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.

2000-topps-1st-card-hundreds

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 – 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

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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 – 2000 Topps Power Players

7 07 2016

Another completed insert set!  Boo-yah!  This one is from 2000 Topps.

I’m starting to get to the point where I don’t recognize what year a given insert set is from.  Partially because of “supersaturation” and partially because I was more worried about college and all that is entailed with that when these cards came out!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  Power Players was the common insert set in series 1; the set focused on 20 hitters’ power stats.  This was definitely appropriate for the time period as these cards came out in the height of the steroid era.  The cards are super shiny on the front – holographic foil and all that.  This is one of those sets that looks pretty decent in person – but has some qualities that show up better in a highlighted scan.

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:8 odds (2000 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  3.  Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza.

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from my series 1 hobby box
  • 4 cards from a card show
  • 1 card from a trade
  • 5 cards from COMC
  • 5 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from eBay

Card that completed my set: #P20 – Derek Jeter

2000 Power Players front

I got really close on this set and the last card was Jeter.  So I went ahead and shelled out about $1.50 to get the Jeter to finalize the set.

Thoughts on the set:  I do like this set, but like so many insert sets from late 90’s and early 2000 Topps, it suffers from an abundances of holographic background,  Or holographic background made to look like a regular card in a normal picture or a scan (like below).

Best card (my opinion): #P2 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2000 Topps Power Players Griffey

Griffey on the follow-through!  Great card.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

2000 Topps Power Players complete

2000 Topps Power Players complete 2

2000 Topps Power Players complete 3

Any other tidbits:  I’m not sure if it’s just a coincidence or if they are trying to pay homage to an old set, but Topps did a set called Power Players in 2014 that seemed to call back to this set.  Considering it’s foil, hologram type stuff – which is only a fave of mine if it’s done well – I like both the 2000 set and the 2014 set.

 





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps Perennial All-Stars

6 07 2016

Here’s another completed insert set – this is from 2000 Topps.  Like most of these posts, I completed this set in December last year, when I got my Black Friday purchase from COMC.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This is one of Topps many submissions from that time period that had some type of super-shiny silver foil in the background.  This particular one had a star design.  The set name is in red and blue at the top, with the player’s name at the bottom.  The back is blue with bronze effects and statistics of the player’s career All-Star record.  Obviously it features guys who tend to frequently make the Summer Classic.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:18 odds (2000 Topps series 1)

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

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from my 2000 series 1 hobby box
  • 2 cards from trades
  • 2 cards from COMC
  • 2 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from an eBay lot
  • 1 card from the NSCC

Thoughts on the set:  As I alluded to above, Topps did too much silver shiny back in this time frame.  Makes it hard for this set to stand out.  When I see it, I don’t think “That’s that 2000 Topps set, Perennial All-Stars”.  I have no clue what year it came out and wouldn’t know the set name if it wasn’t in block letters on the front.  On the positive – the back having career All-Star stats is different and kind of cool.  Also, with a set called Perennial All-Stars, it is really good player selection (though there are no pitchers).

Card that completed my set: #PA6 – Nomar Garciaparra

2000 Topps Perennial All-Stars Nomar

As I mentioned, I got it from COMC last Black Friday 2015.  I somehow accidentally bought 2 of them!

Best card (my opinion): #PA1 – Ken Griffey Jr.

2000 Topps Perennial All-Stars Griffey

Sometimes I intentionally try to avoid being a homer and probably end up not picking my favorite player just to not pick my favorite player.  Not here.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

Here’s the scan of the set:

2000 Topps Perennial All-Stars complete

2000 Topps Perennial All-Stars complete 2

Other tidbits:  The card backs lists total All-Star games trough the 1999 season on the back.  At the time of release, this group had a total of 68 appearances combined – 17 for Cal Ripken!





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps 21st Century Topps

29 06 2016

Anybody out there from Vermont or been there?  Last weekend I went on a trip with some buddies from home.  It can only be described as a brewery trip.  We found cans of Heady Topper made by Alchemist Brewing, went to Hill Farmstead, Lost Nation, Fiddlehead and Tree House Brewery.  If you’re from the area – Julius from Tree House was my favorite.  This has me behind on card posting, and I’m soon off for July 4th, so we’ll see if I can keep up the recent once per day posting 🙂

Back to cards.  Here’s another completed insert set.  This one is from 2000 Topps.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This set features young players who Topps thought were going to be the best players of the early part of the decade.  The cards have a holographic background with a kind of 3-D effect.  In the hologram, there’s a baseball at the top with a wording for “21st century Topps”.  Behind the player is a bit of a matrix effect.  The back of the card is blue with a similar, but muted, matrix effect.  There’s a head shot in the upper left, some biographical info in the upper right, and a write-up about the player’s potential at the bottom.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:18 odds (2000 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  None.  Yet.

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from my series 1 hobby box
  • 2 cards from trades
  • 6 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  I’ve got to admit, I get confused by some of these super-shiny insert sets from the late 1990’s and 2000.  I’d like this set a lot better if it didn’t seem like one of 20 similar sets.  The holographic background features a really neat design, but like most of those sets – it actually looks much better from the scanner than it does in your hand.

I do like the themes moving across 2000 Topps.  Focusing on the turn of the century, this set is a group of guys who were expected to be great in the near future.  There’s a set for the best active former All-Rookie Team guys.  There’s an All-Topps Team that features the best active player at each position.

Card that completed my set:  #C3 – Derek Jeter

2000 21st Century Topps Derek Jeter

I got this card from Sportlots last September.

Best card (my opinion):  #C4 – Sean Casey

My Favorite Reds card:  #C4 – Sean Casey

2000 21st Century Topps Sean Casey

I could be accused of being a homer, and I’m doubling up with the Reds category, too, but I really think this is the best photo.  It’s a cool shot of “the Mayor” extending after a swing.

Scan of the set

2000 21st Century Topps

2000 21st Century Topps complete 2

Any other tidbits:  Topps had a similar theme in 1999, a set called New Breed.  8 players were in both sets:

  • Ben Grieve
  • Derek Jeter
  • Nomar Garciaparra
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Scott Rolen
  • Andruw Jones
  • Vlad Guerrero
  • Todd Helton

Also interesting – except for Scott Rolen, this set consists only of outfielders, shortstops and first baseman.