Completed master set – one last look at 1991 Topps (post #1,001)

23 12 2013

Following up my post from yesterday – thanks for the kind words people have had.  I figured I’d follow that up, not with a summary of 1990’s statistics (which is where I’m at in my “lifetime Topps” cycle) – but with a Master Set post.  I finished up 1991 somewhat recently.  I’ve already done this post for the 1991 base set, but I recently finished the “Master Set” when I got the last All-Star Glossy card (Al Lopez, who was the AL team captain in 1990).

I’ve said it before – THIS SET IS AWESOME!  This is quite possibly my favorite Topps set of this project.  1980, 1983 and 1987 are up there for completely different reasons, but this set has a solid design, and more importantly – great photography.  It’s amazing how much better a set can get in one year, and the card stock didn’t improve or anything.  But going through this set one card at a time, I realized how many great cards there are.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 426 cards from the wax box
  • 292 cards from a box of rack packs
  • 29 cards I already had from back in the day
  • 45 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #710 – Kent Hrbek (one of 2 cards received in a trade from Scott Crawford on Cards that completed the set – one of 3 sets Scott got the last card to me for!)

General set info:

Set composition: 792 cards (721 individual ML player cards*, 10 #1 Draft Picks, 26 Managers, 6 Checklists, 7 Record Breakers, 22 All-Stars)

*The 721  individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies and 6 Future Stars

Representation of ’90 MLB season: 

Out of the 721 player cards, 2 players featured did not play in the 1989 season.  Both were prospects who just didn’t make the MLB roster (Greg Colbrunn and Wilson Alvarez).  1 player was in a subset only and did play in the 1989 season – Alex Fernandez, the Golden Spikes winner and 4th overall pick who was the only member of the Draft Pick subset to make the majors in 1990.

The 720 players represent 69.9% out of the ~1,030 players who played in MLB in 1990.

Last active player from this set: #333 – Chipper Jones

Jones and Omar Vizquel both retired at the end this year and, along with Jamie Moyer, were the only three players to play in the 2012 season.  Both Chipper and Omar played in the final game of the year (October 3rd), though Chipper played in the one-game playoff loss to St. Louis 2 days later.

Player with the most cards in the set: 3 players with 3 cards:

There are 2 subsets, and 3 players have a card in both the All-Star and Record Breaker subset – Bobby Thigpen, Ryne Sandberg and Carlton Fisk

Thigpen – #420, #8 (Record Breaker), #396 (All-Star)

Fisk – #170, #3 (Record Breaker), #393 (All-Star)

Sandberg – #740, #7 (Record Breaker), #398 (All-Star)

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Nolan Ryan, #100 – Don Mattingly, #200 – Darryl Strawberry, #300 – Kirby Puckett, #400 – Barry Larkin AS, #500 – Will Clark, #600 – Bo Jackson, #700 – Jose Canseco

These are a whole lot of the same guys as last year.  And these cards are a good example of how good the photography is here.

Highest book value: #333 – Chipper Jones RC

Most notable card: #333 – Chipper Jones RC

There were no cards from 1991 Topps in the top 60 cards that they did a couple of years ago.  But this is easily the most notable (and the only notable rookie card) from the set.

Best card (my opinion): #450 – Wade Boggs

This was borderline revolutionary to put something like this on a card in 1991.  This is a great card.

Second best card (also my opinion): #530 – Roger Clemens

Gotta love Clemens next to the strike out sign on the Green Monster.

Best subset card: #392 – Ken Griffey, Jr.

I’m biased since Griffey is my favorite player, but this is a great card displaying his fluid swing.  And there frankly aren’t that many subset cards in this set.  Which is another thing I like about it.

Favorite action photo: #170 – Carlton Fisk

This card was right up there as the best card in the set with the Boggs and Clemens.  If those cards weren’t ultra-unique in and of themselves, this would be the best card in the set to me.  It beats out the best card from almost any other set I’ve looked at thus far!

Favorite non-action photo: #450 – Wade Boggs (see above)

My Favorite Reds card: #92 – Danny Jackson

This card narrowly beats out a great action shot of Mariano Duncan turning two over a sliding Ozzie Guillen.  But I love this card because it shows Jackson’s unique leg kick and delivery.

Topps Reprints and others:

  • 1999 Ryan reprints – Nolan Ryan
  • 2001 Through the Years – Chipper Jones
  • 2001 Archives – Dave Parker, Fred Lynn, Rick Reuschel
  • 2001 Archives Rookie Reprints – Jones
  • 2001 Topps Traded – Joe Carter (’91T)
  • 2002 Archives – Dennis Eckersley
  • 2002 Gallery Heritage – Jones, Jason Giambi (’91T), Luis Gonzalez (’91T)
  • 2003 Gallery Heritage – Ivan Rodriguez (’91T)
  • 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Dave Justice, Larry Walker, Sandy Alomar Jr.
  • 2010 CMT – Jones, Ken Griffey Jr., Ryan
  • 2011 60YOT – Roberto Alomar, Larry Walker
  • 2011 Lineage Autographed Reprints – John Smoltz
  • 2013 Rookie Card Patch – Jones

Chipper’s 5 reprints beats out everyone else

Other Notable Cards: There really aren’t any “notable” cards aside from the Chipper Jones rookie – in some way, that’s the beauty of this set.  It relies on its own design and photography and does just fine.  There are a ton of great photos, so I pulled some of them:

My Master” Set Info:

1,171 cards – 792 “base”, 303 “update”, 55 “insert”, 21 “other”

  • Update set: Traded, ML Debut
  • Insert set: Glossy Rookies, Glossy All-Stars
  • Other sets: 9-card promo sheet, 1 Golden Spikes Promo, 11-card Babe Ruth movie promo set

How I put the additional sets together:

Traded – boxed set from eBay

Promo sheet, Ruth movie set – eBay

ML Debut – boxed set from eBay

Glossy All-Stars – 7 cards from COMC, 15 cards from Sportlots

Update set composition: 132 cards (99 players, 26 Team USA, 6 Managers, 1 checklist)

In the update set not in the base set: 30 players, 6 managers

Total in base and update sets: 751 different players, 10 #1 draft picks, 28 managers, 26 Team USA

Highest book value in the update set: #45T – Jason Giambi USA RC

Most notable card from the Update set: #45T – Jason Giambi USA RC

1991 Topps Traded Giambi RC

There’s a Pudge Rodriguez rookie that’s a pretty notable card as well.

Most notable insert card: Glossy Rookies #28 – Frank Thomas

1991 Topps Rookies Frank Thomas

There isn’t a lot of notability to choose from here with only 2 insert sets.  Thomas is the only really notable rookie player in the set.

Best insert card: Glossy All-Stars #7 – Ken Griffey Jr.

1991 Topps Glossy AS Griffey

Again – not much to go off from here, but Griffey bunting is the best looking card in my humble opinion.

ML Debut set composition: 171 cards (169 players, 2 checklists)

In the ML Debut set not in the base or update set: 80 players

Total in base, update and ML Debut sets: 831 different players, 10 #1 draft picks, 28 managers, 26 Team USA



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