Monday, April 2, 2018

2018 other purchases: Topps sets from ARPSmith #4 (1993)

Way back in January I made a deal with Adam of ARPSmith's Sports Card Obsession to purchase four complete Topps sets from the huge collection he'd acquired.  Now I'm showing those sets off one at a time by highlighting the key RCs, PCs, and Tigers from each.

I'm writing this post while otherwise nervously sitting down and getting up, waiting for a game (game?  What game?) to start even though I probably won't be watching most of it because it's a very late start and not a sport I particularly care for.  It's the final one in this series, and the last set I grabbed from Adam was 1993 Topps.  I'll give you a quick rundown of where these four put me in my collection of Topps flagship sets, but first let's get a look at the star of today's show.

Switching things up from the norm Topps bumped up the number of cards from 792 to 825 with Series II responsible for the 33 extras.  I believe the addition of content starring the expansion Marlins and Rockies is responsible as collectors would want to get their mitts on some MLB history.  The card stock is also seemingly higher quality than earlier versions (and may be similar to the '92 version, I'm not sure).  And then there's one of my favorite changes:  bringing back multiplayer rookies!  Two- and four-player versions exist; a couple of the former are visible in the photo of the set in team bag form below while you'll see an example of the latter later.

Poorly photographed team-bagged set activate!:
Card #1 is Robin Yount so this image starts out strong, though most of the best numbers (ending in 0, etc.) are hidden within.  The McGriff/Frank Thomas All-Stars subset is the best of the rest.  But don't worry, I have plenty of good stuff to show you, starting off as usual with the RCs:
That's right, I said "RCs" as in plural.  1991 suffered from a dearth of good in-hindsight first-years but we get three very good players this time.  Jeter is naturally the best of the best here, and once again Adam was able to keep a copy because I've long since had one.  The one-time future Wolverine that got passed over by five teams in 1992's first round (how'd Phil Nevin work out, Astros fans?) went on to post a 72.4 bWAR that'll land him in Cooperstown soon.

The other two guys aren't exactly slouches either.  Kendall was chosen in that same first round by the Pirates and his 41.7 career bWAR was good for third overall (after Johnny Damon's 56.4).  Most of that value came over his nine seasons in Pittsburgh, though he'd eventually suit up for four other teams.

As for Jimmy Baseball, you'd have to go all the way back to the 1988 7th round to find Edmonds' draft slot.  The talented OF played above that position, though, starting with seven years with the Angels before really breaking out in St. Louis, and finished with a 60.4 bWAR.  The guy had good pop, twice hitting 42 homers and totaling 393, and was fun to watch in the field as well, making highlight catches like this one:

Next we have my player collections, totaling 14 cards:
This first group of nine includes a pair of newbies, and no, the Gwynn isn't one of them, but he does get a cool shot of a nice finish to his swing. 

Larkin, Sabo, and Morris are again a trio of Reds that were Wolverines, and they're joined by pitchers  Kamieniecki and Abbott.  I've long since acquired all of those for their various collections but it doesn't hurt to have them in set form too!

A pensive Lou Whitaker looks off in the distance, maybe wondering where his double play partner in crime is.  Next scan, Lou, next scan.

And that leaves today's pare of n00bs, Griffey and Maddux.  While I'd already picked up their All-Star cards you'll see in the next scan I somehow hadn't gotten around to finding the base versions.  I even have a sample of the Griffey card so it's not like I have any kind of excuse!  Anyway, I like the photos used on both--Griffey post-swing and Maddux with full extension after another pitch.
Ripken and Tram are the remaining regular base cards here: just a pair of horizontal HOF shortstops, one ranging to his right to make a play while still in the midst of his famous streak, and the other in a nice posed shot taken, I have to assume, at old Tiger Stadium.  It's certainly a nice duo.

The remainders are from the All-Star subset and feature the previously-seen Larkin, Griffey, and Maddux.  Tigers SS Travis Fryman joins Larkin as he beat out Cal for the ALers.

And finally, let's look at more Tigers from yet another terrible 90s team:
The '92 Tigers went 75-87, which probably won't surprise you as you look over this motley crew.  Tanana went 13-11 with a barely above 0 bWAR.  Fielder popped 35 homers with 124 RBI to provide a reasonable amount of value.  Tettleton joined Cecil and and Rob Deer in the 32+ homer club that season and tied the inimitable Tony Phillips with 5.0 bWAR.  Of course the three power-hungry guys all went over 131 Ks, which is what I most remember about Deer's game back then.

The rest of the guys aren't that interesting besides Barnes' first name.  Greene was another in a series of wasted first-round picks.
This scan doesn't have a lot going for it but does include a couple highlights.  One of those is not Knudson, Groome, Cuyler, or Hare, who each put up negative or nearly zero value.  Livingstone and his questionable rookie cup, Gullickson and his comedown from 20 wins in 1991, and Munoz, who wasn't awful out of the 'pen, also don't qualify.

That leaves us with the other two cards.  One stars Travis Fryman, who I mentioned earned an All-Star nod thanks to a nice 4.9 bWAR.  The other is the aforementioned four-player Top Prospects card.  I couldn't get enough of these, and this one is actually pretty good, not because of the Tigers representative, Ivan Cruz, obviously, but thanks to Braves/Padres guy Ryan Klesko.  You never knew if one or more of these guys would turn into stars and that made those cards fun.
And mercifully we're looking at the final group.  The first three guys didn't contribute much but you can see that Carreon is one of five cards to feature a throwback uniform in today's post.  Gladden is a guy I always remembered more as a Twin, though he began his career with the Giants.  Kreuter managed to put up a 1.0 bWAR in what little playing time he could get after Tettleton behind the plate.  Doherty and Henneman offered minimal value though the latter contributed 24 saves.  Clark was (stop me if you've heard this one) a wasted first-round pick, this time from way back in '86, and 1992 was his only season in Motown.  Finally, Topps got a bit economical by pairing up the skippers so Sparky is joined by Art Howe, then of the Astros, whose team looks like it should have been worse than Detroit's but bettered their AL counterparts by six games.  The 1990s Tigers, ladies and gentlemen!

Many thanks again to Adam for being great to work with, cutting me a nice deal, and doing a fantastic job of packing and shipping four big-ass complete sets safely to me!

As promised here's a quick rundown on my collection of Topps flagship sets:

  • 1984-88
  • 1991
  • 1993-2010
At some point I'd like to add '89, '90, and '92, and it would be great to have '83 to go with them to give me a nice run starting from my birth year, but there's no rush.

Stay tuned soon for pickups from multiple shows and eBay, and maybe more!


  1. That 1993 Topps set is huge! Lots of great players, and some obscure ones as well. (Dave Haas?)

    Can't wait to see what you got at the card shows.

    1. I was just glad it fit in an 800-count box because I don't have anything bigger than that handy! I hope you enjoyed the show posts.

  2. Looking forward to more of your pickups

    1. If I wasn't so lazy you wouldn't be waiting!

  3. Wow. Edmonds sure did one heck of a job impersonating Lynn Swann in that video. 1993 Upper Deck normally steal the headlines when it comes to photography, but I was pretty impressed with the number of well cropped action shots in this post.

    1. Edmonds was a blast to watch and I love that he did it in the field and at the plate. You're right again about the photography. What the hell happened to your cropping skills, Topps?