Completed insert set – 2000 Topps MVP redemption set

12 08 2017

Unlike the redemption set from 1999 – which can be found on occasion for less than 30 bucks on eBay – the second of the two Topps MVP redemption sets is a really tough set to complete.  I’ve had a saved search on the Bay for at least 3 years, but any supposed hits have turned out to be incorrect.  Until a month ago, when a legit full set came up.

Info about the set:

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Set description: Topps had a promotion tied into a parallel set from 1999 and 2000 (this being the latter version).  Inserted at a limited rate into hobby packs were cards with a Topps MVP stamp on the front.  If the player depicted won MVP of the week in 2000, you could send that card in for a set of cards honoring each of the 25 winners.  There were only 100 of each of the parallel cards made, so that means there were at most 2,500 of the MVP redemption sets.  Particularly in 2000, there seem to be much fewer complete sets than that since the redemption expired after a year or so.

The cards in the set are the 25 weekly MVP “winners”.  They have a shiny foil background with the bronze word MVP going down the right side.  There’s an arch behind the players and 3 stars, with gold foil for the player’s name, team and week they won the weekly MVP distinction. The back of the card show the stats from the “MVP” week and a description of what the player did to earn the weekly distinction.

Set composition:  25 cards, send-in redemption

Hall of Famers:  3.  Pedro Martinez, Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell.

How I put the set together:

I gave up trying to find a complete set and started trying to buy single cards.  But this became pretty expensive.  When one showed up on eBay for bid, I kept my eye open.  I actually had a decent chunk of the set collected, but was missing some of the better players, and the Jeter seems to be going for $40 or so individually.  So I pulled the trigger on the full set for 80 bucks.

So now I have quite a few of these to put up for trade or sale!

Thoughts on the set:  This was probably a pretty cool concept in 1999, then lost steam in 2000.  Which is always a good way to make something rarer and thus harder to purchase 15 years or more later.  

I like the design of this set significantly more than I liked the 1999 set, and I think the idea of keeping fans linked to the season with their purchases cards is a great idea!

Card that completed my set:  N/A – bought it as a full set.

Best card (my opinion):  #MVP18 – Will Clark, MVP21 – Adrian Beltre

I love the design for this set, but the photo selections aren’t anything to write home about.  If I went on photo, I’d pick either Jeter or Giambi.  But for the coolness of the card, I was between Will Clark.  One thing I love about baseball is how often you can have one generation meet the next.  Will the Thrill first gained notoriety in the early 1980’s when he was the “Thunder and Lightning” duo at Mississippi State alongside Rafael Palmeiro.  Adrian Beltre just passed the 3,000 hit milestone – for folks reading this post 5 years from now, it’s 2017.  They meet in the middle in this set when Beltre is just getting started and Clark is finishing his career.  Since I think it’s so cool they’re in this set together – I’m picking both!

My Favorite Reds card:  #MVP9 – Dante Bichette

I was surprised to see Bichette got this but Ken Griffey Jr., who had a great season in his first year as a Red, did not.  But Bichette had a ridiculous week where he had 12 hits, 4 homers and an OPS over 1.600.  Makes sense.

Any other tidbits:  2000 NL MVP Jeff Kent did not get a card in this set – meaning he was never “player of the week”.  This isn’t too surprising – many folks (myself included) view Kent’s placement over his teammate Barry Bonds in 2000 as one of the more controversial selections for the award.

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Sunday Stories: Major League Memoirs #8 – “The Big Bam” by Leigh Montville

6 08 2017

I originally set out to do this post back on February 5th – which was believed to be Babe Ruth’s birthday for a long time (later they found out he was born on 2/6/1895 – a day less than a year earlier than originally believed).  I started the book in mid-January, put it down for a while due to life being hectic, and then picked it back up and finished it in May.  Then more hectic life – finally, I’m doing the post for it today!  

If you count the book about the first All-Star game, Ruth has been the primary subject for half of the 8 baseball books I’ve read over the past 2+ years.  I find his life fascinating, which is probably why I’ve read so many books about his life.

Title/Author/Publisher: “The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth” by Leigh Montville (Random House, 2006, 416 pages)

Description:  There have been a lot of Babe Ruth biographies – and as I mentioned, I’ve read a few.  After reading this one, I still think the one by Robert Creamer is still the definitive one – even though (or maybe because) it was released 43 years ago.

So it may have been a bit overzealous to read this particular book.  And frankly, that probably factored in to why I picked it up and put it down.  But once I dove back in, this was a great book.  To be clear, it doesn’t hide from the fact that there were a lot of previous books released.  It uses the research done on the Bambino, trying to put the pieces together.  And it acknowledges that there was so much about this man’s life that we just don’t know for sure – “the fog sets in”.  We know what Babe Ruth did on the diamond.  But we just don’t know that much about his personal life.  For example, his daughter that he raised with his first wife was clearly not his first wife’s child.  But it does appear that Dorothy was in fact his biological daughter.  The book points this out, and moves on (appropriately) to more important things.

It’s been a while since I finished this book, which isn’t ideal as I would probably be able to give some more nuances if I had been more active on the blog and written this 2.5 months ago when I finished the book.  One thing I distinctly remember is that “The Big Bam” delved into Christy Walsh much more than the other books I’ve read.  Walsh was basically Ruth’s PR man – kind of the first personal PR man in American sports history!

My review:  So all that said, I really enjoyed this book.  Again, if you could read one Babe Ruth book – read Creamer’s.  If you can read two – read this one next.

Other Notable nuggets:  One tidbit I found interesting enough to jot down – near the end of his career, Ruth played against a group of Cuban All-Stars, facing off against Luis Tiant, Sr.  The father of the famous Red Sox pitcher from the 70’s.  I feel like you can’t make this stuff up.

1980 The Franchise Babe Ruth Classic #61





Adrian Beltre – 3,000 hits

3 08 2017

#31 – Adrian Beltre – August 30, 2017.  Double off Wade Miley, Baltimore Orioles.  Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX.  (3,001 as of today)

I haven’t posted in a long time – I didn’t post at all in June or July – and I don’t think I’m gonna jump back on the bandwagon right at the moment.  But there’s a few posts I’ve always done since I started this blog in 2010 – and the subject for them all seem to be coming up at once!  One thing I liked doing is updating the 3,000 hit club.  On Sunday, Adrian Beltre stamped his place into that club.  This was the same day as the Hall of Fame induction.  That’s fitting, because this is a milestone will help ensure the writers give Beltre his proper due.  It’s a pretty good bet they induct him into the Hall 5 years after he decides to hang up his cleats.

One thing I found interesting – Beltre has seemed like a guy who was a lock to get to 3,000 for about 3 or 4 years.  But he only has one season with 200 hits, and one season leading his league in hits (and those weren’t the same seasons).  So that made me want to do some research!  Rafael Palmeiro also had one 200-hit season and one league-leading season – but not the same year.

200 Hit seasons – 3,000 hit club

  • 10 – Ichiro, Rose
  • 9 – Cobb
  • 8 – Waner, Jeter
  • 7 – Boggs
  • 6 – Musial
  • 5 – Gwynn
  • 4 – Clemente, Brock, Carew, Lajoie, Molitor, Speaker
  • 3 – Rodriguez, Aaron
  • 2 – Brett, Ripken, Yastrzemski, Wagner
  • 1 – Beltre, Kaline, Palmeiro, Biggio, Yount, Mays, Collins, Anson
  • 0 – Henderson, Winfield, Murray

Leading the league in Hits – 3,000 hit club

  • 8 – Cobb
  • 7 – Ichiro, Rose
  • 6 – Musial
  • 5 – Gwynn
  • 4 – Lajoie
  • 3 – Carew, Brett, Molitor
  • 2 – Clemente, Waner, Wagner, Jeter, Speaker, Aaron
  • 1 – Beltre, Kaline, Boggs, Palmeiro, Henderson, Rodriguez, Yount, Ripken, Mays, Anson
  • 0 – Brock, Biggio, Winfield, Murray, Collins, Yastrzemski

Interesting facts:

Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray both never had a 200-hit season and never led their respective league.  Murray actually never had over 190 hits, while Winfield only cracked that barrier once.

Tony Gwynn had over 200 hits 5 times, he led the league all 5 of those seasons, and he never led the league any other year.  Nap Lajoie had the same distinction with his 4 league leading / 200 hit seasons.