1996 Topps parallels – Frank Thomas (some hunting left to do)

5 05 2016

1996 Topps

Card I selected:  #100 – Frank Thomas

This marks the 6th straight Hall of Famer for the 1996 set.  I’m up to 5 cards, counting a jumbo.  Cyberstats was gone, but there was a new regional product called Team Topps, and Topps Chrome was released for the first time.

Unfortunately, this is also the first time I don’t have every card I want, so I’ll need to return to this post at some point.  I’m missing the Chrome Refractor card of Thomas.  A few months back, when I decided I wanted to be serious about doing these parallel cards, I went on a bit of a splurge to buy as many as I could.  One I didn’t buy was the Chrome Refractor for Thomas in 1996.  It was on eBay for a while, but at $20, seemed too steep.  It’s now been sold, so I’ll have to wait.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  5

The parallel sets in 1996 include:

  • Team Topps
  • Team Topps Big
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Refractors

Scans:

1996 Topps #100

1996 Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Frank Thomas back

1996 Team Topps #100

1996 Team Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Frank Thomas back

Certain teams were part of the first “Team Topps” set sold at Wal-Mart with “Big Topps” cards.  The Team Topps cards were parallel versions of the players from the team, with the same number and picture as the regular card.  The only difference was a special stamp, usually gold foil.  The teams sold were the Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Mariners, Indians, Dodgers, Braves and Orioles.

1996 Big Topps #NNO

1996 Big Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Big Topps Frank Thomas back

The Big Topps cards featured the superstar from that team.  The inset Topps card was the same size as the regular card, with a blue marble background to make it a jumbo card.

1996 Topps Chrome #29

1996 Topps Chrome Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Chrome Frank Thomas back

Topps issued a “Topps Chrome” product for the first time.  165 of the cards from the base set were reproduced using Topps chromium technology.  The background has little circles/bubbles, which is a little different from the way Chrome is done today.  The cards are obviously numbered differently, and there’s also a slight difference on the back as Topps has an extra line with their patent info for Chrome technology.

1996 Topps Chrome Refractor #29

COMING SOMEDAY TO A BLOG NEAR YOU

As I mentioned, I don’t have this card yet.  Like all refractors, these cards are identical to their regular counterpart, except the fronts have a plastic diffraction grating that gives the card a colorful, reflective shine.

The “Rainbow”:

COMING SOMEDAY TO A BLOG NEAR YOU

Any sets I didn’t get:  That’s it.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  I’m limited to guys on the 9 teams that had Team Topps cards, and if I want to include the Jumbo “Big Topps” – that means there are only 9 players.  Considering I also want to have a different player, Cal Ripken was out once I got to 1996.  I thought about Griffey, Maddux, but I do really like this card of the Big Hurt and planned on using Griffey for 1999.





1995 Topps parallels – Tony Gwynn

4 05 2016

1995 Topps

Card I selected:  #431 – Tony Gwynn

A 5th straight Hall of Famer for the 1995 set.  This is the fewest cards in this little project – just 2, tied with 1983.  After a three-year run, Topps Gold was retired in 1995, and it was replaced with Cyberstats.  Topps Spanish was gone after just 1 year.

I don’t particularly love this Tony Gwynn card – he has much more interesting photos in some other sets – but I chose this because of the parallel.  Cyberstats has “what if” projections for the strike-shortened 1994 season, and there’s no better player for that than Gwynn, who was at .393 when the players walked out.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  2

The parallel sets in 1995 include:

  • Cyberstats

Scans:

1995 Topps #431

1995 Topps Gwynn

1995 Topps Gwynn back

1995 Topps Cyberstats #228

1995 Topps Cyberstats Gwynn

1995 Topps Cyberstats Gwynn back

Topps only had a partial parallel of 396 (out of 660) cards set in 1995.  Since it’s only a partial, the cards are numbered differently.  Only the regular players had the parallel – no subsets.  Called Cyberstats, the parallel set used spectra light technology, where the background is darkened in a shadowed / metallic finish.  As you can tell, the back is very different.  Since the ’94 season had ended in a strike, Topps ran a computer simulation of all the games that were canceled.  In the simulation, Gwynn did not quite get to .400, coming in at .391.

The “Rainbow”:

1995 Topps Gwynn rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  That’s it.  There was a National Packtime promotion that had 3 Topps cards in it, but I consider those promos (not parallels) and got them as part of my master set.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Barry Bonds would have been cool since he tied Roger Maris’ home run record in the simulation.  Aside from that, Roberto Alomar had his 3rd straight phenomenal photo and Darren Daulton and Mike Devereaux had really cool shots as well.





1994 Topps parallels – George Brett

3 05 2016

1994 Topps

Card I selected:  #180 – George Brett

A 4th straight Hall of Famer was my pick for the 1994 set.  This was Brett’s last Topps card, and it’s probably the best card in the set.  Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, there were a lot fewer parallels now.  The Micro cards were thankfully gone, and the inaugural team sets were gone.  The only new set was the one-time Topps Spanish set.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  3

The parallel sets in 1994 include:

  • Gold
  • Spanish

Scans:

1994 Topps #180

1994 Topps George Brett best card

1994 Topps George Brett back

1994 Topps Gold #180

1994 Topps Gold George Brett

1994 Topps George Brett back

Topps Gold was back for the 3rd time in 1994, though this would be the last time in this format where the only difference was gold foil stamping of the name and the Topps logo.  These came 1 per pack again, the same as 1993.  The back of the card was exactly the same as the regular Topps card.

1994 Topps Spanish #180

1994 Topps George Brett best card

1994 Topps Spanish George Brett back

Topps produced a special factory sets of bilingual cards as a test in markets with larger Hispanic populations.  There were about 5,000 of these sets produced.  The front of the cards are the same, but any writing on the back was in both English and Spanish.

The “Rainbow”:

1994 Topps George Brett rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  None that I know of.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  I used Roberto Alomar for 1993, but he really could have been the selection here as well – he’s turning a double play on his brother Sandy in the 1994 card.  Nolan Ryan’s last card is also in this set, and there’s a Hank Aaron card that’s pretty cool.  Jose Rijo and Kenny Lofton had really cool cards as well.  Since there are only 2 parallels and they’re both full parallels – I kind of had my pick here.





1993 Topps parallels – Roberto Alomar

2 05 2016

1993 Topps

Card I selected:  #50 – Roberto Alomar

A 3rd straight Hall of Famer was my pick for the 1993 set.  Alomar had my favorite action photo of the set – he has a ton of great Topps cards in the early-mid 1990’s!

O-Pee-Chee was done copying Topps in 1993, so no more Canadian parallels.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  6

The parallel sets in 1993 include:

  • Gold
  • Inaugural Marlins
  • Inaugural Rockies
  • Micro
  • Micro Prism

Scans:

1993 Topps #50

1993 Topps best action Alomar

1993 Topps Roberto Alomar back

1993 Topps Gold #50

1993 Topps Gold Roberto Alomar

Topps Gold was back in 1993, though it was much easier to find, as the parallel came 1 per pack (instead of 1 per box).  The cards had the same idea – the nameplate was stamped in gold foil.  The back of the card was exactly the same as the regular Topps card.  In fact, it was for all of the parallels in 1993, so I’m not re-scanning the back of the card.

1993 Topps Inaugural Rockies #50

1993 Topps Inaugural Rockies Roberto Alomar

1993 Topps Inaugural Marlins #50

1993 Topps Inaugural Marlins Roberto Alomar

Topps produced 2 special factory sets for sale at both the Marlins’ and Rockies’ team stores.  The cards are stamped with a Marlins and Rockies logo – less than 10,000 sets were produced of each.

1993 Topps Micro #50

1993 Topps best action Alomar

1993 Topps Roberto Alomar back

1993 Topps Micro Foil #50

1993 Topps Micro foil Roberto Alomar

Topps also produced a “micro” set for the third and (thankfully) final time.  These mini-cards were produced in factory set form, measuring 1″ x 1-3/8″.  Other than the fact they are ridiculously small, they are the same as the main set.  There were also 10 parallel cards of the micro set (a parallel of a parallel) that had a foil background.

The “Rainbow”:

1993 Topps Roberto Alomar rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  None that I know of.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Bobby Bonilla was my favorite card in the set – he’s pictured with Manhattan in the background.  But he didn’t have one of those foil micro parallels, and Alomar did.  Kirby Puckett also has a very memorable card that features him with a giant bat from a photo shoot that was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  He did have a micro foil card, so I could have gone with him – but decided I like the Alomar action shot better.





1992 Topps parallels – Cal Ripken

1 05 2016

1992 Topps

Card I selected:  #40 – Cal Ripken

Another Hall of Famer for my pick in the 1992 set.  This was my pick as the best card from the 1992 set – the Iron Man next to the monument for the Iron Horse.  I feel like you could make the case that this is the best pure photo in Topps run of its base sets.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  5

The parallel sets in 1992 include:

  • O-Pee-Chee
  • Gold
  • Gold Winner
  • Micro

Scans:

1992 Topps #40

1992 Topps Ripken

1992 Topps Ripken back

1992 O-Pee-Chee #40

1992 OPC Ripken

1992 OPC Ripken back

After a long run, 1992 was the last version of O-Pee-Chee teaming up with Topps to make a Canadian parallel of the Topps set.  O-Pee-Chee came out with its first set of its own in 1992 and they wouldn’t collaborate after that year.  There were actually a few more distinctions between the sets than there had been the past couple of years.  The main thing that was the same, however – there was no longer a difference in cardstock since Topps was now printing its cards on white stock paper.

Here are the differences for this card:

  • There is an O-Pee-Chee logo on the front where the Topps logo is.
  • There is an O-Pee-Chee logo on the back where the Topps logo is.
  • The copyright on the bottom of the back says O-Pee-Chee and notes the card was printed in Canada.
  • Any wording on the back is in both English and French.
  • There is no watermark on the back (the 1992 Topps cards have a Topps logo as a watermark)

1992 Topps Gold #40

1992 Topps Gold Ripken

1992 Topps Gold Ripken back

After discontinuing its “Tiffany” set after the 1991 season, Topps started doing a full parallel of the base set and inserting it into packs.  Topps had what was a novel idea at the time – 1992 was the first time Topps, or any manufacturer, inserted a full parallel set in its packs.  Topps Gold parallel cards had the player and team name at the printed in gold foil, and the watermark on the back said “Topps Gold” in gold color.  The 6 checklists were replaced by 6 more players for Topps Gold.

Topps had some company with this idea; a “Black Gold” parallel was issued at a much more common 1 per pack in Leaf’s 1992 card set.  The Topps Gold cards came 1 per box into its 1992 product.  Topps also included 10 Gold cards into each regular factory set, and produced 12,000 factory sets of the Gold cards.

1992 Topps Gold Winners #40

1992 Topps Gold Winner Ripken

1992 Topps Gold Ripken back

This new idea wasn’t without a bit of a snafu.  A 10-pack of Topps Gold Winners set was available by playing and winning the Topps Match-the-Stats game.  The prize was originally going to be Topps Gold cards, but the game was compromised through some savvy use of a dark room and a flashlight (see here for the explanation).  Topps honored the request, but added a “winner” stamp to the Gold foil for cards received as a prize for the game so the rarer Topps Gold cards weren’t devalued.

1992 Topps Micro #40

1992 Topps Ripken

1992 Topps Ripken back

Topps also produced a “micro” set for the second time.  These mini-cards were produced in factory set form, measuring 1″ x 1-3/8″.  Other than the fact they are ridiculously small, they are the same as the main set.

The “Rainbow”:

1992 Topps Ripken rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  None that I can think of.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Ken Griffey Jr., who has a great horizontal card of him popping up after a slide into third.  Also, Craig Wilson has a really cool card where he’s juggling (though it’s the 2nd straight year Topps did a card of him juggling).





1991 Topps parallels – Carlton Fisk

30 04 2016

1991 Topps

Card I selected:  #170 – Carlton Fisk

Back to a Hall of Famer for my pick in the 1991 set.  This is one of the best photos in a set stocked full of great photos.  It’s definitely my favorite action photo.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  6

The parallel sets in 1991 include:

  • O-Pee-Chee
  • Tiffany
  • Desert Shield
  • Micro
  • Cracker Jack

Scans:

1991 Topps #170

1991 Topps best action Fisk

1991 Topps Fisk back

1991 O-Pee-Chee #170

1991 Topps best action Fisk

1991 OPC Fisk back

Like 1990, the Canadian version of the Topps set was no different on the front.  And the set was again as large as the regular Topps set – 792 cards.

Here are the differences for this card:

  • The copyright on the bottom of the back says O-Pee-Chee and notes the card was printed in Canada.
  • Any wording on the back is in both English and French.
  • The card is printed on white stock unlike the grey of the regular Topps card.

1991 Topps Tiffany #170

1991 Topps best action Fisk

1991 Topps Tiffany Fisk back

For the 8th and final year, Topps issued a Tiffany variation in factory set form, printed on white cardstock with glossy coating on the front.  This set had the lowest print run in of any other year – less than 5,000.  The 1991 Tiffany set came in a blue box.

1991 Topps Desert Shield #170

1991 Topps Desert Shield Fisk

1991 Topps Fisk back

Topps printed special edition parallel cards of the 1991 Topps set for armed servicemen in the Persian Gulf.  There is a gold foil Desert Shield logo in the upper right corner of the cards – they were issued in packs and are pretty scarce.  Other than that, they are exactly the same as the regular set.

1991 Topps Micro #170

1991 Topps Micro Fisk

1991 Topps Micro Fisk back

OK, this was just a bad idea, but starting in 1991 Topps produced a “micro” set for the first time.  They’d go on to issue these for three years.  This set was issued in factory form – the cards measure 1″ x 1-3/8″.  Other than the fact they are ridiculously small, they are the same as the main set.

1991 Topps Cracker Jack #2

1991 Topps Cracker Jack Fisk

1991 Topps Cracker Jack Fisk back

Topps backed a 72-card set to be inserted into boxes of Cracker Jack in 1991.  The cards were based on the 1991 Topps set.  The cards are a little bigger than the Micro set – but not much!  They measure 1-1/4″ by 1 3/4″.  Other than the size, the front is identical.  The backs are orange and have a completely different set-up.

The “Rainbow”:

1991 Topps Fisk rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  Not really, though there are a ton of different minor back variations I’ve read about that have to do with how dark the red is, or how bold the 40th anniversary water stamp logo is on the back.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Wade Boggs or Roger Clemens.





1990 Topps & Traded parallels – Joe Carter

29 04 2016

1990 Topps

Card I selected:  #580 – Joe Carter, #20T – Joe Carter

It’s a 2nd straight non-HOF-er, but, like Eric Davis, Joe Carter was a helluva player in his day.  More notably to this subset of my Lifetime Topps project – I’m including the Topps Traded sets for this one.  The reason is – there are 2 parallels in 1990 Topps that are unique to Topps Traded.

# of cards (including the Topps & Traded card):  7

The parallel sets for 1990 Topps include:

  • O-Pee-Chee
  • Tiffany

The parallel sets for 1990 Topps Traded include:

  • Gray Back
  • Traded Tiffany
  • Topps Traded Mylar Test

Scans:

1990 Topps #580

1990 Topps Joe Carter

1990 Topps Joe Carter back

1990 O-Pee-Chee #580

1990 O-Pee-Chee Joe Carter

1990 O-Pee-Chee Joe Carter back

The Canadian version changed up a bit in 1990.  And by changed – I mean the OPC set was now actually much closer to the Topps set.  It was now 792 cards and a full parallel (instead of half) of the Topps set.  The Topps logo now adorned the front of the card and the corner of the back (below the number) instead of an O-Pee-Chee logo.

Here are the remaining differences for this card:

  • The card stock is slightly lighter material, though it doesn’t seem as pronounced of a difference as it did in previous years.
  • The copyright on the bottom of the back says O-Pee-Chee and notes the card was printed in Canada.
  • Any wording on the back is in both English and French.

1990 Topps Tiffany #580

1990 Topps Joe Carter

1990 Topps Tiffany Joe Carter back

For the 7th year, Topps issued a Tiffany variation in factory set form, printed on white cardstock with glossy coating on the front.  The 1990 Tiffany set came in a red box and had a production of 15,000 sets.

1990 Topps Traded #20T

1990 Topps Traded Joe Carter

1990 Topps Traded Tiffany Joe Carter back

1990 Topps Traded gray back #20T

1990 Topps Traded Joe Carter

1990 Topps Traded Joe Carter back

In addition to the factory set form that the Traded set had always been issued, Topps released wax packs for Traded in 1990.  This was a new thing that only held for the 1990 set.  Unlike the factory sets, the cards in the wax packs were printed on the same gray cardstock as the base set.

1990 Topps Traded Tiffany #20T

1990 Topps Traded Joe Carter

1990 Topps Traded Tiffany Joe Carter back

There was a Tiffany version as well, with 15,000 sets produced just like the regular Topps set.  The Tiffany set had a glossy finish on the front and was printed on white cardstock just like the regular factory set of 1990 Topps Traded.

1990 Topps Traded Mylar Test

1990 Topps Mylar Test Joe Carter

1990 Topps Mylar Test Joe Carter back

Topps produced 6 experimental Mylar stickers of cards from the Traded set.  These cards were early test runs of the finest / chrome technology.  And they cost a pretty penny these days.

The “Rainbow”:

1988 Topps Joe Carter rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  There’s no others that I know of.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  If I wanted to include the Mylar test set – it limits the number of guys I could include to 6.  Nolan Ryan and Keith Hernandez were 2 other guys I would have considered.








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