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

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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.




Completed insert set – 2001 Topps Combos

11 07 2016

This is another completed insert set from Black Friday last year.  Getting really close to finishing this up – I think I had almost 50 in the queue at one point and I’ve now whittled it down to single digits.  This is from 2001 Topps – the Combo cards that were back for their 2nd year as an insert set.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  Just like the  set showcases player groupings unified by a common theme.  It’s kind of reminiscent of some older multi-player Topps subsets from the late 1950’s or early 1960’s.  Only this is an insert.  The cards are paintings as opposed to actual photos.  The 2001 version has a few tweaks from 2000.  First, there’s slight difference in the nameplate, and 2001 always matches current player(s) with historical great(s).

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:12 odds (2000 Topps)

Hall of Famers:  34.  Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken, Pedro Martinez, Bob Gibson, Johnny Bench, Ernie Banks, Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey Jr., Joe Morgan, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Casey Stengel, Joe Torre, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, Babe Ruth, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams, Cy Young, Greg Maddux, Tony Gwynn, Lou Gehrig, Randy Johnson, Warren Spahn, Steve Carlton, Mike Piazza, Josh Gibson, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby

A boat load, including retired guys and a few players who were active at the time.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from my series 1 hobby box
  • 3 cards from my series 2 hobby box
  • 9 cards from Sportlots
  • 3 cards from COMC
  • 2 card from Beckett’s marketplace

Card that completed my set: #TC14 – Mound Masters

2001 Topps Combos Young Clemens Maddux

The 2 winningest pitchers post-WWII and the winningest pitcher of all-time.  This was one of 3 cards I got on COMC for Black Friday last year.

Thoughts on the set:  Just like the 2001 set – I really dig it.  The paintings are generally pretty well done, and I like how Topps switched it up in 2001 to portray retired guys with current stars.

Best Card (my opinion):  #TC12 – 60 Home Run Club

2001 Topps Combos Ruth Maris Sosa McGwire

I know this card probably isn’t as cool now as it was then, but it’s still a pretty awesome composition.  This barely beats out the Gehrig/Ripken card.

My Favorite Reds card:  #TC7 – Big Red Machine

2001 Topps Combos Big Red Machine

Great cards of 2 guys playing in Cincinnati in the 1970’s and 2 other guys growing up in Cincinnati in the 1970’s.

**********

Here’s a scan of the whole set.  This isn’t quite in order, because I wanted to match the 4 vertical cards up.

2001 Topps Combos complete vertical

2001 Topps Combos complete horizontal

2001 Topps Combos complete horizontal 2

Any other tidbits:  I found this interesting on the back of the Griffey/Aaron card:

“Ken is the only man on earth with a realistic chance of smashing Aaron’s record.”  Obviously Bonds would prove that untrue a few years later, though that probably wasn’t foreseeable at the time.  Griffey was coming off of a good first year in Cincinnati in 2000, and while Bonds had a great bounce back year in 2000, nobody knew that the greatest offensive output in history was coming over the next 4 years.





Completed insert set – 2001 Topps What Could Have Been

30 06 2016

Here’s another completed insert set.  This one is from 2001 Topps.  I am catching up, as I think this is the first post that I’ve done where the set completing occurred in the current calendar year 🙂

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, however, takes a different spin.  It looks at players from the Negro Leagues who never got the chance to play in the majors.  I kind of infer that the idea is also that they didn’t get to appear on baseball cards during their day.  It’s done in a very similar design as the “Before There Was Topps” set from series 1.

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 top corner.  The back has a write-up on the player’s Negro League career.

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

Hall of Famers:  All 10.  Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, Buck Leonard, Cool Papa Bell, Rube Foster, Martin Dihigo, Judy Johnson, Mule Suttles, Pop Lloyd

Card that completed my set:  #WCB8 – Mule Suttles

2001 Topps What Could Have Been Mule Suttles

I got this card in a trade with reader Kary, who has been a friendly reader and contributor to the Lifetime Topps project for a few years!

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from the 2001 series 2 hobby boxes I bought
  • 3 cards from trades
  • 2 from a card show
  • 1 from an eBay lot
  • 1 from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  Up to 2001, there really hadn’t been many Negro League cards in the mainstream sets.  That started to change, and this was the first Topps set to feature Negro Leaguers.  It’s a great set from that standpoint.  I wish they hadn’t made it so drab, though – the gray makes it so bland.  I would have liked some of the color-making technology you see on lots of cards these days. 

Best card (my opinion):  #WCB1 – Josh Gibson, #WCB2 – Satchel Paige

2001 Topps s2 What Could have been Gibson Paige

I had a tough time picking between Paige and Gibson, as they’re probably the most notable Negro League hitter and pitcher.  Adding to that, I really like the photos of both.  So I’m picking them both.  My blog, my rules.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

Here’s the scan of the full set.

2001 Topps What Could Have Been complete

2001 Topps What Could Have Been - front

Other tidbits:  For every player except Satchel Paige, this was their first Topps card.  Paige was the only one of these 10 players to make it to the Majors, and he had a very famous Topps card in 1953.





2001 Topps parallels – Randy Johnson

12 05 2016

2001 Topps

Card I selected:  #75 – Randy Johnson

2 years in a row, I actually have all the cards!  The SuperChrome cards in ’98 and ’99 made it difficult, but the only tough thing in the next 2 years was the 2000 MVP card (which I found for McGwire).  In 2001, there’s one more regular size card – Topps Gold was added and Topps gave its employees special cards in honor of their 50th anniversary.  The MVP cards were gone.  There’s also no oversize cards in 2001, so I’ve got the same number of Big Unit cards in 2001 that I had for Big Mac in 2000.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  8

The parallel sets in 2001 include:

  • Gold
  • Home Team Advantage
  • Limited
  • Employee
  • Opening Day
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Retrofractors

Scans:

2001 Topps #75

2001 Topps Randy Johnson

2001 Topps Randy Johnson back

2001 Topps Gold #75

2001 Topps Gold Randy Johnson

2001 Topps Gold Randy Johnson back

Topps Gold was back in 2001 after a 7-year hiatus.  These cards came a couple per box, and were numbered out of 2001.  They were created as a kind of celebration of the 50th anniversary.  Numbering Topps Gold to the current year is a trend Topps has kept to this day.  The Gold border was much nicer back in 2001 – it was actually a raised foil that looks pretty nice.

2001 Topps Home Team Advantage #75

2001 Topps HTA Randy Johnson

2001 Topps Randy Johnson back

Cards from hobby factory sets got a stamp to special “Home Team Advantage” logo to designate them.

2001 Topps Limited #75

2001 Topps Limited Randy Johnson

2001 Topps Randy Johnson back

Limited Edition factory sets were made in the idea of the old Tiffany sets, coming in a wood box.  The cards have a thicker gloss coating than the regular Topps cards, and are also stamped with the words “Limited Edition” at the bottom.  It’s actually a little tough to see on this card, because the gold stamping doesn’t contrast against the sand on the pitcher’s mound.

2001 Topps Employee #75

2001 Topps Employee Randy Johnson

2001 Topps Employee Randy Johnson back

Topps created a special factory set for employees in 2001 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the flagship baseball set.  This looked the same as the retail factory set on the outside, except it had the employee logo stamp.  The cards also had the employee logo stamp.  These are thought to be very rare – around 150 sets.

2001 Topps Opening Day #29

2001 Topps Opening Day Randy Johnson

2001 Topps Opening Day Randy Johnson back

Opening Day was back for the 4th time in 2001.  Again, it’s a 165 card set that could only be found in retail outlets.  As was the case in many of these early versions, I think the Opening Day card is a little more appealing.  The border is blue instead of the weird green of the flagship set, and there is a foil Opening Day logo at the bottom.  The photos are the same as the base Topps set.  Naturally, the back has a different number.  I really like the blue color on this one.

2001 Topps Chrome #57

2001 Topps Chrome Randy Johnson

2001 Topps Chrome Randy Johnson back

Topps Chrome was here for its 6th year.  Released in 2 series, Chrome was not a full reproduction of the regular Topps set – it was 660 cards.  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.

2001 Topps Chrome Retrofractor #57

2001 Topps Chrome Retrofractor Randy Johnson

2001 Topps Chrome Retrofractor Randy Johnson back

Topps took a different spin on refractors in their anniversary year.  They still came in 1 of every 12 packs of Topps Chrome, they have colorful, reflective shine on the front.  But the back has a retro type cardboard, with the word “retrofractor” below the number on the card back.

The “Rainbow”:

2001 Topps Chrome Randy Johnson rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  That’s all you could possibly get from 2001.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  I wanted to get Curt Schilling, but he strangely wasn’t in Opening Day.  So I went with his teammate instead.  I’m sure there were some other ones, but going with one of those 2 guys in their World Series years seemed good.





2001 Topps cards – Big Red Machine

14 05 2015

I also missed doing a Big Red Machine post for 2001 Topps.  There aren’t any Big Red Machine members in the base set, but in 2001 Topps celebrated its 50th anniversary with a number of sets with retired players.  And of course there were a few cards with the 2 most famous Hall of Famers from the 1975-76 World Champions.

Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan were both on a Topps Combos card with the Reds’ Moeller connection, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Barry Larkin.  Bench had a 2nd card in that set – he was featured with Pudge Rodriguez.

2001 Topps Combos Big Red Machine

2001 Topps Combos Bench Pudge

Bench was also in the Golden Anniversary set.

2001 Topps Golden Anniversary Bench

And both players were in the Noteworthy set as well.  It appears Topps’ problems with re-using the same photo goes back at least to 2001.

2001 Topps Noteworthy Johnny Bench

2001 Topps Noteworthy Joe Morgan

They both also had an insert in the Through the Years reprints – Bench with his 1970 Topps card.  Morgan has a blown up piece of his part of his 1965 rookie card.

2001 Topps Through the Years Bench

2001 Topps Through the Years Morgan

Morgan and Bench (2 cards) also had cards in the Team Topps Legends autographs – which were inserted across multiple Topps products.





2001 Topps Traded Autographs & Memorabilia

4 03 2015

The Autographs and relics available in 2001 Topps Traded were very similar to the cards available in the regular set.

Golden Anniversary Autographs (2 cards, 1:626)

Golden Anniversary Autographs were inserted across both series, and 2 cards were inserted into the traded set.  Mike Mussina and Johnny Damon had Autograph cards that with notation “Traded Star”, making a 4th type of Golden Anniversary Autograph you could get in 2001 packs.  Interestingly, Mussina wasn’t in the base Traded set, even though he had moved to the Yankees in 2001.

2001 Topps Traded Golden Anniversary auto Mussina

Team Topps Legends Autographs (14 cards, 1:321)

There were also “Team Topps Legends” autographs, which was a promotion across all of Topps products in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

There were 5 different memorabilia sets, though some of them are pretty similar.

Traded Memorabilia (33 cards, 1:29)

Rookie Relics (18 cards 1:91)

The Traded Memorabilia and Rookie Relics are really the same set, just differentiating between the traded guys and the rookies.  Comparing the 2 cards below – Jason Young’s card has a rookie relic stamp in the top left corner of his picture.  I kind of like the design for these, at least I like that Topps used something that is similar to the Topps regular set design that year.

2001 Topps Traded Rookie Relics Jason Young

2001 Topps Traded relic Eric Davis

Dual Traded Memorabilia (4 cards 1:376)

The Dual Traded Memorabilia cards are my favorite insert in this product.  You’ve got 4 guys who switched teams – Manny Ramirez is by far the most notable.  For this insert set, Topps included a piece of the player’s jersey from the old team, next to a picture of him with his former team.  And below that is the same thing, but for the new team.

2001 Topps Traded Dual Memorabilia Manny

Hall of Fame Bat Relic (1 card 1:2,796)

Farewell Dual Relic (1 card 1:4,693)

There are 2 more dual relic cards to find in this product.  One is a farewell card honoring Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken as the future Cooperstown roomies were leaving the game.

2001 Topps Traded farewell Ripken Gwynn

The second one has the same design and honors the 2 BBWAA Hall of Fame inductees.  Former Minnesota Twin teammates Kirby Puckett and Dave Winfield.

2001 Topps Traded Hall of Fame Dual Puckett Winfield