Completed set – 1999 Topps

9 10 2014

Hello, I hope you’re all figuring out what to do with two days in a row without baseball!  Seriously, why did MLB work the schedule work this way?

I finished up a base Topps set earlier this year.  I’ve kind of skipped over finishing a few sets – 1994, 1995 and 1998 Topps are still pending, but I can cross 1999 Topps off my list!

Like most of the others, I haven’t finished off the “Master Set” yet for this season.  This is just the “complete set” post for now.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 229 cards from the series 1 retail box
  • 217 cards from the series 2 retail box
  • 16 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #352 – Miguel Tejada (received in a trade from Cardboard Examiner)

1999 Topps Tejada

Set composition: 462 cards (379 individual ML player cards*, 21 Prospects, 14 Draft Picks, 4 Checklists, 5 Season Highlights, 12 League Leaders, 8 World Series, 5 Strikeout Kings, 11 All-Topps Team, 3 Tribute)

*The 379 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies

Representation of ’98 MLB season: 

Out of the 379 player cards, Alan Benes sat out of the 1998 season with an arm injury, and Roger Clemens had 2 base cards in the set.  That leaves 377 players.  On the other side, 22 other guys from the Prospects subset played in the Big Leagues in 1998 (not including Ricky Ledee, who was in the prospect subset and had a regular card).  The 399 players represent 33.6% out of the ~1,187 players who played in MLB in 1998.

Last active player from this set: Too many to mention; basically any sets after 1996 or 1997 aren’t worth getting into for this items as the list is probably over 25 players.

Earliest active player from this set: #34 – Nolan Ryan, #277 – Rickey Henderson (active players)

1999 Topps Rickey Henderson

1999 Topps Nolan Ryan

There’s two answers to this – Henderson is the earliest active player (meaning they were still playing in 1999 or had just retired in 1998).  But Ryan is the earliest (and only) retired player – debuting back in 1967.  Henderson is actually the only player in this set (other than Ryan of course) who played in the 1970’s.  Rickey made his debut by playing both games of a doubleheader on June 24, 1979 – naturally he stole a base in his first game.

There were a few guys eligible for cards who debuted in the 70’s – Tim Raines, Jesse Orosco, and Mike Morgan were all still playing in 1999, so they clearly just didn’t make the cut for Topps that year.  Orosco debuted earlier in 1979 and Mike Morgan first pitched in 1978 – so either of them would have unseated Raines if chose.  There were also a number of guys who played their last game in 1998 and in theory could have had “final cards” in 1999, but didn’t (P. Molitor, D. Eckersley, D. Martinez, D. Stieb, D. Darwin).

Player with the most cards in the set: Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa both have 6 cards.

Clemens has 2 base cards, one with the Blue Jays and a series 2 card with the Yankees, as well as being in the Strikeout King, League Leader, All-Topps and Highlights subset.  Sosa has 2 League Leader cards, a Highlight card, an All-Topps card, a Home Run Tribute as well as his base card.

Clemens – #1, #334, # 203 (Season Highlights), #232 (League Leaders), #445 (Strikeout Kings), #460 (All-Topps)

1999 Topps most cards Clemens

Sosa – #66, #202 (Season Highlights), #225 & #229 (League Leaders), #454 (All-Topps), #461 (Home Run)

1999 Topps most cards Sosa

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Roger Clemens, #100 – Ken Griffey Jr., #200 – David Wells HL, #300 – Alex Rodriguez, #400 – Moises Alou

1999 Topps first and the hundreds

Highest book value: #220 – Mark McGwire HR, #442 – Matt Holliday RC / Jeff Winchester RC

1999 Topps McGwire HR 70

There are 2 answers to this one as well.  This was the first year Topps included cards with intentional variations, so any of the McGwire variation cards are the most valuable (since he’s considered more valuable than Sosa).  I guess the card #70 has the highest book value – but regardless of which version you pick it does.  But if you only count the regular cards, the Matt Holliday rookie card is the most valuable.

1999 Topps Holliday RC

Most notable card: #220 – Mark McGwire HR

1999 Topps McGwire HR 70

The card for McGwire breaking the Home Run record – pretty easily the most notable card.  Since this card was one of many variations, it also was the source of quite a bit of controversy.  A lot of people thought Topps was ruining their base set.

Best card (my opinion): #100 – Ken Griffey Jr.

1999 Topps Griffey best card

Hard to beat this card – Junior in his last Topps card with the Mariners (until he went back 10 years later) in a great shot that accents his swing.

Second best card (also my opinion): #422 – Orlando Hernandez

1999 Topps El Duque

Another card I’ll pick because it fits the player.  Just like the first card highlights Griffey Jr’s notable swing – this one highlights that unmistakable El Duque delivery.

Best subset card: #452 – Jeter / Rodriguez / Garciaparra All-Topps

1999 Topps All-Topps Jeter A-Rod Nomar

These guys all looked like they’d turn in to the best 3 shortstops of all-time at the time this set came out, and this card was pretty bad-ass.

Favorite action photo: #353 – Travis Fryman

1999 Topps Travis Fryman

Fryman is tagging out the Twins’ Ron Coomer after he slides past 3rd base!   I wrote this in an earlier post, but I think this happened on an outfield assist from Mark Whiten in the 7th inning of a 11-6 Twins blowout, on July 12th, 1998.  See – that is cool!

Favorite non-action photo: #52 – Todd Helton

1999 Topps Helton

Honestly, a part of me wanted to make this card the top card in the whole set.  It’s unusual for Topps to capture an interesting moment that’s just a part of the 162 game season.  That looks like Riverfront Stadium in the background – I think this was a game from May 24, 1998 when the Reds beat the Rockies in a rain-shortened game that went through 2 delays.

My Favorite Reds card: #114 – Dmitri Young

1999 Topps Dmitri Young

Not a ton of good Reds cards, but this one sticks out to me in a major way.

Topps Reprints and others:

  • 2001 Through the Years – Mark McGwire
  • 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Mark Kotsay, Magglio Ordonez, Kerry Wood, Miguel Cairo
  • 2010 CMT – Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Rodriguez, Jeter/A-Rod/Nomar AT
  • 2011 60YOT – Rodriguez/Piazza/Kendall AT, Roy Halladay

No duplicate reprints that I know of

Other Notable Cards: That card of Clements in his Yankee uniform was probably a pretty big deal.  First, it’s one of the earliest cards where Topps had guys in their new uniforms in series 2 (whereas in most years that happened in the Update set).  Second, it’s Clemens with the Yankees.

Also – an interesting goof I noticed; Gabe Kapler appears on two Prospects cards, one in each series.

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27 04 2015
Topps Cardboard Icons – Ken Griffey 5×7 | Lifetime Topps project

[…] Topps – Even Griffey can make a crappy gold border look good.  This won best card of the set in the prestigious Lifetime Topps […]

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