Topps has been coming out with various online-only products for quite a while now. One of their best ideas is the Cardboard Icon series. They take a Hall-of-Fame caliber player, blow up 5×7 reprints of their full run of Topps cards, throw a black border on each card, number it out of 199, and sell it on their website for 50 bucks a set. You can also get gold border versions for $100. The numbering is in the black border at the bottom of the card. When you order a set – every card is numbered the same. The set I bought is numbered 48/99.
This isn’t really in my collection wheelhouse, but I love Ken Griffey Jr. He’s pretty much always been my favorite baseball player, and while I’ll never get too crazy collecting his cards, this seemed like a great way to get something showing off each of his Topps cards. So I’ll scan each of these cards below and give the initial thought that I associate with that card.
1989 Topps Traded – Cool rookie card, but not as iconic as the Upper Deck card.
1990 Topps – Similar photo, All-Star Rookie Cup, signature taped black bat.
1991 Topps – Topps 40th. Great photo – like many other cards in this set.
1992 Topps – Horizontal, asymmetrical – but still phenomenal. Has a gold parallel.
1993 Topps – Photo fits well with the underrated design. What happened to the black bat!
1994 Topps – First really glossy Topps set. And Griffey sure makes it look good! The black bat is back.
1995 Topps – Going to the opposite field! One of Topps’ worst designs.
1996 Topps – Photo that fits with the eccentric “duplicate face” Topps design. Where’s the fielder?
1997 Topps – Classic Griffey follow-through. Definitely one of his 49 homers from the previous season.
1998 Topps – Another classic follow-through. This time on a pretty crummy design.
1999 Topps – Even Griffey can make a crappy gold border look good. This won best card of the set in the prestigious Lifetime Topps awards.
2000 Topps – I was in college when Griffey was traded to the Reds. It made me feel like I was 10 years old again. This was clearly a spring training shot.
2001 Topps – Topps 50th. The Reds’ sleeveless uniforms were excellent. Not sure why they added the HTA logo.
2002 Topps – Orange border = gross. Same photo, different uniform as 1995 Topps.
2003 Topps – Another great Griffey card. Blue border > Orange/Gold Borders. I love when Topps has lineage in their design (1953, 1963, 1973, 1983, 2003 and sort of 2013).
2004 Topps – Probably my favorite Griffey card. I can’t wait to bust open the boxes for this set.
2005 Topps – Not sure why they did the first edition parallel. Interesting photo – I wonder why there is an American League logo in the back.
2006 Topps – Nice card – most Griffey cards are. This looks like a sacrifice fly.
2007 Topps – I sometimes forget his first name is George. Black dice border.
2008 Topps – Last Reds card. New Era. I wish Topps still did photos like this.
2009 Topps – Junior with the White Sox just looks weird.
2010 Topps – Back with the Mariners. As it probably should have been. Griffey’s last card.