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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Completed insert set – 1996 Topps Masters of the Game

4 05 2017

I did the “elusive eight” post yesterday for getting the Kirby Puckett card from this set.  This is the completed set post.  I’m actually getting pretty close to finishing up the 1990’s!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This hobby only insert highlights the best players in the game at the time.  The horizontal cards have a picture of the player on the front with a view of his home field in the background – all with a bit of the spectralight effect.  The back has particular accomplishments that I guess qualify this player as a “Master of the Game”.

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:18 odds (1996 Topps series 1 hobby)

Hall of Famers:  12.  Dennis Eckersley, Eddie Murray, Paul Molitor, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas

How I put the set together:

  • 15 cards from COMC
  • 4 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from Beckett’s Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #15 – Kirby Puckett

I just got this card to knock it off my Elusive 8 list last week.

Thoughts on the set:  I like the thicker card stock, and the background foil technology is great.  Topps could do something like this today and I would like it.  It would have been nice if they did a foil version of the Mantle tribute (card #7).

Best card (my opinion):  #7 – Tim Raines

I’ll go with the recently inducted HOF member.  It took too long for Rock to make it to Cooperstown.  By this point he was a grizzled vet.  The Mattingly card was a close 2nd – it was released right after he retired.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.  Barry Larkin would have seemed appropriate here – coming right off his MVP season after a decade in the league.

Here’s the scan of the full set.

Any other tidbits:  As mentioned, this card came out after Mattingly retired.

12 out of 20 HOF-ers is pretty impressive, plus you’ve got Bonds and Clemens who are probably the best 2 (or at least 2 of the best 3) historical players in this group.





Completed insert set – 1998 Topps Roberto Clemente Finest

1 05 2017

I got caught up on all of my completed insert set posts last year.  Then I started posting at a far lesser clip, and I’ve finished off a few more sets.  The Clemente insert set is one of them.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  Clemente was the 3rd historic player honored with a reprint set (after Mickey Mantle in ’96 and Willie Mays in ’97).  Clemente was a good choice, as 1998 marked 25 years since his tragic death.  This set had reprints of the full run of his base Topps cards during his career.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1955-1973 were issued across both series.  The 10 odd years come in series 1, while the 9 even years come in series 2.  There is a gold Clemente logo, created just for this set.  There was a chrome version and a regular – this is the finest version, which came one every other box.

Set composition:  19 cards, 1:72 odds (1998 Topps series 1, 2)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Clemente.  None of his multi-player cards are included.

How I put the set together:

I got none from the boxes I bought.  I did actually get one refractor – just no regular finest versions.

  • 17 cards from COMC
  • 1 card from Beckett Marketplace
  • 1 card from Sportlots

Card that completed my set:  #13 – 1967 Topps

I bought the last cards I needed from Sportlots a few weeks ago.

Thoughts on the set:  Retro sets are everywhere you look these days, but in 1998 there weren’t that many, and they were almost all reprints.  I like the Finest versions of these cards.  And, to be honest, I kind of wish Topps would abandon the shotgun approach and go back to individual players.  They do something similar with jumbo cards available online.  I think they could do some stuff like all the Griffey Topps cards, or even all the Willie McCovey Topps cards.  With the finest versions, it would do well.

Best card (my opinion):  #19 – 1973 Topps

I have to go with the same thing I did for the regular set.  The 1972 card is probably my favorite photo, but the 1973 card is great as well.  And there’s something awesome about seeing exactly 3,000 hits on the back of the card.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none (obviously).

Here’s the scans of the whole set.





1999 Topps parallels – Ken Griffey Jr. – no more hunting left to do! (sort of)

27 04 2017

So I picked up a white whale about 2 months ago.  For the parallel cards in 1999, I picked Ken Griffey Jr.  I’m considering this parallel project done for 1999, though I’m having a different player fill in for Mr. Griffey for that MVP promotion.  Yeah, if I find his MVP promotion card someday, I’ll try for it.  But I’m doubtful, and even if I do, it may be more than I’m willing to pay.

But the big find here was the Refractor from Topps SuperChrome.  I’ve been on the lookout for this card for over a year, and I jumped on a $30 price tag (best offer – I think $40 was the initial ask) as soon as I saw it!

Here’s the updated post.

1999 Topps

Card I selected:  #100 – Ken Griffey Jr.

I picked a 2nd straight Hall of Famer in 1999.  It was also my 2nd straight Moeller High School graduate – Ken Griffey Jr. followed Barry Larkin.  This was my favorite card of the entire 1999 set; Griffey connecting with a pitch on a horizontal card is great.

I don’t have every one of these cards yet.  There’s 2 hold-ups.  First – like the 1998 Larkin, I’m missing the Super Chrome Refractor which is just a card that doesn’t show up on eBay or anywhere else very often.  Second is the MVP promotional card.  There were only 100 of these, and Griffey was a winner so most of them were probably redeemed.  So I’m not holding my breath on ever getting that one and have picked a replacement.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  10

The parallel sets in 1999 include:

  • MVP promotion
  • Oversize
  • Opening Day
  • Opening Day Oversize
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Refractors
  • SuperChrome
  • SuperChrome Refractors
  • Action Flats

Scans:

1999 Topps #100

1999 Topps Griffey best card

1999 Topps Griffey back

1998 Topps MVP Promotion #NNO

The only parallel in the 1999 Topps product was the MVP promotion.  Inserted only into hobby packs, were cards with a Topps MVP stamp.  If the player depicted won MVP of the week (as selected by Topps) in 1999, you could send that card in for a set of cards honoring each of the 25 winners.  The set paralleled the first 198 cards in series 1, and cards #243-444 in series 2.  Basically all of the regular cards but no subsets.  The backs of the cards have information on the promotion (no statistics).

As I mentioned, I’m not too optimistic that I’ll ever run down the ’99 MVP Promotion card of Griffey.  I hope to, but these are just really hard to find.  So I bought this card of Roberto Kelly a while ago to stand in as a semi-permanent placeholder.

1999 Topps Oversize #7

1999 Topps Griffey best card

1999 Topps Oversize Griffey back

Each hobby box or HTA jumbo box contained a 3-¼” x 4-½” jumbo card as a box topper.  There were 16 cards that are exact replicas of the player’s base cards, except for the size and the numbering.

1999 Topps Opening Day #58

1999 Topps Opening Day Griffey

1999 Topps Opening Day Griffey back

Opening Day was back for the 2nd time in 1999.  This 165 card set was retail only, and features the same photos from the base Topps set.  The border is silver instead of the gold on flagship Topps, and there is a foil Opening Day logo instead of the Topps logo.  Naturally, the back has a different number and it has a silver background unlike the gold in the regular Topps set.

1999 Topps Opening Day Oversize#3

1999 Topps Opening Day Griffey

1999 Topps Opening Day Oversize Griffey back

Just like the flagship Topps, Opening Day contained a jumbo box topper.  They were the same size – 3-¼” x 4-½” – but only had 3 players.  Naturally, Junior is one of them, along with Home Run champs McGwire and Sosa.  The only difference from this card and the base Opening Day is the size and the numbering.  I tracked this down recently as part of this parallel project.

1999 Topps Chrome #100

1999 Topps Chrome Griffey

1999 Topps Chrome Griffey back

Topps Chrome was back for the 4th year.  For the 2nd time it was a full reproduction of the regular Topps set, released in 2 series.  The front of the card reproduces the base set using Topps chromium technology and of course the logo is the Topps Chrome logo.  The back of the card is the same as the regular set except for the Topps Chrome logo and slightly different copyright wording.

1999 Topps Chrome Refractor #100

1999 Topps Chrome Refractor Griffey

1999 Topps Chrome Refractor Griffey back

Inserted every 12 packs of Topps Chrome were refractors.  A plastic diffraction effect that gives refractors a colorful, reflective shine.  The word refractor is written just below the number on the back – otherwise the back is the same as the regular Chrome card.  Of all the cards I got specifically for this project – this one was the most expensive – I paid $30 for it.

1999 Topps SuperChrome #18

1999 Topps SuperChrome Griffey

1999 Topps SuperChrome Griffey back

1999 Topps SuperChrome Refractor #18

For the 2nd and last time, Topps came out with giant jumbo cards that were their own product called SuperChrome.  These cards came in 3-card packs that retailed for $4.99.  The front is the same as Topps Chrome except there’s a SuperChrome logo and the cards are 4-⅛” by 5-¾”.  The number on the back is different since it’s a smaller set, and it also has a SuperChrome logo.  There’s also a refractor version, which came 1 in 12 packs just like regular-sized ones, with refractor wording just below the card number.

YAY!  NOW I HAVE THIS CARD!

1999 Topps Action Flats #S1-8

1999 Topps Action Flats Griffey

1999 Topps Action Flats Griffey back

This was probably one I could have not counted as a parallel – it’s a totally different picture.  But since Griffey has one of these, I decided to include it.  The set has the exact same design as Topps, with an action logo on the front in foil and on the back in color.  Aside from the logo and the numbering – the back is exactly the same as the Topps back.

The “Rainbow”:

Like I said, if I see a Griffey someday I’ll try to get it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Any sets I didn’t get:  That’s all you could possibly get from 1999.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Griffey is the best (in my opinion) card in the set.  And the only 3 players that have all of the cards above are the ones in the Opening Day jumbo set – Griffey, McGwire, Sosa.





2016 Topps Update – the stats

24 03 2017

I wasn’t able to post this earlier, but tonight I got through the “organization” part of my 2016 Topps Update box.  The main story to me is – since Topps moved the Update set down to 300 cards, I finished the whole set with one box!

Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 10 cards per pack + 1 extra card (somehow) = 360 cards

21 doubles

300 of the 300 card set. (100% set completion)

6 First Pitch

6 3,000 Hit Club

4 Fire

4 Chasing 3K

5 Team Franklin

1 All-Star Stitches





2016 Topps Update hobby box – hits. Or. The hit.

19 03 2017

When you buy a Topps HTA Jumbo box, you get 3 hits.  When you buy a hobby box, you pretty much know you’re gonna get 1 and it’s most likely gonna be a jersey card.  You get what you pay for, so to speak.

This box was a prime example of that.

Just one card to show off here, because for Topps 2016 Update I only got the hobby box.  As my interest in baseball cards has gone from craze to haze, I’ve got to go with the cheaper option.  I pulled an All-Star Stitches card, which is a set I’m collecting from the 2015 Topps set.

Obviously a jersey card of a moderate star doesn’t set my world on fire.  But I’ll say, this particular set is always well-done.  This card is no different.





2016 Topps Update hobby – inserts

18 03 2017

Topps actually did pretty well with 2016 Update – not too many insert sets and only 1 felt completely unnecessary.  Do I wish it was more like the mid-90’s with just a few?  Sure but from this aspect this was a fun box.

First off.  No Berger’s Best.  Yay!  That was a dumb insert set because it had just been done so much.  But I’ll start with the set they just didn’t need to do.  It’s just not particularly interesting.  I think it’s supposed to be “these guys are good hitters and they wear Franklin batting gloves”.  It’s not bad.  But it’s also not some great, memorable design and I view it as “unnecessary”.

As always, I start with my least favorite and move up to the best.  The rest I think are interesting, at a minimum.  Topps continued an insert from series 2 and did Ichiro’s trip to 3,000.  It’s a bit of a weird set.  The 2nd to last card is #2,989.  The last card is #3,000.  I didn’t get the last one.

Updated Note:  After reading the backs a bit more, the advertising for Franklin on the back of the card this set is a damn shame.

The rest of the 3 inserts were all very good (but not great) to me.  These Topps Fire inserts are an idea taken from another program and I think look really cool.

First Pitch is back from series 1 & 2 (and from 2015).  I want Topps to keeps this coming.  I said it in series 2: Craig Sager threw out the first pitch at Wrigley the other day and he’d be a good addition.

I want to say “For the win”, but unfortunately Sager lost his battle with cancer.  He fought like nobody before, accepting some levels of treatment that had really never been done before.  It’s hard to see this card and not be sad.  I’m actually becoming a bigger NBA fan than MLB (blasphemy) and I’ll miss him.  But glad he got to do the Cubs first pitch because he was always a big Cubs fan.

Last is 3,000 hit club.

Cool set.  Really cool set. But not great because I know #1 (among others) aren’t included and it’s not in either chronological or total hit order.