I just finished up another of the smaller insert sets from this year’s Topps product – Mound Dominance.
Info about the set:
Set description: “Celebrating the greatest pitching performances of all-time”. This set basically replaced Classic Walk-offs from series 1. The cards are designed horizontally with a picture of the pitcher to the left and a green 9-box of the strike zone to the right with the team logo in the center. The set discusses a dominant individual pitching performance from each of the 15 hurlers.
Set composition: 15 cards, 1:8 hobby odds
Hall of Famers: 9 - Tom Seaver, Sandy Koufax, Jim Palmer, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro, Warren Spahn, Bob Feller
Unlike that classic walk-offs set from s1, this set is skewed toward retired players – there are only 4 current players in the set.
How I put the set together:
5 cards from my HTA Jumbo box
10 cards from trades
Thoughts on the set: Another good idea. And I give Topps a pretty good grade for player inclusion, too. Including Armando Galarraga is actually thinking outside the box a bit. I like the nod to his should-have-been perfect game. I also like the inclusion of Phil Niekro for his 2-hit shutout at the age of 47. The design is kind of neat, too, with the strike zone. And they got a lot of the best pitching performances out there. Here’s some of the ones I’d have considered adding:
Consecutive scoreless innings
- Orel Hershiser – 1988. You could even tie this one to a specific game – he pitched 10 scoreless innings in his last outing of the year to break the record (by that last inning) held by this dodger…
- Don Drysdale – 1962.
- Whitey Ford – 1961. In a 5-game win over the Reds, Ford broke the World Series record for consecutive scoreless innings (29-2/3) held by…
- Babe Ruth – 1918. The Sultan of Swat actually pitched 29-2/3 through the 1918 World Series.
- Kerry Wood’s 20-k game should have been included, especially since he was still an option contractually when this set came out. It’s possibly the most dominant pitching performance ever.
- Clemens and his 2 20-k games.
- Randy Johnson and either of his 19-k games or his perfect game.
- Tom Cheney and his 21 k’s in 16 innings in 1962.
- Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter in Coors Field
- Catfish Hunter’s perfect game where he went 3-4 at the plate
- Harvey Haddix’s 12 perfect innings in 1959 (when he’d eventually lose 1-0 in the 13th)
- Ummm – Don Larsen’s perfect game in the World Series? This is the biggest oversight in this set.
- Back-to-back no-hitters by Johnny Vander Meer. The second biggest oversight in this set.
- Fred Toney and Hippo Vaughn pitch a double no-hitter in 1917.
- Jack Morris 1991. The third biggest oversight.
- Christy Mathewson 1905. Three shutouts in the World Series? Ummm – put him in!
- Mickey Lolich 1968. Outdueling Bob Gibson to get 3 wins in the series – another great option here.
- A 58-pitch shutout by Red Barrett in 1944
Card that completed my set: #MD-7 – Roy Halladay
I got this card in a recent trade with a reader of my blog, Hans.
Highest book value: #MD-8 – Nolan Ryan
Pitchers tend not to have nearly the “Beckett value” that position players have – but Nolan Ryan is the clear exception.
Best card (my opinion): #MD-10 – Armando Galarraga
As I mentioned above, I’m happy this event got a card here.
My Favorite Reds card: #MD-1 – Tom Seaver
Easy choice as it’s the only one.
Here’s the list of these cards - and the year when the dominance happened.
- Tom Seaver (1978). No-hitter.
- Justin Verlander (2007). No-hitter.
- Sandy Koufax (1963). 15 strikeouts in the World Series.
- Jim Palmer (1966). Shutout in the World Series at the age of 20.
- Dennis Eckersley (1989). 4 pitches to close out the 9th inning of a WS sweep.
- Bob Gibson (1968). 17 K’s in World Series.
- Roy Halladay (2010). No-hitter in the NLDS – one of 2 in postseason history.
- Nolan Ryan (1981). His 5th no-no broke the record he shared with Koufax.
- Phil Niekro (1986). Hurled a shutout at the age of 47.
- Armand Galarraga (2010). Lost a no-hitter on a bad call by Jim Joyce on the last play of the game.
- Warren Spahn (1960). 15 strikeout no-hitter at the age of 39.
- Bob Feller (1936). 15 K’s at the age of 17.
- Jon Lester (2008). An inspirational no-hitter after coming back from cancer.
- John Smoltz (1991). Shutout in Game 7 of the NLDS to send the Braves to the WS.
- Dwight Gooden (1984). 11-K 1-hitter at the age of 19.