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

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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.

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Completed insert set – 2015 Topps Eclipsing History

28 12 2016

This is my first completed insert set from 2015 Topps.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  “15 dual subject cards featuring a current record holder and the Legend of the past he eclipsed to claim that record.”

They changed that between sell sheet and production to make it a 10-card set.  Regardless, these cards have two up close photos of players in the manner described above.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:10 odds (2015 Topps s2)

Hall of Famers:  12.  Many of the cards have 2 HOF-ers, and only the last card (Darryl Strawberry, David Wright) is 2 guys not in the Hall.

Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, Ozzie Smith, Tom Seaver, Whitey Ford, Rod Carew, Jim Rice, Lou Gehrig

How I put the set together:

  • 5 cards from my s2 HTA Jumbo box
  • 5 cards from trades

Card that completed my set:  #EH-1 – Henderson / Brock

2015-topps-eclipsing-history-rickey-brock

I got this card from reader Bill K, whose sent me a bunch of cards this month and I’m in the midst of a bunch of posts covering that 🙂

Thoughts on the set:  Cool set, very few current players – but I’m fine with that.  This is the kind of set where I wish Topps wasn’t limited by its contracts.  See other tidbits for ideas I have!

Best card (my opinion):  #EH-1 – Henderson / Brock

2015 Topps Eclipsing History front

Rickey is my favorite non-Reds player, so this was easy for me, though Ryan over Koufax for single season strikeouts was very close.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.

Any other tidbits:  Here are my ideas for additions to this set:

Bonds over Aaron or McGwire would be great.  Pete Rose over Ty Cobb would be even better.  Those are all controversial, but hell, Aaron over Ruth (RBI) would be awesome for the baseball historian in me!  Nolan Ryan over Walter Johnson would also be awesome.  The non-purist in me would love putting Mariano River over Trevor Hoffman or K-Rod over Bobby Thigpen for the 2 all-time saves titles.





Completed insert set – 2013 Topps Making Their Mark

26 12 2016

I completed this set, 3+ years after its release, after getting a few cards from .  I finished this insert set from Sportlots last November.  Topps had the “chase” theme in 2013, and this one was of the defensive mindset.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  “25 cards featuring future stars celebrating their first home run or win.”

That’s the description from the series 2 sell sheet.  There were 25 more cards in this set released as part of Topps Update.

These cards are full bleed with the background blurred.  The bottom is white with the team logo and the applicable date and team logo.  There is a colored nameplate in the middle that varies by the team.  Above the name is a silver foil logo with the sets name.  The back features a write-up on the back describing the player’s first career homer (for hitters) or victory (for pitchers).

Set composition:  50 cards, 1:6 odds (series 2 & update)

Hall of Famers:  None – all current players.

How I put the set together:

  • 16 cards from my series 2 & update hobby/HTA boxes
  • 3 cards from retail packs
  • 26 cards from trades
  • 2 cards from the 2015 NSCC
  • 2 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 cards from Beckett Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #MM-44 – Jedd Gyorko

2013-topps-making-their-mark-gyorko

I got this card, and 6 others, from reader Bill last week.

Thoughts on the set:  This is one of those filler sets that I could do without.  It’s cool to flip through, especially seeing that guys like Todd Frazier and Yoenis Cespedes were considered prospects not that long ago.  But it’s filler.

Best card (my opinion):  #MM-2 – Mike Trout

2013-topps-making-their-mark-trout

Tough to pass on the best player in the game.  At the time this was released, he was the reigning Rookie of the Year.

My Favorite Reds card:  MM-23 – Todd Frazier

2013-topps-making-their-mark-frazier

Sigh.  Things were a little better in the ‘Nati when this guy was an up-and-comer.

Other tidbits:  I went through and counted up the number of players based on each debut year:

  • 2009 – 1
  • 2010 – 3
  • 2011 – 10
  • 2012 – 17
  • 2013 – 19

The 2009 debut was Kris Medlen.

It’s a little sad flipping through this and getting to the card of Jose Fernandez.  Baseball lost a great young talent, and 3 families lost young members, to what can only be described as an unnecessary tragedy.





Completed insert set – 2016 Pressed into Service

5 12 2016

When I finished this set, I wasn’t expecting this to actually be a finished set at that point.  This was one Topps really could have done each series and made a 30 card set.

Info about the set:

Set description:  “When their teams needed them most, these 10 position players ventured into unfamiliar territory.”  The front has a picture of the position player who was forced into a pitching situation, with a background that prominently features baseball stitches.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:8 (2016 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  2. Wade Boggs, Stan Musial.

How I put the set together:

  • 7 cards from my series 1 HTA jumbo box
  • 4 cards from a trade

Card that completed my set: #PIS-5 – Paul O’Neill

2016-topps-pressed-into-service-oneill

I got this as one of 4 cards in trade from 30 dollar habit.

Thoughts on the set:  I love the set and my main complaint is that Topps only did it in series 1.  C’mon!  There are so many other great instances of position players pitching.  From Babe Ruth coming back to show he could still pitch, to Mark Grace giving up David Ross’ first homer, to David Ross hitting a homer as a pitcher.  Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams and Adam Dunn all have stories to tell.  There are so many great options!

Best card (my opinion): #PIS-3 – Jose Canseco

2016 Topps Pressed Into Service front

Canseco is the most fun out of all these guys, though I like the Ichiro story from last year as well.

Best Reds card (my opinion):  Paul O’Neill is the only one.

2016-topps-pressed-into-service-oneill

O’Neill came in to pitch in a blowout loss in 1987.  Wish they could have found a shot from the actual game.

Here’s the whole set.

2016-topps-pressed-into-service

2016-topps-pressed-into-service-swisher

Any other tidbits:  Musial was the one that seemed to stick out as not belonging.  He was a pitcher coming up in the minors, but only had one instance where he was “pressed into service” in the bigs.  He pitched to one batter in 1952 and didn’t get an out.  I wish Topps had put more about the actual pitching appearance.  Musial faced Cubs hitter Frank Baumholtz and threw just one pitch.  It was a gimmick because the Cubs and Cardinals were officially out of the pennant chase, but Baumholtz had an extreme outside chance to catch Musial for the batting title.  Musial came in from the outfield to face him in the first inning. Baumholtz grounded to third, reached on an error, and ended his batting title prayer.  Musial has the strange stat line of facing one hitter, not giving up a walk, hit or HBP, but not also having no credit for any portion of an inning.  He has to be tied for the least innings pitched of any pitcher in MLB history!





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps Hank Aaron reprints

20 11 2016

No posts the last week or so, aside from my previously scheduled beer post.  I actually got to a pretty interesting point – I have no more posts in the queue.  I’ve been dwindling on that front for a while, and had basically been less than 5 for a month or so.  And then I went to Mexico for my buddy’s wedding with just 2 posts in queue.  One was a completed insert set, the other was yesterday’s “beer” post.

But yesterday was the last “scheduled” post that I’d done in advance.  So for the foreseeable future, this blog will be at the whim of my schedule and desire to do baseball card posts.  I’ve picked up other hobbies, and with 2 kids, it’s just harder.  I want to get the Lifetime Topps project done, but I may need to rethink the insert part of that.  It’s just become too much by the time I got to the mid 2000’s.

I’m kind of happy about that.  Blogging takes up a lot of time, and I’d like to just do it when I get the urge.  At least for now.  I think I’ll still knock out 10 posts a month or so.  We’ll see.

That aside, I have a few completed insert sets left, and this is one I’d be going after even if I wasn’t trying to get every insert Topps created.

Info about the set:

Set description:  Aaron was the 5th historic player honored with a reprint set (Mantle in ’96, Mays in ’97, Clemente ’98, Ryan ’99).  And he would be the last of this run; after 2000 they started doing multiple player reprints as insert sets.  This set had reprints of the full run of his base Topps cards during his career.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1954-1976 were issued across both series.  The 12 even years come in series 1, while the 11 odd years come in series 2.  There is a gold Aaron logo, created just for this set.

Set composition:  23 cards, 1:18 odds (2000 Topps)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Aaron.  None of his multi-player cards are included.

How I put the set together:

  • 5 cards from the 2 different 2000 series hobby boxes
  • 1 card from a trade (thanks Night Owl)
  • 9 cards from COMC
  • 6 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 2 cards from Sportlots

Card that completed my set:  #4 – 1957 Topps

I bought the last card I needed from COMC back in July.  I’d been one card shy for over a year, but this card, which is probably his most famous because of the reverse negative issue.  That may be why it was the hardest to pick up.

Thoughts on the set:  Retro sets are everywhere you look these days, but in 1998 there weren’t that many, and they were almost all reprints.  This wasn’t the first set like this, but it was still a great idea at this point in time.

Best card (my opinion):  #1 – 1954 Topps

Aaron is one of those players who has an iconic rookie card.  His 1954 Topps card has to be in any top 20 cards of all time, maybe top 10.  So I’ve got to give the nod there.  But I really like the 1973 card.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none (obviously).

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Completed insert set – 2002 Topps Ring Masters

9 11 2016

Don’t worry, regardless of the political landscape, the world hasn’t ended!  I completed an insert set!  Grant it, it was over a year ago, but I can still post about it now!  Yes, it looks like Trump is the Ring Master in the election, but the guys below are the Ring Masters from the 2002 insert set.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This insert set honors players with championship rings to their credit.  The cards have a blue background and a bit of starburst with a larger version of the same photo.  It’s hard to describe but it you look at it you’ll see what I’m saying.  The cards are super thick!  The back has a write-up with even more blue.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:25 (2002 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  1. Just Greg Maddux.  Others forthcoming.

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from Sportlots
  • 7 cards from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  There’s some weird stuff going on – there are some omissions I don’t understand.  Like why is nobody from the recently crowned Diamondbacks on here.  I’d have included Johnson, Schilling, and then some Yankees with a boatload of rings over Mike Mussina who didn’t have any.  Selfishly – I’d have liked to see Barry Larkin in here.  Or Rickey Henderson.  That said – the thick cards are very nice.

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: #RM10 – Paul O’Neill

2002 Topps Ring Masters front

I got this card from COMC last July.  And by last July I mean 2015.  When Donald Trump wasn’t even a thought as a political candidate!  I don’t know

Best card (my opinion): #RM1 – Derek Jeter

2002-topps-ring-masters-jeter

Paul O’Neill both had 5 rings when this set was released.  Jeter had 4 but would end up with 5.  I also think this is the best photo.  So he wins.

Best Reds card (my opinion): there are none.  O’Neill won 1 of his 4 rings with the

Here’s the whole set.

2002-topps-ring-masters-complete

2002 Topps Ring Masters front

Any other tidbits:  I’m not sure why Mike Mussina is in this bucket.  He never won a World Series.  Aside from him, the other 9 guys won a combined 20 rings.  It was 19 at the time of this set – Jeter won with the 2009 Yankees and every other title was before 2001.





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps All-Star Rookie Team

6 11 2016

So this is one of those where I started doing the post a long time ago thinking I had completed the set.  Then I went to do the post, and, boom.  I don’t have

Another completed insert set – this one is probably the first card set where Topps specifically paid tribute to the historical Topps All-Star Rookie teams.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This set has the shiny backgrounds like so many 2000 Topps inserts do.  But this is one of the cooler sets in the product – Topps picked the best active All-Rookie players, one at each position just like they pick each year.  The back has a list of every Topps ASR team member from each position.

Set composition:  10 cards, 1:36 odds (2000 Topps series 2)

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

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from my 2000 series 2 hobby box
  • 5 cards from COMC
  • 3 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from a card show

Thoughts on the set:  One of the better inserts is my favorite insert set from 2000 Topps.  I like the design, and its cool that the back has the history of the award at the selected player’s position.

Card that completed my set: #RT5 – Manny Ramirez

2000 Topps All-Rookie Team front

Got this from a purchase in August on COMC

Best card (my opinion): #RT9 – Dwight Gooden

2000-topps-all-rookie-team-doc-gooden

Doc Gooden in an Astros uniform.  I can’t say I remember that – apparently he pitched one game for them in 2000.  I think this (and the parallels) were his only card with the Astros.

My Favorite Reds card:  #RT7 – Ken Griffey Jr.

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The only one in the set.

Here’s a scan of the whole set.

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2000-topps-all-rookie-team-complete

Any other tidbits:  Ripken is the only player to make the ASR team twice.  It’s a really tough thing to do – because you have to be rookie eligible and in theory you can only do that once.  Ripken made the team in 1981 when he hardly played, but there just wasn’t much as far as rookie shortstops.  Then he made it in 1982 when he was the AL Rookie of the Year.