Completed insert set – 1997 Topps Season’s Best

15 01 2015

Another late 90’s insert set that I completed.  I couldn’t have told you the name of this set, since Topps decided to break this insert set (and a number of others) up into subsets.

Info about the set:

Set description:

This 25-card set features 5 top players from five statistical categories:

  • “Number Crunchers” – batting average
  • “Bleacher Reachers” – home runs
  • “Kings of Swing” – RBI
  • “Hill Toppers” – wins
  • “Leading Looters” – stolen bases

The fronts display color player photos on prismatic foilboard. The backs have a second player photo and the relevant statistics, including the player’s ML rank in 1996 and his career total for that stat.

Set composition: 25 cards, 1:6 odds (1997 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:   4 – Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas, Paul Molitor, John Smoltz

All of the Hall of Famers come from the batting average portion of this set.

How I put the set together:

  • 6 cards from my series 2 retail box
  • 1 card from a trade
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 17 cards from online dealers

Thoughts on the set:  Topps didn’t just create a set to throw Greg Maddux, Ken Griffey or Cal Ripken in there (though Griffey made it on merit!).  This set has a specific theme and it sticks with it.  I always view that as a plus.  Additionally, I like the colorful design and I like the fact that Topps created subsets based on statistics.  This set wasn’t the super shiny hologram-type stuff like Sweet Swings from the same year.  This may be my favorite insert from 1997 Topps.

Card that completed my set: #SB11 – Andres Galarraga

I got this card from Beckett Marketplace in May 2014.  I was 1 card short on this set for nearly a year.

Highest book value: #SB8 – Ken Griffey Jr.

No Bonds or Ripken, so Griffey is the book value king here.

Best card (my opinion): #SB8 – Ken Griffey Jr.

The sweet follow-through of the Griffey swing goes great here!  The McGwire card is cool for the same reason – he’s shown at the end of his recognizable swing.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

Any other tidbits: This is essentially a league leaders set.  I noticed a few interesting things with who was included.  The first thing has to do with Alex Rodriguez.  He was still holding out from Topps in 1997, so he wasn’t in this or any other set.  A-Rod was the AL batting champ and the overall MLB leader in 1996 – which meant Chuck Knoblauch got included as he had the 6th best average.

Also, there was a tie for 5th place in homers (47) between Juan Gonzalez and Galarraga.  Topps went with Galarraga, probably because he was the NL leader in the category.  This meant he got back-to-back cards since he was the MLB leader in RBI (150).  What a different statistical world we lived in back then!  Galarraga and Albert Belle are the only players who made it twice in this set.

1997 Topps Seasons Best1997 Topps Seasons Best_0001

1997 Topps Seasons Best_0002

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2 06 2016
Completed master set – one last look at 1997 Topps | Lifetime Topps project

[…] sets:  Sweet Strokes, Interleague Finest, Season’s Best, All-Stars, Team Timber, Hobby Masters, Willie Mays Reprints, Willie Mays Finest, Mickey Mantle […]

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