I keep saying this, but it bears repeating: it’s easy to confuse Ionix and Hologrfx. They have the same exact timelines (two sets each in 1999 and 2000) and share many similar themes (and even a few insert names). But one thing remains true in both years: Ionix is better.
Of the four Upper Deck future-phile sets, 2000 Ionix is my favorite. The inserts kill, the base cards are above-average, and it has some of the wildest designs in Upper Deck’s history. Somebody put a massive amount of work into these designs, and their effort shows. Every card is attractive and fun. I’d have bought boxes of this stuff had I been an active collector in 2000.
I don’t say this lightly – as a set, 2000 Ionix is a solid 10/10. The cards are all well-designed, it’s got a great spread of scarcity, and the general aesthetic remains in force on every card.
|2000 Upper Deck Ionix #29|
Just a well-put together base card in general. They included a film strip effect along the bottom sporting the back photo possibly to hammer home the whole idea behind the Reciprocal parallel. That at-bat shot, despite being a bit lost in the design here, may be Junior’s best card photo of the year. My favorite base card of the future-phile sets.
|2000 Upper Deck Ionix #R29 Reciprocal|
Hey, someone finally figured out that refractors look great on Chromium. The film strip on the Reciprocals shows the reverse photo in sepia; and it looks great, bringing out all the great colors and refraction in the rest of the card. Very nice parallel here, and at only 1:4 still pretty easy to track down.
|2000 Upper Deck Ionix Shockwave #S4|
Again all the inserts are refractors this year. Somebody put some real work into this design, but despite the fact that the word “5H0[KW6A3” (or a part of it) appears a whopping 17 times on this card, it still manages to look good. The gamertag font is very Snow Crash, and the shockwave effect seems to originate from around where the ball would have been in relation to the photo. The inset portrait skews dorky with those ridiculous sunglasses, but overall this one remains pretty darn fun.
|2000 Upper Deck Ionix Atomic #A3|
This super busy 1:8 insert approaches the nuttiness of the infamous Stadium Club Ring Leaders but holds truer to the theme of the insert. The electron microscope background has been done before but has never been more appropriate with the theme. Personally I am super into the Periodic Table symbol unique to each player. The little homerun graph is great.
BTW, I want to see the full "Periodic Chart of Players," please. Also, why "chart?" Why not "table?"
|2000 Upper Deck Ionix Biorhythm #B7|
|2000 Upper Deck Ionix Awesome |
At 1:23 or about 1 per box, this reasonably-attainable card probably seems like just another wild, wacky insert to the uninitiated. But those of you who were born before, oh, say 1993 are surely in on the reference, right? Well, just in case:
|2000 Upper Deck Ionix Pyrotechnics #P11|
At 1:72 we are now firmly in the pricy part of the checklist. Can we talk about the border here? It's a tattletale. If your Pyrotechnics card was mis-cut even the tiniest bit you are going to notice. Mine is quite mis-cut but still not the worst I've seen. Additionally the bright orange makes print lines pop. Everything about this card is directing you to its own imperfections. But also check out the warning on the bottom-right. How cute is that?
You don't see a lot of diagonal stat boxes, but I do like the look.
No photos, no stats, no problem. This thing holds its own beautifully. I have zero complaints. I want a hundred of them, please.
|2000 Upper Deck Ionix UD Authentics Autograph #JR|
(courtesy of Kevin Conley)
While not a pre-2000 auto, these are still tough gets as he is still a Mariner here and the auto is on-card. The design here could have worked with just about any Upper Deck set, so it's not particularly Ionix-esque. Independent of that it's a great-looking card.
|(courtesy of Jordan Ebener)|
I'm surprised how few of these I've seen give that at only 1:144 these are half as rare as Warp Zone. The checklist isn't even that big, only 13 card vs. Warp Zone's 15. Is there some short-printing at work here?
Oh, and if that insert name is familiar, it may be because UD Authentics is a shared insert with the Hologrfx brand which had an autographed insert with the exact same name in 1999.
This also brings us to the list of Griffeys I still need from 2000 Upper Deck Ionix:
2000 Upper Deck Ionix UD Authentics Autograph #JR
Yep, just the auto. Another want list I bet I have in common with a lot of Griffey collectors.
So that was it for the two great future-phile Upper Deck brands. The ultra-modern/futuristic theme was always a hallmark of Upper Deck design since their inception and through their remaining years in baseball, but few sets would embrace it quite like HoloGrFx and Ionix. They remain challenging and gratifying builds for collectors of guys who made it into these killer inserts.