Completed insert set – 1999 Topps All-Topps Mystery Finest

27 05 2016

I’m still moving along with the catch-up posts for completed insert sets.  This was the last of the Mystery Finest inserts from the late 90’s – in fact, I think this was the last Finest branded insert Topps would insert into its flagship product.  That ended 6 straight years of doing so, counting the Finest inserts that were included in 1994 Topps Traded.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This was the 3rd time (and the 4th set), that Topps inserted the “Mystery Finest” theme into its flagship product.  This set mirrors the players from an 11-card subset that’s included in the Topps base set – the All-Topps Team.  At each position there are three players who made the team, plus an additional three spots for rookies.  All 3 players are shown on the 11-card subset in the base set, but the “mystery” idea is used for this insert set – you have to peel the black front off the card to see who your player is.

Naturally, there is a refractor version as well.

Set composition:  33 cards, 1:36 odds (1999 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  4.  Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from my series 2 hobby box
  • 3 cards from a trade
  • 11 cards from Beckett’s Marketplace
  • 10 cards from Sportlots
  • 8 cards from Check Out My Cards

Card that completed my set:  #M14 – Ken Griffey Jr.

1999 Topps Mystery Finest Griffey

I got this card last December when my Black Friday COMC purchase arrived.  I accidentally bought 2 of these somehow.

Thoughts on the set:  I like the general idea of most Finest products, though at the end of the 1990’s it seems like they got a little bored with creating cool borders.  I liked the cool borders.  Instead they tried to create different etchings to highlight the background.  Which was neat at first, but not as good as the different borders.  Also, this set suffers from a big issue in my opinion.  It’s supposed to be a set of the best players at each position, but there’s no 2nd basemen in it.  Out of the 11 trios, there are 4 outfield slots, and 2 first base slots.  There is a slot for rookies.  There is one trio of catchers, shortstops, third baseman and pitchers.  But no 2nd baseman.  No bueno.

Best card (my opinion):  #M5– Jim Thome

1999 Topps Mystery Finest - front

To me, this is how baseball players are supposed to dress!  Just an all-around cool card.

My Favorite Reds card:  33 cards. No Reds. Blah.

Here’s the full set.  If you look closely, you’ll realize the Jason Kendall card is a refractor.  Not sure how that happened.  I bet I bought a regular and got sent the refractor.  Oops 😉

1999 Topps Mystery Finest complete

1999 Topps Mystery Finest complete 2

1999 Topps Mystery Finest complete 3

1999 Topps Mystery Finest complete 4

Any other tidbits:  For the 2B discrepancy I mentioned.  There actually were a number of good second baseman in 1998.  Craig Biggio was the best of the lot and clearly would have made the All-Topps team – he became only the second player (and still is) to hit 50 doubles and steal 50 bases in the same season.  After him, I’d probably go Jose Offerman and Ray Durham, though Jeff Kent and Fernando Vina were also great.  And the best two American League second baseman of the previous five years, Roberto Alomar and Chuck Knoblauch, were also very good – just not in the category of the other 5 guys I mentioned.

  1. Biggio – .325-.403-.503, 20 HR, 88 RBI, 123 R, 210 H, 51 2B, 50 SB
  2. Offerman – .315-.403-.438, 7 HR, 66 RBI, 102 R, 191 H, 13 3B, 45 SB
  3. Durham – .285-.363, .455, 19 HR, 67 RBI, 126 R, 181 H, 36 SB

1999 Topps parallels – Ken Griffey Jr. (some hunting left to do)

10 05 2016

1999 Topps

Card I selected:  #100 – Ken Griffey Jr.

I picked a 2nd straight Hall of Famer in 1999.  It was also my 2nd straight Moeller High School graduate – Ken Griffey Jr. followed Barry Larkin.  This was my favorite card of the entire 1999 set; Griffey connecting with a pitch on a horizontal card is great.

I don’t have every one of these cards yet.  There’s 2 hold-ups.  First – like the 1998 Larkin, I’m missing the Super Chrome Refractor which is just a card that doesn’t show up on eBay or anywhere else very often.  Second is the MVP promotional card.  There were only 100 of these, and Griffey was a winner so most of them were probably redeemed.  So I’m not holding my breath on ever getting that one and have picked a replacement.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  10

The parallel sets in 1999 include:

  • MVP promotion
  • Oversize
  • Opening Day
  • Opening Day Oversize
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Refractors
  • SuperChrome
  • SuperChrome Refractors
  • Action Flats


1999 Topps #100

1999 Topps Griffey best card

1999 Topps Griffey back

1998 Topps MVP Promotion #NNO

The only parallel in the 1999 Topps product was the MVP promotion.  Inserted only into hobby packs, were cards with a Topps MVP stamp.  If the player depicted won MVP of the week (as selected by Topps) in 1999, you could send that card in for a set of cards honoring each of the 25 winners.  The set paralleled the first 198 cards in series 1, and cards #243-444 in series 2.  Basically all of the regular cards but no subsets.  The backs of the cards have information on the promotion (no statistics).

As I mentioned, I’m not too optimistic that I’ll ever run down the ’99 MVP Promotion card of Griffey.  I hope to, but these are just really hard to find.  So I bought this card of Roberto Kelly a while ago to stand in as a semi-permanent placeholder.

1999 Topps Oversize #7

1999 Topps Griffey best card

1999 Topps Oversize Griffey back

Each hobby box or HTA jumbo box contained a 3-¼” x 4-½” jumbo card as a box topper.  There were 16 cards that are exact replicas of the player’s base cards, except for the size and the numbering.

1999 Topps Opening Day #58

1999 Topps Opening Day Griffey

1999 Topps Opening Day Griffey back

Opening Day was back for the 2nd time in 1999.  This 165 card set was retail only, and features the same photos from the base Topps set.  The border is silver instead of the gold on flagship Topps, and there is a foil Opening Day logo instead of the Topps logo.  Naturally, the back has a different number and it has a silver background unlike the gold in the regular Topps set.

1999 Topps Opening Day Oversize#3

1999 Topps Opening Day Griffey

1999 Topps Opening Day Oversize Griffey back

Just like the flagship Topps, Opening Day contained a jumbo box topper.  They were the same size – 3-¼” x 4-½” – but only had 3 players.  Naturally, Junior is one of them, along with Home Run champs McGwire and Sosa.  The only difference from this card and the base Opening Day is the size and the numbering.  I tracked this down recently as part of this parallel project.

1999 Topps Chrome #100

1999 Topps Chrome Griffey

1999 Topps Chrome Griffey back

Topps Chrome was back for the 4th year.  For the 2nd time it was a full reproduction of the regular Topps set, released in 2 series.  The front of the card reproduces the base set using Topps chromium technology and of course the logo is the Topps Chrome logo.  The back of the card is the same as the regular set except for the Topps Chrome logo and slightly different copyright wording.

1999 Topps Chrome Refractor #100

1999 Topps Chrome Refractor Griffey

1999 Topps Chrome Refractor Griffey back

Inserted every 12 packs of Topps Chrome were refractors.  A plastic diffraction effect that gives refractors a colorful, reflective shine.  The word refractor is written just below the number on the back – otherwise the back is the same as the regular Chrome card.  Of all the cards I got specifically for this project – this one was the most expensive – I paid $30 for it.

1999 Topps SuperChrome #18

1999 Topps SuperChrome Griffey

1999 Topps SuperChrome Griffey back

1999 Topps SuperChrome Refractor #18


For the 2nd and last time, Topps came out with giant jumbo cards that were their own product called SuperChrome.  These cards came in 3-card packs that retailed for $4.99.  The front is the same as Topps Chrome except there’s a SuperChrome logo and the cards are 4-⅛” by 5-¾”.  The number on the back is different since it’s a smaller set, and it also has a SuperChrome logo.  There’s also a refractor version, which came 1 in 12 packs just like regular-sized ones, with refractor wording just below the card number.

I don’t have the Refractor version. Like the Larkin – this may be challenging to track down.

1999 Topps Action Flats #S1-8

1999 Topps Action Flats Griffey

1999 Topps Action Flats Griffey back

This was probably one I could have not counted as a parallel – it’s a totally different picture.  But since Griffey has one of these, I decided to include it.  The set has the exact same design as Topps, with an action logo on the front in foil and on the back in color.  Aside from the logo and the numbering – the back is exactly the same as the Topps back.

The “Rainbow”:


If I do find the SuperChrome refractor, I’m counting the Kelly MVP toward my “rainbow”.  Like I said, if I see a Griffey someday I’ll try to get it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Any sets I didn’t get:  That’s all you could possibly get from 1999.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Griffey is the best (in my opinion) card in the set.  And the only 3 players that have all of the cards above are the ones in the Opening Day jumbo set – Griffey, McGwire, Sosa.

1999 Topps Action Flats – Ken Griffey Jr.

9 05 2016

1999 Topps Action Flats Griffey

In 1999, Topps entered the figurine market with tiny figures called Action Flats.  There were 12 players available.  These are meant to look “2-D”, unlike Starting Lineup and other similar figures.  Hence the name “flats”.

Included in the packaging for each of the 12 players is a card in the design of the Topps base set with an “Action Flat” foil stamp – though the picture is different from the base Topps set.  The figurine mirrors the picture on the card, and there were home and away versions for each player.

1999 Topps Action Flats Griffey package

I bought the Griffey as part of this parallel tack-on project I’m doing.  This and the other 1999 Griffey cards will follow-up next!

Completed insert set – 1999 Topps Nolan Ryan Reprints

30 03 2016

Continuing on the completed set wagon.  I posted about the Willie Mays reprint last week; I also finished up the Nolan Ryan set from 1999 a little while ago.  I’m sort of catching up – this one’s only from December of last year!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  After issuing reprints from great outfielders from the 50’s and 60’s – Mantle, Mays and Clemente – Topps went with a more recent hobby icon in 1999, strikeout king Nolan Ryan.  Ryan was the theme elsewhere in the product, too – he was given card #34 (his uniform number).  I think this may have been in honor of his getting inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, as it had been 5 years since he retired.  Topps inserted the even years (starting with 1968) came in series 1 and the odd years came in series 2.  The reprints are glossy, with a gold foil stamp on the front to designate the cards as “Nolan Ryan Commemorative” reprints, and a small extra line on the back noting the card number for the insert set.

Set composition:  27 cards, 1:18 (1999 Topps)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Ryan.  Jerry Koosman is the only other player featured in this set.

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from my 1999 hobby boxes
  • 10 cards from a card show
  • 7 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 4 cards from COMC
  • 2 cards from Sportlots

Card that completed my set:  #10 – 1977 Topps

1999 Topps Nolan Ryan 77

I picked up this from COMC for Black Friday last year.  This is one of the better cards in the set – Ryan has a great autograph, so any card with a facsimile signature gets high marks.

Thoughts on the set:  By 1999 this idea was probably a bit overdone, but to be honest – if Topps had just decided, we’re gonna do one of these every year, but cut back on other stuff, I think it would be pretty good.  Compared to the 1 per year for each series sets they’ve done 4 times already in the new decade (counting 2012 Archives), these single player inserts are pretty cool.  Ryan is a true cardboard icon – like Mantle, his greatness to cardboard collectors outpaces his considerable greatness as a player.  So this is a good set.

Best card (my opinion):  #1 – 1971 Topps

1999 Topps Nolan Ryan 71

Even the poor placement of the stamp can’t keep this card down.  1980 and 1990 are favorites of mine as well.

My Favorite Reds card:  There obviously are none.

Here’s the scan of the full set:

1999 Topps Nolan Ryan complete

1999 Topps Nolan Ryan complete 2

1999 Topps Nolan Ryan complete 3

Any other tidbits:  Ryan had card #1 for 3 straight years from 1990 through 1992.

14 of the 27 cards feature Ryan at some point in his pitching motion.

With sets like this, you notice things like that.

Completed insert set – 1999 Topps Power Brokers

25 10 2015

This is actually the 7th insert set I’ve finished in 1999 Topps.  There really aren’t that many left for me for 1999 Topps at this point, though the Nolan Ryan reprints may take me a little bit of time.

Info about the set:

Set description:  Appropriate for the era, which saw an explosion in home runs, these cards focus on players who can hit the ball a long way, with a couple of strikeout pitchers thrown in at the end.  The cards are die-cut at the top, featuring the set name in what I’d describe as shattered block letters with an image of lightning going behind them.  This is all positioned between two electrical conductors that remind me of Dr. Frankenstein as he prepared to get the monster ready.  A picture of the player swinging is below, with Chrome technology as the finish (there are refractor parallels available).  The player’s name and team logo are below.  The back has another player picture and a write-up about the player’s slugging prowess.

Set composition: 20 cards, 1:36 odds (1999 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Frank Thomas, though that number will go up soon.

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from my series 1 hobby box
  • 1 card from a trade
  • 2 cards from the 2013 NSCC
  • 3 cards from Sportlots
  • 7 cards from Beckett’s marketplace
  • 6 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set: #PB20 – Kerry Wood

This was one of 6 cards I got delivered from COMC last December, as part of the Black Friday promotion.

Thoughts on the set:  It’s a decent set, but not my favorite.  I like it, don’t love it.  Any type of power-hitting set in 1999 is a good theme, considering this was capitalizing on the home run splurge of the year before.  I like the die-cut design and Frankenstein-like conductors at the top – it’s kind of fun.  It is more of a Topps Chrome look than a Topps Finest look, which to me means it’s more dull than colorful.  The refractors are probably nicer, but also a lot harder to obtain.

Best card (my opinion): #PB4 – Sammy Sosa

Sosa or McGwire seem most appropriate here, since they were the ones making the “power” headlines in 1998 that probably led to this space.  I like the Sosa picture in particular on his card.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

1999 Topps Power Brokers complete

1999 Topps Power Brokers complete_0001

1999 Topps Power Brokers complete_0002

Any other tidbits:  There was an insert set by the same name in 1994 Leaf called Power Brokers.  I kind of liked the design of that set a little better.

Completed insert set – 1999 Topps All-Matrix

29 07 2015

I’m biding time a bit right now on this blog.  I have a trade incoming and I’m going to the National Collector’s Convention at the end of this week.  So here’s another completed insert set from 1999.  I thought I’d do this one because the only 2 Hall of Famers were just inducted last weekend.

Info about the set:

Set description:  This 30-card set is really 3 smaller sets.  The first 13 cards is the “Club 40” for batters who had smashed 40+ homers in 1998.  That’s right – 13 guys with 40 homers.  This includes Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s record breaking totals.  The next 10 cards are “99 Rookie Rush” for players whose rookie season was coming in the 1999 season (most notably Roy Halladay).  The last 7 cards are “Club K” and includes a who’s who of power pitchers at the turn of the century.  Each subset has a different design.  The background of the cards have reflective foil with the name of the subset included.

Set composition:  30 cards, 1:18 odds (1999 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  2.  Shockingly, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson are the first two HOF-ers in this set.  Griffey will join them next year.  A lot of steroid guys in this set.

Card that completed my set:  #AM3 – Ken Griffey Jr.

I got this card from COMC back in December, as part of their Black Friday promotions.

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from my series 2 hobby box
  • 2 cards from trades
  • 1 card from the National card show
  • 25 cards from Sportlots/Beckett/COMC

Thoughts on the set:  These sets where the background is the super-shiny aren’t my favorite, but this is a really good one.  I like the first and last subsets.  Club 40 is a good idea – if you had over 40 homers, you were in the set.  If not, you weren’t.  Club K is my favorite design.  I don’t particularly like the rookie subset.  It’s always risky because you may get guys who weren’t particularly memorable.  That was true for just about every guy in this subset except Roy Halladay and Carlos Lee.

Best card (my opinion):  #AM29 – Pedro Martinez

I like the Club K design the best, and this is the best card from that subset.

My Favorite Reds card:  #AM4 – Greg Vaughn

Vaughn became the 2nd Reds player to hit 50 homers in 1998.

1999 Topps All-Matrix_0001 1999 Topps All-Matrix_0002 1999 Topps All-Matrix_0003 1999 Topps All-Matrix_0004

Completed insert set – 1999 Topps Hall of Fame Collection

27 07 2015

I completed a 1999 insert at the end of last year, and thought that posting it right after the induction speeches was appropriate.  The Hall of Fame induction was yesterday, and it’s always one of my favorite things to watch.  The small part I’ve watched of this year’s has been no different.  I’m going to watch the rest tomorrow night.

I had hoped to do a “Sunday Stories” post last evening.  I’m reading Pedro’s autobiography, but I couldn’t quite finish it.  You know, life stuff.  I’m 81% of the way.  I know this, because the Amazon Kindle App tells me.  I’ve never been a big fan of Petey, but it sure is interesting and I am a fan now.  I’ll hopefully have a post up for that next Sunday.

Anyway, here’s the 1999 Topps HOF Collection set.

Info about the set:

Set description: Topps was really getting into gear with the retired player tributes at the end of the century.  They had reprint sets for Mantle, Mays, Clemente and in 1999 added Nolan Ryan.  Topps Gallery was including the first Topps Heritage cards as inserts.  Tributes were all the rage, and this set was the first insert set from Topps flagship featuring multiple retired players.  The set features 10 different Hall of Famers with their Cooperstown plaque as a background and a black and white photo in the foreground.

Set composition: 10 cards, 1:12 odds (1999 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  10.  Obviously all of them.  Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Stan Musial, Willie McCovey, Eddie Mathews, Reggie Jackson, Ernie Banks, Whitey Ford, Bob Feller, Yogi Berra

If I go by primary position, this “team” has no center fielder (I figure Mr. October plays right, Stan the Man plays left) and is missing a second baseman and a third outfielder while having 3 different 3rd baseman.

Card that completed my set: #HOF7 – Ernie Banks

Mr. Cub was one of 3 cards I purchased from Beckett’s website last December.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from my series 1 hobby box
  • 4 cards from Sportlots
  • 3 card from Beckett’s marketplace

Thoughts on the set:

It’s easy to forget now, but I’m sure having a retired player set with this kind of clout back in 1999 was a big deal for the Topps flagship brand.  I really like this set and the design is great with the HOF plaque in the background.  This set was only inserted in series 1.  Having 10 more Hall of Famers (think Mays, Aaron, Morgan, Bench) would have made it even better.

Best card (my opinion): #HOF10 – Yogi Berra

All the cards are great, but Berra has his catching gear on in a pose I haven’t seen anywhere else.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

1999 Topps HOF Collection

1999 Topps HOF Collection_0001