2001 Topps parallel sets

11 02 2015

In 2001 Topps had an extra parallel sets compared with the year before – but again, only one could be pulled from packs.  There was also 4 parallels in total, 3 packages as specific factory sets.

50th Anniversary Gold – 790 cards (1:17 s1, 1:14 s2 – #/2001)

2001 Topps s2 Gold 50th

Unlike the MVP promotion cards that were really rare in 1999 and 2000, Topps Gold was back after a 7-year hiatus.  These cards came a couple per box, were created as a kind of celebration of the 50th anniversary, and were numbered out of 2001.  Numbering Topps Gold to the current year is a trend Topps has kept to this day.  The Gold border was much nicer back in 2001 – it was actually a raised foil that looks a lot better than the current year Gold cards which just have a gold-colored border.

Topps Home Team Advantage, Limited and Employee Factory sets

Additionally, there are 3 other parallels available in factory set form.  Limited Edition factory sets were again made, with a similar idea as the old Tiffany sets, with only 3,805 sets produced.  These cards are stamped with the words “Limited Edition” in the bottom right and come on thicker card stock.

2001 Topps Limited Schilling

2001 Topps Limited Factory set

Home Team Advantage factory sets have something similar – they are stamped with a “Home Team Advantage” logo.  Both of these factory sets come with some version of the Archives Rookie Reprint cards.

2001 Topps HTA Schilling

2001 Topps factory set HTA

Last, but not least, Topps created a special factory set for employees in 2001 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the flagship baseball set.  This looked the same as the retail factory set on the outside, except it had the employee logo stamp.  The cards also had the employee logo stamp.  These are thought to be very rare – around 150 sets according to Beckett.

2001 Topps employee Schilling

2001 Topps employee factory set

2001 Topps scans

9 02 2015

In 2001, Topps went with a green border – the fourth year in a row there wasn’t a white border.  The big card was in series 2 – Ichiro was taking baseball by storm on the way to an MVP and Rookie of the Year season in 2001.  Of course, that was his first season in MLB, so his rookie card has stats from the Nippon League.

2001 Topps Ichiro RC

But Barry Bonds was taking the league by storm even more than Ichiro – he was about to break McGwire’s 3-year record of 70 homers.

2001 Topps Barry Bonds

For the first time in a long time, there wasn’t a solo tribute card to one of the game’s greats.  Instead, Topps did a whole subset of tribute cards across both series!  Topps did a lot of things for the golden anniversary of their flagship set.  This subset was called “Golden Moments”, and here are 9 of the cards from that subset.  A number of the greatest moments in baseball history from the past 50 years.

2001 Topps Golden Moments

Cal Ripken got card #1 card in the set, replacing Mark McGwire for that honor the year before.

2001 Topps Cal Ripken

Ripken had notched his 3,000th hit the year before, and he also got a nod in the season highlights subset for that.  Randy Johnson struck out his 3,000th batter, so he got a card as well.  I didn’t get to keep too many other season highlights – they were particularly susceptible to sticking to other cards.

2001 Topps Season Highlights Ripken Johnson

I usually show off the cards of Atlanta’s pitching big 3 – but the only card of Maddux I pulled was badly damaged and I didn’t even get a card of Smoltz.  Instead of them, I’ll show off another returning subset in 2001.  The managers were back.  Here’s the 3 managers who were inducted into the HOF last year.

2001 Topps Torre Cox LaRussa

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.

2001 Topps Griffey Rickey

I also started doing the trifecta of great shortstops from this era.

2001 Topps Jeter A-Rod Nomar

Here’s the best sluggers from that time period.

2001 Topps Sluggers

And some of the best hitters who weren’t known as much for hitting the ball out of the park.

2001 Topps Hitters

Here are some of the best pitchers of the day.  Unfortunately I don’t have cards of Pedro Martinez – who was probably the best pitcher in baseball at this point – or Roger Clemens.

2001 Topps Pitchers

Here are younger players in their first few years of stardom.  Giambi was the defending MVP at this point.

2001 Topps Young stars

These guys weren’t even stars yet – they were propsects.  I think a lot of people tend to forget that Ortiz started in the Twin Cities.

2001 Topps Prospects

On the other side are some of the game’s fading stars – these guys were very close to retirement at that point.  Amazing how many players the Cardinals signed in 2000 that were at the end of their careers.

2001 Topps Older Stars

The cards below are of my favorite pictures from the set.  I wish I had more of the set – I don’t because of the number of damaged cards I pulled.  There would probably be a few others I’d pick.

2001 Topps best pics

This was about the third or fourth year that Topps would put guys in new uniforms into series 2.  Even though it wasn’t the first year they did this – it was clearly becoming more prevalent.  As you can see – there are a few guys who get 2 cards in the set like A-Rod or Man-Ram.  Jose Canseco is also in series 2 as an Angel – I pulled a damaged card of his.  He never played for the Angels – he was released at the end of Spring Training – and finished up his last season with the White Sox.

2001 Topps s2 new uniforms

2001 Topps All-Star Rookie subset

7 02 2015

Topps All-Star Rookies

  • RHP – Kaz Sasaki
  • LHP – Mark Redman
  • C – Bengie Molina
  • 1B – Pat Burrell
  • 2B – Adam Kennedy
  • 3B – Mike Lamb
  • SS – Rafael Furcal
  • OF – Jay Payton, Mark Quinn, Terrence Long

The 2000 Topps All-Star Rookie Team (featured on 2001 Topps) was even more mediocre than the previous year, which had one stellar player in Carlos Beltran.  This set had no such player.  Rafael Furcal was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2000, and he is the best historical player on this squad.  Furcal did have a very nice career that probably just ended when he tore his hamstring in winter ball a few months ago.  Aside from that, Adam Kennedy, Pat Burrell and Jay Payton all had solid careers of over 10 years.  But nothing spectacular.

Kaz Sasaki was the AL RoY – he was 32 years old, the second oldest player in the award’s history.  He only played 4 years in America, but was inducted into the Japanese baseball hall of fame.  So on some level, he might be the most successful of this group.

As far as who Topps picked for the team, there’s no really glaring errors.  But I think there were 2 mistakes.  LHP was the first one – I would have gone with Rick Ankiel, who was the runner-up for NL RoY and had better numbers and more IP than Redman.  Barry Zito was also pretty good, but only threw 90 innings on the year.  The other position where it could have been close was first base.  Lance Berkman hit .297 with 21 homer, 76 runs and 67 RBI, while Burrell batted .260 with 18 homers, 79 RBI and 57 runs.

2001 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

Due to the damaged card issue, I’ve only got 6 of the 10 cards.  So I had to swipe these cards from the internet.

2001 Topps Bengie Molina 2001 Topps Mark Quinn 2001 Topps Mike Lamb 2001 Topps Pat Burrell

2001 Topps s2 – disaster box turned into a hit EXPRESS!

5 02 2015

As I mentioned in my last post – my first purchase of a Topps series 2 box was an utter disaster.  Out of 360 cards in the box, less than 100 were salvageable.  Most of the base cards stuck together and looked something like this:

2001 Topps s2 damaged cards

The Noteworthy insert cards all had the same issue – like this Frank Robinson below.

2001 Topps s2 damaged insert card

I was discouraged by this, and after opening the first 9 packs, I just decided to order a different box and hope for better results.  Some of it is just the nature of 2001 Topps – because my second series 2 box wasn’t very good either (though it wasn’t a complete mess like this box).

I opened that box first, and then put this one aside for a while.  I opened the rest of it a little later, and I’m glad I didn’t just throw it away :).  Other than the Noteworthy cards, all the inserts (and the big salvation below) were in fine shape.

2001 Topps s2 What could have been Pop Lloyd

So I knocked a few cards off my checklist.

2001 Topps s2 Before Topps Babe Ruth Cy Young

But the biggest pull was in the first pack after I pulled the box back out – sitting in the front of the top pack on the lower right stack!

2001 Topps s2 Nolan Ryan auto

A Nolan Ryan auto – this is definitely in the top 5 pulls I’ve ever had.  Right up there with a Hank Aaron auto from 2012 Topps, a Jeter auto from 2008 Upper Deck Heroes, and a Griffey buyback Auto from 1997 SP.  So good things did come out of this box, which initially was such a disappointment!

Get to know this blogger…

4 02 2015

Chris at Nachos Grande has been doing a really cool feature on his blog where he got other sports card bloggers to volunteer to answer a series of questions about themselves, their collection and their card-collecting habits.  He them posts them up on his blog.  A very cool idea – and I threw my hat into the ring.

Anyways, here’s Chris’s post with my answers – check it out.  And, as I mention in the post, if you haven’t tried Gold Star or Skyline chili – I’d highly recommend them!

Skyline 3 way

As I mentioned – I prefer Gold Star.  But both are great!

gold star chili




2001 Topps series 2 hobby box break

3 02 2015

2001 Topps box series 2

As with series 1, I got a hobby box for 2001 Topps series 2.  There’s a bit of a story behind this one.  I purchased a first box online for 40 bucks about 2 years ago (January 2013).  It sure took me a while to get to it – but I’ve bought a number of boxes in advance!  Unfortunately, that box had an incredible amount of cards sticking together.  Much, much, much, much worse than series 1 (which was not good either).  I opened 6 or 7 packs, and I’d say about two-thirds of the cards were not salvageable.  Since I bought it so long ago, there wasn’t really much I could do.  So I decided to gamble a bit and order another box – though the price had gone up, so I paid 50 bucks for this one.  There’s a happy ending to the first box – which I went back and opened later.  I’ll save that for the next post.  This post is for the second s2 box.

I got pretty bad results as far as the cards sticking together in my second box as well – though not nearly as bad as I had done on the first few packs of box #1.  The two boxes were from different online retailers, so I think this is probably just be an issue with the 2001 Topps set.  My series 1 box had a lot of damaged cards, too – though not nearly as much as series 2.

Here’s a look at what I got in the second box.  Topps Gold parallels were back in 2001, however – known as 50th anniversary Topps Gold.  I got three of them; they are numbered out of 2,001 on the back.  Pretty good – odds are to get between 2 and 3.  Unfortunately, the Stinnett and particularly the Higginson cards had a little bit of the stick-together problem I mentioned above.  You can see it on the scan below.  The Schilling didn’t have any issues; it’s a cool card of the guy who would share the World Series MVP with Randy Johnson the year this card came out.

2001 Topps s2 Gold 50th

I got 2 of the “What Could have Been” cards, which is based on Negro League players.  This was again on the better side of the odds, which are 1:25.  I got the best 2 of the bunch – Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige.  This set is a great idea, and is one of my favorites.  I think the design could have been a little better; the cards are a weird kind of gray mixed with the new-age shiny effects.  I think a cool idea would have been to put them on an old set design that would have been during their playing days, like Goudey or Play Ball (I know Topps didn’t and doesn’t own Goudey, but that’s what I’m getting at).

2001 Topps s2 What Could have been Gibson Paige

A similar set with a similar design is called “Before there was Topps”.  This gets guys like Honus Wagner, who I pulled below, Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson onto their first flagship Topps cards. I like this design a bit better than the Paige/Gibson cards above.  I just got 1 of these – this set also had 1:25 odds.

2001 Topps s2 Before Topps Wagner

The next insert set is called Noteworthy.  This is a 50-card set of current and retired players, with bullet points highlighting their career accomplishments on the back.  This insert set isn’t my my favorite idea, but it’s not the worst either.  The backs are a good read.  This is the kind of set that it’s good to have one of per year.  In the set Topps puts out these days, there’s quite a few more than that.

2001 Topps s2 Noteworthy

The last standard insert set was Topps Combos, which was continued from series 1.  This is a set that’s generally a very good idea, and the two cards I pulled are an examples on both sides of the spectrum.  The 60-HR club is a very cool card.  I like how Topps put the 4 sluggers together.  The Dodger Blue card, not so much.  Any time you put Drysdale and Koufax together, it makes sense.  But mix in Kevin Brown?  Not so much.  Brown was a good pitcher, but at this point he had just had 2 very good seasons with the Dodgers.  I hardly think of him as a historically great Dodger pitcher.  I actually pulled 3 of these inserts, but one of them was damaged.

2001 Topps s2 Combos Dodgers 60 HR Club

The last card I’ll show was a hit!  Not anybody too crazy – Bobby Kielty, who was a Twins’ prospect at the time.  Kielty hit the game winning homer in the series-clinching Game 4 of the 2007 World Series – which was his only World Series at bat.  It also happened to be the last Major League at bat of his career.  The odds on this were 1:216, so a pretty great pull!

2001 Topps s2 50th Anniversary Auto Kielty

Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 10 cards per pack = 360 cards

24 doubles

335 of the 385 card set. (87% set completion)

103 of my singles were “damaged” – so I really only got 232 towards the set

3 Topps Gold 50th

3 Topps Combos

4 Noteworthy

2 What Could Have Been

1 Before there was Topps

1 Golden Anniversary Autograph

Including the first box:

670 / 790 of the base cards (85%)

2001 Topps series 1 hobby box break

1 02 2015

2001 Topps box series 1

I again bought hobby boxes to work on my collection for 2001 Topps.  I think the HTA jumbo boxes have better odds for a big hit, and you can actually get a few cards from retail packs that you can’t find in hobby or HTA packs.  That’s series 2 – where the Hit Parade Relics are only in retail.  At 1:2,607, I didn’t go for that.  And the hobby boxes were quite a bit cheaper than the HTA boxes, so that’s what I opened for this year’s set.

I actually bought these boxes back in 2012, and it’s just taken me this long to catch up to 2001!  When I opened this one, I was disappointed by the amount of damaged cards.  The cards were really stuck together – pretty much every pack had some kind of issue with being stuck together.  I had about 50 damaged cards, 46 of which were singles that I will have as open cards for my Topps project.  I think the gloss on the 2001 cards have a lot more gloss than previous Topps cards, and I’m sure that contributes to this issue.  I was careful when opening it, and honestly, series 1 wasn’t all that bad.  Series 2 was far worse.

The box collation was pretty good, but not perfect – I got 335 of the 405 cards in the series.  That mean I had 9 doubles.  Not too bad – except when you add in the 46 damaged singles.  So I’m ultimately 116 cards short of the series.

There was no oversized box topper in 2001, and there aren’t SP cards in the 2001 base set.  So I’ll start with the parallel set.  There’s only 1 parallel set available in packs in 2001.  Topps basically brought back Topps Gold after it had existed from 1992 through 1994.  In those years, Topps Gold added gold foil to the player name on the front.  This version added gold foil to the border with a diagonal design.  They make for a pretty nice card.

2001 Topps s1 Gold

Next I’ll show off the “regular” inserts.  After 5 years of doing full runs of Hall-of-Famer reprints, (Mantle, Mays, Clemente, Ryan, Aaron), Topps did still to some “throwback” inserts in 2001.  Series 1 had an insert called “Through the Years”.  This is an insert set of 50 cards, from the past 49 years of Topps cards.  Unfortunately (at least unfortunately in my opinion), there isn’t 1 of each year shown – so you have some sets with 2 cards and some not represented.  Not how I’d have done it – but it’s still a very good insert at the time.  I pulled 4 of these, which is basically what you should expect at 1:8 odds.

2001 Topps s1 Through the Years

The McCovey is my favorite here – this Topps All-Star Rookie card is pretty significant.  McCovey was the first Topps ASR winner to make the Hall of Fame!  However, some of this is pretty silly.  That Musial card is from 59, and the Spahn is from 57.  So why do I have them out of chronological order?  Because Topps put them in numerical order that way!

My favorite insert set from 2001 Topps is the Topps Combos insert set.  This was not a new one – Topps did the same thing the year before.  But the combinations were great!

2001 Topps s1 Combos

The other insert set you could get in series 1 was called Golden Anniversary.  There were subsets to this insert set, as you can see.  I pulled Glistening Gold, Hidden Gold, and Going for Gold.  The others are Golden Greats and Golden Nuggets.  This was one of the first insert sets Topps did that had both retired and current players included.  A trend I don’t like, but frankly was appropriate here because it was done for the 50th anniversary.

2001 Topps s1 Golden Anniversary

The other 2 insert sets were what I call filler – they were “A Look Ahead”, which was basically like future stars.  And “A Tradition Continues”, which were similar cards for current stars.

2001 Topps s1 A Look Ahead_0001 2001 Topps s1 Tradition Continues

The last card I pulled was a huge hit!  Well, it was a rare pull; but if this was a 1991 Topps pack, I’d be disappointed!

2001 Topps s1 91 Rob Ducey

Nothing against Rob Ducey.  He played 703 games over 13 season, which showed great resiliency!  But this was literally a super-duper hit!  The odds were 1:911, so it was pretty much a pull for 1 of every 25 boxes, yet it was a card you couldn’t give away!  The Topps buyback was a good idea in 2001 – but what they did in 2011 to promote 60 years was better.

As always, the numbers below don’t factor in the damaged cards – I’m tracking this to know what it would have been if I had bought the cards in 2001, and I assume they wouldn’t have been stuck together back then.


Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 10 cards per pack + 1 extra (Topps History) = 361 cards

9 doubles

335 of the 405 card series. (83% set completion)

2 Topps Gold 50th parallels

1 History (Vintage Original)

4 Through the Years

3 Combos

3 Golden Anniversary

2 Tradition Continues

2 A Look Ahead