Completed insert set – 1996 Topps Masters of the Game

4 05 2017

I did the “elusive eight” post yesterday for getting the Kirby Puckett card from this set.  This is the completed set post.  I’m actually getting pretty close to finishing up the 1990’s!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This hobby only insert highlights the best players in the game at the time.  The horizontal cards have a picture of the player on the front with a view of his home field in the background – all with a bit of the spectralight effect.  The back has particular accomplishments that I guess qualify this player as a “Master of the Game”.

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:18 odds (1996 Topps series 1 hobby)

Hall of Famers:  12.  Dennis Eckersley, Eddie Murray, Paul Molitor, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas

How I put the set together:

  • 15 cards from COMC
  • 4 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from Beckett’s Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #15 – Kirby Puckett

I just got this card to knock it off my Elusive 8 list last week.

Thoughts on the set:  I like the thicker card stock, and the background foil technology is great.  Topps could do something like this today and I would like it.  It would have been nice if they did a foil version of the Mantle tribute (card #7).

Best card (my opinion):  #7 – Tim Raines

I’ll go with the recently inducted HOF member.  It took too long for Rock to make it to Cooperstown.  By this point he was a grizzled vet.  The Mattingly card was a close 2nd – it was released right after he retired.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.  Barry Larkin would have seemed appropriate here – coming right off his MVP season after a decade in the league.

Here’s the scan of the full set.

Any other tidbits:  As mentioned, this card came out after Mattingly retired.

12 out of 20 HOF-ers is pretty impressive, plus you’ve got Bonds and Clemens who are probably the best 2 (or at least 2 of the best 3) historical players in this group.

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Completed insert set – 1996 Topps Power Boosters

22 07 2016

I’m traveling to Cooperstown today, so I can’t do a Hall of Fame related post.  So I’ll do this post – which I wanted to get in last week but ran out of time.  I finished this set up by getting a card from my “elusive eight” list from Beckett’s Marketplace.  I thought it would be a really long time before I finished this set, but I’m stoked to get it out of the way!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  25 of the first 26 cards of the ’96 Topps set consist of 2 subsets – the first 11 cards being Star Power for current All-Stars and the next 14 being Draft Picks.  Topps created a foil version of the same cards and inserted them 1 per box, just as they had done for the first 10 cards of the ’95 Topps Traded set.  They are printed on much thicker stock with diffraction (“power boost”) background.  The card backs have a head shot and mid-season statistics for the player.

Set composition:  25 cards, 1:36 odds (1996 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  6.  Tony Gwynn, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Barry Larkin, Tom Glavine, Craig Biggio.

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from my ’96 s1 retail box
  • 1 card I already had from back in the day
  • 13 cards from COMC
  • 7 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from eBay
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 1 card from Beckett’s Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #21 – Jim Scharrer

1996 Topps Power Boosters Jim Scharrer

I just got this card to knock it off my Elusive Eight in mid-July.

Thoughts on the set:  I like the thicker card stock, and the background foil technology is great.  Topps could do something like this today and I would like it.  It would have been nice if they did a foil version of the Mantle tribute (card #7).

Best card (my opinion):  #25 – Sean Casey

1996 Topps Power Boosters Sean Casey

Todd Helton has a more notable rookie card that’s paralleled in this set, but Sean Casey’s card is the coolest to me.

My Favorite Reds card:  #6 – Barry Larkin

1996 Topps Power Boosters Barry Larkin

Coming off his MVP year!

Here’s the scan of the full set.

1996 Topps Power Boosters Complete

1996 Topps Power Boosters Complete 2

1996 Topps Power Boosters Complete 3





1996 Topps parallels – Frank Thomas – no more hunting left to do!!!

2 07 2016

1996 Topps

I just got the Refractor of the Big Hurt.  Most of the post below has already been read, but with the new card I want to tidy up this post with all the pictures.

Card I selected:  #100 – Frank Thomas

This marks the 6th straight Hall of Famer for the 1996 set.  I’m up to 5 cards, counting a jumbo.  Cyberstats was gone, but there was a new regional product called Team Topps, and Topps Chrome was released for the first time.

Unfortunately, this is also the first time I don’t have every card I want, so I’ll need to return to this post at some point.  I’m missing the Chrome Refractor card of Thomas.  A few months back, when I decided I wanted to be serious about doing these parallel cards, I went on a bit of a splurge to buy as many as I could.  One I didn’t buy was the Chrome Refractor for Thomas in 1996.  It was on eBay for a while, but at $20, seemed too steep.  It’s now been sold, so I’ll have to wait.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  5

The parallel sets in 1996 include:

  • Team Topps
  • Team Topps Big
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Refractors

Scans:

1996 Topps #100

1996 Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Frank Thomas back

1996 Team Topps #100

1996 Team Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Frank Thomas back

Certain teams were part of the first “Team Topps” set sold at Wal-Mart with “Big Topps” cards.  The Team Topps cards were parallel versions of the players from the team, with the same number and picture as the regular card.  The only difference was a special stamp, usually gold foil.  The teams sold were the Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Mariners, Indians, Dodgers, Braves and Orioles.

1996 Big Topps #NNO

1996 Big Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Big Topps Frank Thomas back

The Big Topps cards featured the superstar from that team.  The inset Topps card was the same size as the regular card, with a blue marble background to make it a jumbo card.

1996 Topps Chrome #29

1996 Topps Chrome Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Chrome Frank Thomas back

Topps issued a “Topps Chrome” product for the first time.  165 of the cards from the base set were reproduced using Topps chromium technology.  The background has little circles/bubbles, which is a little different from the way Chrome is done today.  The cards are obviously numbered differently, and there’s also a slight difference on the back as Topps has an extra line with their patent info for Chrome technology.

1996 Topps Chrome Refractor #29

1996 Topps Chrome Refractor Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Chrome Refractor Frank Thomas back

This is the card I found to finish off this year in Topps parallels – and re-do this post!

Like all refractors, these cards are identical to their regular counterpart, except the fronts have a plastic diffraction grating that gives the card a colorful, reflective shine.

The “Rainbow”:

1996 Topps Frank Thomas rainbow

Most blogs have a vertical orientation.  This one included.  It is what it is.  If I could do this blog in landscape, it would work better for this one scan.  But it’s still the best way to scan 4 regular size cards and one jumbo.

Any sets I didn’t get:  That’s it.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  I’m limited to guys on the 9 teams that had Team Topps cards, and if I want to include the Jumbo “Big Topps” – that means there are only 9 players.  Considering I also want to have a different player, Cal Ripken was out once I got to 1996.  I thought about Griffey, Maddux, but I do really like this card of the Big Hurt and planned on using Griffey for 1999.





1996 Topps parallels – Frank Thomas (some hunting left to do)

5 05 2016

1996 Topps

Card I selected:  #100 – Frank Thomas

This marks the 6th straight Hall of Famer for the 1996 set.  I’m up to 5 cards, counting a jumbo.  Cyberstats was gone, but there was a new regional product called Team Topps, and Topps Chrome was released for the first time.

Unfortunately, this is also the first time I don’t have every card I want, so I’ll need to return to this post at some point.  I’m missing the Chrome Refractor card of Thomas.  A few months back, when I decided I wanted to be serious about doing these parallel cards, I went on a bit of a splurge to buy as many as I could.  One I didn’t buy was the Chrome Refractor for Thomas in 1996.  It was on eBay for a while, but at $20, seemed too steep.  It’s now been sold, so I’ll have to wait.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  5

The parallel sets in 1996 include:

  • Team Topps
  • Team Topps Big
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Refractors

Scans:

1996 Topps #100

1996 Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Frank Thomas back

1996 Team Topps #100

1996 Team Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Frank Thomas back

Certain teams were part of the first “Team Topps” set sold at Wal-Mart with “Big Topps” cards.  The Team Topps cards were parallel versions of the players from the team, with the same number and picture as the regular card.  The only difference was a special stamp, usually gold foil.  The teams sold were the Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Yankees, Mariners, Indians, Dodgers, Braves and Orioles.

1996 Big Topps #NNO

1996 Big Topps Frank Thomas

1996 Big Topps Frank Thomas back

The Big Topps cards featured the superstar from that team.  The inset Topps card was the same size as the regular card, with a blue marble background to make it a jumbo card.

1996 Topps Chrome #29

1996 Topps Chrome Frank Thomas

1996 Topps Chrome Frank Thomas back

Topps issued a “Topps Chrome” product for the first time.  165 of the cards from the base set were reproduced using Topps chromium technology.  The background has little circles/bubbles, which is a little different from the way Chrome is done today.  The cards are obviously numbered differently, and there’s also a slight difference on the back as Topps has an extra line with their patent info for Chrome technology.

1996 Topps Chrome Refractor #29

COMING SOMEDAY TO A BLOG NEAR YOU

As I mentioned, I don’t have this card yet.  Like all refractors, these cards are identical to their regular counterpart, except the fronts have a plastic diffraction grating that gives the card a colorful, reflective shine.

The “Rainbow”:

COMING SOMEDAY TO A BLOG NEAR YOU

Any sets I didn’t get:  That’s it.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  I’m limited to guys on the 9 teams that had Team Topps cards, and if I want to include the Jumbo “Big Topps” – that means there are only 9 players.  Considering I also want to have a different player, Cal Ripken was out once I got to 1996.  I thought about Griffey, Maddux, but I do really like this card of the Big Hurt and planned on using Griffey for 1999.





Completed insert set – 1996 Topps Road Warriors

13 04 2016

This is my 5th finished insert set from 1996 Topps.  Getting close on the master set!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This series 2 insert was available only in specially marked Wal-Mart retail packs.  The front of the card shows a full shot of the player with a paved road in the background and the player name in foil at the top.  The words “Road Warriors” is at the bottom.  The back shows the 5 best opposing parks for that player.  Interestingly, there is a Fleer insert set of the same name in 1996.

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:1 (1996 Topps Wal-Mart series 2)

Hall of Famers:  3. Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Frank Thomas.

How I put the set together:

  • 13 cards from Sportlots
  • 4 cards from COMC
  • 3 cards from Beckett’s Marketplace

Thoughts on the set:  I really like the design.  However, the photos don’t fit.  It suffers a bit from photo selection working with the design.  Only 2 of the cards (Bell, Gant) truly fit into the road design as if those guys were running down the road on the card.  2 more (Biggio, Bonds) sort of fit.

The concept is great.  Overall, it was a fun set to read through.  There are so many insert sets from back in the late 90’s that I would really enjoy seeing today.  I appreciate sets that are geared toward better players, but aren’t afraid to put a guy like John Valentin in over Ken Griffey Jr. in 1996 because, damn it, he had better road stats!  Today it feels like Topps would never do that.

Card that completed my set:  #RW10 – Tino Martinez

1996 Topps Road Warriors Tino

I got this in May of last year on Beckett’s Marketplace.

Best card (my opinion):  #RW8 – Ron Gant

1996 Topps Road Warriors Gant

I mentioned how Gant fits the design.  I think he fits the design better than Biggio.  Craig looks like he’s strolling down the street.  But this looks like a highway!  Gant looks like he ran halfway down the street, saw a Ferrari coming and now needs to brake and scoot back a bit before he moves forward.

My Favorite Reds card:  #RW8 – Ron Gant

96 Road Warriors front

96 Road Warriors front

There is a Reggie Sanders card as well, but like I said, the Ron Gant card fits the design better than any other card in the set.

1996 Topps Road Warriors complete

1996 Topps Road Warriors complete 2

1996 Topps Road Warriors complete 3

Any other tidbits:  McGwire’s statistics on the back jump out at you far more than anyone else.  He had 5 homers in 14 at bats in Fenway Park and 3 homers in 9 AB at Comiskey.

1996 Topps Road Warriors McGwire back





Completed insert set – 96/97 Topps Mickey Mantle Finest

11 04 2016

Last year I posted about the completed insert set of Mickey Mantle reprints that Topps produced in 1996 and continued in 1997.  I finished the regular set back in December, 2014.  This is the Finest version.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  To honor the Mick, who had passed away in August, 1995, Topps issued reprints of the full run of Mantle base cards from his career.  This included Bowman for the years when he didn’t have a Topps card – from 1951 through 1969.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1951-1969 were issued from 1996 Topps series 1; the Finest version came in series 2.  His 1951 Bowman reprint was issued in 1996 Bowman; the Finest version was inserted into packs of Bowman’s Best.  Finest reprints of his subset cards from Topps flagship, as well as his 1952 and 1953 Bowman cards, were issued in 1997 Topps series 2.

This post is for the Finest version of the set, which came with the (annoying) protective peel.

Set composition:  36 cards in total.

  • 19 cards, 1:18 (1996 Topps series 2)
  • 1 card, 1:24 (1996 Bowman’s Best)
  • 16 cards, 1:24 (1997 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  4 – obviously Mantle is on every card, however the last 16 subset cards have other Hall of Famers in them.

Mantle, Yogi Berra, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from 1996 retail box
  • 3 cards from 1997 retail box
  • 1 cards from trades
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 2 cards from Beckett’s Marketplace
  • 10 cards from Sportlots
  • 17 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #27 – 1962 Topps Managers’ Dream (with Willie Mays)

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest 62 Topps Manager Dream

I was 1 card short for a little while, but I picked this one up on COMC in May last year.  And here I am, posting about it less than a year later – but not by much.

Thoughts on the set:  It’s the Mick, on cards from 20 years ago.  Before the idea of reprints had become completely overdone.  This wast one of the first sets in the Retro craze that began in the early-mid 1990’s.  On some level, this led to having sets like Heritage, which has a Chrome parallel that uses the same technology.  It was great at the time, even if it seems overplayed out a little now.

Best card (my opinion):  #2 – 1952 Topps

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest 52 Topps

You can’t beat the most famous card in the history of the hobby.

My Favorite Reds card:  There obviously are none.

Here’s a scan of the full set.

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest complete

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest complete 2

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest complete 3

1996 97 Topps Mantle Finest complete 4

Any other tidbits:  None that I can think of.  At some point, when I’m wrapped up (or caught up) with the Lifetime Topps Project – I’d like to do post where I cover the amount of different Topps designs that certain players have been on.  For example, Mantle has been on 1952-53, and 1955-69 from his playing days.  I know he’s been on 1954 and 1955 in “Cards that Never Were” inserts, and he was featured as card #7 in the 2006 through 2012 sets.  In 2006, they caught up to the missing card #7 with designs from 1996 through 2005 in a special Mantle Collection set.  He was on the 1987 design in the 2012 Topps mini ’87 insert.  He was on the 1975 design in the form of the 2011 Lineage parallel.  He was on the ’51 design in the insert sets Topps did exclusively for Target and Wal-Mart in 2010.  That’s 38 designs as I count them.  I wonder if that’s the most?  It’s probably not.  But it would be fun to do a post with scans of notable players with that in mind.





Completed insert set – 96/97 Topps Mickey Mantle Reprints

20 08 2015

I have gotten to a pretty crazy amount of completed insert sets that I’ve yet to post about.  My unposted number as of about a week ago was a whopping 41, plus 1 unfinished post for a completed base set as well.  So I should either abandon doing completed insert posts, or start catching up.

I like doing them, so the former option isn’t really an option.  I started doing some catch up last week, and here’s another set!  This is one of the few sets that crosses multiple years.

Info about the set:

Set description:  To honor the Mick, who had passed away in August, 1995, Topps issued reprints of the full run of Mantle base cards from his career – including Bowman for the years when he didn’t have a Topps card – from 1951 through 1969.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1951-1969 (Bowman was 1951, 1954, 1955) were issued from 1996 Topps series 1.  His 1952 Bowman reprint was issued in 1996 Bowman.  Reprints of his subset cards from Topps flagship, as well as his 1953 Bowman card, were issued in 1997 Topps series 1.

Set composition:  36 cards in total.

  • 19 cards, 1:9 (1996 Topps series 1)
  • 1 card, 1:48 (1996 Bowman)
  • 16 cards, 1:12 (1997 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  4 – obviously Mantle is on every card, however the last 16 cards have other Hall of Famers in them.

Mantle, Yogi Berra, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays

Card that completed my set:  #15 – 1965 Topps, #31 – 1960 Topps MVP

I bought 2 cards from COMC during their annual Black Friday sale, each from a different year.  The 1996 set had all of Mantle’s regular Topps / Bowman cards, while the 1997 set had his subsets from Topps during his playing days.

How I put the set together:

  • 6 cards from 1996 retail box
  • 3 cards from 1997 retail box
  • 3 cards from trades
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 2 cards from Beckett
  • 13 cards from Sportlots
  • 8 cards from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  This wast one of the first sets in the Retro craze that began in the early-mid 1990’s.  On some level, this led to having sets like Heritage, Archives and even Ginter and Gypsy Queen.  It was great at the time, even if it seems overplayed out a little now.

Best card (my opinion):  #2 – 1952 Topps

You can’t beat the most famous card in the history of the hobby.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none (obviously).

1996-97 Topps Mantle reprints

1996-97 Topps Mantle reprints_0001

1996-97 Topps Mantle reprints_0002

1996-97 Topps Mantle reprints_0003