1990 Topps & Traded parallels – Joe Carter

29 04 2016

1990 Topps

Card I selected:  #580 – Joe Carter, #20T – Joe Carter

It’s a 2nd straight non-HOF-er, but, like Eric Davis, Joe Carter was a helluva player in his day.  More notably to this subset of my Lifetime Topps project – I’m including the Topps Traded sets for this one.  The reason is – there are 2 parallels in 1990 Topps that are unique to Topps Traded.

# of cards (including the Topps & Traded card):  7

The parallel sets for 1990 Topps include:

  • O-Pee-Chee
  • Tiffany

The parallel sets for 1990 Topps Traded include:

  • Gray Back
  • Traded Tiffany
  • Topps Traded Mylar Test


1990 Topps #580

1990 Topps Joe Carter

1990 Topps Joe Carter back

1990 O-Pee-Chee #580

1990 O-Pee-Chee Joe Carter

1990 O-Pee-Chee Joe Carter back

The Canadian version changed up a bit in 1990.  And by changed – I mean the OPC set was now actually much closer to the Topps set.  It was now 792 cards and a full parallel (instead of half) of the Topps set.  The Topps logo now adorned the front of the card and the corner of the back (below the number) instead of an O-Pee-Chee logo.

Here are the remaining differences for this card:

  • The card stock is slightly lighter material, though it doesn’t seem as pronounced of a difference as it did in previous years.
  • The copyright on the bottom of the back says O-Pee-Chee and notes the card was printed in Canada.
  • Any wording on the back is in both English and French.

1990 Topps Tiffany #580

1990 Topps Joe Carter

1990 Topps Tiffany Joe Carter back

For the 7th year, Topps issued a Tiffany variation in factory set form, printed on white cardstock with glossy coating on the front.  The 1990 Tiffany set came in a red box and had a production of 15,000 sets.

1990 Topps Traded #20T

1990 Topps Traded Joe Carter

1990 Topps Traded Tiffany Joe Carter back

1990 Topps Traded gray back #20T

1990 Topps Traded Joe Carter

1990 Topps Traded Joe Carter back

In addition to the factory set form that the Traded set had always been issued, Topps released wax packs for Traded in 1990.  This was a new thing that only held for the 1990 set.  Unlike the factory sets, the cards in the wax packs were printed on the same gray cardstock as the base set.

1990 Topps Traded Tiffany #20T

1990 Topps Traded Joe Carter

1990 Topps Traded Tiffany Joe Carter back

There was a Tiffany version as well, with 15,000 sets produced just like the regular Topps set.  The Tiffany set had a glossy finish on the front and was printed on white cardstock just like the regular factory set of 1990 Topps Traded.

1990 Topps Traded Mylar Test

1990 Topps Mylar Test Joe Carter

1990 Topps Mylar Test Joe Carter back

Topps produced 6 experimental Mylar stickers of cards from the Traded set.  These cards were early test runs of the finest / chrome technology.  And they cost a pretty penny these days.

The “Rainbow”:

1988 Topps Joe Carter rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  There’s no others that I know of.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  If I wanted to include the Mylar test set – it limits the number of guys I could include to 6.  Nolan Ryan and Keith Hernandez were 2 other guys I would have considered.

1990 Topps Mylar Test – Joe Carter

6 11 2015

As part of my “Lifetime Topps Project”, I’m collecting every flagship Topps set since 1980, the Topps Traded sets, and each insert set.  But there’s another thing I’m doing as part of my Topps project that I haven’t really talked about on the blog.  It has to do with parallel cards.  For each year, I’m filling up one binder page with parallel cards from the year.  I’m trying to get “rainbows” of the same player where possible – usually of one of my favorite cards from the set.  This is something like a type set for Topps parallels.  For example – I’m getting the Carlton Fisk card from 1990 Topps Tiffany, Topps Micro, O-Pee-Chee, and Topps Desert Shield.

For many parallels, this is easy.  I got most of the Topps Gold cards from 1993 and 1994 in packs that I opened.  Same with 1995 Topps Cyberstats.  I certainly won’t be going for any 1/1 cards when I get to that point, but some of the cards I’m going for are more challenging than 1995 Topps Cyberstats (which came 1 per pack).  One of those more challenging ones I decided to get was a test card from 1990 Topps Traded.

Topps produced 6 experimental Mylar stickers of cards from the Traded set.  These cards were early test runs of the finest / chrome technology.  Joe Carter and Dave Winfield are the two most notable names in the set.  I like the Joe Carter card, and for 1990 I’m getting parallels of his Topps card with the Indians (Tiffany, O-Pee-Chee) and his Traded card with the Padres (Tiffany and the Mylar sticker test).

About 2 years ago I saw a Winfield of these on COMC, and I remember it was listed for ~$30.  I know more now, and wish I had jumped on that one at the time.  I was glad this came up on eBay earlier this year, but it did cost me $70.  Luckily, it came at a time where it was OK for me to splurge and I would have probably been willing to pay up to $100 for it.  There are random stars on the card, and you can tell it’s an early version of the chrome technology we all are very used to today.  It’s thin and flimsy – it’s a sticker – and there are random stars and but is a cool addition to my collection!

1990 Topps Mylar Test Joe Carter

Completed master set – one last look at 1990 Topps

12 04 2015

I completed the full set of 1990 Topps back in 2012 – but it wasn’t until late last year that I finally finished off the “Master Set”.  The K-Mart “Batting Leaders” inserts were really tough to find at a decent price.  I posted about completing that set on Thursday – this is the master set post.

I’ve now completed all my Topps master sets through 1993!

Info about my base set:

How I put the set together:

  • 458 cards from the wax box
  • 84 cards from a couple of K-Mart blister pack
  • 61 cards I already had from back in the day
  • 189 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #675 – Jim Abbott – GO BLUE!!! (1 of 2 cards I got in a trade with blog reader Kary that completed the set – the other was Tom Gordon).

Best card (my opinion): #414 – Frank Thomas FDP RC

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

My Master” Set Info:

1,213 cards – 792 “base”, 284 “update”, 137 “insert”

  • Update set: Traded, ML Debut
  • Insert set: Glossy Rookies, Glossy All-Stars, Glossy Send-In, Batting Leaders

How I put the additional sets together:

  • Traded – boxed set from a card show
  • ML Debut – boxed set from eBay
  • Glossy All-Stars – set from eBay
  • Glossy Rookies – set from eBay
  • Glossy Send-In – set from eBay
  • Batting Leaders – 2 from Blister Packs, 3 from COMC, 15 from Sportlots, 2 from eBay

Toughest card to track down:  Batting Leaders #5 – George Brett

Brett and Jim Rice were the last 2 cards of this insert.  The Batting Leaders insert set was easily the toughest part of this Master set (and the last I completed).

Update set composition: 132 cards (124 players, 7 Managers, 1 checklist)

In the update set not in the base set: 58 players, 7 managers

Total in base and update sets: 773 different players, 10 #1 draft picks, 33 managers, 5 retired players

Highest book value in the Update set: #48T – David Justice, #83T – John Olerud

1990-traded-Justice Olerud

Most notable card from the Update set: #31T – Cecil Fielder

1990 Topps Traded Cecil Fielder

There isn’t a lot as far as notable cards here.  This shows Fielder after he came back from Japan.  He’d go on to hit 51 homers for Detroit that year.  The other card I’d think about would be the Lou Piniella card for him signing as the Reds manager.

Other product bests

Most notable insert card: Glossy Rookies #11 – Ken Griffey, Jr.

Best Insert card: Batting Leaders #1 – Ken Griffey, Jr.

1990 Topps Glossy Rookies Griffey

In 1989, I put the Boggs Batting Leaders card as the #1 insert card – but in 1990 that insert was in its 2nd year.  Griffey in this Glossy Rookies set is a much more notable card than anything from the previous Glossy sets Topps had created.

Completed insert set – 1990 Topps Batting Leaders

9 04 2015

I’m going to spend all of April, and some of May, covering completed insert sets.  I got way behind on those at some point over the past year, and while spending every other day for a month won’t catch me back up, it will at least help!

This is one of those inserts where I just have to say – FINALLY!  I started the 1990 portion of my Lifetime Topps Project back in 2011, and I had finished the base set, and every other insert associated with 1990 Topps, in the middle of 2012.  Except for this very difficult, somewhat oddball, insert set called Batting Leaders.

I always thought of the ’93 Topps Black Gold set as Topps first ever insert set.  But of course there were glossy inserts from the 80’s and inserts like stamps as far back as the early 60’s.  And then in 1989 and 1990 there were these Batting Leader cards that have become fairly tough to find – at least at a reasonable price.  I finished the 1989 set in April of last year, while I finished up this set last December.

Info about the set:

Set description:  22 standard-size cards with a forest green border on the front, with a pair of blue gloved hands holding a bat on one side.  There is a trophy that says “Top Active Career Batting Leaders” on the other side.  The blue backs show the player’s career batting average and the number of at bats he’s had.  The 22 veterans with the highest lifetime batting averages with 765 minimum games played (conveniently equal to Kirby Puckett’s total at the end of 1988).  The cards were distributed one per Topps blister pack sold exclusively through K-Mart stores.  They are numbered in order of average.

Set composition:  22 cards

Inserted: K-Mart blister packs of 1990 Topps.  1 per pack.

Hall of Famers: 9

Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, George Brett, Paul Molitor, Jim Rice, Robin Yount, Eddie Murray, Rickey Henderson

How I put the set together:

Thoughts on the set:  Love it.  It has a theme and is numbered in order according to that theme.  I wish this was an insert Topps had done (and still did) every year – you could see people fall in and out of the set based on the season they’d had, or if a younger guy had gotten eligible with enough at bats.  It’s hard to come by – and it costs some money, too.  Between 1989 and 1990 – it cost me over $250 to finish the 2 sets!

Card that completed my set:  #5 – George Brett

Brett and Jim Rice were Sportlots buys back in December of last year.  I had been sitting 2 cards short for over a year, and finally just ponied up $10 for the Brett, which I hadn’t been able to find for a cheaper price anywhere.

Highest book value:  #5 – George Brett

Best card (my opinion):  #21 – Rickey Henderson

In 1989, I went with Boggs because he was the #1 card.  But Rickey’s card is a great shot of him with the A’s.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.  That’s OK.  We won the World Series in 1990!

1990 Topps Batting Leaders

1990 Topps Batting Leaders_0001

1990 Topps Batting Leaders_0002

Any other tidbits: I tried to look at any comparisons with the 1989 set.  As far as order goes, there were quite a few changes.  Kirby Puckett passed Don Mattingly, who was starting to decline due to his back injuries.  Paul Molitor jumped Jim Rice (who retired after the 1989 season) and Keith Hernandez.  But Rice actually jumped Hernandez, so he stayed at card #9.

Julio Franco jumped 3 guys who had all been at .295 with him the year before, and Carney Lansford moved up the most of anyone – 8 slots – after a .336 average in the 1989 campaign.  Dave Parker was jumped by both of those guys, but he moved ahead of both Willie McGee and Eddie Murray to maintain card #13 in the set.  Murray dropped the most – he moved down 6 spots to 17th.  It’s interesting that McGee and Murray had off seasons in 1989 – because they bounced back to end 1-2 in the NL batting race the next year.

Robin Yount moved up 6 slots after his 1989 MVP campaign, while Tony Fernandez and Phil Bradley moved over the games played threshold to make this list in 1990.  Lonnie Smith hit .315 in 1989 to move up and make the set.  All of those guys passed Rickey Henderson, who dropped 6 spots when he hit .274 (he still led the league in runs stolen bases and had a .411 OBP).  Kent Hrbek also dropped 6 slots to take the last card in the set.  Willie Wilson, Pat Tabler and Alan Trammell all dropped below .290 and out of the set when they had sub-par seasons.

For the 2nd year in a row – Topps had a bit of a clerical error.  Ken Griffey Sr. wasn’t in the set despite the fact he had a lifetime average of .297 at the end of the 1989 season.  I’m not sure why he wasn’t included – he did have Topps Traded cards both of those seasons and thus would have had a contract with Topps.  He wasn’t in the regular Topps set, which probably had something to do with it.

The parentheses below show their average and place the year before (if different).

  1. Wade Boggs, .352 (.356)
  2. Tony Gwynn, .332 (.331)
  3. Kirby Puckett, .323 (4th, .320)
  4. Don Mattingly, .323 (3rd, .327)
  5. George Brett, .310 (.312)
  6. Pedro Guerrero, .308 (.307)
  7. Tim Raines, .303 (.305)
  8. Paul Molitor, .300 (10th, .299)
  9. Jim Rice, .298 (.300)
  10. Keith Hernandez, .298 (8th, .300)
  11. Julio Franco, .298 (14th, .295)
  12. Carney Lansford, .294 (20th, .290)
  13. Dave Parker, .293 (.295)
  14. Willie McGee, .292 (12th, .295)
  15. Robin Yount, .292 (21st, .290)
  16. Tony Fernandez, .292 (not eligible for ’89 set)
  17. Eddie Murray, .291 (11th, .295)
  18. Johnny Ray, .291 (.291)
  19. Lonnie Smith, .290 (not in ’89 set – .287)
  20. Phil Bradley, .290 (not eligible for ’89 set)
  21. Rickey Henderson, .290 (15th, .292)
  22. Kent Hrbek, .290 (16th, .292)

The set generally uses the same picture as 1989, with a few exceptions.  Parker is shown with Milwaukee after being with Oakland in the 1989 set.  Henderson is shown with Oakland after he had been with the Yankees the previous set.  Keith Hernandez is shown with Cleveland, where he played his last season, after being with the Mets the year before.  Eddie Murray (Dodgers) and Julio Franco (Rangers) also both have different photos, though they didn’t change teams.

Completed set – 1990 Topps

21 09 2012

The second Lifetime Topps set that I got completed amid the “retro haze of 2012” was 1990 Topps.  I finished this set off back in May.  I haven’t finished off the “Master Set” quite yet – just like 1989, it’s because there are some real insert sets now, and the K-Mart “Batting Leaders” inserts are tough to find at a decent price.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 458 cards from the wax box
  • 84 cards from a couple of K-Mart blister pack
  • 61 cards I already had from back in the day
  • 189 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #675 – Jim Abbott – GO BLUE!!! (1 of 2 cards I got in a trade with blog reader Kary that completed the set – the other was Tom Gordon).

Set composition: 792 cards (715 individual ML player cards*, 10 #1 Draft Picks, 26 Managers, 4 Ryan Tribute, 1 Giamatti Tribute, 5 Turn Back the Clock, 6 Checklists, 3 Record Breakers, 22 All-Stars)

*The 715 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies and 5 Future Stars

Representation of ’88 MLB season: Out of the 715 player cards, 12 players featured did not play in the 1989 season.  Four guys were prospects who just didn’t make the MLB roster (Bernie Williams, Delino DeShields, Luis Sojo, Mel Stottlemyre, Jr.).  Six guys (Dave Winfield, Dale Sveum, Jose Guzman, Greg Mathews, Danny Cox, Rafael Santana) did not play in the majors in 1989 due to injury, but did get a card in the set.  The last 2 players were in the minors for all of the 1989 season (Juan Nieves, Tom Lampkin).  2 players were in subsets and did play in the 1989 season – Mike Schmidt, who was featured on a Turn Back the Clock card, and first overall pick Ben McDonald was the only member of the Draft Pick subset to make the majors in 1989 – debuting 3 weeks after he was drafted by the Orioles.

The 705 players featured represent 71.4% out of the ~988 players who played in MLB in 1989.

Last active player from this set: #698 – Omar Vizquel

As of now, Vizquel is the only player from this set who is still active on an MLB roster.  Jamie Moyer is the only other player in the set who also played in 2012.  Considering that Moyer hasn’t officially retired, it’s possible he could end up outlasting Vizquel, though I think he may have thrown his last pitch in the Big Leagues.  Of course, recent shenanigans by one Roger Clemens could throw all of this for a loop…

Player with the most cards in the set: Nolan Ryan – 5 cards:

Ryan – #1, #2-5 (Ryan Tribute)

This one was easy to figure out.  For striking out 5,000 batters, Topps did something similar with Ryan that they did with Pete Rose in 1986 – they gave him the first card of the set and then did a tribute subset for the next few cards.  These four subset cards all feature Ryan in each of his 4 Major League teams with the “5,000” in the background.

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Nolan Ryan, #100 – Will Clark, #200 – Don Mattingly, #300 – Bo Jackson, #400 – Ozzie Smith AS, #500 – Kevin Mitchell, #600 – Darryl Strawberry, #700 – Kirby Puckett

Highest book value: #692 – Sammy Sosa RC

Sosa’s rookie card books for a little bit more than the next card, which surprised me.

Most notable card: #414 – Frank Thomas FDP RC

Best card (my opinion): #414 – Frank Thomas FDP RC

I’m surprised that Thomas’s rookie card didn’t make it into the top 60 cards when Topps did the vote a few years ago.  This one is notable first because it’s a rookie card for future back-to-back MVP award winner Frank Thomas.  Second, is due to the famous error variation (No Name on the Front).  No cards from the 1990 set made it into that Topps top 60.  This set is often berated for the design, but this card is still very well-known.

In my opinion, this isn’t just the most notable card – I also think it’s the best.  It’s the rookie card of an all-time great player, in his Auburn uniform.  You can tell how big he is here, too – just look at the runner, Thomas is almost as tall as him while kneeling!

Second best card (also my opinion): #1 – Nolan Ryan

I could easily put this one above the Thomas.  It’s the first card in the set, and it’s a great shot of Nolan.  The photo actually goes really well with the design, too – which is really saying something.

Best subset card: #7 – Rickey Henderson RB

The Record Breakers subset has always been one of my favorites, and while there are only 3 RB cards in the 1990 set, this Rickey card is for a pretty cool record – the most home runs leading off a game.  He broke the record of 35 held by Bobby Bonds in early 1989, but I find it interesting they actually talk about his last one of the season (his 40th) on the back of this card.  I guess at the time, that was the new record.  Kind of like McGwire’s 70th being more valuable than #62.  Regardless, it’s a great photo of Rickey going deep.

Favorite action photo: #300 – Bo Jackson

Another Auburn alumni!  Bo didn’t spend a ton of time in Major League Baseball – but he has some of the best cards around.  This set doesn’t have a ton of action shots, so a shot of Bo at the point of impact is a pretty easy winner.

Favorite non-action photo: #230 – Keith Hernandez

I originally wanted to put Pascual Perez on here solely for his insane jheri curl.  But this shot of Hernandez in the on deck circle was way too good.

My Favorite Reds card: #260 – Eric Davis

I’m pretty predictable – Eric Davis was my favorite Red around the time of this set, and he seems to win most of these contests.  He’s actually won 3 in a row, and I haven’t done 1991 yet – so he could win that one, too.  Some of the others were tougher picks – this one is a no brainer because a) it’s an awesome photo of Davis, and b) because there isn’t a lot of competition.  I don’t even know what card would be second here.

Topps Reprints and others:

  • 1999 Ryan reprints – Nolan Ryan
  • 2001 Through the Years – Sammy Sosa
  • 2001 Archives – Darrell Evans, Bob Boone, Keith Hernandez, Dan Quisenberry
  • 2001 Archives Rookie Reprints – Frank Thomas, Williams, Sosa, Juan Gonzalez
  • 2001 Topps Traded – Dave Justice
  • 2002 Archives – Ryne Sandberg
  • 2002 Gallery Heritage – Sosa
  • 2003 Gallery Heritage – Williams
  • 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Gary Sheffield, Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Abbott, Gregg Jefferies, Tom Gordon
  • 2005 Gallery Heritage – Curt Schilling, Nolan Ryan HL
  • 2010 CMT – Thomas, Thomas NNOF, Larry Walker
  • 2011 60YOT – Williams, Schilling
  • 2011 Lineage Autographed Reprints – Ryan
  • 2013 Manufactured Commemorative Patch – Thomas

Due to the popularity of that error card, Frank Thomas has the most with 4 reprints.  Sammy Sosa and Bernie Williams have 3.

Other Notable Cards: #505 – Pete Rose MG, #233 – Gregg Jefferies RC, #343 – Gary Sheffield RC

Juan Gonzalez was the other notable rookie card in the set (though I guess you could argue so is Bernie Williams).  Griffey and Belle have 2nd year cards, though this is their first card in the base Topps set (for Belle it’s his first Topps card, period).  And the Giamatti is notable – it was done to honor the commissioner’s passing away in the fall of 1989.

1990 Topps Batting Leaders

11 10 2011

In 1990, Topps continued the set that came 1 card per pack K-Mart “Blister” pack – Batting Leaders.  The set depicts the top 22 players in lifetime career batting average at the end of the previous season – just like the set the year before.  Again, Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn are the first two cards in the set.  The cards are printed on glossy stock and have a green border (in contrast to the red border from the year before) with a bat vertically across one of the sides.  A trophy cup saying “Top active career Batting Leaders” is in one of the lower corners.  Since the criteria is the same, the 2 sets have a very similar composition and numbering; they even use a number of the same photos.  Some guys like Dave Parker and Rickey Henderson changed teams; they at least got the team right for these guys.

The green 1990 cards go for a little bit less than the red cards from 1989.  I actually bought two of these blister packs of the 1990 cards on eBay.  This was a way for me to get a few more base cards and get 2 of these cards.  These are going to be 2 tough sets to collect – they’re fairly rare, and since they’re so old, you just don’t see many.  There are a few on eBay, but they aren’t listed at a price anywhere near what I’d consider fair.

9 Hall-of-Famers:     W. Boggs, T. Gwynn, K. Puckett, G. Brett, P. Molitor, J. Rice, R. Yount, E. Murray, R. Henderson,

I figured Lonnie Smith doesn’t get too many scans in my blog.  Here’s one for all his fans out there.

1990 Topps Glossy Sets

10 10 2011

Topps again issued three Glossy sets in conjunction with its 1990 base set.  The 1990 Reds World Series team wasn’t as well represented as I would have thought.  There were no players from the Rookies set, and only 1 card each in the other sets.  Eric Davis had a card in the All-Star insert set, while Barry Larkin had a card in the Glossy send-in set.

All-Star Glossy

Back for its 8th year, this 22-card set commemorating the 1987 All-Star game was inserted 1 per rack pack. The set again had the manager, 9 starters, and the All-Star game honorary captains for each league.  New Hall of Fame inductee Carl Yastrzemski was the AL honorary captain, while Don Drysdale had the honor for the NL.

9 Hall of Famers:     T. LaSorda, R. Sandberg, O. Smith, T. Gwynn, D. Drysdale, W. Boggs, C. Ripken, K. Puckett, C. Yastrzemski (3 less than the previous year’s set)

Glossy All-Stars and Hot Prospects

The send-in set was again 60-cards, called “All-Stars and Hot Prospects”.  Collectors could obtain it in 6 different 10-card portions by sending in 6 of the “Spring Fever Baseball Game” cards that came 1 per wax pack.  The players were generally either current year All-Stars or up-and-coming prospects who’d had break out 1989 seasons.

14 Hall of Famers:     R. Sandberg, N. Ryan, R. Yount, O. Smith, W. Boggs, R. Alomar, R. Henderson, A. Dawson, C. Fisk, P. Molitor, K. Puckett, C. Ripken, D. Eckersley, T. Gwynn (same # as the ’89 set)

Glossy Rookies

In its third year, the Rookies set was increased by 11 cards to a 33-card set coming 1 per 101-card jumbo pack.  The set depicts some of the best rookies from the 1989 season.  All 10 members of the Topps All-Star rookie team are included in this set, as well as AL ROY winner Gregg Olson, who wasn’t on the ASR team.  Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Belle, Gary Sheffield and Omar Vizquel are the most notable rookies in the set.

1990 Topps ML Debut ’89

8 10 2011

In 1990, Topps issued a new set in factory form called “Major League Debut”.  This 152-card set had every player who made his ML debut during the previous year – 150 players and 2 checklists.  The front of the card is basically the same design as the base set, only a red border is used on every card.  The cards were again printed on the white cardstock like the Traded set.  A box was added at the top of the card that displays the date of the player’s debut.  The back has a newspaper-like blurb about the debut, and contains full 1989 player stats from the minors and majors.  Like the Topps Traded sets, these cards are printed on white cardboard.  This set was released earlier in 1990, though I’m not exactly sure how early – I suspect it may have actually been earlier than the base set.  Like the 1989 Traded set, the factory box came with an advertisement of to entice buying the new Topps Magazine.

JayBee’s Topps blog did a great look at these sets in comparison with the Debut class from 20 years later.  I bought this set online; a small number of some of the cards don’t have the greatest corners, and the magazine ad was stuck to the front of one of the cards.  It’s in good enough shape for me though.

There are 3 players in this set from the 1990 Reds World Series team.  This is the only Topps card that exists of Billy Bates, who had a limited career in the majors, but did score the winning run in game 2 of the 1990 World Series.

There are no BASEBALL Hall of Famers in the set (yet), but there are 8 guys who won major MLB professional sports awards, and there is one guy in a different Hall of Fame:

  • Jerome Walton and David Justice won the 1989 and 1990 NL Rookie of the Year awards,
  • Juan Gonzalez won 2 MVPs for the Rangers,
  • Ken Griffey Jr. and Larry Walker won both 1997 league MVP awards,
  • Sammy Sosa followed Walker up with 66 home runs and the 1998 NL MVP,
  • Joe Girardi won Manager of the Year in his only season at the helm for the Marlins
  • Neon Deion Sanders was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, and he’s widely regard as the greatest cover corner in the history of football.  He won 2 NFC defensive POY awards, was on 2 Super Bowl winners, and was a decent baseball player who hit over .500 in the 1992 World Series.

Another player who’s not in the above list – Omar Vizquel, who is the only player still active (he may actually be the only player from any of the 3 ML Debut sets who is still active).  Vizquel will likely make it into the Hall someday.

This set is borderline loaded – there are some guys below who will never make the Hall of Fame but do have some pretty impressive resumes.  Albert Belle has the only 50-HR, 50-2B season in history, and he had an incredible, though somewhat brief, career.  John Olerud had a long, productive career and won the AL batting title by hitting .363 in 1993.  Steve Finley is one of 7 players with 300 HR and 300 steals in his career.  Greg Vaughn also has a 50-HR season, Kenny Rogers won 200+ games and played through 2008, and Robin Ventura won 6 gold gloves while hitting 294 home runs and knocking in and scoring over 1,000 runs.

There are also some other pretty notable players in the set – Alvarez and Abbott both hurled no-hitters, Mercker had a lengthy career as a middle reliever on numerous playoff teams, Benes won over 150 games and struck out 2,000 batters, and Grissom, Palmer and Zeile were all All-Star caliber players who started in the Majors for over a decade.

1990 Topps Traded

6 10 2011

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in 1990 in the same fashion as previous years; cards were numbered in alphabetical order, separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132. The set contains XRC’s of players who didn’t have a card in the base set, players who signed with or were traded to new teams, and new managers. The design was the same as the base set, thought it seems like some of the color combinations are a little different. The cards available in the factory sets were again printed in Ireland on white cardstock.

There were two different boxes that the factory sets could come in.  The first is a brown box (shown to the left) with the exact same design as the sets from the previous years.  For the second year in a row, Topps also issued the set in a flatter, more colorful box that looked very similar to the “Holiday” factory sets for the flagship set.  Just like those Holiday sets, the more colorful packaging was issued to retail outlets.  Cecil Fielder is shown on the front of the Traded set – which makes sense given he came back from Japan and smashed 51 homers.

For the second time ever (1985 being the other year), Topps also issued the Traded set in wax packs, 7 cards per pack and 36  packs per box.  Neither the box nor the packs have a SRP listed, but considering base cards were 50¢ for 16 cards, my guess would be that these ran for 20¢.  Unlike the factory sets, the cards in the wax packs were printed on the same gray cardstock as the base set.  There are 2 “variations” of these cards – the only difference that there was either 1 or 2 asterisks on the back before the copyright line.  Add that to the Tiffany version, and there are 4 different variations you could get of John Olerud’s Topps rookie card!!! 🙂

Unlike the 1985 wax boxes, which were tests and sell for around $300 when you have an unopened box, these weren’t printed in limited quantities and can be found for under $10.

Keeping with previous traditions, dealers who ordered cases of the Topps Traded set also received a miniature Bronze Card – this time a replica of Hank Aaron’s rookie card from the 1954 Topps set. For the 2nd year, Topps also issued a Tiffany set that had a glossy picture on the front – which was limited to 15,000 sets.

There are no Big Red Machiners in this set, but as would be expected there are quite a few guys from the 1990 World Champions.

  • Lou Piniella was hired as manager in the offseason.
  • We traded some prospects for Hal Morris (himself still a prospect) in the offseason.
  • The Reds swapped closers with the Mets, sending All-Star John Franco to his hometown for Randy Myers.
  • Billy Hatcher was picked up in a trade with Pittsburgh just before Opening Day.
  • In June, the Reds picked up Glenn Braggs and Billy Bates in a trade with the Brewers for pitchers Ron Robinson and Bob Sebra.

There are 5 Hall of Famers in the set.

  • In May, Winfield was traded from the Yankees to the Angels for pitcher Mike Witt.  Both players had performed less than their standard after injuries in the late 80’s, though Winfield still had some good seasons after this trade.  Witt only won 8 more games the rest of his career.
  • Red Schoendienst managed the Cardinals for the 3rd time in 1990, leading the club for 37 games when Whitey Herzog resigned.  Schoendienst is still with the club as a special assistant coach – he’s been wearing a baseball uniform for 66 years through 2011!
  • No longer “the Kid”, Gary Carter was released by the Mets in November of 1989, he signed with the Giants, where he’d play one season.
  • Lee Smith (traded from the Red Sox to the Cardinals in May 1990), and Bobby Cox (back as the Braves manager after a 9 year hiatus and a stop in Baltimore) have been elected since I first posted this entry

One thing I found neat about this set – two guys who held the career saves record are both in this set.  Here’s the progression of the All-Time saves record.  Bold means the player is in the Hall of fame, and I’m not counting 1871-1875 National Association stats:

  • John “Jack” Manning (1876-1894) – increased the record from 0 to 12.
  • Tony “The Apollo of the Box” Mullane (1894-1899) – raised it to 15.
  • Charles “Kid” Nichols (1899-1907) – raised it to 17.
  • Joe “Iron Man” McGinnity (1907-1910) – raised it to 24.
  • Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown (1910-1926) – raised it to 49.
  • Frederick “Firpo” Marberry (1926-1946) – raised it to 101.
  • Johnny “Fireman” Murphy (1946-1962) – raised it to 107.
  • Roy Face (1962-1964) – raised it to 140.
  • Hoyt “Old Sarge” Wilhelm (1964-1980) – raised it to 227.
  • Roland “Rollie” Fingers (1980-1992) – raised it to 341.
  • Jeff “Terminator” Reardon (1992-1993) – raised it to 357.
  • Lee Smith (1993-2006) – raised it to 478.
  • Trevor Hoffman (2006-2011) – raised it to 601.
  • Mariano “Sandman” Rivera (2011-current)

Nichols won 361 career games and was, at one point, third behind Pud Galvin and Tim Keefe in career victories.  Brown was considered the 2nd best pitcher in the National League behind Christy Mathewson in the early part of the decade – he was the Ace of 2 World Championships and 4 pennants for the Cubs.  Marberry was the game’s first true reliever. Murphy was a 7-time World Champion and may be the only player who can claim to have been a teammate of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams.  When I originally wrote this part of the post – Rivera was at 600, but it’s safe to assume he’ll get 2 more in the last 14 days of September.

Unlike the previous year, this set has few RC’s worth mentioning.  The two biggest rookie cards are Dave Justice and John Olerud – who went straight from being drafted to the pros, but then ruined his record with a 2005 minor league stint.  Carlos Baerga and Travis Fryman both have RC’s as well, but I had to pick one of them.

Steve Avery and Ben McDonald both had cards in the set – these would be RC’s if not for draft pick cards they’d had earlier.  Here’s a place to get Fryman in there…

Three players jumped out at me because they were established players who still had their best years ahead.  Fielder smashed 51 homers and was 2nd in the NL MVP to Rickey Henderson, while Franco made the NL All-Star team in 1990.  Carter made the All-Star team from 1991-1994 and hit one of the most famous home runs in World Series history a few years later.

Finally, as usual there are a few other former stars who were closer to the end than the beginning.  And it’s worth getting Bobby Cox in there – this was when he came back to Atlanta for what would be a historic run at the helm.

1990 Topps scans

5 10 2011

I’ve done my standard scans of Reds and of the ASR / Future Stars / Draft subset cards, so here’s the post with the rest of the best cards from the set.

I’ll start off how the set starts – with Nolan Ryan and the 4 Salute cards he has in the set for being the first (and still only) to 5,000 strikeouts.  The set also has 2 of the 3 other guys who got to 4,000 K’s, so I added them here as well.

After Ryan’s cards come the Record Breakers subset.  Only 3 cards in this set – so it’s easy to scan.  Ripken hit 20 homers for the most consecutive seasons by a SS (passing Ernie Banks), Coleman stole FIFTY consecutive bases (shattering Davey Lopes 38), and Rickey broke the leadoff HR record (Bobby Bonds).

Speaking of Rickey.  As he’s one of my 3 favorite players ever, here’s my obligatory post of all Rickey Henderson Topps cards.

Just as I do with all of Rickey’s cards, I always feel like I need to throw these guys in a picture together.

Add to that a Braves Cy Young trifecta I should probably throw together going forward:

And here’s another tandem that goes well together.  This is Prime Time’s first card in the base Topps set, so this was the first time I could do this.  Deion he had a card in the ’89 Traded set.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the set (though Bo’s shot above may be the best).  Overall, my opinion is that this set was one of Topps’ worst efforts at photography – but these aren’t bad.

After that, here’s the 3 big rookie cards from this set – these are all true RC’s.  This is probably the best trio of true rookie cards I’ve seen since the 1985 set; I’d put it behind only that set and the 1983 set.

These aren’t rookie cards, but next up are early cards of some excellent players.  These are actually the first Topps cards of Belle and Schilling.  The only reason it isn’t Ventura’s first is because he was in the draft pick set in 1989 and the USA set in 1988.  They should have marked him as a future star this year to get the trifecta!

These guys had once been future stars. But by 1990, the future was now for them.

After that, the next step are the great players who are closer to the end of their career than the beginning.  There’s the Hawk, with yet another cool photo.  Parker and Quisenberry look weird in those uniforms, though the Cobra did have a couple decent seasons with Oakland.  This is Rice’s last card, and he actually didn’t play in the 1990 season – so I’m not sure how he got a card in the set.  But I’m glad he did – I wish they would do the next year more frequently.

Nolan Ryan had a tribute subset, but this tribute card is notable.  Giamatti passed away in August of 1989, only a week after banishing Pete Rose from the game.

Rose getting banned led to this guy having this card – in between Charlie Hustle and Sweet Lou.

Speaking of managers, I’ll end this post with some good ones.  These guys were managers then, and they were still managers many years later.  Gaston retired at the end of last year, and McKeon re-upped with the Marlins mid-way through this season.