Completed insert set – 1998 Topps Roberto Clemente Reprints

31 12 2015

I’ve still got a ton of completed set posts to go through, but on New Year’s Eve, this set seems like the most appropriate.  43 years ago today, Roberto Clemente died while on a flight to bring relief aid to victims of a massive earthquake in Nicaragua.

Info about the set:

Set description:  Clemente was the 3rd historic player honored with a reprint set (after Mickey Mantle in ’96 and Willie Mays in ’97).  Clemente was a good choice, as 1998 marked 25 years since his tragic death.  This set had reprints of the full run of his base Topps cards during his career.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1955-1973 were issued across both series 1.  The 10 odd years come in series 1, while the 9 even years come in series 2.  There is a gold Clemente logo, created

Set composition:  19 cards, 1:18 odds (1998 Topps series 1, 2)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Clemente.  None of his multi-player cards are included.

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from my 2 1998 hobby boxes
  • 5 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 10 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #18 – 1972 Topps

I bought the last cards I needed from COMC back in May.

Thoughts on the set:  Retro sets are everywhere you look these days, but in 1998 there weren’t that many, and they were almost all reprints.  This wasn’t the first set like this, but it was still a great idea at this point in time.

Best card (my opinion):  #19 – 1973 Topps

The 1972 card is probably my favorite photo, but the 1973 card is great as well.  And there’s something awesome about seeing exactly 3,000 hits on the back of the card.

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

1998 Topps Clemente Reprint complete

1998 Topps Clemente Reprint complete_0001

1998 Topps Clemente 1973 Reprint

Completed insert set – 1998 Topps Rookie Class

24 09 2013

I completed another insert set earlier this year but couldn’t post the completion (under my strange and unwritten “rules of the blog”) until I actually completed my 1998 Topps background posts.  Yesterday was Clemente, today is Rookie Class.

Info about the set:

Set description: Replacing the Clemente tribute cards from series 1 is a 10-card set of the top rookies coming into the league in 1998.  The cards feature an action photo in the foreground with a tinted background.  There is also a second photo of the player in the background, and the words rookie class going up the side.  The back has another player photo along with 1997 stats and a write-up.

Set composition: 10 cards, 1:12 odds (1998 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers: None yet.  Todd Helton and Paul Konerko – maybe someday.

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from my series 2 hobby box
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 4 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from Beckett’s marketplace

Thoughts on the set:  This set is OK.  Not the greatest rookie class – Helton has been a pretty good player who just passed 2500 hits.  Konerko has had an excellent career.  For what it’s worth, I think Helton should be a Hall of Famer, but Konerko is very close but I lean toward no.  Derrek Lee is also in the set.  Overall, not a bad set, and one that was probably more interesting to collect at the time when these guys were young than 16 years later.

Card that completed my set: #R10 – Ben Grieve

I got this card from Beckett’s website in May.  Grieve was the 1998 AL Rookie of the Year, but had only one season after 1998 that compared to his rookie campaign.

Highest book value: #R3 – Todd Helton

Best card (my opinion): #R5 – Mark Kotsay

I like the picture of Kotsay following through on his swing, and the teal Marlins uniform seems to go well with the card design.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

1998 Topps Rookie Class

1998 Topps Rookie Class_0001

Completed insert set – 1998 Clemente Tribute

22 09 2013

I completed an insert set last year but hadn’t gotten to posting my foray into 1998 Topps.  I just finished up my posts on 1998 Topps, so now the wait to post about this set is over!  This was a 5-card tribute set for Topps “hero of the year” in 1998 – Roberto Clemente.

Info about the set:

Set description: “Clemente tribute cards featuring color photography that has never appeared on any trading card”.

Set composition: 5 cards, 1:12 odds (1998 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers: 1. Obviously.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from series 1 hobby box
  • 2 cards from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  I wasn’t too excited about this set at first, but given the recent state of Topps baseball card photography – having 5 completely new pictures of Clemente is actually pretty cool, and must have been at the time!

Card that completed my set: #RC2 – Roberto Clemente

One of 2 cards I got from Check Out My Cards during their Black Friday special last November.

Highest book value: all are the same

Best card (my opinion): #RC1 – Roberto Clemente

Clemente picking his weapon of choice is my favorite photo.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

1998 Topps Clemente Tribute complete set

1998 Topps ’90 Reds Cards

11 09 2013

After going up to 9 of the 25 1990 World Series team members in the 1997 Topps set, there was a decrease of 4 players represented in the 1998 set – down to only 5 players (but no subset cards).

There were 5 players gone from after having cards in the 1997 set:

  • Jose Rijo didn’t have a card in the set as he was out of baseball for five years.  He would get one again in 2002 – he was the second player in baseball history to play in a game after receiving Hall of Fame votes.
  • Eric Davis was not in the 1998 Topps set even though he was in a bunch of other sets in 1998 – including Topps Gallery.  Davis played for Baltimore in 1997, but was diagnosed with colon cancer and only played about 40 games.  He would be back in the base set in 1999.
  • Mariano Duncan’s last Topps card was in 1997.  He helped the Yankees to their first World Series title in nearly two decades in 1996.  He was decent for the Yankees and Blue Jays in 1997, and he did have some cards in 1998 from Pacific.  He played his last baseball in Japan in 1998 for the Yomiuri Giants.
  • Norm Charlton had his last Topps card in 1997, and like Duncan did have a card in some Pacific sets in 1998.  He actually pitched through 2001, but was largely ineffective for 5 different teams.
  • Randy Myers had also had his last Topps card in 1997.  This is kind of shocking – he led the AL in saves and won the Rolaids Relief award in 1997 while pitching for the Baltimore Orioles.  He had cards in other sets, just not in any Topps products.  Myers would be out of baseball soon thereafter, though.  He saved 28 games for the Blue Jays in 1998, but had an ERA over 4.  He was picked up off waivers by the Padres in one of the biggest waiver blunders – the Padres claimed him to block him from the Braves getting him, and thought the Jays would pull him back.  But they just let San Diego have him.  He did pitch for the Padres in the World Series, but did not pitch well.  He was injured and never pitched after the 1998 season.

Lou Piniella was manager of that Mariners team – but Topps still didn’t have manager cards for the fourth straight year.  He’d be back in Topps sets in the future, though.

There was 1 player back after not having a card in the 1997 set:

  • Joe Oliver was a bit of an alternator.  He was in the ’94 set, then gone from the ’95 set after injuries basically eliminated his 1994 campaign.  He was back in 1996, but kept out of the ’97 Topps set despite playing over 100 games the season before.  He was back in 1998 – with the Reds!

There were no subset or insert cards other than the Printed in Cooperstown parallel that each base card had.

1998 – Jeff Reed, Hal Morris, Barry Larkin, Paul O’Neill, Joe Oliver

1998 Topps Reds

1998 Topps Autographs and Memorabilia

10 09 2013

In 1998, Topps didn’t insert any autographs directly into packs of their base product.  They had done so with Willie Mays autos the year before, and a Derek Jeter auto into series 2.

Clemente Memorabilia Madness Redemption – 19 cards (1:2,400 series 1)

1998 Topps s1 box Clemente Wild Card madness

Series 1 also included a Clemente Memorabilia promotion where you could get a bunch of different memorabilia related to Clemente.  You needed to pull one of the winner cards and also include one of the Wild Cards above.

Here are the prizes you could win:

  • 227 of Clemente’s old Topps cards (3 of his 1955 Rookie Card),
  • 500 uncut sheets of Topps “Minted in Cooperstown” parallels,
  • 10 different autographed Topps cards of Clemente (1 was his 1970 Topps Super),
  • 1 Clemente Game-Used Jersey,
  • 2 autographed Pirates team World Series baseballs (1960, 1971),
  • 3 other Clemente Autographed balls,
  • 3 different signed posters/photos,
  • 4 game-used bats,
  • 4 canceled checks,
  • 1 cut autograph with a photo, and
  • 99 Clemente Pirates jerseys issued by Topps specifically for this promotion.

Here’s a picture of one of the Pirates jerseys you could have won.  A few of these have popped up on eBay over the years – this one was on somewhat recently.  Notice the patch on the upper right arm – it’s the same as the Clemente logo Topps put onto his 1998 reprint cards.


1998 Topps inserts

8 09 2013

On to my next post about 1998 Topps inserts.  The last post covered the Roberto Clemente inserts; today covers the rest.

None of insert sets (other than the Clemente reprints) were “continuous” – they were all specific to either series 1 or series 2.  As always, the insert odds reflect hobby packs unless otherwise noted.

Mystery Finest Interleague (20 cards, 1:36 series 1)

Mystery Finest Refractors Interleague (20 cards, 1:144 series 1)

For the fifth straight year, Topps inserted cards with Finest technology into the base product.  This set was inserted into series 1 packs, and combines themes from the 2 previous years.  The 1996 Mystery Finest idea was back, combined with an interleague theme like the 1997 insert set.  There were 4 different players on the back of the card (2 from each team that played in an interleague matchup).  You would have to peel the black cover to see which player you got.

1998 Topps s1 Mystery Finest Sosa

The cards were available in refractor versions – I didn’t pull any.  I do like the design here – it uses the finest technology well.

Mystery Finest Bordered (20 cards, 1:36 series 2)

Mystery Finest Refractors Bordered (20 cards, 1:108 series 2)

Mystery Finest Borderless (20 cards, 1:72 series 2)

Mystery Finest Refractors Borderless (20 cards, 1:288 series 2)

There was a different series 2 Mystery Finest insert set.  This was a new take on the Mystery Finest.  You could tell which player you were getting by looking at the back – however, the “mystery” answered by peeling the black case was which version you pulled.  There were 4 versions – bordered and borderless cards, and a refractor version of each type.  I don’t like this design quite as much as the series 1 card fronts.

1998 Topps s2 Mystery Finest bordered

Hall Bound (20 cards, 1:36 – series 1, hobby only)

These die-cut cards have the words “Hall Bound” at the top and a banner with the player’s name.  The backdrop features a faded image of the MLB Hall of Fame building in Cooperstown.  The set has the stars of the era who Topps thought would make the Hall of Fame someday.  Of course they didn’t realize in 1998 that there was going to be this whole “steroid scandal” that would change the whole dynamic of how people judge statistics and the Hall of Fame.  That said, this set is one of my favorites – Topps did a good job with the die-cut on this and I like the color of the background and how the Hall of Fame building is worked in.  Interestingly, Rickey Henderson has a card in this set but not in the base set.

1998 Topps s1 box HallBound Bonds

Etch-A-Sketch (9 cards, 1:36, series 1)

This nine-card set features drawings by artist George Vlosich III done on an etch-a-sketch and put onto cardboard.

1998 Topps s1 Etch a Sketch Bonds

Flashback (10 cards, 1:72, series 1)

These cards basically feature two different designs with a foil background on each side – one showing the player “currently” (meaning 1998) and another showing the player when he was earlier in his career.  I didn’t get any of these in my series 1 hobby box.  The word “flashback” is at the top of both design, and I like how the team logo reflects the times.

1998 Topps Flashback Ken Griffey Jr

Baby Boomers (15 cards, 1:36, series 1, retail only)

I bought a hobby box, so I didn’t get any of these yet.  The cards have a firework background behind the player photo, and feature young stars in-the-making.  It’s a set with some pretty good names – Jeter, Nomar, Helton, Rolen.

1998 Topps Baby Boomers Jeter

Rookie Class (10 cards, 1:12, series 2)

There was a series 2 insert set for youngsters as well – this one for 1998 rookies with a foil background.

1998 Topps s2 Rookie Class

Clout Nine (10 cards, 1:72, series 2)

Replacing the Flashback insert set in series 2 was Clout Nine.  This featured the player at each position (including DH but not pitcher) who had the highest slugging in MLB at that position.  The player is featured in the center and there’s a head shot of each of the other 8 players down the side.

1998 Topps s2 Clout Nine

Focal Points (15 cards, 1:36 – series 2, hobby only)

I actually didn’t get one of these in my hobby box for series 2 – so in 1998 maybe I would have been writing in to Topps customer service!  This set features an action shot of the player and 3 close-ups of different “focal points” from that picture.

1998 Topps Focal Point Frank Thomas

Milestones (15 cards, 1:36, series 2, retail only)

The retail only insert in series 2 was called Milestones.  This set focused on career milestones that these individual players were close to at the end of the 1997 season.  The front has a foil background with 2 player photos, the back discusses milestones that player could reach in 1998.

1998 topps milestone bonds

1998 Topps Retro Inserts (Clemente)

5 09 2013

After issuing reprints from Mantle and Mays in 1996 and 1997 flagship set, Topps continued the theme in 1998 with Roberto Clemente.  Clemente was the theme elsewhere in the product, too.  He was given card #21 (his uniform number) in honor of the 25th anniversary of his passing, and there is a 5-card tribute set in series 1.

As always – odds below are for hobby packs.

Clemente Tribute (5 cards, 1:12 series 1)

1998 Topps s1 box Clemente tribute

This 5-card tribute set covers some of Clemente’s career highlights and was included in series 1.  The borderless cards had some new photos of Clemente (new at the time) and has the Clemente tribute logo on the front with a Puerto Rican flag as the backdrop.

Clemente Reprints (19 cards, 1:18)

1998 Topps s1 box Clemente reprints

Topps had the same inserts for Clemente as they did for Mantle and Mays before him, but they did it a little differently.  In the past, series 1 had the reprint set and series 2 had the Finest versions.  For Clemente in 1998, Topps inserted both sets in both series; the odd years came in series 1 and the even years came in series 2.  The reprints are glossy, but other than that there are only small differences from the originals.  There is a gold foil stamp on the front to designate the cards as “Roberto Clemente Commemorative” reprints, and a small extra line on the back noting the card number for the insert set.

Clemente Reprints Finest (19 cards, 1:72)

Clemente Reprints Finest Refractors (19 cards, 1:288)

1998 Topps s1 box Clemente refractor

Topps again inserted Finest and Refractor versions of each set.  The card above was the only one of these I pulled in two boxes – but it’s a refractor!

Clemente Reprints Last Day Production (19 cards, 1 per series 2 case)

Hobby factory sets were packaged with 8 random insert cards and a hermetically sealed “Last Day Production” version of one of the Clemente cards.  This was similar to sets done in 1996 for Mantle, except those were done as case toppers.

1998 Topps Clemente Last Day Sealed back

Clemente Memorabilia Madness Redemption – (1:2,400 series 1)

1998 Topps s1 box Clemente Wild Card madness

Series 1 also included a Clemente Memorabilia promotion where you could get a bunch of different memorabilia related to Clemente.  You needed to pull one of the winner cards and also include one of the Wild Cards above.  I’ll do a separate post with some of the details on those later.  And tomorrow I’ll go over the rest of the inserts from 1998.


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