1995 Topps Traded & Rookies scans

29 02 2012

As mentioned, the 1995 Traded set was the first that was sold exclusively in packs – no factory set was available.  It’s also the largest Traded set to date, at 165 cards.  One thing I found interesting – there’s no mention of replacement players anywhere on here.  The card companies didn’t want to tick off the MLBPA, I guess.

There’s one member of the ’90 Reds in this set – that would be Joe Oliver, who signed as a free agent with Milwaukee in the offseason.

There’s one Hall of Famer with a base card in the set – that would be 2010 inductee Andre Dawson.  The Hawk doesn’t have a card in the 1995 Topps set, so it was good they got him in this one.  This card actually is one I still need – I got 1 in the box, but this one was pretty much ruined.  It’s hard to tell from the scan, but it looks like Dawson has glitter falling down from his batting helmet as he swings here.

There are also 5 other Hall of Famers in the subsets of this set – Boggs, Ripken, Ozzie, Gwynn and Puckett.  These guys were all featured in the All-Star subset near the end of the set.  These 9 cards feature elected starters (I think) from each league for the ’95 All-Star game.  Looking through this subset – there are a TON of guys who are future Hall-of-Famers, so some day I’ll have to update this list.  Also interesting in this subset – Nomo-mania was in full swing for this set.  He started the All-Star game as a rookie that year.

The other subset with big names in there is at the front of the set – cards #1-10 are the “At the Break” subset cards.  These are also some big names.  This subset covers how some players were doing at the time of the All-Star Break – even if its Griffey Jr., who got hurt early in the year and missed the majority of the first half.

The other subset out there was Rookie of the Year Candidates.  This subset is actually found throughout the set – it’s not consecutively numbered.  Some of these guys didn’t have other cards in the Traded set (like Chipper), but some did (Nomo and Tyler Green).  Topps got both the winners in here – Nomo and Mary Cordova of Minnesota.

Though it’s not like Ripken from ’82, there are some decent rookie names in this set.  Topps included Draft Picks in the Traded set for the second straight year – in the same design as the ’94 Draft Picks in the regular set.  They also had the designs for “On Deck”, “Star Track” and “Prospects” cards.  The most notable of the rookies is the Juan LeBron / Carlos Beltran Draft Pick snafu.  The card considered Beltran’s “rookie card” features a picture of the other top Kansas City draft pick – LeBron.  Meanwhile, LeBron’s card features a photo of the future All-Star, Beltran.  Future Red Bronson Arroyo was also part of that draft class.  After Andy Pettitte had an On Deck card in the regular set, fellow “core 4” member Mariano Rivera had his first Topps cards in this format in the Traded set.  Nomo’s rookie card is the only Star Track card in the Traded set, and Richie Sexson is in the Prospects set.

There were also some big name free agents in this set.  Larry Walker signed as a Free Agent with the Rockies in the ’94 offseason; he’d go on to what is a Hall of Fame worthy career in Colorado and the 1997 NL MVP.  Ken Caminiti was part of a huge traded by Houston to San Diego after 6 full seasons and parts of two others – he’d win the 1996 NL MVP.  And John Wetteland is often credited as helping to get the Yankees over the hump and finally winning the World Series.  He also left Montreal as a free agent in the offseason and would win the Rolaids Relief Award in 1996 after leading the league in saves.  He also saved all 4 Yankee wins in the 1996 World Series – their first title in nearly two decades.

There were also some other big name free agents as well.  David Cone probably deserves to be in the group above – he was the reigning Cy Young winner at the time and would win 18 games in his second stint with Toronto in ’95 and still had a 20-win season and a perfect game ahead of him.  Steve Finley was part of that big SD-HOU trade that Caminiti was in; he certainly had some excellent seasons in his future and would go on to become one of only 7 guys with 300 homers and 300 stolen bases.  After he left Montreal, Grissom was never quite the same as a base stealing threat, but he helped three clubs to the World Series in each of the next 3 years – Atlanta in ’95 and ’96 and Cleveland in ’97.

Like any other Traded set – you have some older veterans who were getting to their last go round.

Finally, I’ll end it with my favorite couple photo shots.  Benny Santiago decked out in catcher’s gear and one of my favorite Reds uniforms of all time, and some dude from Detroit in the aftermath of a play at the plate.





1995 Topps Traded wax box break

28 02 2012

I bought my ’95 Topps Traded some time ago, and it’s been waiting for me to open.  I bet I bought it in early 2011; for a long time, I know it was the latest box I had.  I also bought a ’96 box at one point, but it was kind of like, once I get close to ’95 Traded, I need to go out and buy a bunch more boxes so they could lay in wait as I slowly move my way through this project.

This box was not cheap to say the least.  If you are ever thinking about buying a ’95 Traded box of cards, do so only if you’re doing some crazy 30-years of Topps project like yours truly.  This box cost a little less than 60 bucks, and the value isn’t there.  I know – busting wax, the value is never really there.  But in this box, it’s really true.  I’d looked all over – $50-plus is the going rate (though naturally, a year later I’m looking and finding some a little cheaper).  The big card you could get in this box is a Beltran rookie, a card which is really a picture of Juan LeBron, who was LeBron before LeBron was LeBron, but never made the majors.  LeBron’s card (Juan LeBron, that is) actually features a picture of Beltran. You get 1  “power booster” insert per box, but that won’t net you 60 bucks!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way – I’ll point out that I’m not in this for the value.  I’m doing so because I have this crazy idea that I want to bust a box of each set or series from 1980 all the way up to current times.  So while I cringe a little just by reflex when I dropped 55 bucks and don’t get anywhere near the “book value”, I did enjoy opening this box.  The box is interesting in that it’s the smallest set or series to collect that I’ve opened thus far.  Before 1993, it was either 726 or 792 cards to collect.  From 1993 to ’95 series 1 it was 396 or 425.  In ’95 series 2, that number dropped to 264, and this Traded set is only 165 cards.  There are only 11 cards in the pack now (also the lowest thus far) – but that still nets you more than 2x the full set.  With only 1 insert card in the whole box, in theory I should get the full set, close to a second full set, and a bunch of doubles.

Collation actually wasn’t horrible, but wasn’t great either.  It was certainly better than the Topps efforts around this time frame.  One thing that happened in EVERY pack – there was always 2 of one card in each pack.  That certainly didn’t help collation, but it actually helped me get more toward the set because of the damaged card thing.

I actually got all but 1 card out of the whole set (card #93).  There were quite a few “damaged” cards – and I wasn’t that picky, so the number could be higher than what I’m saying – from sticking together.  “Part of the territory” as I’ve come to learn.  The damaged cards cost me four more toward the set, so I’m missing 5 total after opening the box.  One of the damaged cards is the only regular (non-subset) card of a Hall of Famer in the set – Andre Dawson.  D’oh!

I only got 1 of the Beltran rookie cards, but got 4 of those Juan LeBron card that actually pictures Beltran (though one of those was damaged).  I only pulled 1 Nomo “star track”  as well.  If I was really picky – I could have said both of those RC’s are damaged, as they have a tiny bit of “stick” from the card that was next to them in the pack.  But not enough to make me take them out of my set.

I got 1 of the “At the Break” Power Booster cards in the box – which is what the odds say.  I was hoping for Griffey, but Bagwell was a pretty good player, too.  Here’s the scan of that card.  More on it when I get to my standard “insert” post – but I will say, I do like the card.  Just wish there were like 2 or 4 per box 🙂

As always, the stats below don’t factor out the “damaged” cards, as I think they’d have been fine if I had bought this box when it came out in 1995.

Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 11 cards per pack (-1 for the thicker power booster) = 395 cards

125 doubles

80 triples

25 quadruples

164 of the 165 card series. (99.4% set completion)

1 At the Break Power Booster (Bagwell)





1995 Topps Traded & Rookies Overview

27 02 2012

Beginning in 1995, the Topps Traded set really became its own product.  It was officially named “Traded & Rookies” now, and it was the first time it had its own packs and no factory set.  It really was like a series 3, not an update set.  Because it’s not in the factory set any more, I’ll start covering the Traded (update) set with its own overview and then another post with scans from the set.

165 cards in the set – up from the 132 that had been the number since the Traded set started back up in 1981.

  • Subsets: At the Break (#1-10), All-Stars (#156-164), Rookie of the Year Candidate (12 cards throughout), On Deck (2 cards throughout), Top Prospects (2 cards throughout), Star Track (#40), Draft Picks (14 cards throughout).  Topps used most of the same “rookie subsets” that they had in the base set – the On Deck, Top Prospect, Star Track and Draft Pick cards are considered the base cards for those rookies.  At the Break gives a look at how the best in the game were doing at the mid-point in 1995, the All-Stars are 2-player cards for each position, and the RoY Candidate cards separate cards for 7 NL and 5 AL rookies who were contenders for the award.  Marty Cordova and Hideo Nomo would win the awards.
  • Set Design: The set design is the same as the base 1995 set.  The back of the cards have a “T” suffix – except the At the Break and All-Star subsets are missing the “T” suffix.
  • Packs: After series 2 packs had dropped to 13 cards, packs for the Traded & Rookies product was dropped even further to 11 cards.  I believe the MSRP was again $1.29, but it’s no longer listed on the packs.  The packs were red and black, and were not similar in any way to the series 1 or 2 packs.
  • Rookies: After the base set had nothing going for it – the Traded set had a decent crop.  At the time of issue, Hideo Nomo was the notable name, but Carlos Beltran (see below) is the big RC in this set.  Bronson Arroyo is also featured on a Draft Pick card.
  • Hall of Fame: There are 8 Hall of Famers in this set.  Andre Dawson, who didn’t have a card in the base set, is the only player with a “standard” card in the set.  Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken, Randy Johnson and Craig Biggio are all featured on subset cards.
  • Variations: It’s not a variation, but Topps got confused in this set.  The card considered Carlos Beltran’s “rookie card” actually features a picture of the other top Kansas City draft pick – Juan LeBron.  Meanwhile, LeBron’s card features a photo of the future All-Star, Beltran.

The update features a picture of Ray Durham in his batting stance over a greenish-blue diamond.  The left side of the box is black with vertical words “Topps ’95 Major League Baseball”.  The right side is red with “Traded and Rookies” and some advertising for what’s in the product.

Insert sets

There was no true parallel set in the Traded product.  After having a spectra-light “Cyberstats” parallel in the base sets – doing so didn’t make sense for a Traded product that mostly featured rookies who didn’t play much or traded veterans who already had the Cyberstats projections.

The insert set was a type of parallel – Topps issued a set called “Power Boosters” that was a thicker, shinier version of the “At the Break” subset that was the first 10 cards of the set.

  • At the Break Power Boosters – 10 cards (1:36)




And… two more trades!

26 02 2012

Some more February trades (up to 5 for the month!) – I made two trades with fellow baseball card bloggers.  The first was with Kevin from Bonus Cantos.  Kevin is a guy who, like so many of us card bloggers, used to collect cards, but got back into it recently.  He’s somewhat new to collecting, so it makes his blog a fun read!  Anyways, Kevin sent me a few 2012 inserts and 9 more cards toward the series 1 set.  I’d seen the Sandoval card – but didn’t have it yet.  One of the best cards of the set if you ask me.  Thanks Kevin – let me know what I can send in return!

I also finished up a trade with Ryan from “O” No!!! Another Orioles Blog.  I sent Ryan a few Orioles parallels – including the gold version of that Reimold above and a few other Oriole cards.  He sent me a boatload of needs that I’m still taking the time to get into their appropriate homes.  It’s always interesting when I get a random hit on my Upper Deck wantlists – thanks for the trade Ryan!





1995 Topps Factory Set inserts

25 02 2012

After issuing only one design for its factory sets the previous couple of years, Topps issued a few different types of sets in 1995.  Hobby and retail factory sets included a 7-card set called CyberStats Season in Review that covers the season results from the 1994 season – assuming the season had been finished by a computer simulation done by Topps.  Here’s what those simulations came up with:

  • Barry Bonds – Bonds ties the single-season home run record of Roger Maris by blasting 24 home runs in the remaining 42 games.  He passed the real league leaders Ken Griffey, Jr. (ended with 55) and Matt Williams (51) in the simulations.
  • Jose Canseco – after the Rangers and A’s ended the season tied for the AL West lead with only 73 wins, Canseco hit 2 homers (numbers 49 and 50 on the year) led the Rangers to a comeback win in the one-game playoff against his old team.
  • Juan Gonzalez – After that single game playoff, Gonzalez led the AL West champs to an upset win over the AL East Champion White Sox.  The Rangers would go on to meet the Indians, who as the Wild Card had defeated the 103-win Yankees.
  • Fred McGriff – After the Reds beat out the Astros by 1 game for the Central Division crown, and got to play the Wild Card Braves for their troubles.  McGriff won the series for the Braves with 2 late-inning RBI.  In the other divisional series, the Expos, who had posted an incredible 106 wins, were upset by the NL West Champion Dodgers.
  • Carlos Baerga – Baerga led the Tribe to a 4-3 ALCS victory, hitting .469 in the process and taking home the series MVP award.
  • Ryan Klesko – Klesko won the NLCS MVP after knocking in 9 runs in a 4-game sweep over the Dodgers.
  • Kenny Lofton – Topps didn’t realize it at the time, but they were actually forecasting the 1995 series, as the Braves and the Indians squared off for the World Series trophy that never was.  In the fake 1994 season, however, the Indians actually got that trophy after a 7 game thriller.  Lofton was the series MVP by hitting .379 with 9 runs, 7 RBI and 6 stolen bases.

The retail factory set also had a 10-card Opening Day set that covers some of the highlights of opening day for the 1995 season (the real season openers).  There were quite a few interesting games – the first 2 cards were the most interesting.

  • Kevin Appier pitched 6-2/3 hitless innings but couldn’t go for the no-hitter due to a pitch count.  The Royals still beat Baltimore, 5-1.
  • Dante Bichette hit a walk-off 3-run homer in the 14th inning in the first game at Coors Field to defeat the Mets, 11-9.

I bought both of these sets on eBay recently.





1995 Topps inserts

24 02 2012

Topps left the Black Gold insert set after a 2-year run, I guess to coincide with leaving the Topps Gold idea behind.  The main insert set was a retail-only insert called League Leaders.  This set, which came 25 cards per series, highlighted the top players in various statistical categories.  Kind of like Black Gold, this set had a “blackened” background, though there were some muted “bubbles” – or at least, that’s all I can describe them as .

League Leaders (50 cards, 1:6 retail)

This insert set showcased the players among the “league leaders” from statistical categories RBI, HR, Stolen bases, average and strikeouts.  The backs show the players place in the league and in their division – and the player’s totals   from throughout the decade.  There are some ’90 Reds World Series members in this set – 3, actually.  Rijo as shown above for strikeouts, as well as Hal Morris and Paul O’Neill for Batting.

Finest Total Bases (15 cards, 1:36 series 2)

Topps also issued an insert set using Finest technology.  The packs identified these sets as “Finest”, but the insert is commonly referred to as Finest Total Bases.  It has the ML leaders in Total Bases for the year, in order starting with #1 Jeff Bagwell, the ML leader, and on down to #15 Jeff Conine, who finished tied for 14th with #14 Kirby Puckett.  What a novel idea – a set that picks a statistical parameter and sticks to it!  The back of the card shows you how to calculate Total Bases – if I’d have been about 8 at the time, this would have been a great card.  Interesting tidbit – Jose Canseco also tied Puckett and Conine with 237 TB, but wasn’t included.

Stadium Club First Day Issue (270 cards total – 9 cards, 1:36 series 1 hobby; 270 cards, 1:4 series 2 hobby)

For the second year in a row, Topps did something I despise – they put in cards that were really related to another brand/product.  Similar to what they did with Finest previews from 1994, the next year Topps inserted parallels of 9 cards from Stadium Club series 1.  I believe the base Topps series 1 came out before TSC series 1, so these 9 cards were essentially previews of the set.  But Topps then included all 270 series 1 first day issue cards in Topps series 2.  Confusing, right?  Well, add this.  Topps had 3 series of Stadium Club – so where were the series 2 and series 3 First Day Issue cards?  They were never produced.





A couple of trades – and fishing for some future trades

23 02 2012

I completed a few more trades in February – actually, five all told.  This is a post for the the second and third trades.  The first was a big one with a reader of my blog, Josh.  I sent Josh some base cards of Topps sets I’ve accumulated from this project to help him get closer to finishing the ’81, ’83 and ’93 sets .  Josh sent a bunch of base cards toward my Topps project – big chunks out of the wantlist for 92 and 93 Topps.  Here’s some highlights below.  Some more later career cards of Gary Carter, who just passed away.  Thanks for the trade Josh!

I also completed a trade with a block reader Jim, who I’d traded with in the past.  I sent Jim some 2012 Topps cards; he sent me some to get me close to finalizing series 1, and a couple Timeless Talents cards.  Jim also snuck in 2 Gold cards of some Reds – so that was a pleasant surprise!  I really like the Johnny Cueto card from this set.  Thanks, Jim – and good luck overseas!

Also – I’ve actually opened boxes through 1996 Topps at this point – and wanted to see if anybody’s got any of the inserts available from 94-96 that I could trade for.  A bunch of these I could get on Sportlots and COMC for somewhat cheap – but I wanted to see about the trade avenue first.  I’ve got these in my insert set wantlist up top – but here’s that list from there for ease of view – if anyone’s got any of these – let me know!

1994 Topps Black Gold: 1-6, 8-9, 11-26, 28-34, 37-44

1995 Topps League Leaders: 1-2, 4-5, 7-10, 12-13, 16-19, 21, 24-28, 31-37, 40-41, 43-46, 48-50

1995 Topps Total Bases Finest: 1, 3, 5-11, 13-15

1995 Topps Traded Power Boosters: 1-2, 5-7, 9-10

1996 Topps Power Boosters: 3, 5-6, 8-9, 11-21, 23-26

1996 Topps Mystery Finest: 1-12, 15-20, 23, 25

1996 Topps Mantle Reprints: 1, 4-5, 7-8, 11, 13, 15-16, 18-19

1996 Topps Mantle Finest: 1-3, 5-7, 9-11, 13, 15-18

1996 Topps Profiles: NL1, NL3, NL6-NL7, NL9-NL11, NL13, NL15-NL19, AL1, AL3-AL4, AL6-AL13, AL15-AL18, AL20

1996 Topps Masters of the Game: 1-20

1996 Topps Wrecking Crew: 1, 3-15

1996 Topps Classic Confrontations: 1-15

1996 Topps Road Warriors: 4-5, 7-13, 16-18, 20