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Upper Deck CEO Richard McWilliam Passes Away
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Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Ryan Cracknell
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Richard McWilliam, Upper Deck CEO and co-founder, passed away over the weekend.

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/ne...under-171800799.html

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Posts: 1173 | Location: Nanaimo, BC | Registered: November 17, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That story did not touch upon the more recent controversial issues that Upper Deck has faced, but McWilliam and UD certainly changed the sports card industry starting in 1989. UD was THE card company for a good decade and its innovations with bat cards, uniform swatches, pack inserted autographs, and the idea of premium priced card brands created the model that everyone follows today, whether its sport or non-sport cards.

Whatever people may think, McWilliam left his mark on this hobby like very few others and passed away much too soon.
 
Posts: 9591 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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While the company he co-founded did produce some great products and changes in the way cards are perceived, "passing away much too soon" is certainly a mater of opinion.

Hopefully the folks who remain at UD will be able to cleanse the stench or the string of horrible (and often, illegal) decisions of McWilliam in recent years and reclaim some of their former glory.

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Posts: 1492 | Location: Tinley Park, Illinois, USA | Registered: May 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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WHen I read this article, I..for one..staring at the barrel of my 50th birthday this year... thought it was too soon. I know little of UD and their strats, but any PERSON shouldn't have their passing thought of as a good thing, as your posting seems to imply. He was a father with three children.

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Posts: 4241 | Location: Pittsboro, NC USA | Registered: November 30, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You might want to look into the actions of the person. Not only did UD (under his direction) have hundreds of thousands of yu gi oh cards made and distributed in violation of the distribution only agreement with Konami, but engaged in activities that resulted in several other lawsuits including Upper Deck International.

Not a "good guy" by any stretch.

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Posts: 1492 | Location: Tinley Park, Illinois, USA | Registered: May 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Whether he was a "good guy" or not isn't relevent. One should never treat the death of another human being, especially one with a family, in a disrespectful manner. Slinging mud at the recently deceased is tacky regardless of how you felt about the individual.

Condolences to the family.

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Posts: 425 | Location: Canada | Registered: August 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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He passed away WAY too soon. And to further expand on Raven's remarks, here's my eulogy for the man and his work while I'm at it.

Upper Deck's sports cards, especially their baseball cards from 1989 to about 1995, are triumphs of design. From the very start, the company instantly transformed the look of sport cards and made obsolete the need to include bubble gum to sell cards. It was always so much fun breaking those packs, just so much innovation in the cards, a lot of which was later to appear on non sports cards.

The early success of Upper Deck benefitted the entire industry and no doubt played a part in a company like Fleer/Skybox staying around long enough to issue what is now considered a classic era of Marvel trading cards from 1992 to 1998, with many of the whistles and bells from those cards first having been seen in Upper Deck cards earlier in the decade.

The quality and impact of his work on sports cards alone would put McWilliam in the trading card Hall of Fame if such a thing existed.

Beyond that, Upper Deck's non-sport's history, while spotty, has nevertheless produced at least some sets that were smash hits with the hobby and injected still more elegance into trading cards, Disney Treasures, Marvel Masterpieces 2007, and Avengers Movie, to name but a few widely collected issues. While controversial from it's inception as a $200 a pack product, Marvel Premier, proving the naysayers wrong yet again, has apparently created an all-new niche in nonsport, the ultra high end premium pack. Instead of being the flop that was predicted by the generally loudest among us, one major retailer now lists the packs at $240+. The Upper Deck widevision "All-Times Toons" Looney Tunes set from the mid 1990's is simply one of the loveliest trading card sets ever made, and remains among my all-time favorites.

There is little doubt that McWilliam has engaged in questionable business practices, some of which have been well documented. Even so, I would only care to hear people who have been more instrumental than Richard himself in continuing the very existence of the trading card hobby disparage him as he now lays waiting to be buried. But I'm sure no one in such a position would dare do that, even if they didn't agree, or rather rightfully disagreed, with some of the things he did professionally. It would be considered tasteless to rehash his misdeeds as his family and those who cared about him are bearing the fresh grief from his sudden passing.

Sorry to see him go. I hope it was quick. Condolences to his family and friends. His name will certainly live on in one sense. Every Upper Deck autograph, jersey/costume, and sketch card bears his signature as part of the Upper Deck Certificate of Authenticity printed on the reverse side.

Also, I met him at a tour of the factory back in the days when they did that, and he was nice to me, so there's that...

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Posts: 3140 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by igman7:
You might want to look into the actions of the person. Not only did UD (under his direction) have hundreds of thousands of yu gi oh cards made and distributed in violation of the distribution only agreement with Konami, but engaged in activities that resulted in several other lawsuits including Upper Deck International.

Not a "good guy" by any stretch.


I don't need to know his misdeeds to know that I would neither cheer at his passing nor hope it comes sooner rather then later.
In any case, that's my last word on the subject. I've said my piece.

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Posts: 4241 | Location: Pittsboro, NC USA | Registered: November 30, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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While I may have come off as though I was "cheering his death" in my earlier statement, I would not wish death upon anyone (except in the case of mass murderers and such). As a person who's father passed 30 years ago at the age of 38, I am also sensative to the impact that the passing could have on the family and do feel for them.

I will not back off my thought that his removal from Upper Deck (albiet under the most unfortunate of circumstances) has been needed for several years and is the best thing for the future of the company.

The current folks at UD, if they right the ship and conduct business in an ethical manner, can once again take a run at being a producer of some of the most sought after cards in the hobby (all of cards, not exclusively non-sport). It might be a hard battle as many of the people behind some of their successes have been shown the door, but not impossible.

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Posts: 1492 | Location: Tinley Park, Illinois, USA | Registered: May 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My post was meant to acknowledge McWilliam's contribution to the hobby and to also recognize that not everything UD did was as positive as the linked article stated. That is why I said whatever people may think, since I know the negatives just as well as anybody else.

However balance is important and on the balance Richard McWilliam and UD produced major innovations in sports card manufacturing that pretty much created the idea of premium cards. For a time me, and a lot of other people, collected only UD sports cards. The success didn't last, but his impact on the industry will outlive him. I think chesspieceface said it better than me.
 
Posts: 9591 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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R.I.P. for the CEO

I don't consider killing Marvel Masterpieces a good thing to remember UD or UDC. They kill the great trademark and memories from the original Marvel Masterpieces.

I will remember UD/UDC for their sports cards.
 
Posts: 242 | Location: Puerto Rico | Registered: December 15, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Beyond that, Upper Deck's non-sport's history, while spotty, has nevertheless produced at least some sets that were smash hits with the hobby and injected still more elegance into trading cards, Disney Treasures, Marvel Masterpieces 2007, and Avengers Movie, to name but a few widely collected issues. While controversial from it's inception as a $200 a pack product, Marvel Premier, proving the naysayers wrong yet again, has apparently created an all-new niche in nonsport, the ultra high end premium pack. Instead of being the flop that was predicted by the generally loudest among us, one major retailer now lists the packs at $240+. The Upper Deck widevision "All-Times Toons" Looney Tunes set from the mid 1990's is simply one of the loveliest trading card sets ever made, and remains among my all-time favorites.


Being fairly new to the card market, I only know that U.D. not only illegally counterfeited Yu Gi Oh cards, as Iggy has stated, but has been linked to numerous "back dooring" of high end hockey cards and baseball cards as of this past summer. I know every sports dealer I run into wishes U.D. would just roll up and go away (this comes from 20+ dealers at least).

Owning a shop, I can also tell you that U.D needs to reevaluate the way they treat future sellers as they were the rudest people I've ever dealt with in over 17 yrs.

One last thing Chesspiece. I am not directing anything towards you, or the CEO that passed away. I would not wish this on anyone, as my own father passed too soon as well. But your statement is way off base in regards to Marvel Premiere. The sketches sales are very soft for this release, and granted some boxes sell for $225 here or there, but not in any type of quantity that a normal release should have.

This is not to say I will not try and purchase U.D. in the future (contemplating Iron Man), but I for one would like to see them become a company you already think they are.

My condolences to his family.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Cujobyte,
 
Posts: 90 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: March 25, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Fair enough, but really, the majority of sketches in all releases that feature them I would likewise describe as "soft". The massive proliferation of sketch cards in sets has completely overwhelmed the number of capable artists willing to do them, so much of the work is amateurish at best.

With Marvel Premier, the price makes it approximately three times worse than usual to pull a lousy one, but the only real way to know if Marvel Premier is/was a success from a business standpoint is whether or not it is repeated by Upper Deck or duplicated by another company within the next year or so. Only time will tell.

I also wanted to say the "Upper Deck History of the United States" set is another classic from the McWilliam era, with fantastic information and images, the reason non sports cards were invented.

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Everywhere around this burg they're running out of verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Everywhere around this town, they're running out of nouns.
 
Posts: 3140 | Location: California | Registered: December 23, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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