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Thursday, August 7
Updated: August 10, 4:22 PM ET
 
What in the (Wally) world was he thinking?

By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com

In hopes of getting its fledgling product off the ground floor, Upper Deck needed a prototype to show dealers at national card shows. DeWayne Buice, the California Angels pitcher who later helped Upper Deck secure its licensing agreement with baseball's players union, talked teammate Wally Joyner into posing for a photo shoot that would be used to create the company's first run of cards.

Wally Joyner and DeWayne Buice were the first players to appear on an Upper Deck player card.
Joyner, who was the Angels' most popular player in the late 1980s, agreed to take part in the photo for shoot in exchange for $300. Upper Deck made 40,000 samples cards with Joyner and Buice's images, and distributed them at the Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1988. The glossy cards with the counterfeit-defeating holograms were a hit at the show, Upper Deck co-founder Paul Sumner said.

"The crowd was so thick that day around our booth that security was constantly having to clean the aisle," Sumner said. "There were six rows of people about 10 feet deep trying to get their hands on our cards. "

Though Buice made a fortune off Upper Deck, Joyner did not. According to "Card Sharks," Pete Williams' book that chronicled Upper Deck's rise in the trading card market, Joyner wanted a piece of the company, like Buice, in exchange for helping promote its product. But negotiations on the deal broke down, and Joyner accepted a $10,000 buyout for allowing his image to be used on the prototype cards.

Joyner would not comment to ESPN.com on the settlement. His only public reaction on his decision to leave Upper Deck before it took off appears in "Card Sharks."

"The money I would have made with Upper Deck -- I never would have had to use it," Joyner said in 1993. "It would have been nice to have, but there are headaches that come with it. My only disappointment was that even after what I did for the company, they didn't pay me what I felt I was supposed to get."

Buice reportedly made $17 million in a settlement with Upper Deck. Joyner, who retired midway through the 2001 season, made $39.8 million in salary over his major-league career.

Darren Rovell covers sports business for ESPN.com. He can be reached at darren.rovell@espn3.com.





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