Still, it was an exciting product to break with lots of fun stuff, including Ichiro's RC and some pretty nice inserts. Of the 1% of inserts Topps produced in the last 10-15 years that WASN'T a tired old reprint set (#occupytopps), one that I chose to collect was 2001's Golden Anniversary.
This was a 50 card set broken up into five groups of 10 players, each with a common theme related to gold. The first 10 are "Golden Greats" and are all obvious baseball legends. The next group is "Gold Nuggets," the big, valuable pieces teams have unearthed. Next comes "Glistening Gold," 10 current stars whose careers appeared to be on the upswing. Following that we have "Hidden Gold," the inevitable group of prospect throw-ins. Finally, the last 10 cards are actually a pretty cool theme: "Going for Gold," a group of MLBers who starred for Team USA.
These cards weren't all that hard to pull, plus I bought a ton of boxes/packs, as I mentioned, and I'm sure I bought/traded for the rest I needed, so this one's been complete for a while. Since I was looking for something to post and remembered I hadn't scanned a complete set in a while, here for your enjoyment are all 50 cards from 2001 Topps Golden Anniversary:
A couple observations, should you care to continue reading:
- My favorite grouping is Ripken/Gwynn/Griffey/Maddux (I'll just pretend McGwire isn't there), which is just an outstanding combo of four of my all-time favorites.
- You definitely can't go wrong with the 10 "Golden Greats," though, not by a long shot. It's not easy to narrow HOFers down to a group of 10, and really Topps shouldn't have included the crappy prospects at their expense, but such is life.
- Jeter/Garciaparra/A-Rod was another nice nod to an important trio at the time, three big, offensive SSs who changed the game (you know, after Ripken, Trammel and Larkin).
- Again, did Topps need to cut out good players for stupid reasons? Even if it's 2001 I don't need two cards of McGwire and Garciaparra; if they fit into the "Going for Gold" subset, which I already said was a cool idea, then put someone else in their place elsewhere!
- My other big gripe is the rookies, because you always try to project who'll be good, and the risk outweighs the reward. Burrell and Zito have had solid careers while Sabathia, Hamilton and Gonzalez have turned into great players, but when the rest inevitably failed to pan out, their presence cheapened the set.
- Ok, those complaints aside, I do like the player selection in general, even in hindsight. A set with all those HOFers, the quartet of my favorites, Barry Larkin PLUS quite a few other stars (Bagwell, Frank Thomas, Chipper, et al) on this design is a fun one. The Chrome versions actually looked quite nice too, but would have been too difficult/costly for me at the time. So I'm happy I put this one together, and I hope you all enjoyed it too! Let me know what you think in the comments, if you collected this set yourself, or whatever.