2 white wales! Topps Golden Spikes

4 01 2015

I found 2 cards on eBay last month that I’ve been looking for quite a while now.  As part of my Lifetime Topps project, I collect every base card from 1980-2009 Topps flagship.  I also collect every insert card within reason.  Reason isn’t really something I’ve ever defined – and I haven’t had to quite yet since I’m only to 2000.  But it basically excluded parallels, autos, relics or inserts that are numbered.  Last, I also collect promo cards.  Topps produced pre-production cards from 1991 to (I think) 2007.  I’m collecting all of those.  They aren’t all that hard to find if I just pay attention to eBay here and there.

But one other group of promo cards existed for the 1991-1994 set, and has proven very difficult to flag down for me.  In November each year, Topps would host the Golden Spikes award banquet for the best player in amateur baseball.  Bob Horner was the first winner in 1978, and AJ Reed, who was drafted last year by the Astros, was the most recent winner.  The list of winners is actually very impressive from an MLB career perspective.  There aren’t any Hall of Famers to come out of the list yet, but that could change.  Will Clark probably had the best career of any player to win the award.  There have also been a number of future award winners:

  • Buster Posey (MVP),
  • Tim Lincecum and David Price (Cy Young),
  • Horner, Jason Jennings, Posey and Bryce Harper (Rookie of the Year)
  • Tim Wallach (Comeback PoY)

Lincecum, Jered Weaver and Jim Abbott threw no-hitters.  2 guys – Robin Ventura and Terry Francona – are current MLB managers.  Stephen Strasburg and Alex Gordon are current MLB stars.

The 1990-1993 winners were immortalized on cardboard by Topps, in each case done in a way to preview the next year’s flagship set design.  The cards were given out at the November banquet, and supposedly there are ~600 in existence.  The 4 winners from those years are not as impressive as any of the names above, though Fernandez did have a nice career.

  • 1990 – Alex Fernandez (1991 Topps)
  • 1991 – Mike Kelly (1992 Topps)
  • 1992 – Phil Nevin (1993 Topps)
  • 1993 – Darren Dreifort (1994 Topps)

I picked up the Fernandez card a few years ago.  Last month, I found the Kelly and Nevin on eBay for the first time, and was quick to pick up both.  The Kelly didn’t cost me too much, but I did pay over 50 bucks for the Nevin.  Since I’d never seen it, I was glad to get it.  I kind of figured I’d never see these cards, so now I’ve only got the Dreifort and I’d have all of them.  Maybe at some point I’ll find it.  There was an autographed card for sale on eBay, but I don’t want a signed card, and it was way too expensive even if I did want it.

Here’s scans of the front and back.  I’ve updated my pre-production posts from 1992 and 1993 Topps.  Here are scans of the fronts and backs of these cards.

1993 Topps Golden Spikes Phil Nevin 1993 Topps Golden Spikes Phil Nevin back 1992 Topps Golden Spikes Mike Kelly 1992 Topps Golden Spikes Mike Kelly back

And the Fernandez thrown in to boot.

1990 Topps Debut Promo Alex Fernandez

A little detective work – 1992 Topps Strawberry & Hubie Brooks

31 05 2013

I was pretty intrigued by two cards I dubbed “best action photo in 1992 Topps” in yesterday’s post.

First, the two cards in question, both of which have a similar picture from third base at Shea Stadium.

1992 Topps Strawberry Brooks best action

I decided to do some work to see if I could determine the dates and details of the games.  As you’ll see, I was successful for both, but I started with the Strawberry as there was more information available from the photo and I knew I’d be able to pinpoint the details for that card.

For one thing, it’s much easier to narrow down because the road team is featured. Whereas the Brooks card has 81 potential home games to get through (and much less information on the card anyways), there were only 6 games where the Dodgers played at Shea in 1991.  Plus, I can see the inning on the Strawberry card as well.  I’ll blow it up so you can best see it on the blog.

1992 Topps Strawberry

I liked what I found.  This one is from a game on July 21, 1991 and has a pretty cool back story.  Strawberry was not only facing off against his former team – none other than Dwight Gooden was on the mound that day!  Strawberry singled off him to lead off the 2nd inning and then Chris Gwynn walked to move Darryl over to second base.  Lenny Harris (#29 – you can see that on the scoreboard) then knocked a single to left field on a 3-2 pitch to score Strawberry.  Gwynn was later forced at 3rd, but Gooden gave up 3 runs that inning.

The Mets wound up getting Doc the victory anyways.  Interestingly enough – this was the only hit Strawberry ever got off the teammate he is forever linked with.  Oh, and last thing – that’s Mike Winters manning the second base umpire spot.

1992 Topps Hubie Brooks

The Brooks card was much more difficult, but I was able to pinpoint that one as well.  The only piece of info for that card that was more helpful?  There’s only one umpire I’d recognize just about anywhere, and if that’s not Eric Gregg over Brooks’ shoulder than I’m an Ewok.

The key here was that I could tell from the scoreboard that Mackey Sasser was batting, as he was #2 for the Mets in 1991.  I think that’s him rounding first, but can’t tell for sure as the number on the runner’s uniform is too difficult to see.  Anyways, Mackey being the hitter was very helpful.  If I assumed Brooks scored on this play, I would need to sift through 48 Brooks runs (25 were at home).  With Sasser, there were only 35 RBI (21 at home).  Linking the two up helped.  Of course, it’s always possible Brooks was thrown out at home in which case I’d have to learn how to figure that out.  Or just give up.

It was actually a little easier than I thought.  Using Baseball Reference, I found out that Mackey knocked Brooks in on 3 separate occasions in 1991.  Of those, only one happened at Shea Stadium – June 30th, in a 10-9 loss to Philadelphia.  Interestingly, Gooden also pitched this game, though it was the Phillies’ Danny Cox who was on the hill for this hit.  In the bottom of the 4th inning of a 4-0 game, Kevin McReynolds singled off Cox with one out.  Howard Johnson then flew out before Cox hit Brooks with the pitch.  Sasser then came up and doubled off Cox to knock both McReynolds and Brooks in to make it 4-2.  So, not seen on the card is the fact that McReynolds scored ahead of Brooks.

And yes, that’s Eric Gregg behind Brooks. Yub Yub.

Completed set & master set – one last look at 1992 Topps

30 05 2013

Continuing my “getting back into the swing of things” as far as the lifetime Topps project goes…

The 1992 set hasn’t historically been one of my favorites.  I often think of it as too similar to the 1991 Topps set, and not having photography quite as good.  At the same time, I always thought it was a fairly solid set.  This was a transition year for the Topps base set.  In 1991, the photography got much better from the photos in the 80’s.  In 1992 the card stock was changed to white paper after years of the gray stock we all know and (some of us) love.  In 1993, the cards went slightly glossy with a color photo on the back, and in 1994 they got the super-glossy UV coating.

After going through this process, however, I’m more impressed with 1992 Topps than I had been.  The photography is still behind 1991 Topps in my opinion – but not by much.  There are a number of very cool shots in the set, and I’m impressed with how well the design works for horizontal cards.

Of note – this is one year where finishing the “master set” was easy for how I define it!  There aren’t any inserts aside from the Topps gold parallels.  Topps  scrapped the Glossy send-in cards after the 1990 set, and they scrapped the Glossy All-Star / Rookie inserts after the 1991 set.  So there really isn’t anything other than the base and Traded sets.  There is an autograph of Brien Taylor that comes with the Topps Gold factory set, but that’s in the category of “other” as I see it (though I do have the Taylor auto).

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 508 cards from the wax box
  • 10 cards from a card show
  • 274 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #485 – Chris Sabo (see photo below in the Reds section).  One of 3 cards received in a trade with Nolan’s Dugout that completed the set.

Set composition: 792 cards (728 individual player cards*, 9 4-player Prospects, 23 Managers, 6 Checklists, 4 Record Breakers, 22 All-Stars)

*The 700 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies, 26 Draft Picks

Representation of ’91 MLB season: Counting subsets there are 764 player cards.  None of the 36 players from the Prospect subset played in 1991, and neither did any of the 26 draft picks.   Of the 702 remaining player cards, 3 players (Bert Blyleven, Joe Magrane and John Farrell) didn’t play in 1991 because they were injured.  The 699 players represent 67.3% out of the ~1,034 players who played in MLB in 1991.

Last active player from this set: #768 – Jim Thome

1992 Topps Gold Thome

Thome, Chipper Jones and Omar Vizquel all played their last regular season games on October 3, 2012.  Vizquel’s Blue Jays didn’t make the playoffs, and Chipper’s Braves lost in the one-game Wild Card playoff to the Cardinals.  Thome’s Orioles did them one better, as they beat the Rangers in the AL Wild Card matchup.  In the ALDS, the Orioles lost in 5 games to the Yankees.  Thome played in three of those five games, his last game as a DH in game 4, when he went 1 for 4.  His last hit was a single in the 9th inning (tie game) off Rafael Soriano; Lew Ford pinch ran for him.

Jamie Moyer also played in 2012 but his last game was in May.  Like Thome, he still hasn’t officially announced retirement.  Also, Jason Giambi is in the Topps Traded set, and he’s still active in 2013.  (BTW, I went with the Gold Winner card because I have a previous scan of that card – trying to save space wherever possible!)

Player with the most cards in the set: There are only 2 subsets that aren’t the player’s “base” card – 4 Record Breakers and 22 All-Stars. No player has a card in both subsets, so you’ve got 26 players in the  set with 2 cards.

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Nolan Ryan, #100 – Jose Canseco, #200 – Lenny Dykstra, #300 – Don Mattingly, #400 – Cal Ripken AS, #500 – Vince Coleman, #600 – Paul Molitor, #700 – Ruben Sierra

1992 Topps 1 and 100s

Ryan garnered card #1 for the 3rd year in a row.

Highest book value: #156 – Manny Ramirez DP RC

Most notable card: #156 – Manny Ramirez DP RC

1992 Topps Manny DP RC

There aren’t a bunch of notable cards in this set, though I do think the Ripken probably has some of that.  You could say the Henderson card is pretty notable, as breaking Brock’s career record was a big deal.  But I don’t really remember that card as being a big must-have for commemorating that achievement.  Some of the other sets in were bigger; I think of card #636 in 1991 Upper Deck when he’s holding a base with Lou Brock.  So I’d have to think a draft pick card of Manny, who is one of the greatest pure hitters (i.e., let’s not get into base running or fielding) of our lifetime.

As the only noteworthy rookie card, Manny easily carries the highest “book value”.  It was also ranked #52 in Topps list of the top 60 Topps cards that came out in 2010.  But it’s not the best card in my opinion…

Best card (my opinion): #40 – Cal Ripken

1992 Topps Ripken

Remember, this was before Ripken had the record.  In fact, it was well before – more than 3 years prior when this card was issued and probably more than 4 years early when the photo was taken.  It’s photos like this that make you really appreciate a baseball card.  I don’t see quite so many of these any more.

Second best card (also my opinion): #50 – Ken Griffey Jr.

1992 Topps Griffey

An awesome shot of Griffey sliding into 3rd base, looking to call time.  I’m guessing the throw may have been wide, and he’s checking to see if it was off enough to head for home.  This card goes really well with the design of the set – I think the horizontal cards tend to be the best in 1992.  Griffey narrowly beats out a Frank Thomas posed card.  I’m biased as Griffey’s my favorite player – I certainly don’t have a dog named “Big Hurt” – so that’s one to consider as well.

Best subset card: #2 – Rickey Henderson RB

1992 Topps Rickey RB 939

I said earlier I think of another card before this one when I think of Rickey breaking Lou Brock’s career record.  That doesn’t mean this card isn’t awesome, and it’s definitely the best subset card in 1992 Topps.  Especially since it shows the actual moment (stealing 3rd base in Oakland on May 1 against the Yankees), and especially since there isn’t a lot of competition in that set.

Favorite action photo: (tie) #550 – Darryl Strawberry / #457 – Hubie Brooks

1992 Topps Strawberry Brooks best action

Based purely on the action, these two win in a close one over the Griffey card.  Barry Bonds, Shane Mack and Steve Sax also had cool action shots.

These get helped by the pure similarity of the photos.  The shot is from the same vantage point at Shea Stadium – with the player depicted on the card rounding third.  In both cards, you can see the second base umpire following a ball that appears to have been hit to left field.  You also get a good look at a runner heading toward second.  In Strawberry’s case, it looks like his teammate is coasting into second waiting to see what happens with a throw toward home – so my guess (which turns out to be correct) was that the runner reaching second was not the batter (i.e., he was a runner on first ahead of Straw being advanced – my guess would prove correct).  The other option would have been a double where Strawberry was on first.  In the Brooks card, his teammate is legging his way toward second, so this could be a double where Brooks was on second but had to wait for a catch, or he was running on the play from first.

I’m going to look into these cards a bit more – see tomorrow’s post.

Favorite non-action photo: #40 – Ripken (see above)

Other than the Ramirez, I think this is the most notable card from the set.  There are a number of good pose shots in this set.  See some of those below.

My Favorite Reds card: #485 – Chris Sabo

1992 Topps Sabo 485

This isn’t the best set for Reds cards, though this Sabo is pretty good.  Clearly Wrigley Field, and it looks like he may have knocked a foul ball down the 3rd base line.  This beats out an Eric Davis card that is a pretty cool pose photo where he’s in a throwback uniform.  And a good shot of Larkin batting.

Topps Reprints and others:

  • 1999 Ryan reprints – Nolan Ryan
  • 2001 Through the Years – Ken Griffey Jr.
  • 2001 Archives – Dwight Evans, Goose Gossage
  • 2001 Archives Rookie Reprints – Pokey Reese, Shawn Green, Manny Ramirez
  • 2001 Topps Traded – Jack Morris (’92T)
  • 2002 Archives – Dennis Eckersley
  • 2002 Gallery Heritage – Green
  • 2003 Gallery Heritage – Jim Thome, Nomar Garciaparra (’92T)
  • 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Chuck Knoblauch, Jeff Bagwell, Luis Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez
  • 2010 CMT – Ramirez, Cal Ripken, Don Mattingly
  • 2011 60YOT – Frank Thomas, Wade Boggs
  • 2011 Lineage Autographed Reprints – Roberto Alomar

Manny is the only player with multiple reprints.

Other Notable Cards: No other historically noteworthy cards, so like I said.  So I figured I’d scan some of the cards that I mentioned above that didn’t make the “medal stand”.

1992 Topps other notable

My Master” Set Info:

1,118 cards – 792 “base”, 132 “update”, 213 “other”

  • Update sets: Traded
  • Other sets: ML Debut, 3 different 9-card promo sheets (2 base, 1 gold), 1 Topps Golden Spikes promo

How I put the additional sets together: I purchased them all separately on eBay a little over 2 years ago

Update set composition: 132 cards (102 players, 26 Team USA, 3 Managers, 1 checklist)

In the update set not in the base set: 31 players, 3 managers

Total in base and update sets: 795 different players, 29 managers, 26 Team USA

Highest book value in the update set: #39T – Nomar Garciaparra RC, #42T – Jason Varitek RC

Most notable card from the Update set: #39T – Nomar Garciaparra RC, #42T – Jason Varitek RC

1992 Topps Traded Rookies

I’d say these are equally notable.  Nomar is probably the greater player historically, but this card of Varitek was interesting because he refused to sign with Topps for most of his career, so this was his last Topps card until 2007.

ML Debut set composition: 194 cards (192 players, 2 checklists)

In the ML Debut set not in the base or update set: 91 players

Total in base, update and ML Debut sets: 886 different players, 29 managers, 26 Team USA

1992 Topps ML Debut ’91

26 11 2011

1992 was the third and final year Topps issued the factory set “Major League Debut”.  This year, the set was 194 cards with every player who made his ML debut during the previous (1991) season – 192 players and 2 checklists.  The front of the card has basically the same design as the 1992 base set, with the team name replaced by the date of the player’s debut.  The back has a newspaper-like blurb about the debut, and contains full 1991 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 1992.

JayBee’s Topps blog has done a great look at these sets in comparison with the Debut class from 20 years later.  Like the 1991 set, but unlike the 1990 set, there’s an appropriate amount of space in the packaging.

There are no baseball Hall of Famers in the set (yet), though this set still has some big names.  Jim Thome, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez all had careers that should net them an induction – though with the steroids era, you never know.  Bernie Williams and Mike Mussina are going to be debated players on the ballot for some time, and Kenny Lofton had a great career.  Mo Vaughn won an MVP, and Vinny Castilla and Reggie Sanders were very good players for over a decade.

In addition to Thome and Pudge, there’s one other player who was still playing in 2011; Arthur Rhodes was in fact pitching for the Cardinals on the biggest stage in baseball, the 2011 World Series.  This was one year after he made the All-Star team with the Reds.

Finally, there was another tier of guys who weren’t quite as great as the Hall-of-Fame or All-Star caliber guys above.  But Pat Hentgen won a Cy Young while Chuck Knoblauch and Eric Karros won Rookie of the Year awards.

1992 Topps Traded

24 11 2011

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in 1992 in the same manner as previous years; cards were numbered in alphabetical order, separately from the base set with a “T” suffix as #1-132.  The set contains cards of rookies who didn’t have a card in the base set, players who signed with or were traded to new teams, new managers, and a Team USA subset. The design was the same as the base set.

Unlike the previous 11 years where the box design was the same with a different color each year, this year’s set was more colorful box that looked.  Topps also issued a flat retail-only blue-colored box similar to the “Holiday” factory sets for the flagship set.

Topps no longer issued the miniature Bronze Cards for dealers who ordered a case of the Traded sets, ending a tradition that went from 1983 to 1991.  Topps also didn’t release a Tiffany version of the set, instead issuing a parallel Topps Gold factory set that was limited to 6,000 sets.  For the Gold set, the checklist card was replaced with Kerry Woodson.

There are six cards of Reds 1990 World Champion members.

  • My favorite player, Eric Davis, left the team via free agency after the 1991 season.  He headed for his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers where he would play with his childhood friend Darryl Strawberry.
  • Herm Winningham signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox after an unproductive 1991 season.
  • Mariano Duncan also left via Free Agency, signing with the Phillies, where he’s go on to play in another World Series in 1993.
  • Randy Myers was traded to the Padres in the offseason for Bip Roberts.  After Rob Dibble had proved a more effective closer, the Reds had unsuccessfully tried to move Myers to the rotation, and he thus became expendable.
  • Jack Armstrong was traded in the offseason, along with Scott Scudder, to the Indians for Greg Swindell.  Scudder didn’t get a card in the Topps Traded set.
  • Todd Benzinger was in the Traded set for the second straight year.  After the Reds traded him to the Royals in 1991, he was traded in the offseason to the Dodgers.

There are 3 Hall of Famers in the set.

  • Gary Carter was in his third straight traded set.  After 2 seasons as backup catcher for San Francisco and the Dodgers, Carter was claimed off waivers by his first team, the Expos, where he finished his career in that role.
  • Dave Winfield signed with the Blue Jays; he’d have 1 very good season to help them to the 1992 World Series title.
  • Eddie Murray signed with the Mets; he’d go on to 2 productive seasons with New York, including his 400th home run in the 1992 season.

The set also featured a Hall of Fame college coach.  For the 4th time, Topps had a Team USA subset.  Like the 1985 base set and the 1988 Traded set, this was the Olympic team.  Ron Fraser, who had just retired after 30 years as the Miami Hurricanes’ head baseball coach.  Unfortunately, Team USA went on to a disappointing 4th-place finish in baseball’s first year as a medal sport.

Topps featured the entire 25-man Olympic roster in the Topps Traded set, just as they had done for the 1991 Pan American Games roster.  There were a number of holdovers from the previous year’s set – most notably Jason Giambi.

There were really only two big rookie cards in this set. They were two pretty big ones, though especially considering that Boston’s future stars, Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek, came from that same Team USA subset.  The Varitek card is particularly interesting – he refused to sign with Topps for most of his career, so this was his last Topps card until 2007.

Though nowhere near the same level as those, there were a few other rookies worth showing.

There were 5 guys who went on to some pretty significant careers AFTER they were featured in this set for moving teams.  Sammy Sosa was traded across town from the White Sox to the Cubs for former MVP George Bell – he’d only go on to have 4 straight 50 homer seasons and over 600 for his career.  Gary Sheffield hit over 500 homers for his career, and he vied for the triple crown in 1992 after being traded to the Padres. He didn’t win the triple crown, but he is still the only Padre other than Tony Gwynn with a batting title.  Curt Schilling would go on to pitch in 4 World Series (winning 3), Andres Galarraga would hit .370 and win a batting title of his own, while Kenny Lofton replaced Rickey Henderson as the best leadoff hitter in baseball.  Lofton played in 11 postseasons.

On the other side, there were quite a few guys who were traded or signed as free agents who didn’t quite live up to their past performance.  Jack Morris is a bit of an exception here – he did win 21 games in 1992 for the Blue Jays – and he played on both of their World Series champions.

Finally, this set is kind of cool because it features Felipe Alou as a manager for the Montreal Expos and his son Moises playing for the same team.  I’m not sure why Moises was in the set – he was traded to the Expos in 1990 and was shown with them on a 1991 Topps card, but it’s neat nonetheless.

1992 Topps parallel sets

22 11 2011

While Topps had previously issued a “Tiffany” set, which was a glossy, white cardstock parallel version of the base set, in 1992 Topps began using white cardstock for the base set, so a Tiffany set would have been less relevant – and thus the set was discontinued.

Topps had what was a novel idea at the time – but a concept that became (all too) common soon thereafter.  1992 was the first time Topps – or any manufacturer – included what we think of today as parallel sets in its product.  Topps inserted Topps Gold parallel cards, which had the player and team name at the printed in gold foil, 1 per box into its 1992 product.

Gold – 792 cards (1:36)

Topps had some company with this idea in 1992 – a “Black Gold” parallel was issued at a much more common 1 per pack in Leaf’s 1992 card set. Topps also included 10 of the Gold cards into each regular factory set, and produced 12,000 factory sets of the Gold cards.  The Gold factory sets had an extra card – #793, which was an autographed card with a new photo of #1 pick Brien Taylor (who was also featured as card #6 of the base set).  This is the first insert of an autographed card into any Topps product. I bought one of these on eBay for a little more than 5 bucks:

Topps Traded also had a Gold version issued as a factory set only.  The set was numbered to 6,000 copies.

A 10-pack of Topps Gold Winners set was available by playing and winning the Topps Match-the-Stats game.  The prize was originally supposed to be Topps Gold cards, but the game was compromised through some savvy use of a dark room and a flashlight (see here for the explanation).  Topps honored the request, but added a “winner” stamp to the Gold foil for cards received as a prize for the game.  I somehow have a few Gold Winner cards from way back in the day – Jim Thome was the most notable of these.

The 6 checklists were replaced with players who weren’t part of the base set for both Topps Gold and the Gold Winners parallels.  Topps replaced the Traded checklist with Kerry Woodson in the Traded Gold set.

  • 131 – Terry Mathews
  • 264 – Rod Beck
  • 366 – Tony Perezchica
  • 527 – Terry McDaniel
  • 658 – John Ramos
  • 787 – Brian Williams
  • 132T – Kerry Woodson

Topps also produced a “micro” set for the second of 3 years.  These mini-cards were produced in factory set form, measuring 1″ x 1-3/8″.  I bought Reds team sets for all 3 years of micro parallels on eBay a little while back.

1992 Topps scans

21 11 2011

For the third Topps set in a row, I’ll start off with how the set starts – Nolan Ryan.  This set follows up the effort in 1991 with some more very good photography (though I’d give 1991 the edge between the two).

Again Ryan’s card is followed with the Record Breakers subset.  I only got the first 3 out of this 4-card subset, but at least I got the Rickey and the Nolan.  The Rickey Henderson is the biggest – it honors him passing Lou Brock for the most career stolen bases.  Strangely, the Nolan Ryan card isn’t for his 7th no-hitter – it’s for passing Don Sutton for his 22nd season with 100+ strikeouts.  The Reardon card is for the most 20-save seasons – that’s 2 dumb ones in a row.  The card I didn’t get was Dave Winfield’s card for the oldest player to hit for the cycle – now that’s more interesting.

Next up is my obligatory Rickey showcase…

After Rickey – I know everyone hates him, but this is a really cool card of Mr. Bonds.

OK, away from the Steroid King!  Then the second best card in the set – which also happens to be my favorite all-time players…

Followed by the hands-down best card in the set.

Next, here’s 4 cards I found interesting for completely different reasons:

  • Reggie Sanders RC – he was a big bopper for the Reds in the mid-90’s, and even though it feels like he didn’t live up to his promise, he actually stayed around for quite a while.  He is one of 7 players with 300 homers and 300 SB, he played in 6 postseasons for 5 teams, won the World Series with the ’01 Diamond Backs, and went to 2 others (’02 Giants and ’04 Cardinals).  Out of those 6 postseason appearances – his team never lost in the first round.
  • I like the Todd Zeile card – it highlights something they do throughout this set.  His head overlaps the border, and it makes it look kind of like he’s outlined by the card.
  • I had no idea Curt Schilling was ever an Astro, and I have no memory of ever seeing this card.
  • I love the Leyland card, usually Topps just does a pose shot for the managers, so I like that here he’s hitting fielding practice.

Speaking of Leyland, 1991 was his last year with both of these guys in his outfield – so these were the last cards with both of these guys in a Pirates uniform.

These two guys became teammates in 1991, it’s kind of cool to see their first White Sox cards.

There are some good poses in this set – another juggler, a shot of Harold Baines employing the Bash Brother hand shake, Dave Righetti towelling off, and two All-Stars in a horizontal pose.

Speaking of horizontal shots, there were some really good action ones, too.  It seems that Topps really went for a lot of base paths shots of these.  There’s also a vertical photo of Steve Sax on the base paths that’s as good as any of the horizontal shots.

After some of the better photos, Here’s some of the stars that had just about had their best years behind them by 1992.

On the other side of that, here’s some players who were up-and-coming at the time.  This is Lofton and Thome’s first base Topps card, though he’d had a Bowman and Upper Deck Final Edition card in 1991.  Bernie Williams was back after having a 1990 Topps card but not one in 1991.


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