Completed insert set – 2010 Topps Peak Performance

28 06 2016

I just did 2 completed base set posts – 1995 Topps and Traded.  To draw the curtain back a bit, those completed set posts take quite a while to put together.  It’s a lot of looking through the set, making decisions on the best cards, scanning, inserting those scans, and then wrapping it up.  They are the most work, but those are also the most fun because as a collector, that’s what card collecting is to me.  So that said, I’ll go back to some completed insert sets, which take a lot less effort to finish a post.

I came back to card collecting full-time in 2010, mostly starting the Lifetime Topps project. But I also bought some 2010 boxes.  I liked the 2010 Topps set, but there were a lot of inserts, and some of them have a lot of cards.  Like this one, which weighs in at a whopping 125 cards.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  “These cards mark the single greatest moment in the inspiring careers of 50 current and retired legendary players”.  That’s from the series 1 sell sheet.

The front of these cards has a red ribbon with the set name running across the top.  The ribbon appears to wrap around the back and continue at the bottom, where the player name and team logo can be found.  The background is gray with stars that I think are meant to be an American flag.  The back has the same background, except with a red border.  The card number, player name, team and position are at the top, with a write-up about the selected moment in the bottom two-thirds of the card.

This set was made to have autographed and relic versions.  In fact, there are some players who just have a relic version but aren’t in the regular 125-card set.

Set composition:  125 cards, 1:4 odds (2010 Topps) / 1:9 odds (2010 Topps Update)

Hall of Famers:  36.

Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Christy Mathewson, Mel Ott, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Tris Speaker, Jimmie Foxx, George Sisler, Stan Musial, Willie Stargell, Tom Seaver, Johnny Mize, Roy Campanella, Cy Young, Dizzy Dean, Jackie Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, Luis Aparicio, George Kell, Mike Schmidt, Willie McCovey, Joe Morgan, Monte Irvin, Ozzie Smith, Yogi Berra, Catfish Hunter, Phil Rizzuto, Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Al Kaline

How I put the set together:

  • 22 cards from my 3 hobby boxes (s1, s2, update)
  • 2 cards from other packs
  • 48 cards from trades
  • 6 cards from card show purchases (2 of which were at the 2013 National)
  • 42 cards from Sportlots
  • 5 cards from Beckett’s Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #86 – Justin Verlander

2010 Topps Peak Performance Verlander

5 years after I started buying boxes and packs of 2010 Topps, I finished this set up.  The last 2 cards, including Verlander, arrived in May of 2015 (eek – I’m a year behind!) from Sportlots.

Thoughts on the set: I like this set.  I like that they didn’t just go only for the stars – they really stuck to guys who are younger and would conceivably still be around in 2020.  I think Ryan Howard and David Wright are the most veteran players of the group.  The 3D look is cool, and the design is simple but effective – I like that the ground is included, but anything else behind the player is not.  It kind of looks like the “green screen” or “blue screen” they do when filming movies!  I’m surprised they didn’t include Joey Votto or Justin Verlander.

Best card (my opinion):  #PP-122 – Dallas Braden

2010 Topps Peak Performance - front

I had a tough time deciding between this card and Ozzie Smith’s, which features him running the bases after his walk-off homer in the 1985 World Series.  Both cards feature the correct game/performance from the player’s career, and picture them in that game.  I went with Braden because I do like what he’s doing with ESPN and there have already been a few cards showcasing the Wizard’s improbable homer.

In this card, Topps picked the right moment for the player,

My favorite Reds card:  #PP-81 – Brandon Phillips

2010 Topps Peak Performance Phillips

Not a ton of competition here, the other options were Joey Votto, Mike Leake or Joe Morgan.  This card highlights Phillips 3 straight seasons of 20 homer, 20 doubles and 20 stolen bases.

Any other tidbits:  There are 6 players with 2 cards in the set – all of them getting their 2nd card in the 25-card Update portion of the set.  Since the set is so large, I’m not scanning the whole thing, but I’ll scan the 12 cards of these guys.  Half of them (Guerrero, Halladay, Scherzer) are on a different team, thus it sort of makes sense to include a new card with their new team.  The other 3 are on the same team, so to me don’t seem needy of an update card.

  • Vlad Guerrero
  • Max Scherzer
  • Roy Halladay
  • Dustin Pedroia
  • Ryan Zimmerman
  • Ubaldo Jimenez

2010 Topps Peak Performance dupes

2010 Topps Peak Performance dupes 2

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps Turkey Red

18 10 2015

This was a doozy of in insert set.  Which is why it took me 4+ years to complete it!

Info about the set:

Set description:  “Popular for nearly a century, Turkey Red cards will span the 2010 Topps brand baseball program.  The cards highlight legends of the game and current stars on the famous but updated Turkey Red design.”

There are 150 cards in the set, with 50 cards in each series (including Update).  As mentioned in the sell sheet write-up, the design is a bit modernized.  Instead of a brown/leather border, there is a tan/gold border.  It really looks like a nicely framed 2.5 x 3.5 picture, including the name plate at the bottom.  The cards are printed on the white retro-style cardboard that I’m used to now with Topps Heritage the past few years.  The backs have a good sized write-up about the player depicted.

Set composition:  150 cards, 1:4 odds (2010 Topps)

Hall of Famers:  39.

Nolan Ryan, Hank Greenberg, Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken Jr., Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt, Ernie Banks, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Ryne Sandberg, Babe Ruth, Willie McCovey, Jimmie Foxx, Al Kaline, Brooks Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Tom Seaver, Luis Aparicio, Joe Morgan, Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Eddie Mathews, George Sisler, Ty Cobb, Roy Campanella, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Rogers Hornsby, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Johnny Mize, Pee Wee Reese, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, Cy Young, Robin Yount, Duke Snider, Frank Robinson

How I put the set together:

  • 27 cards from my 3 hobby boxes
  • 2 cards from other hobby/HTA packs
  • 23 cards from trades
  • 43 cards from Sportlots
  • 19 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 9 cards from a card show
  • 26 cards from eBay
  • 1 from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  It’s obviously a humongous number of cards.  But I think that’s OK if Topps does it for one or two insert sets a year and does it as a continuity insert set.  I don’t think you can do much better than the Turkey Red design.  To me, it’s one of the most attractive card designs in the history of baseball cards.  In fact, Topps has taken it and improved it, with a more attractive border.  It really looks like a museum-quality framed painting that got shrunk down to a 2.5 x 3.5 baseball card.

Card that completed my set:  #134 – Rod Carew

2010 Topps Turkey Red complete Rod Carew last card

One of 2 cards I got from Beckett’s marketplace back in November last year.  The other was card #150, Starlin Castro.

Best card (my opinion):  #83 – Yogi Berra

2010 Topps Turkey Red complete Best Card Yogi

This is the best card, hands down.  Yogi is throwing his mask over his back in this picture, but it almost looks like he’s balancing it on his forehead.  Which is made even more awesome considering the character that Berra was.

Here are a few other cards I really liked.

2010 Topps Turkey Red complete cards I liked

My Favorite Reds card:  #143 – Frank Robinson

2010 Topps Turkey Red complete Best Red Frank Robinson

A great card of a younger Robinson, beats out Johnny Bench and Joey Votto, who also had very solid cards.

Any other tidbits:  4 guys have two cards in the set.  Josh Johnson, Vlad Guerrero, Roy Halladay and Curtis Granderson are featured with their new team in the Topps Update portion of the set (last 50 cards).

The coolest thing about this set, and something I love to look into wherever possible!  5 players are in this set and the original set.  Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson.  I was surprised to learn that Honus Wagner doesn’t have an original Turkey Red card.

2010 Topps Turkey Red players in original set

That’s 3 guys from the first Hall of Fame class, with Young and Speaker making it into the HOF in the 2nd class.  Here are each of those players with the old card next to the new card.  I’ve kind of bastardized this.  Since the original Turkey Red cards are much larger than standard size, this isn’t realistic.  But it’s fun!  The original is on the left, the 2010 set is on the right.Turkey Red compare Christy Mathewson Turkey Red compare Cy Young Turkey Red compare Tris Speaker Turkey Red compare Ty Cobb Turkey Red compare Walter Johnson

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps Legendary Lineage

15 08 2015

My next completed insert set was one I started over 5 years ago.  Though in fairness, it really “only” took me 4 years to finish, and another year to post about it; I completed this set in July of last year.  This set has

Info about the set:

Set description:  “Dual-player cards link a current star with a past legend.”  Interestingly enough, Topps actually called these “Past & Present” on the series 1 sell sheet and at some point switched the name to Legendary Lineage.  Topps also did a past and present inserts in 2011, 2012 and there is one again now in 2015, so it seems like the idea has become a bit overplayed.  But at the time, this was a new idea for Topps flagship, and it was a good one.  I like the design on this set, maybe the best or second best out of the 4 years they’ve done this.

The front of the horizontally-oriented cards has a white border with a colored bar across the middle behind the two player photos.  The back has a statistical comparison and a write-up as to why those 2 players are similar.

Set composition:  75 cards, 1:4 hobby odds (1:8 for update packs)

There are 25 cards in each series, including 2010 Update.

Hall of Famers:  49.  Willie McCovey, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, George Sisler, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, Johnny Bench, Mike Schmidt, Ozzie Smith, Reggie Jackson, Warren Spahn, Duke Snider, Stan Musial, Cal Ripken, Gary Carter, Whitey Ford, Frank Thomas, Hank Greenberg, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Dennis Eckersley, Tony Gwynn, Nolan Ryan, Carl Yastrzemski, Rickey Henderson, Orlando Cepeda, Carlton Fisk, Eddie Mathews, Al Kaline, Andre Dawson, Phil Rizzuto, Harmon Killebrew, Luis Aparicio, Lou Brock, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, Yogi Berra, Ryne Sandberg, Dave Winfield, Walter Johnson, Rod Carew, Ernie Banks, Jim Palmer, Steve Carlton

Card that completed my set:  #LL-39 Phil Rizzuto / Derek Jeter

2010 Topps Legendary Lineage Rizzuto Jeter

I bought this card from Beckett in July 2014.  I was actually sitting 1 card short for over a year, so I had 99% of the set done within about 2½ years of starting this set.

How I put the set together:

  • 23 cards from a hobby box from each series
  • 32 cards from trades
  • 13 cards from Sportlots
  • 4 cards from an eBay insert lot
  • 2 cards from a card show
  • 1 card from Beckett marketplace

Thoughts on the set:

There’s a lot going on with the photos, but like I said – I do kind of like the design.  I mentioned that the idea has gotten played out, but at the time it was pretty cool.  The connections between the current and retired players is usually pretty good, though at 75 cards Topps really started reusing players (Johnny Bench has a card in every series) and started including current players as the older player.  For example – Victor Martinez is on there with Carlos Santana.  If Topps had kept it to 30 cards – maybe 10 per series – this would have been a better set.  Even 50 (maybe 20/20/10) would have been better and made the set more collectible.

Two very important things give this set high marks.  First, Topps hadn’t switched over to the “lettering” of cards yet – they were numbered.  Second, the pictures of the two players really match up well.  Topps clearly made a concerted effort to find a picture of the younger player to match up with the retired great.  Here are 6 of the many examples.

2010 Topps Legendary Lineage photo examples

Highest book value: #LL-17 – Cal Ripken Jr. / Derek Jeter

2010 Topps Legendary Lineage Ripken Jeter

Best card (my opinion): #LL-29 – Carl Yastrzemski / Kevin Youkilis

2010 Topps Legendary Lineage Youk Yaz

Unlike the last few years, a lot of these twosomes didn’t just feel like “two guys who are good and play outfield”.  Stan Musial and Albert Pujols is a great comparison – and I did consider that card – but it’s obvious.  Yaz and Youk have unusual last names that start with “Y”, unique batting stances that are showcased on the card, and of course they both played for the team in Fenway.  I also considered Hank Greenberg and Ike Davis, who are on the card for their Jewish connection, Ichiro for breaking George Sisler’s single-season hits record, and Reggie Jackson / Adam Dunn – the kings of “all-or-nothing” at the plate.

My favorite Reds card: LL-69 – Tom Seaver / Mike Leake

2010 Topps Legendary Lineage Seaver Leake

Mike Leake is one of my favorite Reds players.  In the kind of way that you tend to be a fan of a guy who isn’t your team’s best player, but is solid and seems like someone who works hard and cares about the fans.  My fantasy baseball team is called “Mike Leake at Macy’s” – though if you get the joke, you probably wouldn’t think it was funny.  I won the league the year I changed to that name, so I’m sticking with it.

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps Cards Your Mom Threw Out

17 09 2014

This was an insert set a long time in coming.  4 years later – I finally finished up the “yo momma” set.  This is easily the largest insert set I’ve completed – it’s a 174 card set across all 3 series (58 cards each – 1952 through 2009).

Info about the set:

Set description: “cards chronicle the entire history of Topps with a reprint of one card from every year.  Each card back narrates the story of that year’s design as well as other interesting tidbits”.

Set composition: 174 cards, 1:3 odds

Hall of Famers: 56. A whole boat-load.

Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Duke Snider, Luis Aparicio, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Bob Gibson, Carl Yastrzemski, Stan Musial, Brooks Robinson, Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, Steve Carlton, Tom Seaver, Johnny Bench, Dave Winfield, Robin Yount, Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Eddie Murray, Paul Molitor, Ryne Sandberg, Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas, Cal Ripken, Phil Rizzuto, Al Kaline, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Warren Spahn, Harmon Killebrew, Eddie Mathews, Gaylord Perry, Jim Bunning, Rod Carew, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Joe Morgan, Babe Ruth, Tommy LaSorda, Lou Brock, Willie Stargell, Robin Roberts, Roy Campanella, Andre Dawson, Wade Boggs, Barry Larkin, John Smoltz, Craig Biggio, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson

How I put the set together:

  • 39 cards from various hobby boxes/packs
  • 35 cards from trades
  • 51 cards from eBay
  • 48 cards from online dealers
  • 1 card from a card show

Thoughts on the set: Since there are 3 cards for each design, it’s a good set to put in binders (if you’re willing to not go in the number order, which I am).  It’s also an interesting read to go through each card.  I like the set.  Topps would beat this reprint idea to death over the next few years, and the 60 year anniversary may have been a better idea – but it was certainly a cool set at the time.

Additionally – if you look at the list of hall of fame players above, you’ll note that this set is STACKED.  Topps signs a number of retired guys every year, and there’s often some turnover year-to-year.  But they had a heck of a list 4 years ago when they did this set.  Many (but not all) of the most notable rookie cards in the company’s history are included.  Aaron, Mays, Koufax and of course Pete Rose are the best-known guys who aren’t included, but just about anybody else I can think of is included.  And Topps didn’t include multi-player rookies, so guys like Nolan Ryan have later cards but not their rookies.

Card that completed my set: #125 – Roger Maris (1960)

2010 Topps CYMTO Maris 60_0002

I got this card from Beckett’s marketplace back in May. This is actually a pretty cool card of Maris – not one of the more recognizable ones like his ’61 or ’62 card.

Highest book value: #45, 49 – Cal Ripken

2010 Topps CYMTO Ripken 92 96

Like many of the more famous players, Ripken has multiple cards in this set.  Apparently he passed Mickey Mantle in most valuable card of retired players, so these beat out the vaunted 1952 Topps reprint of Mantle’s first Topps card.

Best card (my opinion): #97 – Frank Thomas NNOF

2010 Topps CYMTO Thomas NNOF

In the first series, Topps came out with the regular card from Frank Thomas.  It was pretty cool – in the second series they came out with a reprint of the super-rare and expensive error with no name on the front.

My Favorite Reds card: #22 – Johnny Bench

2010 Topps CYMTO Bench 73

This is a no-brainer.  Possibly the best Topps card of a Reds player ever.

Any other tidbits: Frank Robinson’s Topps Traded version from the 1972 Topps set is included, one of the first “update” cards.

2010 Topps CYMTO F Robinson 72 Traded

In addition to that Thomas NNOF – a couple of the cards are variations or parallels from the year’s base set.

The 1982 version of Steve Carlton’s card is done in the “blackless variation”, which was a production error that Topps had for a limited number of cards that year.

2010 Topps CYMTO Steve Carlton 82

And the 2001 version of Vlad Guerrero is the HTA parallel that I think was only available in certain factory sets.

2010 Topps CYMTO Vlad Guerrero 01 HTA

The first 2006 card is the Alex Gordon card that was (mostly) pulled from packs, or inserted as a version with the center cut out or the picture never printed.  The 2006 one is actually a gold parallel – which actually never was produced.

2010 Topps CYMTO Alex Gordon 06

And the 2007 version of Jeter’s card – however, this is the common version as opposed to the one with Mickey Mantle and George Bush photo-shopped into the background.

2010 Topps CYMTO Derek Jeter 07

Other things that are about the history of Topps cards (as opposed to the player or baseball-specific) include:

  • The 1952 Mantle card references the infamous “river dump” of High Series cards that supposedly makes that set so legendary.  The “dump” is also referenced on the writeup on the back of the 1953 Johnny Podres card.
  • The 1953 Jackie Robinson card points out the images were hand-painted in color from black and white photos.  The original artwork pieces go
  • Harmon Killebrew’s 1955 card references Topps discounting packs of the last series to sell off inventory.
  • The 1957 cards for Frank Robinson and Whitey Ford reference how Topps switched to 2.5″ x 3.5″ card dimensions that set the standard size for cards going forward.
  • Carl Yastrzemski and Willie McCovey’s 1960 cards discuss how they were the iconic first cards for the new SPORT Magazine Rookie Star and Topps All-Rookie subsets.
  • Nolan Ryan’s 1969 card points out that this was the last year a Topps pack cost a nickel.
  • The 1951 Topps set isn’t included in this insert, however it is showcased on the third 1975 card.  Topps discussed it’s MVP subset there – with Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella shown for winning the 1951 MVP awards.
  • The ’82 Steve Carlton card I mentioned above discusses the printing issue that caused the “blackless” cards that year.  The ’90 Thomas card also mentioned the defect that caused his name to be missing on the front.

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps When They Were Young (and one of my new favorite cards!!!!!)

14 12 2012

A look back at some of your favorite players when they were little kids!  Well – not your favorite players, but at least some Little League photos of some current major league players!

This was an insert exclusive to Series 1 from Topps 2010.

Info about the set:

Set description: “Featuring current photos of Major League Stars as Little League, High School, or College players.”

Or, in the case of Ortiz, as a 4-year old pointing at a camera saying “I will break you A-Rod”!

Set composition: 18 cards, 1:6 hobby odds (2010 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers: None – only current players.

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from the hobby box
  • 2 cards from an eBay insert lot
  • 2 cards from a card show
  • 7 cards from trades
  • 3 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set: Cool idea.  Decent player selection – A-Rod, Ortiz, David Wright, Verlander, Yadier Molina and Johnny Damon are the notable players.  But on some level, I kind of like that.  Good design that sort of copies the 1980 Topps set.  I do like that Topps put a current photo down in the lower right-hand corner – what good is the photo of them as a kid if you can’t compare it to the picture from today?

The backs are fairly interesting reading:

  • Aaron Poreda went to the same high school as swimmer Matt Biondi.
  • A-Rod was the Gatorade National Student Athlete of the Year.  Presumably for his work in chemistry.
  • Brian Roberts grew up in Chapel Hill – because his dad was the coach of UNC.
  • Clint Sammons and Jeff Francoeur were on the same high school team in Georgia.  I know, I have never heard of Clint Sammons either.
  • David Wright played on an AAU team that also included BJ Upton, Mark Reynolds and Ryan Zimmerman.  Wonder who played third?
  • Gordon Beckham’s dad was a quarterback for South Carolina.
  • Russell Martin lived in Paris as a youngster before moving to Canada, where he went to the same high school Eric Gagne went to.  I wonder how many players from the same Canadian high school were ever teammates in the majors (as they were in 2006).
  • Cody Ross has a favorite player – Ken Griffey Jr. – after whom he named his dog


Wait a minute?  He named his dog Griffey!!!!!!!!!!!

He stole my dog’s name!!!  This is definitely a surprise addition as one of my favorite cards ever!

Card that completed my set: #WTWY-RM – Russell Martin

I got this in a Sportlots purchase at the end of November.

Highest book value: #WTWY-AR – Alex Rodriguez

About 4 bucks currently.

Best card (my opinion): #WTWY-CR – Cody Ross

Ortiz was a pretty easy selection before I read the back.  Most of these cards show a) a mediocre player, and b) a picture from little league.  Ortiz is a) a pretty significant player historically, and b) a cool picture of him as a youngster.  It’s like he’s saying – “watch out, dude.  Someday I’m gonna break the curse of the Bambino.  And, yeah, that means I’m bowling over you, A-Rod, you sweater-vest-wearing fellow-steroid-taking d-bag.”

But it doesn’t top the Cody Ross dog-named-Griffey card.

Best Reds card: No Reds in the set.

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps Tales of the Game (& More Tales)

12 08 2012

Topps Tales of the Game is an insert set in 2010 series 1, and they had an update to the set – More Tales of the Game – in the Topps Update product that year.  I’m counting these as one set.

Info about the set:

Set description: “Commemorates baseball apocrypha, such as: Eddie Gaedel, and the Pine Tar incident.”  The set has a red flag in the upper left hand corner saying “Tales of the Game” and the headline of the “tale” is below.

Set composition: 40 cards (2010 Topps series 1 – 25 cards, 2010 Topps Update – 15 cards), 1:6 odds

Hall of Famers: 16

Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth (3 cards), Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, Bill Mazeroski, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson (2 cards), Carlton Fisk, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken, Eddie Mathews, Mike Schmidt, Andre Dawson, Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn.

How I put the set together:

  • 6 cards from series 1 hobby box
  • 7 cards from update hobby box
  • 1 card from update HTA jumbo pack
  • 7 cards from eBay
  • 9 cards from trades
  • 2 cards from a card show
  • 8 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  Topps had 3 sets that really delved into baseball history in 2010.  I liked all 3 of them, but they had some that I thought went in the wrong set.  This is definitely apparent here.  The History of the World Series set didn’t have the original World Series – but the History of the Game did.  I have the checklist down at the bottom, but I think the Amazin’ Mets, Maz’s homer, Ruth’s called shot, Jackie stealing home, Fisk’s homer Reggie’s 3 homers – those all belong in the World Series set.  Ruth’s called shot and Schilling’s bloody sock do have arguments for being in a “Tales” set – so I’d have put them in both.

Now, the things like Jimmy Piersall running backward, the superstitions of Wade Boggs, the flips of “the Wizard”, the Curse of the Bambino, and getting hits for different teams in the same day (Joel Youngblood) – those are good additions.

What did they miss?  I’d have gone with some of these:

  • Ken Keltner ending Joe DiMaggio’s streak that would have reached over 70
  • Moises Alou peeing on his hands
  • Charlie Finley paying the 70’s A’s for “mustache flair”
  • Merkle’s Boner
  • As they advertised – Eddie Gaedel and George Brett for the Pine Tar (seriously, how do they not get their advertised tales into the set?)
  • Rickey Henderson breaks Lou Brock’s record – and Nolan Ryan goes out and throws his 7th no-hitter on the same day
  • Johnny Vander Meer’s 2 straight no-hitters
  • Hippo Vaughn and Fred Toney battle through 9 innings of double no-hit ball on May 2, 1917
  • Ted Kluszewski cutting off the shoulders of his uniform
  • Harvey Haddix throwing 12 perfect innings – only to lose the game in the 13th
  • Wally Pipp’s headache (which was in the History of the Game set)
  • Yankees putting numbers on their backs
  • At some point, I believe Milwaukee played a home game in Cleveland due to snow

Like I’ve said, I love just about any type of set celebrates the history of the game – especially one celebrating its idiosyncrasies.  I wish they’d taken out some of the dumber ones (Strasburg, intra-city sweep, Topps dumping 1952 cards) below and added my ideas!

Card that completed my set: #TOG17 – Wade Boggs, “Who You Calling Chicken”

One of 2 cards I got in January from Sportlots

Highest book value: #TOG19 – Cal Ripken, “Cal Clutch”

Best card (my opinion): #TOG15 – Ozzie Smith, “Flips Out”

A great picture of Ozzie “mid-flip”.

My Favorite Reds card: #MTOG2 – Triple Billing

This is the only card associated with the Redlegs in any way.

Here’s the list of these cards – and the year when the “tale” happened.

  • TOG1 (1909) Ty Cobb – “Spikes Up” photo
  • TOG2 (1919) Babe Ruth {Boston} – “Curse of the Bambino”
  • TOG3 (1932) Babe Ruth {New York} – “Called Shot”
  • TOG4 (1952) Topps dumps ’52 cards into the river
  • TOG5 (1955) Jackie Robinson – steals home in the World Series
  • TOG6 (1950’s & 1960’s) Ernie Banks – “Let’s Play Two”
  • TOG7 (1960) Bill Mazeroski – Game 7 World Series Walk-off home run
  • TOG8 (1961) Roger Maris – Chase for 61
  • TOG9 (1963) Mickey Mantle – Home Run off the Yankee Stadium facade
  • TOG10 (1963) Jimmy Piersall – Runs backward for his 100th HR
  • TOG11 (1969) Amazin’ Mets World Series Championship
  • TOG12 (1971) Reggie Jackson – Hits Light Tower in ’71 AS game
  • TOG13 (1975) Carlton Fisk – Game 6 World Series HR
  • TOG14 (1977) Reggie Jackson – 3 homers in World Series game
  • TOG15 (1980’s) Ozzie Smith – Flips Out
  • TOG16 (1990) Bo Jackson – runs along the outfield wall*
  • TOG17 (1980’s & 1990’s) Wade Boggs – superstitions
  • TOG18 (1996) Prince Fielder – batting practice homer at age 12
  • TOG19 (2001) Cal Ripken – Clutch
  • TOG20 (2001) Derek Jeter – The Flip
  • TOG21 (2004) Curt Schilling – Bloody Sock
  • TOG22 (2006) Pesky’s Pole
  • TOG23 (2000’s) Manny Ramirez – Manny being Manny
  • TOG24 (2008) Josh Hamilton – 2008 HR Derby
  • TOG25 (2010) David Ortiz – Yankees dig up Ortiz jersey

* – too bad the picture isn’t of him actually running up the wall.  If it was, I’d probably take this as my favorite card in this set.

More Tales:

  • MTOG1 (1982) Joel Youngblood – Base hits with different teams on same day
  • MTOG2 (1920) Reds & Pirates play only triple header of the 20th century
  • MTOG3 (1922) Chicago beat Philadelphia 26-23 {in baseball}
  • MTOG4 (1950’s & 1960’s) Eddie Mathews plays for Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves
  • MTOG5 (1920) Babe Ruth – hits more home runs than every other team
  • MTOG6 (2003) Yankees sweep intra-city series from the Mets
  • MTOG7 (1974) Mike Schmidt – “Tape Measure Single” – knocks the single off a speaker on the roof of the Astrodome
  • MTOG8 (2002) Coors Field humidor
  • MTOG9 (1987 & 2003) Andre Dawson & Alex Rodriguez – last place MVP’s
  • MTOG10 (1910’s & 1920’s) Walter Johnson – “Big Train”
  • MOTG11 (1940’s, 1950’s & 1960’s) Warren Spahn – All-Star starter in 3 different decades
  • MOTG12 (2002) Tie game in the All-Star classic
  • MOTG13 (1950) Harry Truman – president throws a right and left-handed first pitch
  • MOTG14 (2010) Stephen Strasburg – Rookie Tsunami**
  • MOTG15 (2010) Roy Halladay – Doc gets a “road” win in Philadelphia – due to a scheduling conflict – against his old Blue Jays

** – gets my vote as the card they REALLY didn’t need in this set

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps 2020

8 01 2012

A few days after we hit the new year for 2012 – so let’s see what Topps thinks their cards will look like in 8 years!  Topps 2020 was a product in the 2010 series 2 product listed as one of the “Just for fun” inserts.

Info about the set:

Set description: “These cards peek into the future and offer a vision of the 2020 Topps Baseball card design.  Twenty current players appear on an innovative 3D design.”  The 20 players are younger stars who you’d expect will be around in 2020.

Set composition: 20 cards, 1:6 hobby odds (2010 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers: None – only current players.

How I put the set together:

  • 6 cards from the hobby box
  • 1 card from trades
  • 2 cards from card show purchases
  • 5 cards from eBay
  • 6 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set: I like this set.  I like that they didn’t just go only for the stars – they really stuck to guys who are younger and would conceivably still be around in 2020.  I think Ryan Howard and David Wright are the most veteran players of the group.  The 3D look is cool, and the design is simple but effective – I like that the ground is included, but anything else behind the player is not.  It kind of looks like the “green screen” or “blue screen” they do when filming movies!  I’m surprised they didn’t include Joey Votto or Justin Verlander.

Card that completed my set: #T15 – Pablo Sandoval

One of 5 cards I got in my last Sportlots purchase.

Highest book value: #T8 – Buster Posey

Current Beckett lists it at 8 bucks, while every other card is $2.50 or less.

Best card (my opinion): #T20 – Matt Kemp

Kemp going for a diving catch – this is just a really good, close-up photo.  Ryan Howard’s card has him sizing up the pitcher in his unique pre-pitch stance, and Joe Mauer is in a pretty good play at the plate.

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps History of the World Series

6 01 2012

Topps History of the World Series is an insert set in 2010 series 1 as part of the “Baseball History” line of inserts.

Info about the set:

Set description: “Explore the major milestones and events surrounding the Fall Classic such as: First walk-off HR, first WS night game, and first World Series.”  Funny, that’s what the sell sheet said – but they literally never put in any of those.  The cards have red arched borders at the top and bottom, with a picture of the player, and a banner with a description of the event and the date of the series at the bottom, just above the player’s name.

Set composition: 25 cards, 1:6 hobby odds (2010 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers: 15

Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth (2 cards), Rogers Hornsby, Mickey Mantle, Mel Ott, Enos Slaughter, Bob Feller, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra (2 cards), Jim Palmer, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Dennis Eckersley, Paul Molitor

How I put the set together:

  • 6 cards from the hobby box
  • 5 cards from trades
  • 5 cards from a Card Show
  • 9 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  Like the History of Baseball set that was the counterpart to this one from series 1, I love this set.  I think the first one had a better design, but this one isn’t bad.  I love any type of set like this that celebrates history of the game in a targeted way – which this one does.  I was thinking about what they selected, and I tried to think of what I’d include.  Out of the stuff below, bold ones are included

First, I thought of – what are the top 5 home runs in the World Series history.  I came up with 6 instead:

  • Both walk-off WS winners – Mazeroski and Joe Carter
  • Babe Ruth “called shot”
  • Kirk Gibson’s 1988 walk-off winner
  • Carlton Fisk’s walk-off home run in 1976
  • Jeter’s Mr. November homer

I didn’t include Kirby Puckett’s homer in game 6 of 1991 – because my next groups was the top individual performances I can think of, including one from that series.  I actually thought of 10 big ones:

  • Christy Mathewson throwing 3 shutouts
  • Jack Morris outdueling John Smoltz and the Braves bullpen for a 1-0, 10 inning win
  • Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956 (though they show Berra, not Larsen)
  • Brooks Robinson defensively shutting down the Reds in the 1970 series
  • Reggie Jackson hitting 3 home runs in 1977
  • Babe Ruth throwing the most consecutive shutout innings
  • Whitey Ford passing Ruth’s record
  • Bob Gibson’s 17-strikeout game
  • The Mets’ game 6 comeback on the 1986 Red Sox
  • Old Pete Alexander shutting down Murderer’s Row to clinch the 1926 World Series

Then, there were 3 top individual plays (not counting the HR above) that I thought of:

  • Enos Slaughter’s “mad dash”
  • Willie Mays over-the-shoulder catch
  • Luis Gonzalez series winning single off Mariano Rivera in 2001

Finally, I thought – what are some of the biggest team wins in history. I thought of 6:

  • The first series featured Boston over Pittsburgh in 1903
  • The Black Sox scandal featuring a Reds victory in 1919
  • Murderers’ Row’s sweep in 1927
  • The first win by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956
  • The 1969 Amazin’ Mets
  • The Red Sox ending the curse in 2004

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: #HWS19 – Boston Breaks the “Curse of the Bambino”

This was one of 3 cards I got in a Sportlots purchase in November.

Highest book value: #HWS6 Mantle – Most career home runs (18) in WS history

Best card (my opinion): #HWS11 – Johnny Podres gives Brooklyn Dodgers 1st WS win

Can’t beat this one.  Though the first World Series in 1903 would be up there – if they’d included it.

Here’s the list of these cards – and the year when the event happened.

  • HWS1 Christy Mathewson throws 3 complete game shutouts
  • HWS2 Walter Johnson leads Senators to 1st WS victory
  • HWS3 Babe Ruth most innings pitched in a WS game
  • HWS4 Rogers Hornsby player/Mgr. for Cardinals
  • HWS5 Babe Ruth has first 3-HR game in the World Series
  • HWS6 Mantle: Most career home runs (18) in WS history
  • HWS7 Mel Ott homers in his 1st World Series at bat
  • HWS8 Enos Slaughter’s Mad Dash
  • HWS9 Bob Feller pick off at second not called
  • HWS10 Whitey Ford: Most career wins in WS history
  • HWS11 Johnny Podres gives Brooklyn Dodgers 1st WS win
  • HWS12 Yogi Berra catches the 1st perfect World Series game
  • HWS13 Yogi Berra: Most career hits in WS history
  • HWS14 Jim Palmer: youngest pitcher w/shutout game in WS
  • HWS15 Bob Gibson sets a record of 17 KO in a WS game
  • HWS16 Brooks Robinson electric 1970 WS performance
  • HWS17 Dennis Eckersley finished off Game 4 to win WS
  • HWS18 Paul Molitor: Highest career BA (.418) in WS history
  • HWS19 Boston Breaks the “Curse of the Bambino”
  • HWS20 Edgar Renteria’s extra-inning Series-winning hit
  • HWS21 Mr. November hits 10th inning blast
  • HWS22 A. Gonzalez ends the second-longest game in WS
  • HWS23 Cole Hamels earns NLCS and WS MVP honors
  • HWS24 Utley ties Reggie Jackson for most HR in single WS
  • HWS25 Yankees usher in new stadium with WS championship

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps History of the Game

5 01 2012

Topps History of the Game is an insert set in 2010 series 1 as part of the “Baseball History” line of inserts.

Info about the set:

Set description: “Records the history of baseball through photography, spotlighting famous venues, locations, stars and legendary moments”.  There’s a marble border set up like a picture frame surrounding another (brown) border around the pictures – which are both horizontal and vertical.  “History of the Game” wording is set in a box at the top.

Set composition: 25 cards, 1:6 hobby odds (2010 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers: 7

Babe Ruth (on 4 cards), Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Johnny Bench, Frank Robinson, Nolan Ryan, Cal Ripken.  There’s also a card honoring the first Hall of Fame class.

How I put the set together:

  • 6 cards from the hobby box
  • 12 cards from trades
  • 2 cards from a card show
  • 5 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  This is a cool set.  I love just about any type of set like this that celebrates history of the game.  I’d probably take out most of the player cards – except the Jackie Robinson and the Ruth that honors the first all-star game.  I’d also keep Johnny Bench – since his card really is there to honor the first MLB draft.  Those just go into a different set if you ask me.  I’d take out:

  • “Ruth sold to the Yankees” and replace it with a card for the first professional baseball team – the 1869 Red Stockings
  • “Gehrig replaces Wally Pipp” and replaced it with a card honoring the creation of the National Anthem
  • “Ruth sets HR mark” and replace it with something discussing the American Association and the 1880’s World Series
  • “Ruth retires with 714 HR” and replace it with a card honoring the history of the Negro Leagues
  • “Maris breaks Ruth HR record” and replace it with a card honoring the “other” leagues noted as Major Leagues by MLB – the Union Association (1884), the Players’ League (1890) and the Federal League (1914-1915)
  • The Frank Robinson card was supposed to honor creation of the MLBPA – I’d have stuck with that and talked about the advent of Free Agency.
  • “Ryan throws 7th no-hitter” and replace it with a card honoring overseas barnstorming tours – from Spalding’s 1880’s tour to Ruth’s tours to those that happen today.
  • “Ripken breaks Gehrig’s record” with the 1994 strike.  Hey – it’s a history card set, not a feel good set.

Card that completed my set: #HOTG9 – Gehrig replaces Wally Pipp

This was one of 4 cards I got in a Sportlots purchase in November – which included the Gehrig card for setting the record and the Ripken card for breaking Gehrig’s record.

Highest book value: #HOTG23 – Ripken breaks Gehrig’s streak

Best card (my opinion): #HOTG5 – First World Series Game Played

A cool picture of the field at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds – the home of the American League’s Boston Pilgrims (now Red Sox).  It looks like it’s being mobbed after Boston beat Pittsburgh to win the first Series – 5 games to 3.

My Favorite Reds card: #HOTG12 – First Night Game Played in MLB History

Beats out the Bench card.

Here’s the list of these cards – and the year when the event happened.

  • HOTG1 (1839*) Baseball Invented
  • HOTG2 (1871) First Professional Baseball Game
  • HOTG3 (1876) National League Created
  • HOTG4 (1901) A.L. Elevated to Major League Status
  • HOTG5 (1903) First World Series Game Played
  • HOTG6 (1910) President Taft Attends Opening Day
  • HOTG7 (1920) Ruth Sold to the Yankees
  • HOGT8 (1921) Baseball hits the Airwaves
  • HOTG9 (1923) Gehrig Replaces Wally Pipp
  • HOTG10 (1927) Ruth Sets Single Season HR Mark
  • HOTG11 (1933) First MLB All-Star Game is Played (Babe Ruth)
  • HOTG12 (1935) First Night Game Played in MLB History
  • HOTG13 (1935) Ruth Retires with 714 Career Home Runs
  • HOTG14 (1936) First Hall of Fame Class
  • HOTG15 (1947) Jackie Robinson Plays MLB game
  • HOTG16 (1947) First Televised World Series Championship
  • HOTG17 (1957) Dodgers and Giants Move to California
  • HOTG18 (1961) Maris Breaks Ruth HR Record
  • HOTG19 (1965) First MLB Draft (Johnny Bench)
  • HOTG20 (1966) NL & AL MVP (Frank Robinson)
  • HOTG21 (1973) DH rule created
  • HOTG22 (1991) Ryan Throws 7th No-Hitter
  • HOTG23 (1995) Ripken Breaks Gehrig’s Streak
  • HOTG24 (1997) Interleague Play Introduced
  • HOTG25 (2000) 1st MLB game in Japan

* – According to legend.  I was disappointed that this card doesn’t point out the fact that Doubleday clearly didn’t invent the game.

Completed insert set – 2010 Topps Vintage Legends

4 01 2012

Vintage Legends was another 2010 Topps insert that I’ve recently completed.  This is actually the largest insert set I’ve completed to date – it’s a 50 card set across 2 series.  25 vintage legends were inserted in 2010 Topps series 2, and 25 more were inserted in Topps Update.

Info about the set:

Set description: “Featuring baseball legends on memorable past Topps designs on which they’ve never appeared.  Look for Babe Ruth on the 1999 design and Lou Gehrig on the 1958 design.”  That’s pretty descriptive – this is an all-retired set, with players on sets they’ve never been on.  It isn’t just guys like Gehrig and Ruth, though, who were never on Topps cards – it’s things like putting Willie McCovey on  1953 Topps (7 years before his first Topps card) and on 1988 Topps (8 years after he had his last Topps card).  See below for what they have on the back of the cards.

Set composition: 50 cards, 1:4 odds (2010 Topps series 2 & Update)

Hall of Famers: 24. The same player is in each series, and Thurman Munson is the only player not in the Hall of Fame out of the player list for this set.

How I put the set together:

  • 18 cards from the 2 hobby boxes (series 2 and update)
  • 2 cards from trades
  • 15 cards from eBay
  • 7 cards from some card shows
  • 8 cards from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  I’ve read a lot about people not liking this set.  Well, I disagree.  I think this set is awesome.  In fact, I think it’s almost as good as the 60 years of Topps or Yo Momma cards.  Putting players on a design they’d otherwise never be seen on – I can’t help but love the idea.  On the back of these cards, they also do a comparison of what the players stats from “X” number of years earlier or later would have compared to the year of the design in question.  If you’re into baseball statistics like I am – this is excellent.  How does Cy Young’s 1907 ERA and wins stack up 70 years later – I love it.

There are some inconsistencies, though – that card #10 of Babe Ruth compares his 1919 stats to 1999.  But it’s a 1927 picture!  It doesn’t make you the biggest baseball history buff to know that Ruth’s record 29 homers in 1919 came with the Red Sox (whom he’s not pictured with on that card).

Card that completed my set: #VLC17 – Mike Schmidt (1960)

One of 2 cards I got from a December Sportlots purchase.  The other was that Babe Ruth card mentioned above, which has the same picture as his 1962 Topps (and 2011 Heritage) “Babe hits 60” card.

Highest book value: #VLC21, VLC29 – Nolan Ryan

Since they didn’t have Mantle in this set, Ryan is the most valuable per the “#1 source”.  Speaking of Mantle, I’m somewhat surprised they didn’t have the Mick in this set.  It seems like a perfect set for him, and Topps clearly has a deal that gives them carte blanche to have him in everything they do.  I’m convinced that someday, you will be able to buy a Topps card of the Mick from every design of every year that ever existed* – and this could have been two more years on the chalkboard.

*- in addition to the fact that he is in ever set as card #7 now, he’s been in a number of other retro-type sets like the 1975 design from Lineage.

Best card (my opinion): #VLC25 – Honus Wagner

Out of all these completed sets I’ve done thus far – this  was the most difficult.  I really like this set, and there a lot of cool pictures of baseball greats on classic Topps designs.  I really like the 1986 Jimmie Foxx.  If that shot had been on 1987 Topps – I’d have taken that card.  I like the ’55 Reggie and the ’56 Cobb.

But, the best shortstop ever – from the early 1900’s – in a dugout shot.  I’ve seen a lot of the pictures in this set elsewhere.  The Bench and Seaver Reds cards are the same shots they use in Lineage for those 2 guys.  The aforementioned Ruth is the same as his 1962 Topps.  But I’ve never seen this card, and they threw it on 1990 Topps!!!  Kudos.

My Favorite Reds card: #VLC18 – Johnny Bench

This is a no-brainer.  This beats out the other Bench card is from 2002 and the Seaver card is from 2007 – I don’t think I’ll be in love with those designs when they happen.

So what years weren’t included?  That would be: ’67, ’74, ’78, ’80, ’83-’85, ’91, ’04-’06, and ’08-’09.  That’s 13 years out of 59 possible (1951 to 2009).  There were two cards from ’57, ’81, ’88 and ’89.