A few months ago I finished the 1994 Topps set. Finishing one of the base Topps sets is a big step toward the Lifetime Topps project!
Info about my set:
How I put the set together:
- 307 cards from series 1 wax box
- 259 cards from series 2 wax box
- 222 cards from trades
- 2 cards I already had from back in the day
- 1 card from a card show
- 1 card from Sportlots
Card that completed my set: #379 – Mark McLemore (one of 3 cards received from a trade with Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary)
I didn’t realize it at first, but McLemore’s card is an uncorrected error because the card # is one of two cards, along with Benito Santiago, bearing number 370 in the set. McLemore is supposed to be 379.
Set composition: 792 cards (695 individual ML player cards*, 28 Coming Attractions, 10 Prospects, 34 Draft Picks, 9 Measures of Greatness, 11 All-Stars, 1 Aaron Tribute, 4 checklists)
*The 695 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies, 26 Future Stars and Nolan Ryan’s final season tribute
Representation of ’93 MLB season: The Coming Attractions is a dual-player subset, and the Prospects cards have 4 players, one from each level of the minor leagues. If you do the math, and exclude the Aaron card, that means there are 825 player cards in Topps. One of the Draft Pick players did make the majors in 1993 (Jeff Granger) – leaving 33 who did not. 19 of the players in the Coming Attractions subset did not make it to the Majors, 8 of the Future Stars didn’t, and 38 (all but 2) of the players from the Prospect subset didn’t actually make it.
That leaves 733 guys in the set who played in MLB in 1993. The 733 players represent 66.4% out of the 1,104 players who played in MLB in 1993. It’s worth noting – the 1,104 players was a huge increase since there were 2 expansion teams in 1993.
Last active player from this set: #158 – Derek Jeter
There are no players in this set currently active. Derek Jeter wast the last active player from the set – he played the final game of his historic career at Fenway park on September 28th last year, which was the final day of the season. He singled in his second at bat to knock in Ichiro Suzuki and was pulled for Brian McCann to replace him as DH. That has to be the only time Brian McCann ever pinch ran for anyone.
There were 2 other players who played their last game at the end of the 2014 season. Jason Giambi played as a DH for the Indians on September 27th and has since retired. Jamey Wright pitched for the Dodgers and notched a hold in his last game on September 27th. He wasn’t on the team’s postseason roster. Wright tried to latch on with the Rangers last spring training but missed out on the team’s final cut.
Player with the most cards in the set: 5 players with 3 cards:
There are 2 “extra card” subsets, and 5 players have a card in both the All-Star and Measure of Greatness subset – Frank Thomas, Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr.
Ripken – #200, #387 (All-Star), #604 (Measure of Greatness)
Thomas – #270, #384 (AS), #601 (MoG)
Griffey – #400, #388 (AS), #606 (MoG)
Boggs – #520, #386 (AS), #603 (MoG)
Bonds – #700, #390 (AS), #605 (MoG)
First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Mike Piazza, #100 – Kirby Puckett, #200 – Cal Ripken, #300 – Ryne Sandberg, #400 – Ken Griffey Jr., #500 – Bo Jackson, #600 – Don Mattingly, #700 – Barry Bonds
Three of the 5 guys from the “most card” category made the special card section.
Highest book value: #158 – Orlando Miller, Brandon Wilson, Derek Jeter, Mike Neal PROS
It’s not his rookie card, but this prospect is Jeter’s second card.
Most notable card: #34 – Nolan Ryan
This was Ryan’s last card – his 27th card since he shared card #177 with Jerry Koosman back in 1968. Topps created a card with Ryan’s full statistical background on the back, and a logo on the front for Ryan’s 27 season.
Best card (my opinion): #180 – George Brett
This is Brett’s 20th and final Topps flagship card. And it’s his best. Pure majesty.
Second best card (also my opinion): #675 – Roberto Alomar
Back when I did my scans of cards from this set, I picked this card as my favorite. I’ve since changed my mind – I think the Brett is too good. But it’s got really good competition from this card, where Roberto Alomar forced out his brother and then threw on to first in an attempt at a double play. This play occurred on April 17, 1993, though I can’t narrow it down between two separate plays.
Best subset card: #715 – Hank Aaron TRIB
Aside from this card and those that are guys’ actual cards for the set are Measures of Greatness and All-Star cards. Nothing in those subsets beats out the tribute card for Hank Aaron, which was put into the set to honor the 20th anniversary of his record-breaking 715th homer.
Favorite action photo: #149 – Kenny Lofton
Though I considered just putting the Alomar card from above as the winner here, I don’t think it’s the best card based purely on the action shot. It’s amazing because he’s forcing out his brother, but I think this Lofton is better if you just go on the action shot. It looks like he’s about to make a diving catch, after losing his hat a few seconds earlier!
Favorite non-action photo: #80 – Jose Canseco
From the wood-clippings at his feet, Canseco seems to be shaving down the handles of his bats. I’m not sure how many players do this, and this might be the only card where that’s done!
My Favorite Reds card: #705 – Jose Rijo
There are a lot of good cards in this set, and a lot of those good cards feature Reds. I really liked Barry Larkin’s card where he’s going back on a fly ball, and Chris Sabo has a cool photo where he’s legging out a ground ball. Joe Oliver has a very good play at the plate card. But Rijo’s card is the best. If I think about it, I probably prefer this card to the Canseco card above as far as non-action photos go.
This is a cool photo of the times; the Super Soaker had just come out in 1992 and I remember all the kids getting them, even though at 12 or 13 years old I was getting a bit old to play with high-powered squirt guns. There are 2 other cards that I’ve found that have water guns on them. The first is another Rijo card. On the back of his 1994 Stadium Club Member’s Only card, Rijo has upgraded to a souped-up version of the super soaker with 3 “cartridges”. The other is a Roger McDowell card, also from 1994. His collector’s choice card shows him taking a picture with a couple of water guns shoved into his belt.
Other Notable Cards: Here’s some of the other cards that I really liked and/or are memorable. A number of these were considered for the “honors” above. The Mitch Williams is probably my favorite; I really thought about putting that as the best action photo.
Topps Reprints and others:
- 1999 Ryan reprints – Nolan Ryan
- 2001 Through the Years – Barry Bonds
- 2001 Archives – Jack Morris, George Brett, Robin Yount, Ryan
- 2001 Topps Traded – Terrence Long (’94T), Ben Grieve (’94T)
- 2002 Archives – Jason Giambi
- 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Jeff Conine, J.T. Snow, Mike Piazza
- 2010 CMT – Tony Gwynn, Bo Jackson, Billy Wagner
- 2011 60YOT – Piazza, Manny Ramirez
Both Mike Piazza and Nolan Ryan have multiple reprints.