Continuing my “getting back into the swing of things” as far as the lifetime Topps project goes…
The 1988 set is one of my favorites. There aren’t any great rookie cards. It isn’t a blow you away design. The photography is solid, but it won’t blow you away either. But, for me, it’s got nostalgia all over the place! I love that, when I was collecting this – there wasn’t some hot rookie prospect to find. Maybe Mark McGwire was up and coming after his stud 1987 campaign (49 HR rookie record). But he did that as an MLB player – not as a teenager who might do so-and-so someday. I loved collecting the players who were good – even if they were just “semi-stars” by the Beckett definition that hadn’t even been defined yet. Getting a Kirby Puckett was cool – because he played in the ’88 All-Star game I went to in Cincinnati!
Info about my set:
How I put the set together:
401 cards from the wax box
279 cards from a cello box
3 cards from a Target re-pack
109 cards from trades
Card that completed my set: #79 – Ernie Whitt (received in a trade with Scott Crawford that completed the set)
Set composition: 792 cards (700 individual player cards*, 26 Managers, 5 Turn Back the Clock, 6 Checklists, 7 Record Breakers, 22 All-Stars, 26 Team Leaders)
*The 700 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies and 8 Future Stars
Representation of ’87 MLB season: Out of the 700 player cards, 4 guys didn’t play in 1987 but still had a card (Bruce Sutter was hurt, Tim Birtsas and Damaso Garcia were in the minors the entire season, and Joey Meyer had yet to make his MLB debut but was in the future stars subset). Phil Niekro was in the record breaker subset with his brother – but didn’t have a base card. The remaining 697 players represent 71.5% out of the ~975 players who played in MLB in 1987.
Last active player from this set: #36 – Jamie Moyer
It’s amazing there’s still someone who’s active – 24 seasons later. Moyer came back with the Rockies in 2012, but was released June 1st after winning a couple of games. He’s pitched for a couple AAA teams since then, but hasn’t been called up to the majors.
Player with the most cards in the set: Benito Santiago is the only player with 4 cards in the set. I love it when it works out this way – one guy seems to have the right combination to have more than the rest (there are about 10 guys with 3 cards). In addition to his base card, he has a record breaker card for the longest hit streak by a rookie, an All-Star card and he’s featured on the Padres’ Team Leaders card:
Santiago – #693, #7 (Record Breaker), #404 (All-Star), #699 (Team Leaders w/ Tony Gwynn)
First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Vince Coleman RB, #100 – Jack Clark, #200 – Wade Boggs, #300 – Don Mattingly, #400 – Ozzie Smith AS, #500 – Andre Dawson, #600 – Mike Schmidt, #700 – George Brett
Highest book value: #779 – Tom Glavine RC
Most notable card: #779 – Glavine RC
There isn’t a whole lot of “notable-ness” in this set (I guess notoriety is probably the appropriate term). It’s just a solid set all the way around – it tells the story of the year before. I think the Glavine is probably the closest thing to anything notable. No card from the 1988 set made the “Topps top 60″. Which is fine by me – that’s part of why I love it!
Best card (my opinion): #200 – Wade Boggs
There was a poll done on the 1988 Topps blog, which was completed before I started my baseball card blog. At the end of the blog, when all cards had been scanned, the writer did a poll and Bo Jackson’s card won the title for the best card from the set. It beat this card out. The Bo card is tremendous – you can’t go wrong. But I’d give it third place. There should be more cards with Boggs and his unique follow-through. If you ask me, this card has everything I’d want for a Wade Boggs card, and has always been one of my favorite cards. Even though Boggs is not a favorite player of mine.
Second best card (also my opinion): #370 – Jose Canseco
Here’s where I’m letting my wording about “notable” contradict me. That Bo Jackson card, with the light Royal Blue, is (as I said) tremendous. But this Canseco card seemed sort of iconic to me. This was the AL MVP. Not just the AL MVP, but the first person ever to go 40-40! Back when I was learning about baseball stats via the Baseball Card Encyclopedia – this was a big deal. I know he’s done steroids and tainted the game and all that – but honestly, steroids in baseball don’t bother me that much. I still take this card for what I did at the age of 8 – the card of the best player in the game that year, in a classic pose.
Best subset card: #4 – Eddie Murray RB
Can’t beat this card – Murray shown from both sides of the plate. The card honors him hitting homers from both sides in 2 consecutive games. That’s like a lower level of what Johnny Vander Meer did – but it’s the photo and the design that makes this one awesome card.
Favorite action photo: #324 – Danny Jackson
This is a card some people might say is a strange selection by me. I have this one beating out another Royal who is even lesser known than Jackson – Ed Hearn, who has the dust settling after a play at the plate (kind of like the 1976 Topps Johnny Bench). Danny Jackson always had a noticeable delivery to me, and I just think this card captures it very well.
Favorite non-action photo: #74 – Tommy LaSorda MGR
There’s probably an argument that this is the most well-known (and maybe best) card of this set.
My Favorite Reds card: #150 – Eric Davis
I knew this card would win. It’s hard to top this card. I had the Topps Folder version of this card back when I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade. All that said, after going through the set, I actually put the Buddy Bell card on the scanner for a second. It’s a cool shot of Bell after he’s popped out or something – you can see the front of the Reds’ old school uniform. But I came to my senses; it’s not as cool as this card. If I didn’t overcompensate to take my Reds bias out, this maybe would win best card in the set for me.
Topps Reprints and others:
- 1999 Ryan reprints – Nolan Ryan
- 2001 Through the Years – Wade Boggs
- 2001 Archives – Dave Concepcion, George Hendrick, Gary Matthews, Graig Nettles, Don Sutton, Kent Tekulve, Tommy LaSorda MG, Whitey Herzog MG, Cecil Cooper, Bill Buckner
- 2001 Topps Traded – Roberto Alomar (’88T), Lee Smith (’88T), David Wells (’88T)
- 2001 Cubs 50th Anniversary – Andre Dawson
- 2002 Archives – Kirk Gibson, Kirby Puckett
- 2002 Gallery Heritage – Alomar (’88T)
- 2003 Gallery Heritage – Tom Glavine
- 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Devon White
- 2010 CMT – Ryan, Darryl Strawberry, Eddie Murray RB
- 2011 60YOT – Greg Maddux, Dale Murphy
Nolan Ryan and Roberto Alomar are the only players with multiple reprints.
Other Notable Cards: No real notable cards, like I said. So I figured I’d scan some of the cards that I mentioned above that didn’t make the “medal stand”.
My “Master” Set Info:
1,028 cards – 792 “base”, 132 “update”, 104 “insert”
- Update set: Traded
- Insert sets: Glossy All-Star Game Commemorative, Glossy Rookies, Glossy All-Star and Hot Prospects (send-in)
How I put the additional sets together: I purchased them all as sets from various online sources
Update set composition: 132 cards (104 players, 21 Team USA, 6 Managers, 1 checklist)
In the update set not in the base set: 51 players, 6 managers
Total in base and update sets: 748 players, 32 managers, 21 Team USA, 3 retired players
Highest book value in the update set: #4T – Roberto Alomar XRC, #42T – Mark Grace XRC
Most notable card from the Update set: #4T - Alomar XRC (see above)
This one is pretty easy. As of now – this is the most recent rookie card of a Hall of Fame player. I’m surprised Grace “books” for the same as Alomar. I guess he’s probably got a bunch of Cubs fans collecting him, while the HAll of Famer Alomar doesn’t have a signature team.
Most notable insert card: Glossy Rookies #13 – Mark McGwire
Not much competition here; it was Canseco the year before, his fellow bash brother and steroid buddy this year.
Best Insert card: Glossy All-Star Game Commemorative #17 – Eric Davis
A great photo of ED. Narrowly beats out the Wade Boggs card from the same set. Admitted bias on this one for what it’s worth.