Completed insert set – 2000 Topps MVP redemption set

12 08 2017

Unlike the redemption set from 1999 – which can be found on occasion for less than 30 bucks on eBay – the second of the two Topps MVP redemption sets is a really tough set to complete.  I’ve had a saved search on the Bay for at least 3 years, but any supposed hits have turned out to be incorrect.  Until a month ago, when a legit full set came up.

Info about the set:

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Set description: Topps had a promotion tied into a parallel set from 1999 and 2000 (this being the latter version).  Inserted at a limited rate into hobby packs were cards with a Topps MVP stamp on the front.  If the player depicted won MVP of the week in 2000, you could send that card in for a set of cards honoring each of the 25 winners.  There were only 100 of each of the parallel cards made, so that means there were at most 2,500 of the MVP redemption sets.  Particularly in 2000, there seem to be much fewer complete sets than that since the redemption expired after a year or so.

The cards in the set are the 25 weekly MVP “winners”.  They have a shiny foil background with the bronze word MVP going down the right side.  There’s an arch behind the players and 3 stars, with gold foil for the player’s name, team and week they won the weekly MVP distinction. The back of the card show the stats from the “MVP” week and a description of what the player did to earn the weekly distinction.

Set composition:  25 cards, send-in redemption

Hall of Famers:  3.  Pedro Martinez, Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell.

How I put the set together:

I gave up trying to find a complete set and started trying to buy single cards.  But this became pretty expensive.  When one showed up on eBay for bid, I kept my eye open.  I actually had a decent chunk of the set collected, but was missing some of the better players, and the Jeter seems to be going for $40 or so individually.  So I pulled the trigger on the full set for 80 bucks.

So now I have quite a few of these to put up for trade or sale!

Thoughts on the set:  This was probably a pretty cool concept in 1999, then lost steam in 2000.  Which is always a good way to make something rarer and thus harder to purchase 15 years or more later.  

I like the design of this set significantly more than I liked the 1999 set, and I think the idea of keeping fans linked to the season with their purchases cards is a great idea!

Card that completed my set:  N/A – bought it as a full set.

Best card (my opinion):  #MVP18 – Will Clark, MVP21 – Adrian Beltre

I love the design for this set, but the photo selections aren’t anything to write home about.  If I went on photo, I’d pick either Jeter or Giambi.  But for the coolness of the card, I was between Will Clark.  One thing I love about baseball is how often you can have one generation meet the next.  Will the Thrill first gained notoriety in the early 1980’s when he was the “Thunder and Lightning” duo at Mississippi State alongside Rafael Palmeiro.  Adrian Beltre just passed the 3,000 hit milestone – for folks reading this post 5 years from now, it’s 2017.  They meet in the middle in this set when Beltre is just getting started and Clark is finishing his career.  Since I think it’s so cool they’re in this set together – I’m picking both!

My Favorite Reds card:  #MVP9 – Dante Bichette

I was surprised to see Bichette got this but Ken Griffey Jr., who had a great season in his first year as a Red, did not.  But Bichette had a ridiculous week where he had 12 hits, 4 homers and an OPS over 1.600.  Makes sense.

Any other tidbits:  2000 NL MVP Jeff Kent did not get a card in this set – meaning he was never “player of the week”.  This isn’t too surprising – many folks (myself included) view Kent’s placement over his teammate Barry Bonds in 2000 as one of the more controversial selections for the award.

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Completed set – 2000 Topps

2 02 2017

Back in February I finished up the 2000 Topps set.  I’ve now completed the base set for everything from 1980 through 2000!

Info about my set:

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How I put the set together:

234 cards from the series 1 hobby box

239 cards from the series 2 retail box

3 cards from trades

2 cards from Beckett Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #225 – Pedro Martinez PSH (purchased from Beckett Marketplace last February)

2000 Topps PSH - front

Set composition:  478 cards (394 individual ML player cards*, 16 Prospects, 19 Draft Picks, 1 Tribute, 7 League Leaders, 10 Season Highlights, 7 Postseason Highlights, 14 20th Century Best, 10 Magic Moments)

*The 394 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies

Representation of ’99 MLB season:

Out of the 394 player cards, 3 players featured did not play in the 1999 season.  Andres Galarraga found out in Spring Training that he had a tumor in his back and had to take a season off for treatment.  Kerry Wood had Tommy John surgery, derailing what seemed like a potential HOF career.  And Moises Alou tore his ACL in the preseason.

Additionally, 14 of the players in the 3-player Prospect subset actually made it to the majors in 1999.

That leads to 405 players.  The 405 players represent 33.5% out of the 1,209 players who played in MLB in 1999.

Earliest active player from this set:  #44 – Hank Aaron, #104 – Rickey Henderson (active players)

2000-topps-rickey-henderson

There are again two answers to this – Henderson is again the earliest active player.  Rickey made his debut by playing both games of a doubleheader on June 24, 1979 – naturally he stole a base in his first game.

2000 Topps TRIB - front

Aaron is the earliest (and only) retired player – featured for the 25th anniversary of his record-breaking homer.

I’m not going to do last active, because there’s just still too many at this point.  It’s worth noting, Bartolo Colon and Matt Belisle are two guys I know would be on the list.

Player with the most cards in the set:  Mark McGwire – 7 cards.  Big Mac was much celebrated in this set.

Mark McGwire – #1, #232 / #469 (20th Century Best), #236 (Memorable Moments), #456 (Season Highlights), #462 / #463 (League Leaders)

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First Card and the Hundreds:  #1 – Mark McGwire, #100 – Alex Rodriguez, #200 – Jose Canseco, #300 – Mike Piazza, #400 – Ken Griffey Jr.

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Highest book value:  #451 – Barry Zito RC / Ben Sheets RC

2000 Topps DP - front

Not the greatest rookie card class, though it’s better than the previous year, and it would become much improved in 2001.  That said, a future Cy Young winner and another 4-time All-Star was worth noting.

Most notable card: #400 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2000 Topps Oversize s2 box Griffey

Hank Aaron’s tribute card was fairly notable, but honestly, Topps had been doing tribute cards since 1986 (maybe longer).  And unlike the previous year, Topps wasn’t paying tribute to Sosa or McGwire smashing the Roger Maris HR record.  I may be jaded, but I think the biggest story of 2000 was Ken Griffey Jr. getting traded to the Reds.  This is a really nice card that seems to be from Spring Training or batting practice.  Getting Griffey in the most updated uniform at this point was something worth pointing out.

Best card (my opinion): #85 – Barry Larkin

2000-topps-larkin

So many things right with this card.  The MLB logo in the background makes the color pop.  It’s Barry Larkin, a Hall of Famer, throwing out Barry Bonds.  You see how he’s dodging the slide.  It’s beautiful.

Second best card (also my opinion): #425 – Greg Maddux

2000-topps-maddux

While this set has a bunch of nice photos, there was a clear distinction for me between the top 2 and the rest.  Maddux bunting.  You can see the “Aaron 715” patch on his jersey.  So awesome.  This card could have been #1, but the Klesko and Larry Walker cards (which I’d put #3 and #4 in this set) are far behind these top 2.

Best subset card: #225 – Pedro Martinez PSH

2000 Topps PSH - front

If Griffey going to the Reds was the biggest story from early 2000, Pedro’s performance in the ALDS was the biggest story in late 1999.  His relief performance against the Indians is etched in my memory.  I remember watching it downstairs in the social room of my fraternity house.  All my Tribe fan friends were despondent.  The Red Sox didn’t move on any further – the ALDS win was their peak that year.  But it has always seemed more memorable than the Yanks’ win over Boston in the next round or their win over Atlanta in the World Series.

Favorite action photo: #85 – Barry Larkin

2000-topps-larkin

I think it’s the pure best action shot in this set.  And it’s 2 HOF-caliber players.  And the main subject is a Red.  Which is why it gets 3 scans in this post.

Favorite non-action photo: #1 – Mark McGwire

2000 Topps - front

I cheated a little bit here.  Which may make the selection of McGwire appropriate (zing)!  This is a set that focuses on action shots.  I could have taken one of the series 2 portrait shots of guy in their new uniforms (Mike Hampton is trying his best to look dreamy in his new Metropolitan uniform).  But I decided this is clearly after a McGwire home run, it’s card #1, and he’s not in the field of play so it definitely doesn’t seem to be an action photo.  So it wins the award.

My Favorite Reds card:  #85 – Barry Larkin

2000-topps-larkin

If I think it’s the best card in the set – I obviously think it’s the best Reds card in the set.

Other Notable Cards:  Here are a few more cards I loved from this set.  The Walker and Klesko cards stand out to me.

2000-topps-other-notable





Completed insert set – 2001 Topps Before There Was Topps

4 01 2017

Here’s another completed insert set.  I finished this one from COMC in December (from a Black Friday purchase). This one is from 2001 Topps.  It’s kind of nice to be caught up on these – when I finish them, I post!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  As part of its 50th anniversary product, Topps created a lot of sets that paid homage to the Company’s history producing baseball cards.  This set, along with “What Could Have Been”, takes a different spin.  It looks at players who were around before Topps started making cards.

The fronts feature a black and white photo of the player with a gray foil finish over the background.  The player name is at the bottom, while the Topps 50 logo is in the corner.  The back has statistics of the player.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:25 odds (2001 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  All 10.  Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Joe DiMaggio

Card that completed my set:  #BT5 – Ty Cobb

2001-before-topps-cobb

I got this card from COMC in December (Black Friday purchase).

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from the 2001 series 2 hobby boxes I bought
  • 4 cards from COMC
  • 2 from a card show
  • 1 from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  For a lot of these guys, this is either their first Topps card in over 20 years.  It’s a great for that, though 16 years later it’s not like I’m pining for a Topps card of Ty Cobb.  The gray makes it so bland, just like the What Could Have Been set.  I would have liked some of the color-making technology you see on lots of cards these days. 

Best card (my opinion):  #BT4 – Walter Johnson

2001-before-topps-walter-johnson

I have a sweet spot for the Big Train.  He’s

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

Here’s the scan of the full set.

2001-topps-before-topps-complete

2001-topps-before-topps-dimaggio

Other tidbits:  Most of the other players had a card in the Connie Mack All-Stars set from the early 50’s, a 1985 Topps Woolworth card, possibly a 1967 Topps Venezuelan “Retirado” card, and a few others.  Joe DiMaggio actually had the fewest.  This was only his second card Topps card after having one in the 1967 Venezuelan set.

1967-topps-venezuelan-retirado-dimaggio





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps Hank Aaron reprints

20 11 2016

No posts the last week or so, aside from my previously scheduled beer post.  I actually got to a pretty interesting point – I have no more posts in the queue.  I’ve been dwindling on that front for a while, and had basically been less than 5 for a month or so.  And then I went to Mexico for my buddy’s wedding with just 2 posts in queue.  One was a completed insert set, the other was yesterday’s “beer” post.

But yesterday was the last “scheduled” post that I’d done in advance.  So for the foreseeable future, this blog will be at the whim of my schedule and desire to do baseball card posts.  I’ve picked up other hobbies, and with 2 kids, it’s just harder.  I want to get the Lifetime Topps project done, but I may need to rethink the insert part of that.  It’s just become too much by the time I got to the mid 2000’s.

I’m kind of happy about that.  Blogging takes up a lot of time, and I’d like to just do it when I get the urge.  At least for now.  I think I’ll still knock out 10 posts a month or so.  We’ll see.

That aside, I have a few completed insert sets left, and this is one I’d be going after even if I wasn’t trying to get every insert Topps created.

Info about the set:

Set description:  Aaron was the 5th historic player honored with a reprint set (Mantle in ’96, Mays in ’97, Clemente ’98, Ryan ’99).  And he would be the last of this run; after 2000 they started doing multiple player reprints as insert sets.  This set had reprints of the full run of his base Topps cards during his career.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1954-1976 were issued across both series.  The 12 even years come in series 1, while the 11 odd years come in series 2.  There is a gold Aaron logo, created just for this set.

Set composition:  23 cards, 1:18 odds (2000 Topps)

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

How I put the set together:

  • 5 cards from the 2 different 2000 series hobby boxes
  • 1 card from a trade (thanks Night Owl)
  • 9 cards from COMC
  • 6 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 2 cards from Sportlots

Card that completed my set:  #4 – 1957 Topps

I bought the last card I needed from COMC back in July.  I’d been one card shy for over a year, but this card, which is probably his most famous because of the reverse negative issue.  That may be why it was the hardest to pick up.

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):  #1 – 1954 Topps

Aaron is one of those players who has an iconic rookie card.  His 1954 Topps card has to be in any top 20 cards of all time, maybe top 10.  So I’ve got to give the nod there.  But I really like the 1973 card.

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

2000-topps-aaron-reprint-complete

2000-topps-aaron-reprint-complete-2

2000-topps-aaron-reprint-complete-3





Completed insert set – 2002 Topps Ring Masters

9 11 2016

Don’t worry, regardless of the political landscape, the world hasn’t ended!  I completed an insert set!  Grant it, it was over a year ago, but I can still post about it now!  Yes, it looks like Trump is the Ring Master in the election, but the guys below are the Ring Masters from the 2002 insert set.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This insert set honors players with championship rings to their credit.  The cards have a blue background and a bit of starburst with a larger version of the same photo.  It’s hard to describe but it you look at it you’ll see what I’m saying.  The cards are super thick!  The back has a write-up with even more blue.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:25 (2002 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  1. Just Greg Maddux.  Others forthcoming.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from Sportlots
  • 7 cards from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  There’s some weird stuff going on – there are some omissions I don’t understand.  Like why is nobody from the recently crowned Diamondbacks on here.  I’d have included Johnson, Schilling, and then some Yankees with a boatload of rings over Mike Mussina who didn’t have any.  Selfishly – I’d have liked to see Barry Larkin in here.  Or Rickey Henderson.  That said – the thick cards are very nice.

Out of my 25 – they only included 8 – I think most of mine would are much better than what they did include.  I’d also have gone chronologically with the set.  Still, a very cool set either way you look at it.

Card that completed my set: #RM10 – Paul O’Neill

2002 Topps Ring Masters front

I got this card from COMC last July.  And by last July I mean 2015.  When Donald Trump wasn’t even a thought as a political candidate!  I don’t know

Best card (my opinion): #RM1 – Derek Jeter

2002-topps-ring-masters-jeter

Paul O’Neill both had 5 rings when this set was released.  Jeter had 4 but would end up with 5.  I also think this is the best photo.  So he wins.

Best Reds card (my opinion): there are none.  O’Neill won 1 of his 4 rings with the

Here’s the whole set.

2002-topps-ring-masters-complete

2002 Topps Ring Masters front

Any other tidbits:  I’m not sure why Mike Mussina is in this bucket.  He never won a World Series.  Aside from him, the other 9 guys won a combined 20 rings.  It was 19 at the time of this set – Jeter won with the 2009 Yankees and every other title was before 2001.





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

6 11 2016

So this is one of those where I started doing the post a long time ago thinking I had completed the set.  Then I went to do the post, and, boom.  I don’t have

Another completed insert set – this one is probably the first card set where Topps specifically paid tribute to the historical Topps All-Star Rookie teams.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This set has the shiny backgrounds like so many 2000 Topps inserts do.  But this is one of the cooler sets in the product – Topps picked the best active All-Rookie players, one at each position just like they pick each year.  The back has a list of every Topps ASR team member from each position.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:36 odds (2000 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  3.  Cal Ripken, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from my 2000 series 2 hobby box
  • 5 cards from COMC
  • 3 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from a card show

Thoughts on the set:  One of the better inserts is my favorite insert set from 2000 Topps.  I like the design, and its cool that the back has the history of the award at the selected player’s position.

Card that completed my set: #RT5 – Manny Ramirez

2000 Topps All-Rookie Team front

Got this from a purchase in August on COMC

Best card (my opinion): #RT9 – Dwight Gooden

2000-topps-all-rookie-team-doc-gooden

Doc Gooden in an Astros uniform.  I can’t say I remember that – apparently he pitched one game for them in 2000.  I think this (and the parallels) were his only card with the Astros.

My Favorite Reds card:  #RT7 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2000-topps-all-rookie-team-griffey

The only one in the set.

Here’s a scan of the whole set.

2000-topps-all-rookie-team-mcgwire

2000-topps-all-rookie-team-complete

Any other tidbits:  Ripken is the only player to make the ASR team twice.  It’s a really tough thing to do – because you have to be rookie eligible and in theory you can only do that once.  Ripken made the team in 1981 when he hardly played, but there just wasn’t much as far as rookie shortstops.  Then he made it in 1982 when he was the AL Rookie of the Year.





Completed insert set – 2001 Topps A Look Ahead

14 07 2016

Here’s another completed insert set.  This one from 2001 Topps – I’ve done a few of these now.  It was also completed from a Black Friday purchase last year – another one of those I’ve done!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  A lot of the inserts for Topps’ 50th anniversary looked back at the company’s history – this one looks at what might come for some of baseball’s stars.  The set has a blue background with a spiral effect with future years listed.  The set name is in the upper left corner, the player name in the lower right corner, and the 50th year Topps logo is in the top right.  The back has a write-up of expectations for “Y2K and beyond”, and statistics from 2000 and his career.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:17 odds (2001 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  2.  Ken Griffey Jr., Pedro Martinez

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from my 2001 series 1 hobby box
  • 2 cards from a trade
  • 4 cards from Sportlots
  • 2 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #LA4 – Alex Rodriguez

2001 Topps A Look Ahead A Rod

This was one of 2 cards I got last December (after Black Friday) from COMC.  The other was Derek Jeter.

Thoughts on the set:  Nice insert set.  In 2001, Topps really seemed like it was going overboard with the number of inserts, so some of them were starting to feel like filler.  This one has a little bit of that, but I do like the design and the theme.  The spiral seems appropriate for a “look into the future” set.

Best card (my opinion):  #LA4 – Alex Rodriguez

2001 Topps A Look Ahead A Rod

A-Rod when he was with the Mariners was as fun to watch as any player I can remember.  He was the best offensive shortstop in history, he was very good defensively, and he could steal bases.  With all that’s happened since, it’s easy to forget how exciting he was.

My Favorite Reds card:  #LA5 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2001 Topps A Look Ahead Griffey

Here’s a scan of the full set:

2001 Topps A Look Ahead - front

2001 Topps A Look Ahead complete

Other tidbits:  It’s a little sad going through the backs of these cards.  Here are some of the things Topps predicts that don’t come true:

  • Vlad Guerrero never won the triple crown
  • Todd Helton had a number of great years after 2000, but he didn’t approach .400 again
  • A-Rod switched to third base and didn’t break Cal Ripken’s record for homers as a short stop
  • Ken Griffey Jr. did not break Hank Aaron’s career home run record.
  • Nomar Garciaparra did not become one of the best that’s ever played
  • Pedro Record did not break Roger Clemens’ record of 5 Cy Young Awards.  In fact, Clemens won 2 more.