2000 Topps Retro Inserts (Aaron & McGwire)

31 10 2014

After issuing reprints of Nolan Ryan in 1999, Topps went back to issuing cards of great outfielders from the 50’s and 60’s.  Hank Aaron followed up Ryan, Mantle, Mays and Clemente.  Aaron got card #44 in the base set and had a card in the Magic Moments subset – so he was the theme elsewhere in the product as well.   I don’t think there was anything specific, though Aaron had a number of things going on around this time.  In 1999, 25 years after Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career record, MLB created the annual Hank Aaron award to give to the best hitter in each league.  Additionally, Aaron threw out the first pitch of the All-Star game that year in Atlanta.  But I think the main thing was that Topps wanted to pair him up with single-season home run king Mark McGwire as a spokesman.

As always – odds below are for hobby packs.

Aaron Reprints (23 cards, 1:18)

2000 Topps Aaron reprints s1 box

Like the last two years, Topps inserted both sets in both series; the even years came in series 1 and the odd years came in series 2.  The reprints are glossy, but other than that there are only small differences from the originals.  There is a gold foil stamp on the front to designate the cards as “Hank Aaron Commemorative” reprints, and a small extra line on the back noting the card number for the insert set.

Aaron Reprints Chrome (23 cards, 1:72)

2000 Topps Aaron Chrome s2 box

Aaron Reprints Chrome Refractors (23 cards, 1:288)

This time Topps called their inserts Chrome as opposed to Finest, but it’s basically the same technology.  Again there were Refractor versions.  One difference this year was that Topps included the commemorative stamp on the Chrome version.

Aaron Reprints Autographs (23 cards, 1:4,361 series 1 / 1:3,672 series 2)

2000 Topps 1969 Aaron auto

Like the other living legends before him (Mays and Ryan), Aaron signed cards for Topps to insert in 2000. The autographs available in each series match the reprints available – even years in series 1, odd years in series 2. There were around 100 of each card signed.  They bear the Topps certified autograph stamp, but aren’t sequentially numbered.  Topps inserted redemptions in series 1 as they hadn’t received Aaron’s autographs back in time for pack out.

McGwire Reprints (1 card, 1:36 series 1)

2000 Topps McGwire reprint s1 box

Topps also had a reprint of Big Mac’s rookie card inserted into series 1.  This was his team USA card.





2000 Topps parallel sets

29 10 2014

In 2000 Topps actually had a few parallel sets, but only one could be pulled from packs.  It was a really rare one – only 100 copies of each.  There was also a few parallels from the factory sets.

MVP Promotion – 400 cards (1:510 s1, 1:378 s2 – hobby only)

2000 Topps MVP parallel s2 box Castilla

Inserted at a very limited rate, and only into hobby packs, were cards with a Topps MVP stamp.  If the player depicted won MVP of the week in 1999 (as selected by Topps), you could send that card in for a set of cards honoring each of the 25 winners.  This isn’t a full parallel – it consisted of cards that aren’t subsets and Hank Aaron isn’t included since he was retired (though Nolan Ryan was included in the MVP promotion in 1999 – with no chance to win).  That’s cards #1-6, 8-43 & 45-201 in series 1, and cards #241-440 in series 2.  The backs of the cards have information on the promotion (no statistics).

20th Century Best Sequential – 14 cards (1:839 s1, 1:362 s2 – #/117-3,316)

2000 Topps Sequential Rickey

The other inserted partial parallel is gold foil versions of the 20th Century Best cards that are in the base set.  These cards are numbered to the statistic that’s presented (i.e. – Lance Johnson’s 117 triples or Roger Clemens 3,316 strikeouts).

Topps Home Team Advantage and Limited Factory sets

Additionally, there are 2 types of full parallels from the factory set.  Limited Edition factory sets were made in the idea of the old Tiffany sets, with only 4,000 sets produced.  The only difference for these cards is that they are stamped with the words “Limited Edition” in the bottom right.

2000 Topps Factory set Limited Edition

2000 Topps Limited Bonds

Hobby factory sets have something similar – they are stamped with a “Home Team Advantage” logo.  The full-bleed subsets in the HTA factory sets didn’t have the logo stamp, so those 28 cards aren’t any different.

2000 Topps Factory set HTA

2000 Topps HTA Castilla





Tuesday Tunes: Diamond Ditty #1 – “Royals” by Lorde

28 10 2014

I’ve wanted to expand on the “Baseball & Culture” posts to do more than just booze-related themes.  The two other kinds of posts I’ve thought about were songs and movies.  Well, I had planned last weekend to do a post about a brewery that used to sponsor the Orioles, because I was kind of banking on them being in the World Series.  Well, thanks to the Kansas City freight train, that didn’t happen.  And last week I read an interesting story about some radio stations in San Francisco and how they hadn’t been playing this song called “Royals”.  A song I had admittedly never heard of before – but once I listened to it, I kind of recognized it, like I may have heard it in the background at a restaurant or store or something.

Anyways, these will be a new post every now and then on this blog.  “Tuesday Tunes” – where I post about a song that has something to do with baseball!  There are a few easy pickings out there, but I figured it would be good to start with a tougher one – especially since it’s relevant to the World Series!  Hopefully KC wins tonight and we get the chance to see a Game 7!

Lorde_Royals

Artist/Title/Album: “Royals” by Lorde (Pure Heroine, 2013)

Description:  “Royals” came out last year.  Written and performed by New Zealand pop singer Lorde (real name – Ella Yelich-O’Connor), the song made her an international star.  It has been certified 7 times platinum and was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 9 weeks.  And in January, the song won the 17-year old two Grammy awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.  The song isn’t what you’d think as far as a pop song from a teenager; its semi-mocking toward the luxury of the pop music culture.

Recognition:

  • Grammy winner – 2014 Song of the Year
  • Grammy winner – 2014 Best Pop Solo Performance
  • Grammy nominee – 2014 Record of the Year
  • New Zealand Music Awards winner – 2013 Song of the Year
  • 9 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100

Not being a raging music fan, I could not tell you the difference between Record and Song of the Year 🙂

How it’s related to baseball:  The song title obviously shares a name with the baseball club in Kansas City.  But the world learned the connection was much deeper than that.  Yelich-O’Connor collected old National Geographic magazines when she was younger.  She had the idea for a song about the excess of pop culture, and she had seen this photo from the magazine back in 1976.

National Geograhic Royas - 1976 George Brett

George Brett was certainly an American sports icon at the time – and this photo certainly captured the train of thought that she was going for.  Funny, though – Brett had stroked all of his 3,154 career hits before she was even born.  When the word got out that Brett was the inspiration to the song, the Royals sent her a Brett jersey.  And earlier this year, she did get a chance to meet the inspiration for her song.

George Brett Lorde

This past week, a friendly battle between radio stations in the home of the two World Series foes developed over this song.  Two stations in San Francisco decided they wouldn’t play the song while the series was going on.  A few stations in Kansas City responded by playing the song at the same time every hour.

And we’ll never be royals (royals)
It don’t run in our blood
That kind of lux just ain’t for us
We crave a different kind of buzz





2000 Topps scans

25 10 2014

The 2000 Topps design went with a silver border – the third year in a row there wasn’t a white border.

First off is the tribute card in 2000.  After Aaron had one in 1994, Topps did a tribute to Ruth, Mantle, Robinson, Clemente, and Ryan from 1995-99.  Topps went back to Hank Aaron with card #44 in 2000.  I don’t think there was a specific reason to honor Aaron this year – he was just next in line to have a run of his Topps cards reprinted.

2000 Topps Hank Aaron

I love the photo for this card!  Pure awesome.  Topps continued a theme of having a current player paired with the other player they honored on their packaging.  They picked comparisons that make sense.  In 1997 it was the two greatest Giants – Barry Bonds teamed up with his Godfather, Willie Mays.  In 1998 it was Puerto Rico’s own Juan Gonzalez paired with a former Puerto Rican legend, Roberto Clemente.  In 1999, it was Roger Clemens, who was the active strikeout leader, with Nolan Ryan, the all-time leader.  In 2000, it was Mark McGwire, the single season HR king with Aaron, the career HR king.

2000 Topps McGwire

McGwire got card #1 in the set.  For the 2nd straight year, Tom Glavine got the first card in series 2.  I’m showing him here with a standard trifecta I do – the 3 Braves pitchers next to each other.  Gotta love Maddux with the bunt stance!

2000 Topps Maddux Glavine Smoltz

Two more cards I show every time are Griffey and Rickey – two of my favorite three players.  Junior’s card is again one of the best cards in the set.  He got card #400 – his first ever card with the Reds.

2000 Topps Griffey & Rickey

On that note, I’ll also start doing the trifecta of great shortstops from this era.  Amazing how their careers turned out since these cards came out.

2000 Topps Jeter ARod Nomar

And then there’s another good trifecta – Boggs and Gwynn had just knocked down the 3,000 hit door, while Ripken ended the season 8 hits away.

2000 Topps Boggs Gwynn Ripken

Here’s the 2 all-time saves leaders, which seems like another good side-by-side.

2000 Topps Rivera Hoffman

The cards below are of my favorite pictures from the set.  The top 3 cards are phenomenal to me – I can’t decide which is my favorite from the set.  Bichette backing up against the Wrigley Ivy?  Klesko pulling a ball deep down the line in a well-cropped shot?  Or Larkin following up on the double play (probably after Bonds was walked) with the MLB logo in the back.

2000 Topps best pictures

I love the record breaker / highlight subsets throughout the run of Topps sets.  I like the record breakers the best – how else would I know that Jim DeShaies struck out the most hitters to start a game?  But the Highlights isn’t bad.  I just wish they were differentiated more from the base set like they were in the 80’s & early 90’s.  The set honored Cone’s perfect game, a no-hitter by Jimenez, Singleton and Helton hitting for the cycle, Tatis hitting 2 grand slams in the same inning, McGwire hitting his 500th homer, Ripken hitting his 400th, Boggs and Gwynn reaching their 3,000th hits, and Orosco breaking Dennis Eckersley’s record for pitching appearances.

2000 Topps Highlights

2000 Topps Highlights_0001

There are again prospect and draft pick cards.  Lance Berkman, CC Sabathia and Alphonso Soriano are notable prospects, and I love the card of guys with baseball dads.  Draft picks include Josh Hamilton and of course the Ben Sheets / Barry Zito card that is the best rookie card from the set.

2000 Topps Prospects & Draft Picks_0001

Moving from multi-player cards, here are some of the very young up-and-comers.  At the time this came out – these players had, at the most, one good season under their belt.  The Casey and Tejada cards are two of my favorites from this set.

2000 Topps Soon to be Stars

There are also a good crop of young stars who had 2 or 3 good seasons under their belt.

2000 Topps Young Stars

Next up, are the best of the best.  These are the guys who are baseball’s best at this point in time.  Chipper Jones who won the 1999 NL MVP.  Pudge Rodriguez, who won the 1999 AL MVP.  And then there’s Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez – who probably should have been the MVP’s that year.

2000 Topps best players

2000 Topps best players_0001

Around the late 90’s, Topps was first starting to get players who had switched teams into series 2 (as opposed to Traded) in their new uniforms.  Here’s the 3 guys that stood out the most as having new threads.

2000 Topps new uniforms

There’s also a few guys that fall into the category of “huh, he played for that team?”

2000 Topps teams you forget

Last up, here’s also some guys who were nearing the later stages of their careers.  Clemens probably should be up in one of those earlier scans, but honestly after a 14-10 season in 1999, people were probably thinking he might be close to done.

2000 Topps older players





2000 Topps All-Star Rookie subset

23 10 2014

Topps All-Star Rookies

  • RHP – Billy Koch
  • LHP – John Halama
  • C – Ben Davis
  • 1B – Brian Daubach
  • 2B – Warren Morris
  • 3B – Corey Koskie
  • SS – Alex Gonzalez
  • OF – Preston Wilson, Chris Singleton, Carlos Beltran

Like the previous year’s class, the 1999 Topps All-Star Rookie Team (featured on 2000 Topps) was fairly mediocre from a historical perspective – this after the teams shown on 1997 and 1998 were exceptional.  In fact, this one was even worse than the previous year, which had Todd Helton (a Hall of Famer in my opinion), Magglio Ordonez (a 6-time All-Star) and a couple of notable names like Kerry Wood and Mark Kotsay.  Like last year – there is one stellar player – Carlos Beltran.  In fact, Beltran has more career Wins-Above-Replacement than the rest of the team combined – 67.4 to 62.8.  And while I think Beltran is a borderline HOF-er, he’s someone I probably wouldn’t put in.  He is one of 7 guys with 300 homers and 300 SB – and I never realized how close he was in 2004 to a 40-40 season (across 2 leagues as he was traded from KC to Houston).

Corey Koskie was the second best player of this group and was actually better than I’d have guessed – he stopped playing in 2006 when he was still a very effective player.  I looked it up – apparently he got a concussion in July 2006 that ended up being the last game he ever played in the Majors.  He tried to catch on after that, and he even played for Team Canada in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.  But post-concussion syndrome made it too risky for him to play, and he retired after signing a Minor League deal with the Twins in early 2009.

Billy Koch had a decent career as a closer, saving over 160 games and having a great year for the 2002 Moneyball Oakland A’s.  Alex Gonzalez actually played for 15 seasons – but was never all that good after making the All-Star team his rookie year.  He still hasn’t retired and played a few games this year for the Tigers, but was released April.  Preston Wilson led the NL in RBI in 2003 while making the All-Star team in Colorado, and Chris Singleton is best known for being the ESPN analyst these days.

2000 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

2000 Topps All-Star Rookie Team_0001

This is one of the few times a Rookie of the Year wasn’t on the team.  Beltran was nearly unanimous as the AL RoY – however Reds righty Scott Williamson won the NL award with 19 saves, 12 wins and 107 strikeouts in 90 relief innings.  Koch saved more games for Toronto, but he wasn’t nearly as good as Williamson.  Still – I wouldn’t have given it to Williamson either.  Freddy Garcia pitched over 200 innings and won 17 games and would have been my pick for right-hander.  Interestingly, Garcia would have easily been the 2nd best player historically on this team.  I’d also put Tim Hudson over Williamson or Koch; he went 11-2 in just over half of the season.

Other than that, it’s hard to argue with the selections Topps made.  Carlos Lee was very good with 84 RBI, but I wouldn’t have put him above any of the 3 outfielders based on their 1999 campaign.  Joe McEwing was also pretty good – but he played multiple positions. Meanwhile, Warren Morris was a 2nd baseman the whole season and he wouldn’t have bumped those 3 outfielders.





2000 Topps series 2 hobby box break

21 10 2014

2000 Topps s2 hobby box

As with series 1, I got a hobby box for 2000 Topps series 2.  I purchased this box online from the Baseball Card Exchange for 25 bucks just under 2 years ago (January 2013).  I guess that’s how long ago I planned this out, but I hope to lessen the amount of time it’s taking me to move forward with this Topps project over the next year.

I got the full set in this box.  For me – that’s the most important thing!  I also hope to get good inserts since I’m collecting the inserts – but the set itself is the primary goal for this blog!

Just like any mid-late 90’s years – is anyone collecting the 2000 set?  I CAN HELP!!!!!!  And if you’ve got any inserts for trade – check out my wantlist at the top of this blog!

Here’s a look at what I got.  I got the standard oversize card that comes as a box topper here.  For this series, I got my favorite player of all time – Griffey Jr.  And showcased in his first Topps card with my favorite team, so I was pretty excited about that after getting Jeter in series 1.  This is a great card.

2000 Topps Oversize s2 box Griffey

I got all 5 variations.  Griffey’s card, though not with the Redlegs, stands out as particularly awesome in this group.

2000 Topps Magic Moments s2 box

For inserts, I did much better with the Hank Aaron reprints than the first box.  I got 3 of the regular inserts, which is beating the odds and 1 more than I pulled in series 1.

2000 Topps Aaron reprints s2 box

And I got a Chrome insert, which isn’t guaranteed as the odds are basically 1 in 2 boxes.

2000 Topps Aaron Chrome s2 box

I didn’t get any autographs or the numbered “Century Best” cards – but I did get a very tough pull.  Vinny Castilla MVP promotion parallel.  This is 1:382 packs – super hard to get, not worth all that much these days!  It’s not even a winner, so I can’t bitch about Topps not accepting their 15 year-old contest redemption!

2000 Topps MVP parallel s2 box Castilla

I got 3 Own the Game cards – 2 of Pedro Martinez.  Like the All-Matrix cards from a year ago, there are different subsets within this insert set.  Stat Stars and Titans of the Game – but I haven’t done enough research to know if that’s it or not.  I will in the near future.  I do know that 3 per box is the expected odds here.

2000 Topps Own the Game s2 box

Like “Own The Game”, the All-Topps team is an insert set featured across both series.  Series 2 has the AL All-Topps Team.  If you haven’t noticed – I’m getting Jeter cards left and right in my 2000 Topps packs!  Appropriate since I waited until right after his career was done to open these boxes!

2000 Topps All Topps Team AL s2 box

I got one Topps All-Star Rookie team card.  These are pretty cool, though it would be much better if they featured these guys on the team they played for in the rookie year.  Or do a then and now type thing.  Canseco isn’t the best pull, but I still like the idea of this set.

2000 Topps All Star Rookie Team s2 box

Finally, here’s my Topps Combo card.  I was hoping for the Pedro / Big Unit card, but the Indians card is an interesting pull.  Lofton looks really bored in this picture, and Alomar looks like he’s wary of Man-Ram over there.

2000 Topps Combos s2 box

Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 11 cards per pack +1 jumbo = 397 cards

123 doubles

21 triples

239 of the 239 card set. (100% set completion)

1 Topps MVP Promotion

3 Aaron Reprints

1 Aaron Chrome

3 Own the Game

3 All-Topps Team

1 Topps Combos

1 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

1 Oversize

Including the first box:

473 / 478 of the base cards (99%)





2000 Topps series 1 hobby box break

19 10 2014

2000 Topps s1 hobby box

I stuck with buying hobby boxes to work on my collection for 2000 Topps.  There aren’t any retail or hobby-specific inserts, so hobby seemed just as good.  I could have gone for the HTA jumbo boxes, which offer the chance to pull the autographed stadium relics – but those were more expensive than I thought they were worth.

I bought this in early 2013, and didn’t get around to opening it until now (series 2 was even worse – I bought that in late 2012)!

The box collation was good, but not perfect – I got all but 5 cards in the series.  That gave me just under 150 doubles and triples, so while getting 97% of the series is good, I wish a few doubles could have been swapped to get me to finish the series.  I wonder when it will start getting to perfect collation – which is what I know you get at some point.

2000 Topps Magic Moments variations s1 box

For the oversized box topper, I got the recently retired Derek Jeter.  Quite appropriate.

2000 Topps Oversize s1 box Jeter

Now on to the regular-size inserts.

Hank Aaron followed Mantle (’96), Mays (’97) Clemente (’98) and Ryan (’99) as the “throwback” inserts in 2000.  Both series 1 and 2 and include reprints and Chrome reprints.  Odd numbers in series 1 and even numbers in series 2.  It was Finest (instead of Chrome) in previous years, though I don’t think I can tell the difference.  I got card #1 and #13 – his rookie card and 1964 Topps.  I didn’t pull a Chrome insert – they come 1 every 2 boxes.

2000 Topps Aaron reprints s1 box

There is also a McGwire reprint – but only of his rookie card, not his full run of Topps cards.  You get one of those per box.

2000 Topps McGwire reprint s1 box

The most common insert set is called Power Players.  This has the typical shininess that Topps was employing at that time.  On the back are various “power” statistics – OBP, SLG, 2B, HR, HR/AB and 2B/AB.

2000 Topps Power Players inserts s1 box

There are 3 cards per box of a not-so-shiny insert.  This is the All Topps Team.  Basically this is a team Topps selected as the best active players.  It’s kind of like the Hall of Fame insert from the year before in terms of design.

2000 Topps All Topps Team NL inserts s1 box

I got 2 Hands of Gold inserts – which was a 7-card insert.  Unlike the Power Players insert – this was for the best fielders, and it had some pretty cool effects – embossed and die cut.

2000 Topps Hands of Gold inserts s1 box

There rest of the inserts came 2 per box for me, though the Own the Game inserts were supposed to be 3 per box.  All of them are shiny.  I’ll have another post later that gets into more detail on all of the inserts.

2000 Topps Own the Game inserts s1 box

Perennial All-Stars.  The thing about these shiny inserts – they actually look better in the scans than when you’re holding them because of the way the light hits them.

2000 Topps Perennial All Stars inserts s1 box

21st Century Topps – again, very cool with the way the scan happens.

2000 Topps 21st Century inserts s1 box

I didn’t pull any of the MVP promotion parallel cards – these are very tough pulls.  But we’ll have to see what happens with the series 2 box in my next post!

**********

Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 11 cards per pack + 1 jumbo = 397 cards

137 doubles and 7 triples

234 of the 239 card series. (95% set completion)

2 Aaron Reprints

1 McGwire Reprint

4 Power Players

3 All-Topps Team

2 Hands of Gold

2 Own the Game

2 Perennial All-Stars

2 21st Century Topps

1 Oversize