Completed master set – one last look at 1997 Topps

2 06 2016

Once I completed the Awesome Impact set, which I did last September and posted about yesterday, that meant I’d locked down the master set for 1997 Topps.  This is the latest year that I’ve done so.

There weren’t any particularly major obstacles here, there’s just a number of insert sets that took a little while to accumulate.

Info about my base set:

How I put the base set together:

  • 249 cards from series 1 retail box
  • 216 cards from series 2 retail box
  • 30 cards from trades

Card that completed my set: #261 – Lance Johnson

1997 Topps final card - Lance Johnson 261

Best card (my opinion): #463 – J.T. Snow

1997 Topps 263 JT Snow best card

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

My Master” Set Info:

719 cards – 495 “base”, 215 “insert”, 9 “other”

Toughest card to track down:  Pre-Production #PP1 – Frank Thomas

1997 Topps Pre production Thomas PP1

This could be any one of the 9 pre-production cards.  They were very difficult to track down, or even learn much about before I did.

How I put the additional sets together:

  • Promos – all 9 cards from eBay
  • Inserts – 27 cards from boxes, 11 from trades, 8 from card shows, 80 from COMC, 59 from Sportlots, 30 from Beckett’s Marketplace

Other product bests

Read the rest of this entry »





Completed insert set – 1997 Topps Awesome Impact

1 06 2016

Here’s another late 90’s insert set.  This one was of the future stars variety, and it was all about the shiny.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This series 2 retail only insert features younger “future star” players from the era.  The background features holographic foil with the set name at the top and a broken ice effect behind the player.  The back has a blue cracked ice effect, too, with 1996 stats, and a write-up about the impact the player is having and could have in the future.

 

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:18 odds (1997 Topps series 2 – retail only)

Hall of Famers:  None yet.  But this set is pretty loaded and there will be quite a few in the future.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from my series 1 retail box
  • 6 cards from Beckett’s Marketplace
  • 6 cards from COMC
  • 5 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  I like themes, and doing future stars is good.  This isn’t the absolute best era for future stars – late 80’s or early 00’s might be better – but it’s surprisingly good.  For shiny sets, it seems pretty cool.

Card that completed my set:  #AI-17 – Ruben Rivera

1997 Topps Awesome Impact Ruben Rivera

I got this card from Sportlots last December.  Rivera once stole Derek Jeter’s glove in spring training and then sold it to a memorabilia collector.  Jeter and Rivera are both in this set – I can’t make this stuff up!

Best card (my opinion):  #AI-2 – Tony Clark

1997 Topps Awesome Impact Tony Clark

I remember when he was a young gun with some power.  But how often can you get the future head of the MLBPA in an insert set!  Sorry, but Donald Fehr doesn’t have a card as a player.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

Scan of the set:

1997 Topps Awesome Impact complete

1997 Topps Awesome Impact complete 2
1997 Topps Awesome Impact complete 3

Any other tidbits:  I don’t know if there’s some nugget I passed over about this set, but I feel like I should show off the Vladimir Guerrero card.

1997 Topps Awesome Impact Vlad

I picked Tony Clark as the best card for the reasons noted above, but Vlad has a great card in this set, too.  He’s young, he’s skinny, and he looks like he’s about to hit a double on a ball 1 foot below the strike zone!





1997 Topps parallels – Chipper Jones

7 05 2016

1997 Topps

Card I selected:  #276 – Chipper Jones

The 1997 set marks an end to the run of me picking Hall of Famer players, though that end is temporary as Chipper will go in a couple of years from now.  In 1997 the number of cards I could pick from is still at 5 cards, counting 2 jumbos.  Topps didn’t do any team specific sets in 1997, but they make a jumbo version of the regular card of 3 players and a jumbo version of the Chrome card for 6 guys.  This was sold in special packaging at Wal-Mart.  I already did a Cal Ripken card, and I’m going to do Ken Griffey Jr. in 1999, so Chipper is my only option here if I don’t want to double up on the same player (I don’t).

I didn’t have all of these cards when I started doing these posts.  I had actually found the Chrome jumbo card of Chipper on ebay a while ago; these seem a little bit more common than the regular Topps jumbos.  But I did some more digging with a creative eBay search and found the regular jumbo still in the Wal-Mart box.  So for 1997 I have every parallel for this little game of mine.

1997 Topps Wal-Mart box Chipper

# of cards (including the Topps card):  5

The parallel sets in 1997 include:

  • Oversize
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Refractors
  • Chrome Oversize

Scans:

1997 Topps #276

1997 Topps Chipper Jones

1997 Topps Chipper back

Topps got a bit confused with the numbering at the end of series 1 and the beginning of series 2.  The last card of series 1 is checklist #276.  The first card of series 2… is also card #276, this Chipper Jones card.  There is no card #277.

1997 Topps Oversize #1

1997 Topps Chipper Jones

1997 Topps Jumbo Chipper back

A special Wal-Mart box included a jumbo version of the reprint of the 1952 Willie Mays Topps card, along with 10 series 1 packs.  For series 2, there was a box of 15 retail packs with jumbo versions of the 3 different players mentioned above.  The cards measure 3-¾” by 5-¼”.  The only difference other than size is that the cards are numbered 1 through 3.

Since I bought the box after I was done with the 1997 set, I’ve now got 15 packs I’m not sure what to do with :)!

1997 Topps Chrome #97

1997 Topps Chrome Jumbo Chipper Jones

1997 Topps Chrome Chipper back

Topps Chrome was back for the second time.  165 of the cards from the base set were reproduced using chromium technology.  These chrome cards are smoother than the debut – there aren’t little circles/bubbles in the background.  The cards are obviously numbered differently, and there’s also a slight difference on the back as Topps has extra lines with their patent info for Chrome technology.

1997 Topps Chrome Refractor #97

1997 Topps Chrome Refractor Chipper Jones

1997 Topps Chrome Refractor Chipper back

Inserted every 12 packs of Topps Chrome were refractor cards. These cards have a plastic diffraction effect that gives the card a colorful, reflective shine.  The back also says refractor in the upper right-hand corner just above the number.

1997 Topps Chrome Oversize #1

1997 Topps Chrome Jumbo Chipper Jones

1997 Topps Chrome Chipper back

There was a similar Wal-Mart box made for Topps Chrome that included a jumbo version of 6 different players (including Jones, Griffey and Ripken).  This package had 5 Chrome packs included.The cards measure 3-¾” by 5-¼” and except for that are exactly the same as the Topps Chrome cards.

The “Rainbow”:

1997 Topps Chipper rainbow

This is my favorite rainbow to date.  Pretty neat how the bottom 2 cards line up perfectly with the top 3.

Any sets I didn’t get:  That’s all that you could possibly get.  Which is why I picked Chipper.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  To get all of those I’d be limited to the 3 guys I mentioned.  JT Snow had my favorite card of the set, where he’s trying to lean over the Royals dugout to make a catch.  Royce Clayton, Butch Huskey and Chuck Knoblauch also have very cool cards.





1997 Topps Wal-Mart series 2 jumbo box

6 05 2016

I ended up buying something for this parallel project in 3 different cases.  Those packs would be otherwise unnecessary.  The first one was this jumbo box of 1997 Topps.  Topps released special Wal-Mart boxes including a jumbo card.  Series 1 had a jumbo reprint of the 1952 Willie Mays Topps card, and came with 10 series 1 packs.  In series 2, the box had 15 retail packs with jumbo versions of 3 different players from the base set – Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken or Chipper Jones.  These jumbo cards are really hard to find, and I’ve never seen a single Chipper card sold.  But I did find a box with the Chipper card.  So I bought it on eBay for about 20 bucks shipped.

I’ve finished the 1997 set, and all the inserts, so this was completely superfluous.  But if I’m gonna buy it – I might as well open it.  And post about it.

Here’s a picture of the box from when I bought it on eBay.

1997 Topps Wal-Mart box Chipper

Here’s the box, after I stripped it of its contents.

1997 Topps Wal-Mart s2 box

It’s kind of funny how they fit the packs in there.  You can see about 5 rows on the left hand side.  There’s 2 packs in each of those rows.  Which means they had 5 packs fit in other areas throughout the box.  It was something of an Easter egg hunt getting them out.

Here’s the jumbo card of Chipper.  The top left side was a little dinged, which is a bummer, but it’s due to the packaging.  The card was directly fit into the cardboard of the box.  After 19 years old – it having a ding not too surprising.

1997 Topps Jumbo Chipper

1997 Topps Jumbo Chipper back

In the first pack I opened, I got a Mays Finest card.  Pretty good job.  The odds were 1:28, so getting one in a 15 card box is good.

1997 Topps Mays Finest 1961 AS

In the 5th pack, I got Chipper himself, so kind of nice to compare the jumbo to the real thing.

1997 Topps Chipper Jones

I got 2 Season’s Best cards – Otis Nixon and Lance Johnson of the Leading Looters variety.

1997 Topps Season Best Johnson Nixon

In the last pack, I got one more Mays Finest card.  Not a refractor – that would have been cool.  Still beating odds, I guess.

1997 Topps Mays finest 57

I got a lot of the same card in this box – it had really poor collation if I was using this to start a set.  Since these are all doubles, I didn’t really care.

1997 Topps Wal-Mart box base

1997 Topps Wal-Mart box base cards

Those were some of the better base cards from series 2.  Remember – anything above (except the Chipper Jumbo) is for trade!





Completed insert set – 1997 Topps Willie Mays Reprints

21 03 2016

I posted for the completed version of this set using Finest technology a few days ago.  I finished that one first.  But a couple of months later I made another COMC purchase where I finished the regular version of the Mays reprints.  I guess there’s a little duplication here, but at least you can see scans of the 2 versions 🙂

Info about the set:

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Set description:  After honoring Mickey Mantle in 1996, Topps followed that up with a set of reprint cards with the other all-time great from the 1952 Topps set.  Topps issued reprints of the full run of Mays base cards from his career – including Bowman cards.  That’s 27 cards from 1951 through 1973.  Series 1 had the regular reprints, while series 2 had the Finest version.  The fronts have a stamp identifying it as the Mays reprint set.  The backs have very small numbering noting which number in the set the specific card is.

Set composition:  27 cards, 1:8 (1997 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Mays.

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from 1997 retail box
  • 4 cards from trades
  • 1 card from the 2013 NSCC
  • 8 cards from Sportlots
  • 7 cards from COMC
  • 3 cards from Beckett Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #9 – 1957 Topps

1997 Topps Mays Reprints 1957

I picked up this from COMC in July last year.

Thoughts on the set:  Of course it’s tagging on from the Mickey Mantle set in 1996, but at this point I don’t think the idea had jumped the shark.  In fact, I liked the idea of doing full runs of reprints of former players.  I wish Topps would have kept up with it.  They started redoing the idea in 2015 with jumbo reprints called “Cardboard Icons” that you can only get directly on the Topps website.  But back in 1997, this was pretty cool, and I dig the finest sets even more than the regular reprints.

Best card (my opinion):  #1 – 1951 Bowman

1997 Topps Mays Reprints 1951 Bowman

Can’t go with a different pick than I did 2 days ago, can I?

My Favorite Reds card:  There obviously are none.

1997 Topps Mays Reprints
1997 Topps Mays Reprints 2

1997 Topps Mays Reprints 3





Completed insert set – 1997 Topps Willie Mays Finest

18 03 2016

Continuing on with the great catch-up of completed insert posts.  Any time I complete one of these reprint sets from the late 90’s – that’s a good thing.  I actually completed the Finest set for Willie Mays before I finished the regular set.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  After honoring Mickey Mantle in 1996, Topps followed that up with a set of reprint cards with the other all-time great from the 1952 Topps set.  Topps issued reprints of the full run of Mays base cards from his career – including Bowman cards.  That’s 27 cards from 1951 through 1973.  Series 1 had the regular reprints, while series 2 had the Finest version.  The backs have very small numbering noting which number in the set the specific card is.  The cards had the “protective peel” like many Finest cards from the mid-90’s had.  Not a good idea on Topps’ part.

Set composition:  27 cards, 1:20 (1997 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Mays.  Unlike Mantle, Topps only included a few reprints of Mays’ subset cards.  None of them were of the multi-player variety.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from 1997 retail box
  • 1 card from a trade
  • 1 card from the 2013 NSCC
  • 1 card from Sportlots
  • 21 cards from COMC

I did really well in the retail box – 3 is definitely beating the odds.

Card that completed my set:  #15 – 1961 Topps Sporting News All-Star

1997 Topps Mays Finest 1961 AS

I bought this card from COMC last May.

Thoughts on the set:  Of course it’s tagging on from the Mickey Mantle set in 1996, but at this point I don’t think the idea had jumped the shark.  In fact, I liked the idea of doing full runs of reprints of former players.  I wish Topps would have kept up with it.  They started redoing the idea in 2015 with jumbo reprints called “Cardboard Icons” that you can only get directly on the Topps website.  But back in 1997, this was pretty cool, and I dig the finest sets even more than the regular reprints.

Best card (my opinion):  #1 – 1951 Bowman

1997 Topps Mays Finest 1951 Bowman

Unlike Mantle, I think of the 1951 Bowman card for Mays before his 1952 Topps card.  It’s his true rookie.

My Favorite Reds card:  There obviously are none.

1997 Topps Mays Finest

1997 Topps Mays Finest 2

1997 Topps Mays Finest 3

Any other tidbits:  Topps could have put the 1974 set in there – Mays was featured on a World Series card.  That would have seemed better than the 1961 All-Star card.

Also, if you look at the cards above, Topps used 4 photos multiple times in Mays’ run.  So I guess the reusing of photographs isn’t a new phenomenon.  But it seems more unacceptable now than in 1960.

Finally, I found it weird that they made the border so much bigger on the 1968 and 1971 Topps card.  To a lesser extent on 1971, but it’s noticeable on both.  The cropping isn’t any different – they just shrunk the photo a bit and made the tan border much thicker.





Completed insert set – 1997 Topps Hobby Masters

17 03 2016

Here’s another late 90’s insert set that I completed.  This set was the first of 8 Hobby Masters sets Topps would do – though it was the only one from the 1990’s.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  Topps reached out to hobby dealers to pick 20 players who had the most hobby impact in 1997.  The cards are printed on card stock that’s thicker than standard cards, with foilboard background with a diffraction effect over an up close shot of the player’s face.  A photo from further back overlays that.  The backs are in red, containing career and 1996 statistics, and a write-up describing why the player is so popular.

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:36 odds (1997 Topps series 1, series 2 – hobby only)

Hall of Famers:  7 – Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken, Greg Maddux, Tony Gwynn, Randy Johnson, Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza

How I put the set together:

  • 8 cards from Sportlots
  • 7 cards from COMC
  • 4 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 1 card from the 2013 NSCC

Since I bought retail boxes in 1997, I had to get all of these from purchases.

Card that completed my set:  #HM14 – Brady Anderson

1997 Topps Hobby Masters Brady Anderson

I got this card from COMC nearly a year and half ago – as part of a big purchase I bought for Black Friday in 2014.  It was actually on of 5 different cards from that purchase.  I just pick an interesting one when that happens.  I could have picked Jeter or Ripken, but how often will I scan a Brady Anderson card?  Anderson was coming off his break out 50-homer campaign in 1996.

Thoughts on the set:  The idea of polling hobby dealers is a good idea.  Topps did a nice job with this set.  The thick card stock makes it feel a little premium, and I like the foilboard background and how it fits with the smaller picture. Overall, it’s a very nice set with a bunch of great players included.

Best card (my opinion): #HM13 – Chipper Jones

1997 Topps Hobby Masters Chipper Jones

Many of the cards have the top photo obscure the player’s face from the background photo.  The ones where the card is set up to avoid doing this are the better cards in the set.  Chipper meets this criteria, and the photo of him getting ready for a potential ground ball is great.  The Piazza card gives this one a run for its money.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

Here’s the scan of the full card set:

1997 Topps Hobby Masters

1997 Topps Hobby Masters 2

1997 Topps Hobby Masters 3

Any other tidbits:  Getting hobby dealer input was an interesting idea.  I was surprised Mark McGwire wasn’t in this set.  I guess that, while he’d hit 52 homers in 1996, he hadn’t fully arrived back on the scene after his injury plagued early-90’s.  It wasn’t until after this set came out, in 1997, he gave his first real run at the Maris home run record.