Ken Griffey Jr. 1999 Topps Record Numbers and 2000 Upper Deck Hit Brigade
From all the way back last century, first up is an Independence Day-appropriate insert from '99 Topps. Griffey's entry in the Record Numbers set highlights his then-record as the youngest player to reach 350 homers, doing so at the age of 28; Jimmie Foxx, Eddie Mathews and Mickey Mantle were the only others at that point to reach that milestone before turning 30. Former teammate Alex Rodriguez beat Junior by 28 days back in 2004, and Griffey of course lost too much of his later career to injuries, but he still managed to swat 630, AND he's not a total douche like A-Rod.
The foil-riffic UD Hit Brigade insert was released the following year, and if you weren't sure of the name of the insert, I guess you didn't see it printed in large, all-caps orange foil or another three times in black ink above that. This time period coincided with Junior's heyday as socked 249 HR between 1996 and 2000. You're dame right he's card #1 in this set.
Cal Ripken Jr. 1994 Leaf Statistical Standouts, 1997 Score Pitcher Perfect (#1), 1997 Score Pitcher Perfect (#3) (with Alex Rodriguez), and 2000 Fleer Tradition Dividends
One-upping (two-upping?) Griffey is another 90s star named Junior. I happily picked up this four-spot of Ripken inserts to bolster my collection of his stuff, which is due for lots more scanning. First in the quartet is another foil masterpiece from '94 Leaf, and here Cal earned entry into the Statistical Standouts set by surpassing Ernie Banks for homers hit by a SS with his 278th back in '93. He'd finish his career with 431, and while not all of those were as a shortstop, that's still a fantastic number.
Next is a fun pair of cards from an insert set I hadn't thought about in quite a while. Score gave Randy Johnson a camera and let him have at it for '97's Pitcher Perfect set, and it resulted in some pretty cool cards, including Cal chillin' in the dugout reading a Superman comic (Iron Man might have been more appropriate) and another that features up-and-comer Alex Rodriguez reading Superboy next to his idol (A-Rod has his own card as well). At the time it was a spot-on combo, and that's as much as I'll say about that.
Last up is an insert from the excellent 2000 Fleer Tradition set. Dividends brings to mind banks and/or Monopoly. I'd forgotten that I already had this card from owning the full set, but there's no reason not to like having two!
Though I only have three other pickups to show off there, please also check out tonight's TMM post if you're up for taking a gander at the Michigan stuff I dug up this time.