Completed set – 2001 Topps

19 04 2020

Hope everyone is safe out there.  I thought I’d try to throw myself back to baseball cards with the extra 2 hours of time I’m saving by not commuting to work, but I just haven’t been able to put that to baseball card blogging use.  I have worked on this post for quite a while – these completed set posts take a lot of time to put together and remind me how much more free time I had back in 2010 to 2013 when this blog was in its “Heyday”.

From the Black Friday purchase (COMC) I was catching up on – I finished up the 2001 Topps set.  I’ve now completed the base set for everything from 1980 through 2001!

Info about my set:

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How I put the set together:

  • 289 cards from the series 1 hobby box
  • 232 cards from the series 2 hobby box
  • 22 cards from a second series 2 hobby box
  • 246 cards from trades
  • 1 card from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #389 – Ken Griffey SH (purchased on COMC)

I think at first I got this card in a trade but it was semi-damaged, so I had to wait a bit and didn’t finish this set until now.

Set composition:  790 cards (640 individual ML player cards, 25 Prospects, 25 Draft Picks, 30 Managers, 20 Golden Moments, 8 League Leaders, 5 Season Highlights, 7 Postseason Highlights, 30 Team Checklists)

*The 640 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies

Representation of ’00 MLB season:

Out of the 640 player cards, 9 players did not play in the 2000 season.

  • Bret Saberhagen – out with a shoulder issue after a solid 1999 season with Boston.  The 2 time Cy Young winner tried to make a comeback in 2001 but only lasted 3 starts before retiring.
  • John Smoltz – Smoltz had famously Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2000.  He came back in late 2001 as a converted closer and saved 154 games over the next 3+ seasons.
  • Graeme Lloyd – missed all of 2000 with a shoulder injury
  • John Thomson – missed all of 2000 with a torn labrum
  • Justin Thompson – missed all of 2000 due to injury (short minors stint as well)
  • Mike Jackson – missed all of 2000 with a shoulder injury
  • Wilson Alvarez – spent 2000 in the minors
  • Ichiro Suzuki & Tsuyoshi Shinjo – they got very late additions to Topps 2001 series 2 after signing from Japan

Also, 5 players have two regular cards in the set.

  • Brian Meadows – for no apparent reason other than poor quality control by Topps.
  • Alex Rodriguez, Michael Tucker, Mike Hampton, Mike Mussina – all were traded or changed teams via free agency in the offseason and got a new card with their new team in series 2

That leaves 626 different players represented.  But, on top of that, there were 19 players in the Prospects set (Barry Zito being the most notable) who did play in the regular season but didn’t have a regular card.  So now that leads to 645 players.  The 645 players represent 52.4% out of the 1,230 players who played in MLB in 1999.

Earliest active player from this set:  #379 – Bobby Thomson, #105 – Rickey Henderson (active players)

Like most of these sets after the mid-90’s – there are again two answers to this.  Henderson is again the earliest active player, making his debut by playing both games of a doubleheader on June 24, 1979 (he stole a base in his first game).

Thomson is one of the 12 retired players in the Golden Moments subset and is the earliest.  He is in the set for his historic homer to win the 1951 pennant.  It’s been alleged the Giants had a system to steal signs and relay them from center field.  Baseball has moved past that at least*!  Thomson’s debut came September 9, 1946 when he went 2-4 with a double, a run and 2 RBI.

* – back when I started working on this post – how baseball teams were going to deal with the Astros this season was the biggest story in MLB.  That got superseded quickly in the middle of March when the season became in doubt.

Last active player from this set:  #355 – Adam Wainwright (DP), #746 – Edwin Encarnacion (PROS)

Wainwright & Encarnacion are the only 2 players from this set who are active in 2020.  Unless Ichiro makes a pitching comeback!

Player with the most cards in the set:  Todd Helton – 5 cards.  Helton had such a statistically insane year, he has 4 cards in the League Leaders set on top of his regular card.  He always gets the shiny front of these cards since Topps went with the NL guys on the front and the AL guys on the back.

Todd Helton – #255, #393 / #394 / #396 / #397  (League Leaders)

First Card and the Hundreds:  #1 – Cal Ripken, #100 – Derek Jeter, #200 – Alex Rodriguez, #300 – Vladimir Guerrero, #400 – Will Clark PS HL, #500 – Kent Mercker, #600 – Russ Johnson, #700 – Frank Catalanotto

Topps just kind of gave up on marquee guys as the hundred cards in series 2.

Highest book value:  #726 – Ichiro Suzuki RC

Most notable card: #726 – Ichiro Suzuki RC

Pretty easy choice here – Ichiro took the baseball world by storm in 2001, winning the MVP and Rookie of the Year and changing the face of Japanese players coming over to MLB.  He ended up being unique – with all respect to Hideki Matsui, no former Nippon League player came even close to matching his MLB accomplishments.

Best card (my opinion): #726 – Ichiro Suzuki RC

I have to go with Ichiro here as well.  There isn’t an incredible picture card here to wow you (though I really like the one below) enough to take away from one that captures Ichiro in the year he came to America.

Second best card (also my opinion): #60 – Pedro Martinez

Pedro was unreal in this stretch and this is a really cool card – you can see the grip on what I think is his knuckle curve.  Mike Piazza’s card where he’s crossing home as Robin Ventura throws up the “stand up sign” is in third to me, but worth the effort of a scan at the bottom of the post!

Best subset card: #379 – Bobby Thomson GM

None of the current year subset cards were particularly enticing, so I’m going with the most famous homer of all-time.  Apologies to other cards from this Golden Moments subset – Rickey Henderson’s card for breaking the stolen base record is a very cool picture and the Don Larsen perfect game card is arguably a better card than the Thomson one from an aesthetic aspect.

Favorite action photo: #537 – Magglio Ordonez

Ohhhh-eeeee-oh!  Maaaaaggg-gliooooo!

Favorite non-action photo: #580 – Curt Schilling

I like this card because it reminds me of some of the cards from the 60’s and 70’s where players would get their portrait shots into the set with empty bleachers in the background.

My Favorite Reds card:  #79 – Aaron Boone

The sleeveless uniforms were the best.

Other Notable Cards:  A few more really cool shots.