On to the 2nd “standard” insert sets from 2011 Gypsy Queen that I’ve completed – Home Run Heroes. The name, at least, is copied off an Upper Deck insert set from the 1990’s that I always thought was a pretty sweet set.
Info about the set:
Set description: “25 veterans and retired stars who led the league in home runs or had game-changing home runs”. That’s a pretty broad range of possibilities. The front has a dark green border with the Gypsy Queen script at the top and Home Run Heroes in a ribbon just below that script. They have some interesting takes on the backs describing why each guy is on there.
Set composition: 25 cards, 1:4 odds (2011 Gypsy Queen)
Hall of Famers: 11. Babe Ruth, Andre Dawson, Frank Robinson, Jimmie Foxx, Johnny Mize, Johnny Bench, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle, Rogers Hornsby, Tris Speaker
How I put the set together:
- 9 cards from 2 hobby boxes
- 7 cards from trades
- 5 cards from Sportlots
- 3 cards from a card show
- 1 card from COMC
Thoughts on the set: As I mentioned in the last post, I like what Topps did with their 3 regular insert sets. None of them blew me out of the water, but I like this one. I think they could have done a few more former players – Ty Cobb (only winner of the quadruple crown) or Rickey Henderson (most leadoff homers) would have been interesting additions. Oh, and a home run set with retired players – and no Hank Aaron (who was in the base set)?
Card that completed my set: #HH4 – Mark Teixeira
I got this from Check Out My Cards as part of a lot I bought to finish off a bunch of sets.
Highest book value: #HH23 – Mickey Mantle
Booking at 8 bucks, a little more than the Ruth and Pujols cards.
Best card (my opinion): #HH22 – Mel Ott
This card captures his trademark swing where the lefty picks up his front foot and lowers his bat parallel to the ground. Just edges out the Lou Gehrig, which captures him on the follow through.
My Favorite Reds card: #HH20 – Johnny Bench
The only Red in this set.
I found the “reasoning” for each selection interesting. Below is a quick description of the back for each player, and the # or career home runs. One thing I learned doing this – they start with Ruth, then go backwards from 2010 in showing the league home run kings.
HH1 – Babe Ruth (714). Great to lead off with Ruth. This card takes a unique look and points out that he was actually ahead of his 60 home run pace in 1928, before finishing with a strong 54 home runs.
HH2 – Albert Pujols (445). 2010 and 2009 NL champ. The card points out that the newest Angel has the highest chance of reaching 900 home runs – 2%. Also notes that he, Johnny Mize and Mark McGwire are the only Cardinals with back to back HR titles.
HH3 – Jose Bautista (156). 2010 AL champ. His home run differential in 2010 of 12 over the next highest major leaguer and 15 over the 2nd place AL player were the most since Mantle and Mays.
HH4 – Mark Teixeira (314). 2009 AL co-champ. The first switch-hitter since Mantle to win the AL HR crown.
HH5 – Carlos Pena (258). 2009 AL co-champ. He became the first player to lead the league while missing the last 25 games.
HH6 – Ryan Howard (286). 2008 and 2006 NL champ. Howard’s ability to hit a flurry of home runs led to his 2 titles, and he’s the only Phillie other than Lenny Dykstra to hit 2 homers in a World Series game.
HH7 – Miguel Cabrera (277). 2008 AL champ.
HH8 – Prince Fielder (230). 2007 NL champ with the Brewers. Unfortunately the card has 2 errors on it. First, the front misspells his name as “Feilder”. And, the back says it was an AL crown.
HH9 – Alex Rodriguez (629). 2007 AL champ (and 2005, 2003, 2002, and 2001) also became the youngest 500-HR club member that year.
HH10 – David Ortiz (378). 2006 AL champ with 54 – a Red Sox team and DH single season record.
HH11 – Andruw Jones (420). 2005 NL champ with 51 – a Braves record.
HH12 – Adrian Beltre (310). 2004 NL champ – his 48 tied Mike Schmidt’s third baseman record, which was later broken by A-Rod.
HH13 – Manny Ramirez (555). 2004 AL champ, who also went deep and won the World Series MVP that year.
HH14 – Jim Thome (604). 2003 NL champ – his only title, even though he hit more for the Tribe in 2002 and 2001.
HH15 – Troy Glaus (320). 2000 AL champ – going back pretty far with Glaus, who actually didn’t play in 2011. Who did they not include from the HR kings in the 2000’s? Only the NL champs from 2000-2002, who are both retired and, ahem, known for some questions surrounding those crowns Sammy Sosa (2002 and 2000) and Barry Bonds (the all-time record in 2001). McGwire and Griffey Jr. were the ’98 and ’99 champs in the NL and AL, respectively.
HH16 – Andre Dawson (438). 1987 NL champ with 49 in his MVP first season with Chicago.
HH17 – Frank Robinson (586). 1966 AL champ with 49 in his first year with Baltimore. His triple crown that year was the only time he ever led the league in any of those categories. He also was the first player to hit a ball out of Memorial Stadium.
HH18 – Jimmie Foss (534). 1932, 1933, 1935, and 1939 AL champ. His 58 homers in 1932 was the most between Ruth and Maris.
HH19 – Johnny Mize (359). 1939 and 1940 NL champ, 1947 and 1948 NL co-champ. His blast in his last at bat of 1948 tied him with Ralph Kiner for the 2nd straight year.
HH20 – Johnny Bench (389). 1970 and 1972 NL champ. He also hit a game-tying home run in the NLCS in 1972.
HH21 – Lou Gehrig (493). 1931 AL co-champ, 1934 and 1936 AL champ. Gehrig’s triple crown in 1934 included an inside-the-park home run. He also would have won the outright title in 1931, if he hadn’t passed Babe Ruth (who he ended up tying) on the bases after one shot over the fence.
HH22 – Mel Ott (511). 6x NL champ (1932, 1934, 1936-1938, 1942).
HH23 – Mickey Mantle (536). 1955, 1956, 1958, 1960 AL champ. His 52 in 1956 netted him a triple crown and were 20 more than the next AL hitter. He also almost hit a ball out of old Yankee Stadium that year.
HH24 – Rogers Hornsby (301). 1922 and 1925 NL champ. Hornsby’s 42 home runs in 1922 made him the first NL player to hit over 40 – and over 30 – home runs in a season. His two HR crowns were also triple crown seasons.
HH25 – Tris Speaker (117). The 1912 AL co-champ with Frank Baker. He was just the 10th AL player to hit double digits.