Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in 1990 in the same fashion as previous years; cards were numbered in alphabetical order, separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132. The set contains XRC’s of players who didn’t have a card in the base set, players who signed with or were traded to new teams, and new managers. The design was the same as the base set, thought it seems like some of the color combinations are a little different. The cards available in the factory sets were again printed in Ireland on white cardstock.
There were two different boxes that the factory sets could come in. The first is a brown box (shown to the left) with the exact same design as the sets from the previous years. For the second year in a row, Topps also issued the set in a flatter, more colorful box that looked very similar to the “Holiday” factory sets for the flagship set. Just like those Holiday sets, the more colorful packaging was issued to retail outlets. Cecil Fielder is shown on the front of the Traded set – which makes sense given he came back from Japan and smashed 51 homers.
For the second time ever (1985 being the other year), Topps also issued the Traded set in wax packs, 7 cards per pack and 36 packs per box. Neither the box nor the packs have a SRP listed, but considering base cards were 50¢ for 16 cards, my guess would be that these ran for 20¢. Unlike the factory sets, the cards in the wax packs were printed on the same gray cardstock as the base set. There are 2 “variations” of these cards – the only difference that there was either 1 or 2 asterisks on the back before the copyright line. Add that to the Tiffany version, and there are 4 different variations you could get of John Olerud’s Topps rookie card!!! 🙂
Unlike the 1985 wax boxes, which were tests and sell for around $300 when you have an unopened box, these weren’t printed in limited quantities and can be found for under $10.
Keeping with previous traditions, dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set also received a miniature Bronze Card – this time a replica of Hank Aaron’s rookie card from the 1954 Topps set. For the 2nd year, Topps also issued a Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front – which was limited to 15,000 sets.
There are no Big Red Machiners in this set, but as would be expected there are quite a few guys from the 1990 World Champions.
- Lou Piniella was hired as manager in the offseason.
- We traded some prospects for Hal Morris (himself still a prospect) in the offseason.
- The Reds swapped closers with the Mets, sending All-Star John Franco to his hometown for Randy Myers.
- Billy Hatcher was picked up in a trade with Pittsburgh just before Opening Day.
- In June, the Reds picked up Glenn Braggs and Billy Bates in a trade with the Brewers for pitchers Ron Robinson and Bob Sebra.
There are 3 Hall of Famers in the set.
- In May, Winfield was traded from the Yankees to the Angels for pitcher Mike Witt. Both players had performed less than their standard after injuries in the late 80’s, though Winfield still had some good seasons after this trade. Witt only won 8 more games the rest of his career.
- Red Schoendienst managed the Cardinals for the 3rd time in 1990, leading the club for 37 games when Whitey Herzog resigned. Schoendienst is still with the club as a special assistant coach – he’s been wearing a baseball uniform for 66 years through 2011!
- No longer “the Kid”, Gary Carter was released by the Mets in November of 1989, he signed with the Giants, where he’d play one season.
One thing I found neat about this set – two guys who held the career saves record are both in this set. Here’s the progression of the All-Time saves record. Bold means the player is in the Hall of fame, and I’m not counting 1871-1875 National Association stats:
- John “Jack” Manning (1876-1894) – increased the record from 0 to 12.
- Tony “The Apollo of the Box” Mullane (1894-1899) – raised it to 15.
- Charles “Kid” Nichols (1899-1907) – raised it to 17.
- Joe “Iron Man” McGinnity (1907-1910) – raised it to 24.
- Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown (1910-1926) – raised it to 49.
- Frederick “Firpo” Marberry (1926-1946) – raised it to 101.
- Johnny “Fireman” Murphy (1946-1962) – raised it to 107.
- Roy Face (1962-1964) – raised it to 140.
- Hoyt “Old Sarge” Wilhelm (1964-1980) – raised it to 227.
- Roland “Rollie” Fingers (1980-1992) – raised it to 341.
- Jeff “Terminator” Reardon (1992-1993) – raised it to 357.
- Lee Smith (1993-2006) – raised it to 478.
- Trevor Hoffman (2006-2011) – raised it to 601.
- Mariano “Sandman” Rivera (2011-current)
Nichols won 361 career games and was, at one point, third behind Pud Galvin and Tim Keefe in career victories. Brown was considered the 2nd best pitcher in the National League behind Christy Mathewson in the early part of the decade – he was the Ace of 2 World Championships and 4 pennants for the Cubs. Marberry was the game’s first true reliever. Murphy was a 7-time World Champion and may be the only player who can claim to have been a teammate of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams. When I originally wrote this part of the post – Rivera was at 600, but it’s safe to assume he’ll get 2 more in the last 14 days of September.
Unlike the previous year, this set has few RC’s worth mentioning. The two biggest rookie cards are Dave Justice and John Olerud – who went straight from being drafted to the pros, but then ruined his record with a 2005 minor league stint. Carlos Baerga and Travis Fryman both have RC’s as well, but I had to pick one of them.
Steve Avery and Ben McDonald both had cards in the set – these would be RC’s if not for draft pick cards they’d had earlier. Here’s a place to get Fryman in there…
Three players jumped out at me because they were established players who still had their best years ahead. Fielder smashed 51 homers and was 2nd in the NL MVP to Rickey Henderson, while Franco made the NL All-Star team in 1990. Carter made the All-Star team from 1991-1994 and hit one of the most famous home runs in World Series history a few years later.
Finally, as usual there are a few other former stars who were closer to the end than the beginning. And it’s worth getting Bobby Cox in there – this was when he came back to Atlanta for what would be a historic run at the helm.