I’m way behind on this completed set post – almost two years actually! I think I forgot about posting this somewhere along the line. I haven’t finished off the “Master Set” yet – quite a few inserts to finish up to get there. So it’s just the “complete set” post for now. This is a pretty cool set – and, interestingly, I think it’s the closest-looking set to this year’s version of the Topps flagship design.
Info about my set:
How I put the set together:
249 cards from the series 1 retail box
216 cards from the series 2 retail box
30 cards from trades
Card that completed my set: #261 – Lance Johnson (received in a trade from Dayf at Cardboard Junkie)
Like I said – this was a while ago, back at the beginning of 2013!
Set composition: 495 cards (441 individual ML player cards*, 16 Prospects, 13 Draft Picks, 10 Expansion Team, 4 Checklists, 1 Tribute, 10 Season Highlights)
*The 441 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies
Representation of ’96 MLB season:
Out of the 441 player cards, 5 players featured did not play in the 1996 season. Bill Pulsipher and Jose Rijo both had Topps cards, but didn’t play due to elbow injuries. Jay Payton, Derrick Gibson and Bartolo Colon each had a Topps card, however hadn’t made the majors yet. Additionally, 11 of the players in the Prospect subset actually made it to the majors in 1996.
The 447 players represent 39.2% out of the 1,141 players who played in MLB in 1996.
Earliest active player from this set: #42 – Jackie Robinson, #388 – Dennis Eckersley (active players)
There’s two answers to this – Eck is the earliest active player. He made his debut on April 12, 1975, pitching the last 1.2 innings of a 1-run Cleveland loss to Milwaukee. Eckersley beats out Denny Martinez, who debuted in 1976.
Robinson is the earliest (and only) retired player – breaking the color barrier on what has become a national baseball holiday – April 15, 1947. In fact, that’s what this card was honoring. In 1997, MLB celebrated the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s debut, and made a national day to honor Robinson’s accomplishment, retiring his number across the game.
Last active player from this set: #386 – Bartolo Colon (still active)
There are 6 players from this set who played on September 28th of this year. Three of them – Derek Jeter, Paul Konerko, and Bobby Abreu, have officially announced their retirement. Raul Ibanez and Jason Giambi are likely to follow – they at least seem to be better coaching or managerial candidates today.
My point is – right now all 6 of those guys are technically the answer. But Colon is almost assuredly the only one who will be active in 2015.
Player with the most cards in the set: 10 players with 2 cards:
There is basically only 1 subset, with 10 season highlights cards.
Mike Piazza – #20, #104 (Season Highlight)
John Mabry – #171, #102 (Season Highlight)
Dwight Gooden – #175, #100 (Season Highlight)
Al Leiter – #280, #101 (Season Highlight)
Alex Ochoa – #298, #103 (Season Highlight)
Eddie Murray – #333, #462 (Season Highlight)
Paul Molitor – #138, #463 (Season Highlight)
Hideo Nomo – #440, #464 (Season Highlight)
Barry Bonds – #1, #465 (Season Highlight)
Todd Hundley – #145, #466 (Season Highlight)
First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Barry Bonds, #100 – Dwight Gooden SH, #200 – Doug Million/Damian Moss/Bobby Rodgers PROS, #300 – Ken Griffey Jr., #400 – Cal Ripken
Highest book value: #479 – Adam Eaton / Eric Chavez DP RC
This is about as light as the rookie card cupboard could go – but somehow Beckett has this card listed for a bit more than Bonds, Ripken or Jeter.
Most notable card: #42 – Jackie Robinson TRIB
There were no cards from 1997 Topps in the top 60 cards that the company did a few years ago. To me – this is easily the most notable.
Best card (my opinion): #463 – J.T. Snow
I love this card – the color is fantastic.
Second best card (also my opinion): #167 – Ryne Sandberg
This is Ryno’s last Topps card, and it’s a great way to go out for the longtime Cub. The Wrigley Ivy in the background, him catching a ball at second base.
Best subset card: #464 – Hideo Nomo
I guess I could go with the Jackie Robinson – but I hesitate to call that a subset. This is the best looking of the ’96 season highlight cards to me. I’m usually a big fan of anything that highlights Nomo’s delivery.
Favorite action photo: #170 – Carlton Fisk
I like the whole package with the J.T. Snow card. But I think this Knoblauch card is the best as far as just the action going on. This narrowly beats a very cool Royce Clayton card.
Favorite non-action photo: #450 – Butch Huskey
Signing cards for fans is cool. Seeing the pennant he’s about to sign is cool. And all the Shea Satdium background – including the apple that goes up when a Met hits a homer? Very cool.
My Favorite Reds card: #373 – Jose Rijo
This card beats out good action shots of Hal Morris and Eric Davis. The Davis card is also pretty cool, because it’s showing him during his return to the Reds for a solid 1996 season. But you can’t beat Rijo messing around in a janitor jumpsuit.
Topps Reprints and others:
- 2001 Through the Years – Nomar Garciaparra
- 2001 Archives – Denny Martinez, Ryne Sandberg
- 2002 Archives – Tony Gwynn
- 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Jermaine Dye, Tony Clark, Joe Randa, Derek Jeter, Jason Kendall, Billy Wagner
- 2010 CMT – Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Jeter
- 2011 60YOT – Mariano Rivera, Gwynn
- 2014 Topps Update Jeter Framed Reprints – Jeter
Jeter’s 3 reprints beat out Gwynn’s 2 (at least so far!)
Other Notable Cards: Aside from the Robinson tribute card, I’d say that Eddie Murray’s final card and Derek Jeter’s Topps All-Star rookie are fairly notable.