1993 Topps parallels – Roberto Alomar

2 05 2016

1993 Topps

Card I selected:  #50 – Roberto Alomar

A 3rd straight Hall of Famer was my pick for the 1993 set.  Alomar had my favorite action photo of the set – he has a ton of great Topps cards in the early-mid 1990’s!

O-Pee-Chee was done copying Topps in 1993, so no more Canadian parallels.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  6

The parallel sets in 1993 include:

  • Gold
  • Inaugural Marlins
  • Inaugural Rockies
  • Micro
  • Micro Prism


1993 Topps #50

1993 Topps best action Alomar

1993 Topps Roberto Alomar back

1993 Topps Gold #50

1993 Topps Gold Roberto Alomar

Topps Gold was back in 1993, though it was much easier to find, as the parallel came 1 per pack (instead of 1 per box).  The cards had the same idea – the nameplate was stamped in gold foil.  The back of the card was exactly the same as the regular Topps card.  In fact, it was for all of the parallels in 1993, so I’m not re-scanning the back of the card.

1993 Topps Inaugural Rockies #50

1993 Topps Inaugural Rockies Roberto Alomar

1993 Topps Inaugural Marlins #50

1993 Topps Inaugural Marlins Roberto Alomar

Topps produced 2 special factory sets for sale at both the Marlins’ and Rockies’ team stores.  The cards are stamped with a Marlins and Rockies logo – less than 10,000 sets were produced of each.

1993 Topps Micro #50

1993 Topps best action Alomar

1993 Topps Roberto Alomar back

1993 Topps Micro Foil #50

1993 Topps Micro foil Roberto Alomar

Topps also produced a “micro” set for the third and (thankfully) final time.  These mini-cards were produced in factory set form, measuring 1″ x 1-3/8″.  Other than the fact they are ridiculously small, they are the same as the main set.  There were also 10 parallel cards of the micro set (a parallel of a parallel) that had a foil background.

The “Rainbow”:

1993 Topps Roberto Alomar rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  None that I know of.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Bobby Bonilla was my favorite card in the set – he’s pictured with Manhattan in the background.  But he didn’t have one of those foil micro parallels, and Alomar did.  Kirby Puckett also has a very memorable card that features him with a giant bat from a photo shoot that was also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  He did have a micro foil card, so I could have gone with him – but decided I like the Alomar action shot better.


2 white whales! 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 – 1993 Topps Gaetti & Ortiz (& Felix)

8 07 2013

After getting intrigued by two cards in the 1992 Topps set that were similar, I came across an even more similar comparison.  In fact, I think I found two cards that brought out the baseball card detective in me again.  I’ve blown these up as big as they go to show some of the detail.

1993 Topps Gaettie

That’s Gary Gaetti after his Minnesota days.  In 1992 he was playing for the Angels, and here he’s sliding into home with Junior Ortiz awaiting.  But I found another card…

1993 Topps Junior Ortiz

…that is clearly the same play!  Notice the guy in the blue plaid shirt above the dugout.  And you can tell that’s Gaetti by the number 3 in the background.  This is taken just a little earlier than the vantage from the card above.

I decided to do some work to see if I could determine the dates and details of the games.  The Indians are wearing home white, so it’s a game where California visited Municipal Stadium in Cleveland.  In 1992, Ortiz was a backup catcher for the Tribe, splitting time with Sandy Alomar, Jr.  So he didn’t play all that much – he had around 250 plate appearances in 1992.  From the game log in 1992 for Ortiz, he played every game in the 4-game series at Cleveland from April 30 – May 3.  Gaetti did not play in the April 30th game, but did play in the other 3.  So I’ve narrowed it down to those 3 games.

All I had to do was find an outfield assist or (maybe) a game where Gaetti scored.  It looked pretty clear that he was out at home from this picture, though.  Looking at the box scores, this play at the plate occurred on May 2nd – in the 4th inning to be exact.  Gaetti singled with one out to knock in Junior Felix and give the Angels a 2-1 lead.  He went to second on the throw home.  The next batter, Mike Fitzgerald singled to center on the next play, and Kenny Lofton gunned Gaetti out at home.  The play was key to the game – the Indians came back to win the contest, 3-2.

There’s another card that seems to be taken from the same vantage point, and – there we go! – that guy with the plaid shirt makes another appearance.  Sot that makes it pretty clear that it’s the same game.  There’s Ortiz featured in another play at the plate.  This time, it’s Junior Felix featured in a play at the plate.  Checking the box score again, this is actually the run Gaetti knocked in.  He singled Felix in from second, and when the throw was late, Gaetti went to second on the throw.

1993 Topps Junior Felix

My detective work is done for the day!

Completed set & master set – one last look at 1993 Topps

7 07 2013

1993 was the year I got back into collecting cards after a few year hiatus.  I had gone from a 7 or 8-year old collecting 1987 and 88 Topps to a much wiser young teenager who had missed the whole Upper Deck phenomenon.  1993 Topps certainly seemed like an improvement to some of the years of Topps I’d missed – it was glossy after all and had more colorized photos – but it still seemed inferior to the glitz that Upper Deck was putting out there like their base set and SP.  And it even paled in comparison next to Topps’ other products like Stadium Club and the almighty Topps Finest (which I couldn’t afford but could certainly drool over at card shows).

I mentioned this when I wrapped up the 1992 set, but this was a transition time for the Topps base set.  In 1991, the photography got markedly better, and in 1992 the card stock was upgraded to white stock.  In 1993, the cards went slightly glossy with a color photo on the back.  The final transformation would be a year later when, in 1994, base Topps got the super-glossy UV coating.  I guess you could say in 1995 they went a step further with gold foil on the base cards.  All this led to significant increases in pack prices, by the way

Today I’m older, wiser, and in another phase where I’ve come back to baseball cards.  And I appreciate the 1993 Topps set more than I used to.  It’s no Upper Deck 1993.  I don’t know of any set that is.  In 1993, Upper Deck basically kicked ass, because honestly just about everything they did was awesome (in my humble opinion).  But ’93 Topps has some good photography, I actually like the light glossy effect on the cards.  And I appreciate going different with the vertical back design.

Like 1992, this is one year where finishing the “master set” was very easy for how I define it.  There is one insert set – Black Gold, and I already had it when I started this collection.  Topps Traded was still around, but in factory set form, so that was easy to check off my list.  I also go after the promo sets, but the ones from this year weren’t too difficult to find.  And the MLB Debut set ended after 1992 – so this will be a full-blown “master set” post.

One last thing to note – this is the first set I finished that was issued in 2 series, so I opened two boxes total.  It’s the largest Topps set ever issued at 825 cards.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 307 cards from the series 1 wax box
  • 345 cards from the series 2 wax box
  • 16 cards I found I already had previously at my parents’ house
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 156 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #630 – Mark Grace.  One of 3 cards received in a trade with Nolan’s Dugout that completed the set.  Kyle also provided the final card for the ’92 set.

1993 Topps Mark Grace 630 last card

Read the rest of this entry »

Completed set – 1993 Topps

7 07 2013

Just the stats here – I’m doing the master set post tomorrow.  This was the largest Topps set ever issued at 825 cards.

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 307 cards from the series 1 wax box
  • 345 cards from the series 2 wax box
  • 16 cards I found I already had previously at my parents’ house
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 156 cards from trades

Card that completed my set:  #630 – Mark Grace.  One of 3 cards received in a trade with Nolan’s Dugout that completed the set.  Kyle also provided the final card for the ’92 set.

1993 Topps Mark Grace 630 last card

Set composition:  825 cards (713 individual player cards*, 26 Coming Attractions, 10 4-player Top Prospects, 16 2-player expansion prospects, 28 draft picks, 14 Managers, 11 All-Stars, 6 checklists, 1 “Russians Angels”)

*The 713 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies

Representation of ’92 MLB season:  There are 5 players featured on two regular cards in the set as they are shown in a Rockies or Marlins uniform in series 2.  None of the players from the Expansion prospects made the big leagues in 1992, and none of the 3 “Russian Angels” ever made the majors.  There were 18 other Marlins & Rockies throughout series 2 who didn’t play in 1992.  6 of the Top Prospects, 20 of the Coming Attractions did in fact make the bigs in ’92, and 1 Draft Pick subset did make the majors (Jeff Granger).

So, if you do all that math from above, that leaves 716 different players on cards in 1993 Topps.  Of those remaining players, there were 5 guys with “regular” cards who didn’t play in 1992 as well.  Youngsters Chris George (Brewers), Todd Van Poppel (A’s), Jeff Juden (Astros) and Kevin Flora (Angels) all played briefly in 1991 but didn’t get a cup of coffee in 1992.  And Bo Jackson had a card despite being out all of 1992 recovering from hip replacement surgery.  The 711 players represent 70.6% out of the ~1,007 players who played in MLB in 1992.

Last active player from this set: #98 – Derek Jeter (rated #20 in Topps vote of 60 best cards)

93topps Rookie Jeter

Jeter is the only player still active who is in this set.

Technically, he’s on the DL and his last game was game 1 of the ALDS last year.  This would still have him beating out Jim Thome by about 3 days as the last active player.  In addition to Jeter and Thome, Chipper Jones and Omar Vizquel are in this set.  All 4 of these guys played their last regular season game on 10/3/12, though Jeter will make that a moot point soon.

Player with the most cards in the set: 27 players with 2 cards in the set.  The 22 players featured on the All-Star cards and then 5 players mentioned above with both a series 1 and series 2 regular card.

Topps started going with a lot more draft pick and prospect cards in 1993, removing the more traditional subsets in the process.

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Robin Yount, #100 – Mark McGwire, #200 – Kirby Puckett, #300 – Cal Ripken, #400 – Bo Jackson, #500 – Jose Canseco, #600 – Bret Saberhagen, #700 – Nolan Ryan, #800 – Shawn Jeter

1993 Topps first and 00s

Highest book value: #98 – Derek Jeter DP RC (see above)

Most notable card: #98 – Derek Jeter DP RC (see above)

Like Manny the year before, this is easily the most notable card in this set.  And, as the only noteworthy rookie card (sorry Jim Edmonds), Jeter easily carries the highest “book value”.

Best card (my opinion): #52 – Bobby Bonilla

1993 Topps best card Bonilla

I imagine this is a card where there could be quite a bit of disagreement.  And to each his own.  This doesn’t feature a baseball action shot, or even a pose in an actual baseball environment.  Bonilla (and Bonds a year later) were such big free agent signings.  They felt like the first really huge free agent moves in baseball history.  At some level, they were, because Bonilla signed the largest contract ever in 1992 when he left Pittsburgh for the Mets.  Bonds passed him the next year when he left for the Giants.

Anyways, like him or not and question his tenure in New York, I think this card captures a bit of baseball history in a unique way.  And New York City has always held a special allure to me.

Second best card (also my opinion): #200 – Kirby Puckett

1993 Topps 2nd best card Puckett

Another card with a contrived photo.  But that’s ok – it’s another cool contrived photo.  This card, featuring Puckett posing with a giant baseball bat, was actually the same photo that Sports Illustrated used when it put Puckett on the front cover of its 1992 baseball preview issue.

Best subset card: #409 – Greg Maddux / Roger Clemens AS

1993 Topps best subset Clemens Maddux AS

Tom Glavine and Kevin Brown were the actual starters from the 1992 All-Star game, but that’s OK.  This card captures (arguably) the 2 greatest pitchers of our lifetime.  Of course, you didn’t know that then that they would win a combined 709 games and 11 Cy Young awards, but it’s cool they were both on this same card.

Favorite action photo: #50 – Roberto Alomar

1993 Topps best action Alomar

This card is pure awesome.  The dust settling.  Carlos Baerga sliding into second to break up the potential double play. Alomar (who would someday take that spot at second base Baerga held in Cleveland) looking on after the throw, mid-air with his leg kicked up.  Mel Harder’s retired number in the background at old Municipal Stadium.  I won’t lie, I had to look up who the hell Mel Harder was, bujt it’s still cool.  He won over 220 games, by the way.

The McGwire (show above as it’s card #100) and Gary Carter’s card, which shows a play at the plate with Fred McGriff, are also some pretty good action shots I considered.

Favorite non-action photo: #52 – Bonilla (see above)

Best card overall, and best pose to me.  Just beating out that Puckett.

My Favorite Reds card: #515 – Greg Swindell

1993 Topps best Red Swindell

Swindell had a pretty decent year with the Reds during his lone season in Cincinnati in 1992.  This is a cool photo.  Beats out a pretty good card of Tom Browning.

Topps Reprints and others:

  • 1999 Ryan reprints – Nolan Ryan
  • 2001 Through the Years – Derek Jeter
  • 2001 Archives – Gary Carter, Bert Blyleven, Jack Clark, Carlton Fisk, Dale Murphy, Frank Tanana
  • 2001 Archives Rookie Reprints – Jeter, Jim Edmonds, Preston Wilson
  • 2001 Topps Traded – Mike Piazza (’93T), Barry Bonds (’93T)
  • 2002 Archives – Lenny Dykstra
  • 2002 Archives Reprints – Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez
  • 2002 Gallery Heritage – Bret Boone, Mike Piazza (just his part of the card), Martinez
  • 2003 Gallery Heritage – Jeter
  • 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Eric Karros, Jeff Kent, Kenny Lofton, Moises Alou, Reggie Sanders
  • 2010 CMT – Jeter, Ozzie Smith, Frank Thomas
  • 2011 60YOT – Edmonds, Craig Biggio
  • 2013 Rookie Card Patch – Jeter

Jeter comes in with 5 reprints, 3 more than Edmonds, Martinez and (sort of) Piazza’s quad player prospect card.

Other Notable Cards: The big thing with this set was that series 2 featured over 60 players dressed in Rockies and Marlins uniforms.  It certainly seemed like there were 2 or 3 in every pack.  Some would have 2 guys per pack – like the first two players signed for each team – Clemente Nunez for the Marlins and Ryan Turner.  David Nied and Nigel Wilson were their first picks from other teams in the expansion draft.  Charles Johnson and John Burke were their first round picks from 1992 – but neither has a card in this set for some reason.

93topps Rockies Marlins

Completed insert set – 1993 Topps Black Gold

27 05 2012

I always viewed the ’93 Topps Black Gold set as their first ever insert.  It wasn’t exactly true – there were inserts like stamps as far back as the early 60’s, there were packaging-specific inserts like All-Star Glossy, Rookies, and Batting Leaders all throughout the 80’s, and in 1992 there was Topps Gold cards at 1 per box.  But, card collectors today think of inserts as cards that are distinct from the base set that you get at a certain rate per packs you’ve opened.  Topps Black Gold really was the first offering in Topps flagship that fit this bill.

Info about the set:

Set description:  Staying in line with the Gold theme that Topps adopted in the early 90’s in the flagship product for all 4 sports, the Black Gold cards had gold foilboard at the top and bottom.  The Topps Black Gold logo is in the top left of the card. The rest of the background is completely black, with the player outlined by a white line.  The back of the card has another photo of the player with a writeup against a blue background.  The set has 22 players from each league.

Set composition:  44 cards

Inserted: 1:72 odds (1993 Topps – 22 cards per each series, 11 from each league).

There were also redemption cards inserted at a more difficult rate that could be exchanged for 11, 22 or all 44 cards in the set.

Hall of Famers: 12

Andre Dawson, Tony Gwynn, Barry Larkin, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Smith, Roberto Alomar, Dennis Eckersley, Kirby Puckett, Dave Winfield, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas

How I put the set together:

  • I already had the full set from back in 1993.

Thoughts on the set:  I like this insert set more now than I used to.  I always thought Topps was pretty inferior to Upper Deck for card technology and for inserts at this point in time (because, frankly – they were).  But these are pretty nice cards.  There isn’t really a theme to get in this set – Topps just put popular players in an even amount per league.  But overall, these are the first cards Topps did like this and I appreciate them more now than I did 20 years ago.

Card that completed my set:  N/A, since I already had it.  I’m pretty sure in 1993 we just bought the whole set anyways.

Highest book value:  1 – Barry Bonds

Best card (my opinion):  2 – Will Clark

“The Thrill” had a very unique swing, and you can see his follow through on this card.  It looks cool.

My Favorite Reds card:  14 – Joe Oliver

It would be easy to pick Larkin, but Joe Oliver getting an insert card is pretty cool if you ask me.

1993 Topps Traded

17 12 2011

Topps again issued a 132-card “Traded” set in 1993 the same as previous years; cards were numbered 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 is the same as the base set.

For the 2nd year, the box design was more colorful box with some red white and blue stripes at the top.

There are four cards of Reds 1990 World Champion members.

  • 1992 All-Star Norm Charlton was traded to the Mariners for Kevin Mitchell in mid-November.
  • Paul O’Neill was traded to the Yankees for Roberto Kelly shortly after the World Series.  We sure got the short end of the stick there.
  • Jack Armstrong was selected of the Indians’ roster as the Marlins’ 20th pick in the expansion draft.
  • Randy Myers left San Diego as a free agent to sign with the Cubs.  He’d produce immediate results, winning the Rolaids Relief Award in 1993 and saving 53 saves – the 2nd most ever at the time (still 5th most).

There are 3 Hall of Famers in the set.

  • Andre Dawson signed as a free agent with the Red Sox.
  • After knocking in the series-clinching run for Toronto and finishing 5th in the MVP voting, Dave Winfield signed with his hometown Minnesota Twins as a free agent.
  • Wade Boggs had his worst season ever in 1992 – it was his first season under .300, and .259 was the lowest he ever hit.  Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they let him walk, and though he never quite got back to his 1980’s form, he was a big part of the Yankees renaissance over the next 5 years.
  • Paul Molitor left Milwaukee after 15 seasons to replace Winfield as the DH for the World Champion Blue Jays.  Molitor went on to have one of the 2 best seasons of his career – hitting .332, earning 2nd place in the MVP voting, and helping the Blue Jays to their 2nd straight title.

Topps featured 22 players from the Team USA roster in the Topps Traded set.  There wasn’t one big tournament in 1993 (like the Olympics in 1992 or the Pan Am Games in 1991) – but Team USA did field a college team in a number of different tournaments.  Todd Helton is overwhelmingly the biggest name in this group – and the biggest RC of this set.

There are also some other “rookie” players worth showing here – though the idea of these rookies starting becoming a little less relevant around the mid-90’s.  The Piazza was probably the biggest card in the set when released, and he had one of the great rookie seasons of all-time in 1993.  But his rookie card is in 1992 Bowman – and he even had a card as part of the 1993 Topps “4-player prospects” subset.  Carl Everett actually had rookie cards in 1991, and Sele was in the draft pick subset in 1992 Topps.

There are some bona fide stars who switched teams to get into this set.  Both NL award winners switched teams.  Barry Bonds is the first card in the set – and this is his first Topps card with the defending MVP in a Giants uniform.  Cy Young winner Greg Maddux was the other huge free agent in the 1992 offseason – he signed with the Braves.  Padre teammates Sheffield and McGriff were traded within 3 weeks of each other to the Marlins and Braves.  Dave Cone and Andres Galarraga were also big signings.  After Cone was one of the first “rental” pitchers to help a team to a World Series title with Toronto in 1992, he signed with his original team the Royals, where he’d win the 1994 Cy Young.  Galarraga was the first big free agent signed by either the expansion Rockies or the Marlins.

There were also some other bigger names – I forgot that Kirk Gibson went back to Detroit to finish his career.