Completed master set – one last look at 1995 Topps

12 02 2023

With that Travis Fryman Spectralite Pre-production card from a few posts ago – it’s time to do the 1995 Topps Master Set post.  I’ve now completed all my Topps master sets through 1997!  Here’s the info for this master set.

Info about my base set:

How I put the base set together:

  • 298 cards from series 1 retail box
  • 214 cards from series 2 retail box
  • 102 cards from trades
  • 41 cards I already had from back in the day
  • 4 cards from eBay
  • 1 card from Sportlots

Card that completed my set: #446 – Andres Galarraga

Best card (my opinion): #203 – Randy Johnson

Check out this link to see the rest of the base set post.

My Master” Set Info:

939 cards – 660 “base”, 165 “update”, 92 “insert” (82 flagship, 10 update), 22 “other”

How I put the additional sets together:

  • Traded – 160 cards from the Update wax box, 1 card from Sportlots, 4 from Beckett Marketplace
  • Inserts –  12 cards from s1/s2/update boxes, 4 I already had from before I started this whole project, 5 cards from trades, 31 cards from Sportlots, 18 cards from eBay, 16 cards from COMC, 6 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • Promos –  the 9 regular cards I had from back in the day, 1x Shaw Green proof from COMC, 1 Spectralite from a trade, 5 Spectralite from eBay, 2 Spectralite from COMC, 1 Spectralite from Sportlots, I got all 3 National Packtime from Sportlots

Toughest card to track down:  Pre-Production Spectralite #PP5 – Travis Fryman

I posted about how hard this damn card was to track down.  I actually found a rarer “proof” version before I could find the actual card that could be found in the 1994 Topps factory – we’re talking like a decade of searching for this.

Update 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)

In the update set not in the base set:  28 players (including the 4 players on the Prospect card)

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

Here’s the link for the Update completed set post.

Other product bests

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Finishing off a promo set… for real this time!

21 01 2023

I posted this a few years ago – I had been trying forever to get one last card from the 1995 Master Set.  It was the 1995 CyberStats pre-production card of Travis Fryman.  I got a Proof that was basically a pre-production of the pre-production card, and while that’s pretty cool, I still planned on buying the actual PP5 if I could.  Well – I found it on eBay and now this set can be “crossed off the list!

Here’s the back of both cards – no difference there.

It is numbered PP5, with “pre-production sample” in the 1994 stat line.

Here’s the card I just got – the actual Pre-Production card which was found in the 1994 retail factory sets.  You got a 10-card “pack” that had 9 regular versions of the promo cards and one of these parallel “spectralight” (dark foil background) version of one of the 9 cards.  

And here’s the proof that I had been counting – it’s probably more rare than the one above, but I feel like my set is now technically complete 🙂

Here’s the actual scan of this full set with the Fryman card replaced!

Here’s a scan of all the promo sets.

1999 Topps parallels – Ken Griffey Jr. – no more hunting left to do – for real this time!

5 12 2022

From a post ~4 years ago, I wrote:

“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.”

Well – I did, in fact, pick up the Griffey last year.  And – yeah, don’t ask what I paid for it (actually – it has a crease so wasn’t that bad)!

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


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 was not too optimistic that I’ll ever run down the ’99 MVP Promotion card of Griffey.  I now have it and can consider this closed!

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.


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”:

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.

Completed insert set – 1996 Topps Profiles

3 11 2022

Man, over a year since I’ve posted!  Life (3 kids) will do that to you.  I still have dreams of keeping this project alive, and the World Series has me inspired – so here we go.  I apparently missed doing a post for completing the 1996 Topps Profiles insert set.  Well here it is!

Info about the set:

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Set description:

1996 Topps spokesmen Tony Gwynn and Kirby Puckett give their thoughts about 20 players from their respective leagues.

This set was inserted into both series 1 & 2 in all types of packs.  Each series has 10 cards from each league – 40 total between the 2 series. The cards look slightly different between the 2 series, with series 1 having a bit of a “spectralight” effect to the background, series 2 being more of a Chrome type card.

Set composition:  40 cards, 1:12 (1996 Topps series 1 & 2)

Hall of Famers:  12 (or 14)

Jeff Bagwell, Greg Maddux, Mike Piazza, Larry Walker, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, Barry Larkin, Roberto Alomar, Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Cal Ripken, Frank Thomas

Puckett and Gwynn are on every card giving their opinions, though they don’t give their opinions of themselves for their own card!

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from my s1 retail box
  • 3 cards from my s2 retail box
  • 7 cards from trades
  • 2 cards from a card show
  • 27 cards from COMC/Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  This is reminiscent (maybe a bit plagiaristic?) of some ideas Upper Deck had earlier in the 90’s – the Reggie Jackson set I think was the first where he gave his thoughts on current players.  It’s a good idea, doesn’t seem like wasted filler.

Card that completed my set:  #NL9 – Sammy Sosa

I got this one from a trade with Nolan’s Dugout back in 2013.

Best card (my opinion):  #NL13 – Ron Gant

Gant has by far the best picture here.  I like the Nomo card as well.

My Favorite Reds card:  Have to go with Gant based on the above.  He was the Comeback POY in 1995 during his only season with the Reds.

Here’s the scan of the full set.

Finishing off a promo set… sort of

20 05 2020

I have kind of neglected a set of posts I started 3 or 4 years back.  Neglected in that I didn’t post them, not that I was necessarily not making progress on the subject.  I started doing posts called the “Elusive Eight”, as a method to show which cards have proved particularly… Elusive … in tracking down.  The 1995 Topps Promo spectralite parallel version of Travis Fryman has been on the list since day 1!  I’ve had eBay searches for this card for at 7 years.  I check COMC, Beckett and Sportlots every month or two (at a minimum).  I’ve tried other… less acceptable… means.   Just kidding, really just those first two things.

One of the eBay searches came up in my email a month ago.  And it looked promising, it’s a Travis Fryman spectralite card.  It is numbered PP5!  It has “pre-production sample” in the 1994 stat line!  OK!

Except, as noted in the eBay auction that I bought it from – it’s a Proof.  It doesn’t have the gold foil on the front!

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades… and occasionally in baseball card collecting.  At least this particular baseball card set for me at least!  I’m counting this bad boy.  The promo sets came one per pack of 1994 Topps, with 9 of the regular promos and one spectralite version.  I could keep buying up those factory sets until I got one, but that didn’t seem as prudent to me as paying $5.31 for this card (plus $2 shipping) and calling this set, and the 1995 Topps Master set, finito!

Here’s a scan of all the promo sets.

Completed master set – one last look at 1996 Topps

13 02 2020

I finished up the master set to 1996 Topps!  I wish I had 1995 done, but the cyberstats promo card of Travis Fryman from that year has proven to be the most difficult card to find of any I can think of.  So while I’ve still completed all my Topps master sets through 1994, I can also add 1996 to that now (as well as 1997 – and I have to check but I think 2000).

This one wasn’t as hard as some others – but still had some tough gets.  The Star Power and Draft Picks Power Boosters were tough to accumulate, and my final obstacle was just finding the Wrecking Crew cards at a somewhat reasonable price.  For reference, I got Matt Williams and Juan Gonzalez for $4.25 each on COMC.  Not sure if you’d consider that reasonable, but the chrome cards seem to come up more frequently than the regular inserts from those late 90’s sets.

Info about my base set:

How I put the base set together:

  • 199 cards from the series 1 retail box
  • 213 cards from the series 2 retail box
  • 1 card I already had from back in the day
  • 27 cards from trades

Card that completed my base set: #58 – Scott Sanders

Best card (my opinion): #297 – Marquis Grissom

Check out this link to see the rest of the base set post.

My Master” Set Info:

653 cards – 440 “base”, 201 “insert”, 12 “other”

How I put the additional sets together:

  • Promos – all 10 cards from a couple eBay auctions
  • Mantle factory cards – bought them both on COMC
  • Inserts – 14 from my s1/s2 retail boxes, 1 I had from when I was a kid, 90 from Sportlots, 76 from COMC, 11 from trades, 6 from Beckett, 4 from card shows, 1 from eBay

Other product bests

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Completed insert set – 1996 Topps Wrecking Crew

9 02 2020

I’ve been trying to finish this set up for quite a while, and lo and behold – COMC had the two cards I needed during their Black Friday sale!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This hobby only insert honors some of the hottest home run producers in the League.  The vertical cards have of the hitter on the front with the background grayed out via some foil technology.  A baseball at the end of a chain is across the right side of the card as if their breaking down some concrete.

Set composition:  15 cards, 1:18 odds (1996 Topps series 2 hobby)

Hall of Famers:  3.  Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza

The steroid era had some significant impact in thinning out these ranks.

How I put the set together:

I didn’t get a hobby box for series 2, so none of these cards were put together via packs.

  • 7 cards from COMC
  • 6 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from a trade
  • 1 card purchased at the 2013 National Convention

Card that completed my set:  #15 – Matt Williams

I got this and the Juan Gonzalez card on COMC for Black Friday.

Thoughts on the set:  I’m a bit meh on this set.  It’s OK, it’s a decent idea and the background dark foil technology is kind of cool.  I mean, yeh – everyone wanted to get home run hitters into sets back then.

Best card (my opinion):  #15 – Matt Williams

This is by far the one where the photo seems to mix into the card design.  Williams does seem like he’s driving the wrecking ball into a wall with his swing.

My Favorite Reds card:  #6 – Ron Gant.

Here’s the scan of the full set.

Any other tidbits: One of these cards could be found in the hobby factory set in 1996.

Also, I feel like I need to say – this is just an interesting cast of characters here.

Completed insert set – 1998 Topps HallBound

20 05 2018

I finished up a set recently through a COMC purchase.  I’ve been looking for this damn Paul Molitor card forever; I actually bought the chrome version on accident about 2 years ago!  Parallel confusion is no fun!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  These are die-cut glossy and shiny cards with a Cooperstown background with players that Topps determined were clearly bound for enshrinement there.  This was in the heart of the steroids era, before people really had much of an inkling of what was going on – so I bet this would have been pretty predictive if not for that.

Set composition:  15 cards, 1:36 odds (1998 Topps series 1 hobby)

Hall of Famers:  11.  Molitor, Gwynn, Boggs, Eckersley, Ripken, Maddux, Rickey, Griffey, Thomas, Piazza, Johnson

Basically, they were right on 11 guys, and 3 of the others are clear steroid holdouts.

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from series 1 hobby box
  • 11 cards from COMC
  • 2 cards from Beckett’s marketplace
  • 1 card from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  Really cool set, something that Topps should do every 5-7 years or so!  It’s particularly interesting given the era.  Love the design.

Card that completed my set:  #HB1 – Paul Molitor

As mentioned, I accidentally bought the Chrome version of this card a while ago.  And just hadn’t seen the regular version.  But I finally got it finished up!

Best card (my opinion):  #HB8 – Rickey Henderson

For reasons I’ll get to below.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none, though Barry Larkin would have obviously given them an increase in percentage correct here…


Here’s a scan of the set – front and back.

Any other tidbits:  The Rickey Henderson card is the only Topps card depicting him in an Angels uniform and (counting the parallels), the only card of his from 1998.  He wasn’t in the base set for some odd reason – probably a numbers crunch and something of a pure oversight by Topps employees – but made the insert set.

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.