the Metal Universe brand by featuring the fantasy comic book-themed backgrounds that "interacted" with player photos seen in the base set's design from previous years. Each card was printed on colored, etched foil.

  • 1DH Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 2DH Frank Thomas
  • 3DH Andruw Jones
  • 4DH Alex Rodriguez
  • 5DH Jose Cruz, Jr.
  • 6DH Cal Ripken, Jr.

Titanium

Derek-Jeter.jpg?id=910da84a-9db9-4629-81dd-c0cf580aa5bf&size=original&side=front&.jpg Derek-Jeter.jpg?id=910da84a-9db9-4629-81dd-c0cf580aa5bf&size=original&side=back&.jpg

This 15-card set highlighted some of the best players in the game on a die-cut and embossed card resembling a metal shield featuring colored finishes that accented the player's team.

NOTE: These cards are slightly wider than the standard 2.5 card width.

  • 1 T Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 2 T Frank Thomas
  • 3 T Chipper Jones
  • 4 T Jose Cruz, Jr.
  • 5 T Juan Gonzalez
  • 6 T Scott Rolen
  • 7 T Andruw Jones
  • 8 T Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • 9 T Derek Jeter
  • 10 T Nomar Garciaparra
  • 11 T Darin Erstad
  • 12 T Greg Maddux
  • 13 T Alex Rodriguez
  • 14 T Mike Piazza
  • 15 T Vladimir Guerrero

All-Galactic Team

Mike-Piazza.jpg?id=c0bd4d3f-1631-4baa-b7a6-37a1baf5d9cd&size=original&side=front&.jpg Mike-Piazza.jpg?id=c0bd4d3f-1631-4baa-b7a6-37a1baf5d9cd&size=original&side=back&.jpg

This 18-card set featured the supposed best players in the galaxy. Each card was printed on a holographic foiled, space and planets background.

  • 1 AGT Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 2 AGT Frank Thomas
  • 3 AGT Chipper Jones
  • 4 AGT Albert Belle
  • 5 AGT Juan Gonzalez
  • 6 AGT Jeff Bagwell
  • 7 AGT Andruw Jones
  • 8 AGT Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • 9 AGT Derek Jeter
  • 10 AGT Nomar Garciaparra
  • 11 AGT Darin Erstad
  • 12 AGT Greg Maddux
  • 13 AGT Alex Rodriguez
  • 14 AGT Mike Piazza
  • 15 AGT Vladimir Guerrero
  • 16 AGT Jose Cruz, Jr.
  • 17 AGT Mark McGwire
  • 18 AGT Scott Rolen

Platinum Portraits

This 12-card set highlighted some of the best young and established talent in the game at the time, which differed from previous years that just featured young, emerging stars. Each "card" was made of two pieces: a die-cut, silver etched "frame" and a player portrait card that fit inside the frame.

Cal-Ripken-Jr.jpg?id=1b35a1b5-ee50-483a-a91c-7a9452ac9056&size=original&side=front&.jpg Cal-Ripken-Jr.jpg?id=1b35a1b5-ee50-483a-a91c-7a9452ac9056&size=original&side=back&.jpg

  • 1 PP Ken Griffey, Jr.
  • 2 PP Frank Thomas
  • 3 PP Chipper Jones
  • 4 PP Jose Cruz, Jr.
  • 5 PP Andruw Jones
  • 6 PP Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • 7 PP Derek Jeter
  • 8 PP Darin Erstad
  • 9 PP Greg Maddux
  • 10 PP Alex Rodriguez
  • 11 PP Mike Piazza
  • 12 PP Vladimir Guerrero