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)

2000-topps-mcgwire-most-cards

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

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Recap – Completed decade, a last look Topps in the 1990’s

16 10 2016

Just like recapping my top 10, I put together one post that summarizes everything I just did from the 1990’s decade in Topps.  I still have plenty of inserts to finish up to wrap a complete bow on the decade, but the main part of my Lifetime Topps project is done for 1980-1999.  This is the 2nd of those 2 decades.

The majority of the information below is stuff I’ve covered previously – this is just a summary.  If you want the greater detail for some of this, click on “Topps 1990s” over in the right hand column.

Info about my decade:

How I put the decade together:

A total of 8,976 for the decade, including the Topps Traded sets.

  • 5,058 from wax boxes
  • 1,109 from trades
  • 376 from other forms of original Topps packaging – 292 from a ’91 rack pack box, 84 from a ’90 blister
  • 781 from purchasing the Traded boxed sets
  • 150 cards I already had at home in good condition
  • 25 single card purchases – 12 from card shows, 6 from eBay, 4 from Beckett Marketplace, 3 from Sportlots

Card that completed my decade:  1998 Topps #160 – Derek Jeter (from an eBay lot)

1998 Topps Jeter

Decade composition (number that are from Topps Traded in parentheses if applicable):

  • 7,023 individual player cards (946 from the Traded sets, 515 from the ML Debut sets)
  • 241 Draft Picks
  • 111 Prospect multi-player cards
  • 74 Team USA (all from Traded)
  • 54 Coming Attractions
  • 36 Expansion Prospect
  • 30 On Deck
  • 4 Triple-A All-Stars
  • 1 Russian Angels
  • 106 Managers
  • 16 Tribute cards
  • 130 All-Stars
  • 60 Season Highlights
  • 14 Record Breakers.
  • 12 ROY Contenders
  • 12 League Leaders.
  • 11 All-Topps Team
  • 9 Measures of Greatness
  • 5 Turn Back the Clock.
  • 5 Strikeout Kings
  • 2 Anatomy of a Trade
  • 58 checklists.

Representation of the decade:  The 1990-1999 Topps sets should, in theory, tell the story of the 1989-1998 MLB seasons.  Since I’m including 1999 Topps Traded, it also includes rookies from the 1999 season.  So it isn’t quite the decade of the 80′s when you do this comparison – it’s 11 years instead.

During those 11 seasons, 2,954 different players graced the fields of Major League ballparks.  2,069 of them had a Topps card from some time in the 1990’s.  That’s 70.0%.

Last active player from this decade:  Players still active as of today are included below with their first card of the decade:

  • Carlos Beltran – 1995 Topps Traded #18
  • Bartolo Colon – 1996 Topps #428
  • Adrian Beltre – 1998 Topps #254
  • Jayson Werth – 1998 Topps #493
  • Matt Holliday – 1999 Topps #442
  • Matt Belisle – 1999 Topps #438
  • C.C. Sabathia – 1999 Topps Traded #T33

Only Beltran, Beltre and Werth are still playing in the postseason.  Belisle was left off the Nationals postseason roster.

The following 2 guys are free agents who intend to come back next year, but may be finished based on a lack of interest.  We’ll see.

  • Josh Hamilton – 1999 Topps Traded #T66
  • Carl Crawford – 1999 Topps Traded #T75

Also, David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez are still technically active as of today, however both have announced their retirements.

Earliest active current player from this decade:  Nolan Ryan – 1990 Topps #1, 1991 Topps #1, 1992 Topps, 1993 Topps #700, 1994 Topps #34

92 Topps Nolan Ryan

Earliest active retired player from this decade:  Babe Ruth – 1995 Topps #3

1995 Topps TRIB - front

Player with the most cards in the set:  Ken Griffey Jr. & Barry Bonds – 22 cards each

Take a look at this post for the details.

First Card and the Hundreds:  Cal Ripken – 5 cards

I actually didn’t do this in an earlier post, but Cal Ripken has the most “special number” cards.  He has the most with 5, which seems pretty low to me as it’s only half the decade.  Ripken has a special card number from 1992-1994 and 1996-1997.

Nolan Ryan, Kirby Puckett, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly and Bo Jackson all had 4 such cards.

Highest book value:  1993 Topps #98 – Derek Jeter DP RC

93topps Rookie Jeter

1994 Topps Traded #98 – Paul Konerko DP RC

1994 Topps Traded 112T Paul Konerko DP RC

Both of these book for 20 bucks.  Though I’m positive the Jeter sells for more than the Konerko in the real world.

Most notable card:  1999 Topps #220 – Mark McGwire HR

1999 Topps McGwire HR 70

Notable doesn’t necessarily mean good, and this card carries a lot of notoriety in a negative manner.  Topps was capitalizing on the record setting home run chase between McGwire and Sosa.  They gave each player a tribute card with a number for the home run on the back.  If you wanted to, you could put together a collection with all 70 homers by Big Mac or all 66 long balls by Slammin’ Sammy.  McGwire was the record breaker, and his card was in series 1.  At the time, these cards were a popular chase.  However, many collectors lamented including intentional variations in the base set – and it sure led the way for the abundance of this type of thing today.

 

The other card I really considered was Mickey Mantle’s 1996 Topps card.  Mantle passed away the year before and Topps pretty much put up the entire 1996 product as a big Mantle tribute.  They had done a few tribute cards before this, but not to this extent.  The Mantle reprints became extremely popular and led to including retired players in insert sets.  And Topps “retired” that card #7 going forward.

Thir, fourth and fifth on this list for me would be:

  • Frank Thomas’ 1990 rookie card which had a variation that drove collector’s batty
  • the first Topps card of Alex Rodriguez (1998) after he refused to sign with them for the first 4 years of his career
  • Jeter’s 1993 Rookie Card

Best card (my opinion):  1994 Topps #180 – George Brett

1994 Topps George Brett best card

Second best card (also my opinion):  1990 Topps #414 – Frank Thomas FDP RC

1990 Topps F Thomas DP RC

Best subset card:  1996 Topps #96 – Cal Ripken 2131

1996 Topps 96 Ripken best subset

Favorite action photo:  1991 Topps #170 – Carlton Fisk

1991 Topps Cracker Jack Fisk

Favorite non-action photo:  1993 Topps #52 – Bobby Bonilla

1993 Topps best card Bonilla

My Favorite Reds card:  1995 Topps #350 – Barry Larkin

1995 Topps 90 Reds Larkin





Completed set – 1998 Topps

9 08 2016

I caught up with almost all of my completed insert set posts.  I didn’t plan on getting into a hole of 40-50 sets, but I did and now I’m through almost all of it.  Now onto the really fun stuff – I’ve finished off 2 base Topps sets, which is awesome.

For this one, I haven’t finished off the “Master Set” yet – though I’m only a few insert cards away from that.  So it’s just the “complete set” post for now.  This is 1998 Topps.

Info about my set:

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How I put the set together:

  • 265 cards from the series 1 hobby box
  • 188 cards from the series 2 hobby box
  • 48 cards from trades
  • 2 cards from eBay

Card that completed my set:  #160 – Derek Jeter (from an eBay lot)

1998 Topps Jeter

I got this and Vinny Castilla’s card back as part of eBay lot in September of last year – so almost a year ago!

Set composition:  503 cards (433 individual ML player cards*, 16 Prospects, 10 Expansion Team, 12 Draft Picks, 4 Checklists, 1 Tribute, 10 Season Highlights, 7 World Series Highlights, 10 Interleague Play)

*The 433 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies

Representation of ’97 MLB season:

8 of the Expansion Team cards are dual-player, and the Prospect cards all have 3 players on them.  9 players were in the set twice after being shown with their new team in series 2.  Doing the math, that’s 490 players represented in the set (433+48+18-9).

Of the 48 guys in the Prospect cards, 8 played in MLB in 1997 – meaning 40 didn’t.  The 2 guys on the single-player Expansion Team cards – Brian Anderson and Tony Saunders – played MLB in 1997 – but the other 16 didn’t.  3 more guys had regular cards but didn’t play in 1997 (all were expansion players).  That leaves 431 players who played in the majors.

The 431 players represent 38.4% out of the 1,123 players who played in MLB in 1997.

Earliest active player from this set:  #21 – Roberto Clemente, #200 – Dennis Eckersley (active players)

Just like 1997 Topps, there are two answers to this.  And just like 1997 Topps, Eck is the earliest active player.  He made his debut on April 12, 1975, pitching the last 1.2 innings of a 1-run Cleveland loss to Milwaukee.  Eckersley beats out Denny Martinez, who debuted in 1976.

1998 Topps Eckersley

Clemente is the earliest (and only) retired player – making his debut on April 17, 1955.

1998 Topps TRIB Clemente

Last active player from this set:  #254 – Adrian Beltre, #257 – David Ortiz, #504 – Alex Rodriguez, #360 – Bartolo Colon (all still active)

1998 Topps last active player

That’s quite a list.  Bartolo was the only one of these guys with a card in 1997, so he’s joined by these 3 in 1998 (for now).  A-Rod got his first Topps card in 1998 after not signing a contract with the company.  Beltre and Ortiz are in the prospect set.  It will be interesting to see who keeps going.  Ortiz has said he’s going to retire, but the other 3 plan to play next year if possible.

Player with the most cards in the set:  5 players with 3 cards:

Matt Williams is in the World Series subset and has 2 regular cards.  Gary Sheffield has cards in the World Series and Interleague subsets, Juan Gonzalez has a card in both interleague subsets, and Nomar Garciaparra and Tino Martinez were in the Season Highlight and Interleague subsets (in addition to their regular card).

The other 4 guys have an Interleague and is basically only 1 subset, with 10 season highlights cards.

Matt Williams – #12, #439, #280 (World Series)

1998 Topps most cards - Matt Williams

Gary Sheffield – #166, #279 (World Series), #483 (Interleague Preview)

1998 Topps most cards - Sheffield

Tino Martinez – #284, #269 (Season Highlight), #483 (Interleague Preview)

1998 Topps most cards - Tino Martinez

Nomar Garciaparra – #335, #268 (Season Highlight), #481 (Interleague Preview)

1998 Topps most cards - Nomar

Juan Gonzalez – #30, #273(Interleague Highlight), #482 (Interleague Preview)

1998 Topps most cards - Juan Gonzalez

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Tony Gwynn, #100 – Mike Piazza, #200 – Dennis Eckersley, #300 – Roger Clemens, #400 – Delino DeShields, #500 – Dustin Carr / Luis Cruz EXP

1998 Topps first card and 00s

Highest book value:  #257 – David Ortiz / Richie Sexson / Daryle Ward

1998 Topps PROS Ortiz Sexson Ward

The first Topps card for Ortiz slightly outpaces the A-Rod first Topps card below.  According to Beckett.

Most notable card: #504 – Alex Rodriguez

1998 Topps A Rod

After refusing to sign a deal with Topps for the first 4-5 years of his career, A-Rod was a late addition and Topps snuck him in as the last card in the set.

Best card (my opinion):  #146 – Jose Guillen

1998 Topps Jose Guillen

Really cool card with Clemente’s statue in the background.  It goes particularly well because Clemente was the “retired player du jour” honored in the set.  Guillen is from the Dominican Republic, whereas Clemente was from Puerto Rico.  But the Caribbean connection is cool

Second best card (also my opinion):  #287 – Brian Jordan

1998 Topps Brian Jordan

I had a tough time picking these top few cards.  I was between the Guillen card above, this card and the A-Rod card, which I feel is pretty high on the iconic scale.  I just love this card – Jordan hadn’t played football in a long time at this point, but it’s indicative of the creativity in some of the shots for this set.  For “best card” – I had to put the Guillen above because of the Clemente factor.  But I think this is a better/cooler pose in and of itself.

Best subset card:  #479 – Ken Griffey Jr. / Mike Piazza INTP

1998 Topps AS - front

The two guys who just went into the HOF together.  I was just there – and one thing that was cool was that Griffey and Piazza had incredible chemistry together.  Was really fun – I’m naturally a huge Griffey fan but I came away a Piazza fan after going to Cooperstown last month.

Favorite action photo:  #79 – Kevin Polcovich

1998 Topps Kevin Polcovich

There aren’t a ton of really great action shots in this set, but I got it down to two cards I was considering for this.  Todd Helton’s card was the one that didn’t make the cut.  Helton’s card features him following through on a swing on a day game.  The shadow effects are really cool in the batters box.  But this card of Polcovich – whose career was certainly forgettable compared to Helton’s – shows him levitating over a cloud of dust, after trying to turn a DP!

Favorite non-action photo:  #287 – Brian Jordan

1998 Topps Brian Jordan

As mentioned above – I think if you consider the pose alone, this card is a bit cooler than the Clemente card.

My Favorite Reds card:  #240 – Pete Rose Jr.

1998 Topps Pete Rose Jr

The only way a Pete Rose could get into a Topps set since 1989.  I also really like the Barry Larkin card.

Other Notable Cards:  Here’s some of the other cards I considered for some of the “accolades” up above.

1998 Topps other notable cards





Completed set – 1995 Topps Traded

25 06 2016

This is the first of the Topps Traded sets where I’ll do a completed set post.  Before 1995, Topps Traded meant a factory set that I would be purchasing.  It was gone from 1996 through 1998, and it was again a full box set in 1999 and 2000.  So this was the first one I “collected”.

Info about my set:

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How I put the set together:

  • 160 cards from the Topps Traded box
  • 1 card from Sportlots
  • 4 cards from Beckett Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #14T – Kevin Gross

1995 Topps Traded Kevin Gross

This was one of 4 cards I got from Beckett’s Marketplace in February.  I bought this box in 2012.  Then I got 1 card from Sportlots in 2014 – then waited 2 more years before I finally said the hell with it and finished this thing!  I’m surprised it took so long, but I was trying not to buy the last couple cards until they were part of another purchase.  I found a dealer on Beckett who had some other cards that were tougher, who also had these cards.  And here we are!

Set composition:  165 cards (114 single MLB player cards, 14 Draft Picks, 2 On Deck, 2 Tops Prospects, 1 Star Track, 12 Rookie of the Year Contenders, 10 At the Break, 9 All-Stars, 1 checklist)

Representation of ’94 MLB season:  OK, like I said this was the first time for me to do a complete set post for a Traded set.  So what I’ll do is combine the Traded and regular Topps sets.

The 1995 Topps set featured 567 out of the 991 players who played in Major League Baseball in 1994.  That’s 57.2%.

In the update set not in the base set:  28 players.

It had become much more about “rookies who (maybe) played in 1995” than “players who were traded in 1995 or not featured in the regular set”.

Total in base and update sets:  595 different players.  Or 60% of the 1994 MLB rosters.

Last active player from this set:  #18T – Carlos Beltran

1995 Topps Traded Beltran LeBron

Wow, weird how this works out, but I have to explain this whole error thing.  Carlos Beltran is the only player still active in 2016*.  His card had a big snafu with it.  It doesn’t feature him.  the Juan LeBron card does.  And his card features Juan Lebron.  Yes that’s confusing, and it has nothing to do with the notable basketball player from Akron.  They just got those 2 guys pictures messed up.  So card #18 is considered Beltran’s “rookie card”, but features a picture of Lebron.  Meanwhile, card #12, LeBron’s card, features a photo of the future All-Star, Beltran.

* – There’s a chance Bronson Arroyo will come back to play, but it isn’t looking promising. In fact, as far it looks now, Beltran may end up outlasting his fellow draft class member by 2+ seasons.

Highest book value:  #18T – Carlos Beltran, #130T – Lyle Mouton / Mariano Rivera

Beckett lists both the Beltran rookie and the first flagship Topps card of the greatest closer ever at $10.  Weird how in the baseball card hobby, the card picturing LeBron but listed as Beltran’s RC is the more valuable.

Most notable card:  #40T – Hideo Nomo

1995 Topps Traded Hideo Nomo ST

It could be argued the Beltran card is the most notable, with the Lebron/Beltran mix-up going on.  But Nomo-mania was as big as it comes, and this was his first Topps card.

Best card (my opinion):  #20T – Larry Walker

1995 Topps Traded Larry Walker

I think Walker should be in the Hall of Fame, and I’m surprised he hasn’t got more traction.  I think people are overreacting to the Coors Field effect.  He had some historic numbers, and yes, Coors contributed to that.  But he was one of the best players in baseball for quite a while even if you adjust a bit downward for Coors.  Also, him coming to Denver was the catalyst for them becoming a better franchise.  This card exists because he signed in Denver as a free agent as soon as the strike lifted.  To me, it’s the a card I really appreciate because of that.

Second best card (also my opinion):  #110T – David Cone

1995 Topps Traded David Cone

Another guy who hasn’t gotten enough HOF play.  I’m not convinced David Cone is a Hall of Famer, but he isn’t that far off.  At a minimum he should have gotten more than 3.9% and been one-and-done.

Cone was coming off his Cy Young award in KC, and was another huge free agent signing.  He had a really good year, but Toronto failed miserably in what was a strange title defense – with the 1994 canceled season.  He ended up in New York as their workhorse down the stretch.  This is a cool card with the sunset logo in the background.

Best subset card:  #163T – Mike Piazza / Ivan Rodriguez AS

1995 TT All-Stars - front

I really like this particular All-Star subset.  The space allows for some good photos even though it’s a dual player card.  This is the best of that bunch.

Favorite action photo:  #11T – Ray Durham

1995 Topps Traded Ray Durham

Traded/Update sets aren’t particularly known for their action shots.  This is a cool one.  Look how far out of that baseline Durahm is, rounding third and heading for home.

Favorite non-action photo:  #110T – David Cone

1995 Topps Traded David Cone

Like I said, I like the cool effect with the background here.

My Favorite Reds card:  #34T – “Benny” Santiago

1995 Topps Traded Benito Santiago

Benito was a big part of the Reds really good team in 1995.  He was a solid player, though he split a lot of time with Eddie Taubensee.  As evidenced by the All-Star card above, I’m a sucker for photos with catcher’s gear involved.





Completed set – 1995 Topps

15 06 2016

I finished the 1995 Topps set.  I purchased an eBay lot in the 2nd half of last year that finished off the last few cards I’d needed for this set.  It’s been quite a while since I did one of these completed set posts – I’m glad to get it done!

Now, 1995 Topps is not one of my favorite sets.  I appreciate it more now than I did when it came out.  But at the time, I just thought the sets like Upper Deck, Collector’s Choice, Pinnacle and some other sets were much nicer.

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Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 298 cards from series 1 retail box
  • 214 cards from series 2 retail box
  • 102 cards from trades
  • 41 cards I already had from back in the day
  • 4 cards from eBay
  • 1 card from Sportlots

Card that completed my set:  #446 – Andres Galarraga (one of 4 cards from that eBay lot)

1995 Topps Andres Galarraga

Set composition:  660 cards (558 individual ML player cards*, 11 All-Stars, 10 Prospects, 33 Draft Picks, 15 Future Stars, 28 On Deck, 1 Babe Ruth Tribute, 4 checklists)

*The 558 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies and 13 Star Track cards

Representation of ’94 MLB season: 

The On Deck subset features dual-player cards, and the Prospects cards have 4 players, one from each level of the minor leagues.  None of the guys in the Draft Pick subset made it to the show in ’94, and nobody in the Future Star set played in the majors either.  12 players from the On Deck subset and 3 players from the Prospect set played in the majors in 1994.

There were 5 guys with regular cards who didn’t actually play in 1994.

  • Chipper Jones was going to start for the Braves in 1994, but tore his ACL in spring training.
  • Benji Gil (in the Star Track subset) started on the Rangers 1993 roster, but after playing 22 games in 1993 he spent the entire ’94 season in the minors.
  • Nigel Wilson, the first expansion draft pick by the Marlins, played in 6 games in 1993 but none in 1994.
  • Duane Ward, the Blue Jays’ closer for their 1993 World Championship, missed the whole 1994 campaign with a torn biceps.
  • Lance Blankenship had his career cut short after shoulder surgery in 1993, but had a card in 1995 as he was trying to make a comeback.
  • Ron Gant missed all of the 1994 season after a motorcycle injury.  He got a card with the Reds en route to Comeback Player of the Year.

If you add those 15 On Deck / Prospects players to the 558 base cards and subtract the 6 guys noted above, that gives you 567 players who played in the Topps set who played in MLB in 1994.  The 567 players represent 57.2% out of the 991 players who played in MLB in 1994.

Last active player from this set:  #179 – LaTroy Hawkins

1995 Topps LaTroy Hawkins

There are no players in this set that are active any more, though if I had got around to posting this when I completed it LaTroy Hawkins would have been the lone player remaining.  Hawkins played for the Rockies in the start of the 2015 season, but was released in late July.  He caught on with the Blue Jays and was an effective part of their bullpen, posting a 2.76 ERA as Toronto overtook the Yankees to win the AL East.

Hawkins’ last regular season game consisted of one batter on October 3rd – he came in and got Tim Beckham of Tampa Bay to line out to end the 7th inning.  He pitched in 3 games in the postseason, with what I can only describe as awful results.  He lost game 2 of the ALDS, giving up 2 runs, then gave up 2 more runs in game 1 of the ALCS as Kansas City extended a 3-0 lead.  Finally, in game 4 on October 20th, he gave up 3 runs in a 14-2 KCR route and couldn’t get an out.  Alex Rios singled as the last batter he faced.

Player with the most cards in the set:  22 players with 2 cards:

Every player in the All-Star subset has 2 cards.  I’m not going to scan every card of all 22 guys, but here’s the whole All-Star subset.

1995 Topps AS Subset

1995 Topps AS Subset 2

First Card and the Hundreds:  #1 – Frank Thomas, #100 – Barry Bonds, #200 – Tim Salmon, #300 – Jose Canseco, #400 – Henry Rodriguez, #500 – John Hudek, #600 – Yorkis Perez

1995 Topps 1st and 00s

In the 2nd series, Topps kind of gave up on the star factor for the double-zero cards.

Highest book value:  #588 – Cal Ripken

1995 Topps Ripken

When there’s no big rookie or first Topps card, Ripken is usually going to be the answer here.

Most notable card:  #3 – Babe Ruth TRIB

1995 Topps Ruth

I hate to go with a card of a guy who isn’t active, but this set just doesn’t have anything notable in the way of rookies or an all-time photo.  Good photos, but nothing that trumps this Ruth as far as notable.

Best card (my opinion):  #203 – Randy Johnson

1995 Topps Randy Johnson

Captures the stare as good as any card of the Big Unit.

Second best card (also my opinion):  #216 – Alex Diaz

1995 Topps Alex Diaz

Levitation.

Best subset card:  #388 – Ken Griffey Jr. / Barry Bonds AS

1995 Topps Griffey Bonds AS

The best players of the 90’s – the only Topps base card with these two 2nd-generation stars.

Favorite action photo:  #23 – Mike Devereaux

1995 Topps Mike Devereaux

This was tough because there wasn’t one standout.  I considered the Diaz from above, though it’s not the action itself.  Alex Fernandez has a really cool card where he’s shown getting an out by barely tagging a runner out at first.  And Chuck Carr has a cool card where he’s on the basepaths with a well-worn uniform.  But this Mike Devereaux card where he’s literally upside-down – it’s the best pure action shot.  You’ve got to wonder what the heck was going on, and wonder if he made the catch.  A memorable card, for sure.

Favorite non-action photo:  #126 – Eduardo Perez

1995 Topps Eduardo Perez

I’m all for props on baseball cards.  This is very Upper Deck-ish of Topps.  I wish they had done more like this.  This beats out the Orel Hershiser card that I guess is more photogenic, but seems kind of cheesy with the blue sky and clouds in the background.

My Favorite Reds card:  #350 – Barry Larkin

1995 Topps Barry Larkin

I didn’t have to think twice here – really good pic of Larkin pulling back a bunt.  Also, 1995 was his MVP year.

Other Notable Cards:  Notable can be for good or bad, and in 1995 Topps tried to get cute and modify some tricks Upper Deck had already been doing for 6 years.  That was a misguided effort in my opinion – these just look hokey and/or fake.  The one exception, for me at least, is the O’Neill, which I like because that was something that Yankee fans did.

1995 Topps Pic effects





Completed set – one last look at 2013 Goodwin Champions

13 03 2016

I’ve now finished up 3 of the Goodwin Champion sets.  This one took me a little over 2 years to finish, which is par for the course for Goodwin.  This isn’t a set for those who don’t like SP cards in the base set – there are again three tiers of SP cards.

I’ve still got a little work for the master set, which entails adding on a 60-card insert set called “Wonders of the Universe”.

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Info about my set:

How I put the set (base / SP / SSP / mini) together:

  • 156 (130/17/6/3) cards from my three hobby boxes
  • 50 (3/23/14/10) cards from Sportlots/Beckett/COMC
  • 17 (17/0/0/0) cards from a card show

The set is numbered up to 225, but there were 2 cards that didn’t make the final set (#213, #218).  #223 wasn’t supposed to be inserted, but a few of the Dylan Bundy card did make it into packs.

Card that completed my set:  #23 – John Havlicek

2013 Goodwin Havlicek

I got this from Sportlots last December.

General Set Info

Set composition: 223 cards (150 base, 40 SP, 20 SSP, 13 mini-only)

There are 192 athletes

  • 54 Baseball (no active MLB, 13 minor league)
  • 35 Basketball (6 active NBA)
  • 33 American Football (8 active NFL)
  • 21 Ice Hockey
  • 14 Golf (10 men, 4 women)
  • 7 Olympian (4 track & field, 2 Gymnasts, 1 Swimming)
  • 6 Soccer (all men)
  • 5 Auto Racing
  • 3 Boxing
  • 3 Skateboarding
  • 2 Rock Climbing
  • 2 Horse Racing (2 jockeys)
  • 1 Tennis
  • 1 MMA
  • 1 Wrestling
  • 1 Rodeo
  • 1 Motocross
  • 1 Roller Derby
  • 1 Arm Wrestling
  • 1 Fishing

There are 30 non-athletes or “famous figures” in the set

  • 5 Outlaws/Lawman
  • 3 Political Figures (3 U.S. Presidents)
  • 3 University Founders
  • 3 Actors
  • 3 Authors
  • 3 Businessmen
  • 2 Military Figures
  • 2 Artists
  • 2 Musicians (1 singer, 1 composer)
  • 5 “Other” (Comic Book Writer, Inventor, Dancer, Photographer)

Earliest active player from this set:

Baseball – #158 – Harry Wright

2013 Goodwin Harry Wright

Harry Wright was playing baseball about as long as it has been played.  The son of a cricket player, and a cricket player himself, Wright joined the New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1857 when the National Association of Base Ball Players was first formed.  He played his first game with them in July of 1858, and played with the Knickerbockers until 1863.  When they stopped playing competitively, he jumped to the Gothams.  In 1865, he went to Cincinnati, and over the next 4 years he constructed the best baseball team of its era.  The cornerstone of his team was his brother George, 12 years younger, who was probably the best player in the world at that point.  In 1869, when the NABBP officially allowed players to be paid, the Cincinnati Base Ball Club became the Red Stockings, baseball’s first professional team.  They went on an amazing run, going 65-0 in 1869, and winning 84 straight games before they finally fell to the Brooklyn Atlantics in June of 1870.

The Red Stockings lost popularity after that defeat, and Wright was wooed away by the Boston team when the NAPBBP was formed.  He brought many of his Cincinnati players with him, and led the club to 4 of the 5 National Association pennants and 2 of the first 3 National League pennants.  However you look at it, Wright was the first baseball player and the first professional baseball player in this set.

All sports – #175 Jem Mace

2013 Goodwin Jem Mace

There’s one athlete in this set earlier than the father of professional baseball.  That would be Jem Mace, who was a bare knuckle boxer in the mid-1800s.  Mace made his debut in 1857, and won the England title in 1861.  He would go on to fight in England, USA and Australia in a long career that helped establish glove boxing as the sport we are more familiar with today.

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Wayne Gretzky, #100 – Meyers Leonard, #200 – Isadona Duncan

2013 Goodwin 1st card & hundreds

Highest book value:  #223 – Dylan Bundy

Most notable card:  #223 – Dylan Bundy

2013 Goodwin Dylan Bundy

As I mentioned above, this card was not supposed to be released.  Along with 2 other cards, it wasn’t included on the checklist and was to be a hole in the set.  A small number made it through production and into packs.  It’s kind of reminiscent of the Alex Gordon Topps card from a few years ago, though I don’t think it’s that rare.  Or at least it’s not in a set like flagship Topps.

Because of the mistake noted above, it’s the rarest and is definitely the most expensive card in this set.  You could even consider the set complete without it.  I did get one, for about 30 bucks.

Best card (my opinion):  #169 – Tim Keefe

2013 Goodwin Tim Keefe

This is a cool card of a Hall of Fame pitcher posing with a bat, wearing a colorful uniform from the 1880’s, in front of an interesting background.  All that makes it a cool card, but the reason I consider it the best card is that Keefe was in the original set.  He’s the only person in this Goodwin set and the original version from 1888.  That’s what puts it over the top of some of the other cards in the set.

Second best card (also my opinion):  #101 – Tony Gwynn

2013 Goodwin Tony Gwynn

At some point I’d like to start a collection of cards like this.  Players shown in their second sport.  Gwynn was an excellent basketball player at San Diego State, though the team around him wasn’t good enough to make the NCAA tourney in any of his 4 years.  He is still the all-time leader in assists at the program, for both his career (by a wide margin) and a single season.

Best subset card: N/A

Favorite action photo: #143 – Tiger Woods

2013 Goodwin Tiger Woods

This is a bit of a stretch calling it an action photo, but I think it qualifies for a golfer.  And it’s pretty cool.  I hope Tiger can come back, but it’s looking less likely than ever before.

Favorite non-action photo: #53 – Walt Frazier

2013 Goodwin Walt Frazier

My Favorite Reds card: #51 – Pete Rose

2013 Goodwin Pete Rose

Unlike the previous year’s set, Rose has a great photo in 2013 Goodwin.





Completed set – 1994 Topps

25 08 2015

A few months ago I finished the 1994 Topps set.  Finishing one of the base Topps sets is a big step toward the Lifetime Topps project!

Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 307 cards from series 1 wax box
  • 259 cards from series 2 wax box
  • 222 cards from trades
  • 2 cards I already had from back in the day
  • 1 card from a card show
  • 1 card from Sportlots

Card that completed my set: #379 – Mark McLemore (one of 3 cards received from a trade with Highly Subjective and Completely Arbitrary)

1994 Topps Mark McLemore final card of set

I didn’t realize it at first, but McLemore’s card is an uncorrected error because the card # is one of two cards, along with Benito Santiago, bearing number 370 in the set.  McLemore is supposed to be 379.

Set composition: 792 cards (695 individual ML player cards*, 28 Coming Attractions, 10 Prospects, 34 Draft Picks, 9 Measures of Greatness, 11 All-Stars, 1 Aaron Tribute, 4 checklists)

*The 695 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies, 26 Future Stars and Nolan Ryan’s final season tribute

Representation of ’93 MLB season:  The Coming Attractions is a dual-player subset, and the Prospects cards have 4 players, one from each level of the minor leagues.  If you do the math, and exclude the Aaron card, that means there are 825 player cards in Topps.  One of the Draft Pick players did make the majors in 1993 (Jeff Granger) – leaving 33 who did not.  19 of the players in the Coming Attractions subset did not make it to the Majors, 8 of the Future Stars didn’t, and 38 (all but 2) of the players from the Prospect subset didn’t actually make it.

That leaves 733 guys in the set who played in MLB in 1993.  The 733 players represent 66.4% out of the 1,104 players who played in MLB in 1993.  It’s worth noting – the 1,104 players was a huge increase since there were 2 expansion teams in 1993.

Last active player from this set: #158 – Derek Jeter

1994 Topps Derek Jeter Prospect card

There are no players in this set currently active.  Derek Jeter wast the last active player from the set – he played the final game of his historic career at Fenway park on September 28th last year, which was the final day of the season.  He singled in his second at bat to knock in Ichiro Suzuki and was pulled for Brian McCann to replace him as DH.  That has to be the only time Brian McCann ever pinch ran for anyone.

There were 2 other players who played their last game at the end of the 2014 season.  Jason Giambi played as a DH for the Indians on September 27th and has since retired.  Jamey Wright pitched for the Dodgers and notched a hold in his last game on September 27th.  He wasn’t on the team’s postseason roster.  Wright tried to latch on with the Rangers last spring training but missed out on the team’s final cut.

Player with the most cards in the set:  5 players with 3 cards:

There are 2 “extra card” subsets, and 5 players have a card in both the All-Star and Measure of Greatness subset – Frank Thomas, Wade Boggs, Cal Ripken, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr.

Ripken – #200, #387 (All-Star), #604 (Measure of Greatness)

1994 Topps most cards Ripken

Thomas – #270, #384 (AS), #601 (MoG)

1994 Topps most cards Thomas

Griffey – #400, #388 (AS), #606 (MoG)

1994 Topps most cards Griffey

Boggs – #520, #386 (AS), #603 (MoG)

1994 Topps most cards Boggs

Bonds – #700, #390 (AS), #605 (MoG)

1994 Topps most cards Bonds

First Card and the Hundreds: #1 – Mike Piazza, #100 – Kirby Puckett, #200 – Cal Ripken, #300 – Ryne Sandberg, #400 – Ken Griffey Jr., #500 – Bo Jackson, #600 – Don Mattingly, #700 – Barry Bonds

1994 Topps first card and hundreds

Three of the 5 guys from the “most card” category made the special card section.

Highest book value: #158 – Orlando Miller, Brandon Wilson, Derek Jeter, Mike Neal PROS

1994 Topps Derek Jeter Prospect card

It’s not his rookie card, but this prospect is Jeter’s second card.

Most notable card: #34 – Nolan Ryan

1994 topps Nolan Ryan

This was Ryan’s last card – his 27th card since he shared card #177 with Jerry Koosman back in 1968.  Topps created a card with Ryan’s full statistical background on the back, and a logo on the front for Ryan’s 27 season.

Best card (my opinion): #180 – George Brett

1994 Topps George Brett best card

This is Brett’s 20th and final Topps flagship card.  And it’s his best.  Pure majesty.

Second best card (also my opinion): #675 – Roberto Alomar

1994 Topps scans Alomar

Back when I did my scans of cards from this set, I picked this card as my favorite.  I’ve since changed my mind – I think the Brett is too good.  But it’s got really good competition from this card, where Roberto Alomar forced out his brother and then threw on to first in an attempt at a double play.  This play occurred on April 17, 1993, though I can’t narrow it down between two separate plays.

Best subset card: #715 – Hank Aaron TRIB

1994 Topps Hank Aaron TRIB best subset

Aside from this card and those that are guys’ actual cards for the set are Measures of Greatness and All-Star cards.  Nothing in those subsets beats out the tribute card for Hank Aaron, which was put into the set to honor the 20th anniversary of his record-breaking 715th homer.

Favorite action photo: #149 – Kenny Lofton

1994 Topps Kenny Lofton best action shot

Though I considered just putting the Alomar card from above as the winner here, I don’t think it’s the best card based purely on the action shot.  It’s amazing because he’s forcing out his brother, but I think this Lofton is better if you just go on the action shot.  It looks like he’s about to make a diving catch, after losing his hat a few seconds earlier!

Favorite non-action photo: #80 – Jose Canseco

1994 Topps Jose Canseco best non-action shot

From the wood-clippings at his feet, Canseco seems to be shaving down the handles of his bats.  I’m not sure how many players do this, and this might be the only card where that’s done!

My Favorite Reds card: #705 – Jose Rijo

1994 Topps Jose Rijo

There are a lot of good cards in this set, and a lot of those good cards feature Reds.  I really liked Barry Larkin’s card where he’s going back on a fly ball, and Chris Sabo has a cool photo where he’s legging out a ground ball.  Joe Oliver has a very good play at the plate card.  But Rijo’s card is the best.  If I think about it, I probably prefer this card to the Canseco card above as far as non-action photos go.

This is a cool photo of the times; the Super Soaker had just come out in 1992 and I remember all the kids getting them, even though at 12 or 13 years old I was getting a bit old to play with high-powered squirt guns.  There are 2 other cards that I’ve found that have water guns on them.  The first is another Rijo card.  On the back of his 1994 Stadium Club Member’s Only card, Rijo has upgraded to a souped-up version of the super soaker with 3 “cartridges”.  The other is a Roger McDowell card, also from 1994.  His collector’s choice card shows him taking a picture with a couple of water guns shoved into his belt.

Other Notable Cards: Here’s some of the other cards that I really liked and/or are memorable.  A number of these were considered for the “honors” above.  The Mitch Williams is probably my favorite; I really thought about putting that as the best action photo.

1994 Topps other great cards

Topps Reprints and others:

  • 1999 Ryan reprints – Nolan Ryan
  • 2001 Through the Years – Barry Bonds
  • 2001 Archives – Jack Morris, George Brett, Robin Yount, Ryan
  • 2001 Topps Traded – Terrence Long (’94T), Ben Grieve (’94T)
  • 2002 Archives – Jason Giambi
  • 2005 Rookie Cup Reprints – Jeff Conine, J.T. Snow, Mike Piazza
  • 2010 CMT – Tony Gwynn, Bo Jackson, Billy Wagner
  • 2011 60YOT – Piazza, Manny Ramirez

Both Mike Piazza and Nolan Ryan have multiple reprints.