Completed insert set – 2000 Topps All-Topps Team

22 03 2016

Moving on to the next decade – this is one of the first sets from the 2000’s that I completed.  Naturally, it’s a recap of the best players from the previous decade.  This is a really cool set, of guys from back in the wheelhouse of my days as a baseball fan.  Most of these players were stars, or becoming stars, when I first started to really love baseball. 

Info about the set:

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Set description:  These cards feature selections for a current “All-Topps Team” in each league.  It lends itself somewhat to being an all-decade team for the 90’s, but it’s really “current players as of 2000”.  There are 10 players for each league, 1 per position (except there are 4 outfielders).  National League players are cards #1-10, coming in series 1, with the junior circuit coming in series 2.

There is a gray/silver arched frame on the front with a colorful player photo inside the frame.  The player name is in gold foil below the picture, with the Topps logo in gold foil in the top corner.  The words “All-Topps Team” appear at the bottom next to the players’ team logo.  The back of the card has another player photo stats from the the top 5 players in the All-Topps selection at that position, so there must have been some sort of selection process.  There’s a write-up on the selected player.

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:12 odds (2000 Topps)

Hall of Famers:  9.  Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Barry Larkin, Pedro Martinez, Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken, Ken Griffey Jr.

How I put the set together:

  • 6 cards from my series 1 & 2 hobby boxes
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 9 cards from Sportlots
  • 3 cards from Beckett’s marketplace
  • 1 card from COMC

Card that completed my set: #AT-5 – Craig Biggio

2000 Topps All-Topps Team Biggio

I got this card on Check out My Cards last May

Thoughts on the set:  I really like the design, which evokes a Hall of Fame plaque.  You can’t beat the players in this set; these were some of the hobby greats back when the hobby was a little more vibrant.  I would take a little issue with some of their selections on the back for the career greats – Ernie Banks is not the all-time greatest shortstop.  But this is probably my favorite insert of the 2000 product.

Best card (my opinion): #AT-18 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2000 Topps All-Topps Team Griffey

Great photo of Junior.  I love that his bat is extending beyond the frame.

My Favorite Reds card:  #AT-6 Barry Larkin

2000 Topps All-Topps Team Larkin

Here’s scans of the full set:

2000 Topps All-Topps Team

2000 Topps All-Topps Team 2

2000 Topps All-Topps Team 3

Any other tidbits:  It’s a bit odd, but the current player’s statistics are only through 1998 even though this is a 2000 set.  I have to think this is a timing issue; back when this came out, Topps was releasing series 1 in the preceding November (as opposed to February like they’re doing today).

I tried to figure out if they selected the active player with the highest WAR at each position (in the right league) as of 1999.  Below is a run down on whether or not they’re correct based on WAR.

“Correct” selections:

  • NL Pitcher – Greg Maddux.  Maddux easily outdistanced the next best NL pitcher, his teammate Tom Glavine, 65-45.
  • NL Catcher – Mike Piazza.  41.5 WAR – there’s nobody even close.
  • AL Catcher – Ivan Rodriguez.  37.5 – like Piazza, there’s really nobody close.
  • NL 1st Base – Mark McGwire.  57.5.  McGwire is just ahead of Jeff Bagwell (56.7).  I think they were going to give it to McGwire no matter what – he shattered the all-time home run record only 2 years before this set came out.
  • AL 1st Base – Rafael Palmeiro.  55.0.  I was surprised at this selection before looking at any stats.  Palmeiro was just ahead of Frank Thomas (52.7).  Personally, I would have picked Thomas over Palmeiro.  He had 2 MVPs, and the only reason Palmeiro was higher in WAR at this point was because he was older.
  • NL 2nd Base – Craig Biggio.  55.9 WAR,  Nobody was even close at this point.
  • AL 2nd Base – Roberto Alomar.  54.2.  For the decade, Alomar was only a little ahead of Chuck Knoblauch (44.1).  For his career, he was well ahead.
  • AL 3rd Base – Cal Ripken.  95.2.  Ripken had the 3rd most WAR of any active position player at the end of the 1999 season, and though it’s weird to put him on as a 3rd baseman – that’s what he was playing in 1999.
  • NL Shortstop – Barry Larkin.  65.9.  Nobody else was close.  Jay Bell was next at 37.1.
  • NL Left Field – Barry Bonds.  103.4.  Rickey Henderson actually had the 2nd highest WAR of active players through 1999.  Unfortunately, he played the same position as Bonds, and since he was with the Mets – was in the NL.
  • AL Left Field – Albert Belle.  39.3.  Complications from lupus kept Tim Raines out of baseball in 2000.  So Belle was the active leader at this point, even though Raines would be back in 2001.
  • AL Center Field – Ken Griffey Jr.  70.6.  Another one of those where it wasn’t close.

“Incorrect” selections:

  • AL Pitcher – Pedro Martinez.  40.3.  This is one where I think Topps just made a mistake.  Pedro was a really good pitcher, but Roger Clemens had much better career stats at this point.  His WAR was 104.3.  Clemens wasn’t even on the back in the top 5 – so, like I said, probably just a complete oversight.
  • NL 3rd Base – Chipper Jones.  26.9.  Robin Ventura (56.0), Matt Williams (44.8) and Ken Caminiti (32.5) were ahead of Chipper through 1999.  Kind of surprised Williams wasn’t the choice here – Ventura was only in his 2nd year in the NL and Williams looked better from the standpoint of more traditional statistics.  Chipper had an MVP, but only had 5 full seasons at this point.
  • AL Shortstop – Derek Jeter.  23.4.  Since Ripken was a 3rd baseman in 1999, this category was wide open.  Tony Fernandez played in Japan in 2000 – otherwise he would have been the active leader at the beginning of the 2000 season.  John Valentin had that honor, with 32.2.  I get why you’d choose one of the big 3 shortstops at that point – their best single seasons were much better than Valentin or Omar Vizquel.  I’d have gone with A-Rod, however.
  • NL Center Field – Andruw Jones.  17.9.  If you go by career, Jones should have been behind Steve Finley (30.3) here.  Ray Lankford was in the top 5 on the back of the card, and actually had more WAR than either (36.0) – but he was actually no longer a center fielder any more.
  • NL Right Field – Sammy Sosa.  33.6.  Sosa was the classic guy whose traditional stats didn’t do as well through the sabermetric prism.  This should have been Tony Gwynn (67.8) under any measure, however.
  • AL Right Field – Manny Ramirez.  25.1  I think they made the right choice given Manny’s upward trajectory, but Tim Salmon (27.7) had a slightly higher career WAR to that point.
  • NL 4th Outfield – Larry Walker.  47.6.  As I mentioned above, Rickey Henderson (94.5) had the 2nd most WAR of any position player through 1999.  Walker would be the next guy up after Rickey, at least.
  • AL 4th Outfield – Jose Canseco.  40.5.  Like Walker, Canseco would have been the 5th guy up.  But Kenny Lofton had a higher WAR (47.4) out of active AL outfielders.
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