Here’s another late 90’s insert set that I completed. This set was the first of 8 Hobby Masters sets Topps would do – though it was the only one from the 1990’s.
Info about the set:
Set description: Topps reached out to hobby dealers to pick 20 players who had the most hobby impact in 1997. The cards are printed on card stock that’s thicker than standard cards, with foilboard background with a diffraction effect over an up close shot of the player’s face. A photo from further back overlays that. The backs are in red, containing career and 1996 statistics, and a write-up describing why the player is so popular.
Set composition: 20 cards, 1:36 odds (1997 Topps series 1, series 2 – hobby only)
Hall of Famers: 7 – Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken, Greg Maddux, Tony Gwynn, Randy Johnson, Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza
How I put the set together:
- 8 cards from Sportlots
- 7 cards from COMC
- 4 cards from Beckett Marketplace
- 1 card from the 2013 NSCC
Since I bought retail boxes in 1997, I had to get all of these from purchases.
Card that completed my set: #HM14 – Brady Anderson
I got this card from COMC nearly a year and half ago – as part of a big purchase I bought for Black Friday in 2014. It was actually on of 5 different cards from that purchase. I just pick an interesting one when that happens. I could have picked Jeter or Ripken, but how often will I scan a Brady Anderson card? Anderson was coming off his break out 50-homer campaign in 1996.
Thoughts on the set: The idea of polling hobby dealers is a good idea. Topps did a nice job with this set. The thick card stock makes it feel a little premium, and I like the foilboard background and how it fits with the smaller picture. Overall, it’s a very nice set with a bunch of great players included.
Best card (my opinion): #HM13 – Chipper Jones
Many of the cards have the top photo obscure the player’s face from the background photo. The ones where the card is set up to avoid doing this are the better cards in the set. Chipper meets this criteria, and the photo of him getting ready for a potential ground ball is great. The Piazza card gives this one a run for its money.
My Favorite Reds card: There are none.
Here’s the scan of the full card set:
Any other tidbits: Getting hobby dealer input was an interesting idea. I was surprised Mark McGwire wasn’t in this set. I guess that, while he’d hit 52 homers in 1996, he hadn’t fully arrived back on the scene after his injury plagued early-90’s. It wasn’t until after this set came out, in 1997, he gave his first real run at the Maris home run record.