Completed insert set – 2001 Topps What Could Have Been

30 06 2016

Here’s another completed insert set.  This one is from 2001 Topps.  I am catching up, as I think this is the first post that I’ve done where the set completing occurred in the current calendar year 🙂

Info about the set:

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Set description:  As part of its 50th anniversary product, Topps created a lot of sets that paid homage to the Company’s history producing baseball cards.  This set, however, takes a different spin.  It looks at players from the Negro Leagues who never got the chance to play in the majors.  I kind of infer that the idea is also that they didn’t get to appear on baseball cards during their day.  It’s done in a very similar design as the “Before There Was Topps” set from series 1.

The fronts feature a black and white photo of the player with a gray foil finish over the background.  The player name is at the bottom, while the Topps 50 logo is in the top corner.  The back has a write-up on the player’s Negro League career.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:25 odds (2001 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  All 10.  Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, Rube Foster, Martin Dihigo, Judy Johnson, Mule Suttles, Pop Lloyd

Card that completed my set:  #WCB8 – Mule Suttles

2001 Topps What Could Have Been Mule Suttles

I got this card in a trade with reader Kary, who has been a friendly reader and contributor to the Lifetime Topps project for a few years!

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from the 2001 series 2 hobby boxes I bought
  • 3 cards from trades
  • 2 from a card show
  • 1 from an eBay lot
  • 1 from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  Up to 2001, there really hadn’t been many Negro League cards in the mainstream sets.  That started to change, and this was the first Topps set to feature Negro Leaguers.  It’s a great set from that standpoint.  I wish they hadn’t made it so drab, though – the gray makes it so bland.  I would have liked some of the color-making technology you see on lots of cards these days. 

Best card (my opinion):  #WCB1 – Josh Gibson, #WCB2 – Satchel Paige

2001 Topps s2 What Could have been Gibson Paige

I had a tough time picking between Paige and Gibson, as they’re probably the most notable Negro League hitter and pitcher.  Adding to that, I really like the photos of both.  So I’m picking them both.  My blog, my rules.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

Here’s the scan of the full set.

2001 Topps What Could Have Been complete

2001 Topps What Could Have Been - front

Other tidbits:  For every player except Satchel Paige, this was their first Topps card.  Paige was the only one of these 10 players to make it to the Majors, and he had a very famous Topps card in 1953.

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Completed insert set – 2000 Topps 21st Century Topps

29 06 2016

Anybody out there from Vermont or been there?  Last weekend I went on a trip with some buddies from home.  It can only be described as a brewery trip.  We found cans of Heady Topper made by Alchemist Brewing, went to Hill Farmstead, Lost Nation, Fiddlehead and Tree House Brewery.  If you’re from the area – Julius from Tree House was my favorite.  This has me behind on card posting, and I’m soon off for July 4th, so we’ll see if I can keep up the recent once per day posting 🙂

Back to cards.  Here’s another completed insert set.  This one is from 2000 Topps.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This set features young players who Topps thought were going to be the best players of the early part of the decade.  The cards have a holographic background with a kind of 3-D effect.  In the hologram, there’s a baseball at the top with a wording for “21st century Topps”.  Behind the player is a bit of a matrix effect.  The back of the card is blue with a similar, but muted, matrix effect.  There’s a head shot in the upper left, some biographical info in the upper right, and a write-up about the player’s potential at the bottom.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:18 odds (2000 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  None.  Yet.

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from my series 1 hobby box
  • 2 cards from trades
  • 6 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  I’ve got to admit, I get confused by some of these super-shiny insert sets from the late 1990’s and 2000.  I’d like this set a lot better if it didn’t seem like one of 20 similar sets.  The holographic background features a really neat design, but like most of those sets – it actually looks much better from the scanner than it does in your hand.

I do like the themes moving across 2000 Topps.  Focusing on the turn of the century, this set is a group of guys who were expected to be great in the near future.  There’s a set for the best active former All-Rookie Team guys.  There’s an All-Topps Team that features the best active player at each position.

Card that completed my set:  #C3 – Derek Jeter

2000 21st Century Topps Derek Jeter

I got this card from Sportlots last September.

Best card (my opinion):  #C4 – Sean Casey

My Favorite Reds card:  #C4 – Sean Casey

2000 21st Century Topps Sean Casey

I could be accused of being a homer, and I’m doubling up with the Reds category, too, but I really think this is the best photo.  It’s a cool shot of “the Mayor” extending after a swing.

Scan of the set

2000 21st Century Topps

2000 21st Century Topps complete 2

Any other tidbits:  Topps had a similar theme in 1999, a set called New Breed.  8 players were in both sets:

  • Ben Grieve
  • Derek Jeter
  • Nomar Garciaparra
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Scott Rolen
  • Andruw Jones
  • Vlad Guerrero
  • Todd Helton

Also interesting – except for Scott Rolen, this set consists only of outfielders, shortstops and first baseman.





Completed insert set – 2010 Topps Peak Performance

28 06 2016

I just did 2 completed base set posts – 1995 Topps and Traded.  To draw the curtain back a bit, those completed set posts take quite a while to put together.  It’s a lot of looking through the set, making decisions on the best cards, scanning, inserting those scans, and then wrapping it up.  They are the most work, but those are also the most fun because as a collector, that’s what card collecting is to me.  So that said, I’ll go back to some completed insert sets, which take a lot less effort to finish a post.

I came back to card collecting full-time in 2010, mostly starting the Lifetime Topps project. But I also bought some 2010 boxes.  I liked the 2010 Topps set, but there were a lot of inserts, and some of them have a lot of cards.  Like this one, which weighs in at a whopping 125 cards.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  “These cards mark the single greatest moment in the inspiring careers of 50 current and retired legendary players”.  That’s from the series 1 sell sheet.

The front of these cards has a red ribbon with the set name running across the top.  The ribbon appears to wrap around the back and continue at the bottom, where the player name and team logo can be found.  The background is gray with stars that I think are meant to be an American flag.  The back has the same background, except with a red border.  The card number, player name, team and position are at the top, with a write-up about the selected moment in the bottom two-thirds of the card.

This set was made to have autographed and relic versions.  In fact, there are some players who just have a relic version but aren’t in the regular 125-card set.

Set composition:  125 cards, 1:4 odds (2010 Topps) / 1:9 odds (2010 Topps Update)

Hall of Famers:  36.

Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Christy Mathewson, Mel Ott, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Tris Speaker, Jimmie Foxx, George Sisler, Stan Musial, Willie Stargell, Tom Seaver, Johnny Mize, Roy Campanella, Cy Young, Dizzy Dean, Jackie Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, Luis Aparicio, George Kell, Mike Schmidt, Willie McCovey, Joe Morgan, Monte Irvin, Ozzie Smith, Yogi Berra, Catfish Hunter, Phil Rizzuto, Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Al Kaline

How I put the set together:

  • 22 cards from my 3 hobby boxes (s1, s2, update)
  • 2 cards from other packs
  • 48 cards from trades
  • 6 cards from card show purchases (2 of which were at the 2013 National)
  • 42 cards from Sportlots
  • 5 cards from Beckett’s Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #86 – Justin Verlander

2010 Topps Peak Performance Verlander

5 years after I started buying boxes and packs of 2010 Topps, I finished this set up.  The last 2 cards, including Verlander, arrived in May of 2015 (eek – I’m a year behind!) from Sportlots.

Thoughts on the set: I like this set.  I like that they didn’t just go only for the stars – they really stuck to guys who are younger and would conceivably still be around in 2020.  I think Ryan Howard and David Wright are the most veteran players of the group.  The 3D look is cool, and the design is simple but effective – I like that the ground is included, but anything else behind the player is not.  It kind of looks like the “green screen” or “blue screen” they do when filming movies!  I’m surprised they didn’t include Joey Votto or Justin Verlander.

Best card (my opinion):  #PP-122 – Dallas Braden

2010 Topps Peak Performance - front

I had a tough time deciding between this card and Ozzie Smith’s, which features him running the bases after his walk-off homer in the 1985 World Series.  Both cards feature the correct game/performance from the player’s career, and picture them in that game.  I went with Braden because I do like what he’s doing with ESPN and there have already been a few cards showcasing the Wizard’s improbable homer.

In this card, Topps picked the right moment for the player,

My favorite Reds card:  #PP-81 – Brandon Phillips

2010 Topps Peak Performance Phillips

Not a ton of competition here, the other options were Joey Votto, Mike Leake or Joe Morgan.  This card highlights Phillips 3 straight seasons of 20 homer, 20 doubles and 20 stolen bases.

Any other tidbits:  There are 6 players with 2 cards in the set – all of them getting their 2nd card in the 25-card Update portion of the set.  Since the set is so large, I’m not scanning the whole thing, but I’ll scan the 12 cards of these guys.  Half of them (Guerrero, Halladay, Scherzer) are on a different team, thus it sort of makes sense to include a new card with their new team.  The other 3 are on the same team, so to me don’t seem needy of an update card.

  • Vlad Guerrero
  • Max Scherzer
  • Roy Halladay
  • Dustin Pedroia
  • Ryan Zimmerman
  • Ubaldo Jimenez

2010 Topps Peak Performance dupes

2010 Topps Peak Performance dupes 2





2015 All-Star Stitches #19: JD Martinez (via Clubhouse Kaz)

27 06 2016

As a reminder, I went to the All-Star game and Home Run Derby in Cincinnati.  So I’m collecting this All-Star Stitches set!  These cards that have swatches from the Monday practice festivities.

J.D. Martinez is my 19th card toward this set.  Almost at the one-third mark.  Hopefully I can get to ⅓ before the 2016 All-Star Game.

2015 Topps Update All-Star Stitch JD Martinez

Card number:  STIT-JM

Player:  JD Martinez

How I got the card:  A trade with Mark from This Way to the Clubhouse

Position:  Right Field

How he made the roster:  Martinez was voted in as one of the backup outfielders via the players’ vote.

This was his 1st All-Star selection.

First half stat line:  .289/25/59, .347 OBP, .565 SLG

All-Star game:  Martinez came in as a defensive replacement for starting right fielder Lorenzo Cain in the bottom of the 6th.  He grounded out to short in his only at bat in the next inning.

*********************

STIT-AB A.J. Burnett – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-AC Aroldis Chapman – Cincinnati Reds
STIT-AE Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royals
STIT-AGN Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-AJ Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-AM Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-APO A.J. Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
STIT-APU Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels
STIT-AR Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
STIT-BB Brad Boxberger – Tampa Bay Rays
STIT-BC Brandon Crawford – San Francisco Giants
STIT-BD Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins
STIT-BG Brett Gardner – New York Yankees
STIT-BHA Bryce Harper – Washington Nationals
STIT-BHO Brock Holt – Boston Red Sox
STIT-BP Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
STIT-CA Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays
STIT-CK Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-CM Carlos Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-CS Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
STIT-DB Dellin Betances – New York Yankees
STIT-DK Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros
STIT-DL DJ LeMahieu – Colorado Rockies
STIT-DO Darren O’Day – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-DP David Price – Detroit Tigers
STIT-FH Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
STIT-GC Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-GP Glen Perkins – Minnesota Twins
STIT-JA Jose Altuve – Houston Astros
STIT-JDE Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
STIT-JDO Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
STIT-JK Jason Kipnis – Cleveland Indians
STIT-JM J.D. Martinez – Detroit Tigers
STIT-JPA Joe Panik – San Francisco Giants
STIT-JPD Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-JPE Jhonny Peralta – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-JU Justin Upton – San Diego Padres
STIT-KB Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
STIT-KH Kelvin Herrera – Kansas City Royals
STIT-LC Lorenzo Cain – Kansas City Royals
STIT-MB Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants
STIT-MMA Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-MME Mark Melancon – Pittsburgh Pirates
STIT-MTE Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
STIT-MTR Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels
STIT-NA Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
STIT-NC Nelson Cruz – Seattle Mariners
STIT-PF Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers
STIT-PG Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
STIT-RM Russell Martin – Toronto Blue Jays
STIT-SM Shelby Miller – Atlanta Braves
STIT-SP Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
STIT-SV Stephen Vogt – Oakland Athletics
STIT-TF Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds
STIT-TT Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies
STIT-WD Wade Davis – Kansas City Royals
STIT-YG Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers
STIT-YM Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals
STIT-ZB Zach Britton – Baltimore Orioles
STIT-ZG Zack Greinke – Los Angeles Dodgers




Completed set – 1995 Topps Traded

25 06 2016

This is the first of the Topps Traded sets where I’ll do a completed set post.  Before 1995, Topps Traded meant a factory set that I would be purchasing.  It was gone from 1996 through 1998, and it was again a full box set in 1999 and 2000.  So this was the first one I “collected”.

Info about my set:

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How I put the set together:

  • 160 cards from the Topps Traded box
  • 1 card from Sportlots
  • 4 cards from Beckett Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #14T – Kevin Gross

1995 Topps Traded Kevin Gross

This was one of 4 cards I got from Beckett’s Marketplace in February.  I bought this box in 2012.  Then I got 1 card from Sportlots in 2014 – then waited 2 more years before I finally said the hell with it and finished this thing!  I’m surprised it took so long, but I was trying not to buy the last couple cards until they were part of another purchase.  I found a dealer on Beckett who had some other cards that were tougher, who also had these cards.  And here we are!

Set composition:  165 cards (114 single MLB player cards, 14 Draft Picks, 2 On Deck, 2 Tops Prospects, 1 Star Track, 12 Rookie of the Year Contenders, 10 At the Break, 9 All-Stars, 1 checklist)

Representation of ’94 MLB season:  OK, like I said this was the first time for me to do a complete set post for a Traded set.  So what I’ll do is combine the Traded and regular Topps sets.

The 1995 Topps set featured 567 out of the 991 players who played in Major League Baseball in 1994.  That’s 57.2%.

In the update set not in the base set:  28 players.

It had become much more about “rookies who (maybe) played in 1995” than “players who were traded in 1995 or not featured in the regular set”.

Total in base and update sets:  595 different players.  Or 60% of the 1994 MLB rosters.

Last active player from this set:  #18T – Carlos Beltran

1995 Topps Traded Beltran LeBron

Wow, weird how this works out, but I have to explain this whole error thing.  Carlos Beltran is the only player still active in 2016*.  His card had a big snafu with it.  It doesn’t feature him.  the Juan LeBron card does.  And his card features Juan Lebron.  Yes that’s confusing, and it has nothing to do with the notable basketball player from Akron.  They just got those 2 guys pictures messed up.  So card #18 is considered Beltran’s “rookie card”, but features a picture of Lebron.  Meanwhile, card #12, LeBron’s card, features a photo of the future All-Star, Beltran.

* – There’s a chance Bronson Arroyo will come back to play, but it isn’t looking promising. In fact, as far it looks now, Beltran may end up outlasting his fellow draft class member by 2+ seasons.

Highest book value:  #18T – Carlos Beltran, #130T – Lyle Mouton / Mariano Rivera

Beckett lists both the Beltran rookie and the first flagship Topps card of the greatest closer ever at $10.  Weird how in the baseball card hobby, the card picturing LeBron but listed as Beltran’s RC is the more valuable.

Most notable card:  #40T – Hideo Nomo

1995 Topps Traded Hideo Nomo ST

It could be argued the Beltran card is the most notable, with the Lebron/Beltran mix-up going on.  But Nomo-mania was as big as it comes, and this was his first Topps card.

Best card (my opinion):  #20T – Larry Walker

1995 Topps Traded Larry Walker

I think Walker should be in the Hall of Fame, and I’m surprised he hasn’t got more traction.  I think people are overreacting to the Coors Field effect.  He had some historic numbers, and yes, Coors contributed to that.  But he was one of the best players in baseball for quite a while even if you adjust a bit downward for Coors.  Also, him coming to Denver was the catalyst for them becoming a better franchise.  This card exists because he signed in Denver as a free agent as soon as the strike lifted.  To me, it’s the a card I really appreciate because of that.

Second best card (also my opinion):  #110T – David Cone

1995 Topps Traded David Cone

Another guy who hasn’t gotten enough HOF play.  I’m not convinced David Cone is a Hall of Famer, but he isn’t that far off.  At a minimum he should have gotten more than 3.9% and been one-and-done.

Cone was coming off his Cy Young award in KC, and was another huge free agent signing.  He had a really good year, but Toronto failed miserably in what was a strange title defense – with the 1994 canceled season.  He ended up in New York as their workhorse down the stretch.  This is a cool card with the sunset logo in the background.

Best subset card:  #163T – Mike Piazza / Ivan Rodriguez AS

1995 TT All-Stars - front

I really like this particular All-Star subset.  The space allows for some good photos even though it’s a dual player card.  This is the best of that bunch.

Favorite action photo:  #11T – Ray Durham

1995 Topps Traded Ray Durham

Traded/Update sets aren’t particularly known for their action shots.  This is a cool one.  Look how far out of that baseline Durahm is, rounding third and heading for home.

Favorite non-action photo:  #110T – David Cone

1995 Topps Traded David Cone

Like I said, I like the cool effect with the background here.

My Favorite Reds card:  #34T – “Benny” Santiago

1995 Topps Traded Benito Santiago

Benito was a big part of the Reds really good team in 1995.  He was a solid player, though he split a lot of time with Eddie Taubensee.  As evidenced by the All-Star card above, I’m a sucker for photos with catcher’s gear involved.





Completed insert set – 1995 Topps League Leaders

24 06 2016

I’ve done a lot of completed insert set posts over the past few months from the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Some of those are very cool sets, some not so much.  But since there are so many more once you get to about 1997 or 1998, they become less memorable.  If there’s 8 insert sets in a product, 1 has to really stand out to become memorable.  For example, the 2000 All-Topps Team set is a set that I generally like.  But it’s not really memorable, and since it was one of 10-12 insert sets that year, I don’t always remember it and I definitely have to look up which year it was released.

That’s not true for 1995 Topps League Leaders.  This was one of 2 insert sets that year.  Ah, for the simpler days.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This set showcases the players among the “league leaders” from statistical categories RBI, HR, Stolen bases, average and strikeouts.  The front emphasizes the player by darkening the background in an effect I can only describe as black bubbling.  The backs show the players place in the league and in their division for that statistical category – and the player’s totals from throughout the decade.

Set composition:  50 cards.  1:6 (1995 Topps retail packs)

Hall of Famers: 10

Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas, Kirby Puckett, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson

Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is also in the set.

How I put the set together:

  • 10 cards card from my series 1 and 2 retail boxes
  • 4 cards I already had from back in the day
  • 5 cards from trades
  • 21 cards from Sportlots
  • 6 cards from Beckett
  • 3 cards from COMC
  • 1 card from eBay

Card that completed my set:  #LL44 – Chuck Knoblauch

I got this card on Sportlots last December.  There were 2 cards that really eluded me, this was the one I got last.  I bought the Craig Biggio card about 1 month before this card – had to go with a single card eBay purchase which is never ideal for a cheaper card like this.

1995 Topps League Leaders Knoblauch final card

Thoughts on the set:  Unlike the insert sets I discussed above from 2000 or after – this insert set doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.  Since it’s one of just 2 inserts in 1995 Topps (the other being the Finest total bases set), I see a card from this set and know when and where it’s from.  That’s a huge positive for me.

Is it the greatest design ever?  No, but I do like the background effect, which works particularly well with some of the photos like Knoblauch’s.  It’s a cool looking set in a binder.

Best card (my opinion):  #LL44 – Chuck Knoblauch

1995 Topps League Leaders Knoblauch final card

I guess I saved the best card for last, as far as me getting the card.  This picture captures the black bubble effect better than any other.  Sliding into a base with dirt kicking up also goes well on a card for being among the league leaders in stolen bases.

My Favorite Reds card:  #LL29 – Hal Morris

1995 Topps League Leaders Hal Morris

Unlike the 2015 Reds, the 1994 and 1995 Reds were good.  Hal Morris was 4th in the NL batting race.  Not too many inserts with him on there.  This beats out Sanders, Kevin Mitchell and Jose Rijo.

Here’s a scan of the whole set.

1995 Topps League Leaders complete

1995 Topps League Leaders complete 2

1995 Topps League Leaders complete 3

1995 Topps League Leaders complete 4

1995 Topps League Leaders complete 5

1995 Topps League Leaders complete 6

Any other Tidbits:  Frank Thomas, Albert Belle and Jeff Bagwell all have 3 cards in the set for being top 5 in the 3 triple crown categories.





2016 Topps series 2 HTA Jumbo box – hits

23 06 2016

When you buy a HTA Jumbo box, 1 of your 3 hits will be a manufactured relic.  That’s fine by me, though I always hope Topps keeps new ideas coming with these.  This is a Future Stars logo card of Jose Altuve.  These are pretty decent – it kind of reminds me of the material on an air hockey table.

2016 Topps s2 manu relic - Altuve

I also got a more “real” relic – of the Scouting Report variety.  Paul Goldschmidt, so while I never get too excited about a piece of jersey, at least it’s a star player.

2016 Topps s2 Scouting Report relic - Goldschmidt

My autograph was also of the Scouting Report variety – and he wasn’t a Diamondback.  It wasn’t a card of an All-Star player, however.  Brandon Drury is of the younger prospect variety, but he is having a good rookie year with the Diamondbacks.

2016 Topps s2 auto - Brandon Drury