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:
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)
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)
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.
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)
First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Mark McGwire, #100 – Alex Rodriguez, #200 – Jose Canseco, #300 – Mike Piazza, #400 – Ken Griffey Jr.
Highest book value: #451 – Barry Zito RC / Ben Sheets RC
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.