Alright. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who had the urge to bust some 1999 Topps Chrome lately. While Jeff of I am Joe Collector dediced to go for some football, I busted a box of baseball’s second series. 1999 Topps Chrome Series 2 Baseball has a 221-card set which includes a couple of subsets and a handful of rookies. Unlike its football counterpart, this set’s rookie checklist isn’t quite as impressive, but there are some decent names included such as Pat Burrell, Matt Holliday, Brad Lidge, and A.J. Burnett. There are a few insert sets (and refractors) to chase after as well, including an early version of a “Home Run History” set, featuring Sammy Sosa. As always with Topps Chrome, boxes contain 24 packs of 4 cards each. I paid $25 for this. Let’s see what I pulled.
Base set: I pulled 86 out of 221 base cards in this box, for just under 39%. There were no doubles. Just for laughs, check out the picture of Brian Hunter, complete with Hamburlger mask.
Refractors (1:12 packs): It’s hard to believe that at one time, you’d only pull 2 basic refractors per full box of Topps Chrome. Nowadays, you might find that many in a single Wal-Mart pack alone! My refractors were Al Leiter and baseball’s Energizer Bunny, Jamie Moyer.
All-Etch (1:6 packs): The most common inserts here are found in the All-Etch set. This set is comprised of 30 cards, broken down into the following subsets: Club 40 (13 cards of the players who slugged 40 home runs in 1998), ’99 Rookie Rush (10 prospect cards), and Club K (7 cards featuring the game’s best hurlers). I pulled cards of Juan Gonzalez, Manny Ramirez, Gabe Kapler, and Curt Schilling. In addition, refractor versions of these cards are found in every 24 packs on average. I pulled a Kevin Brown.
Fortune 15 (1:12 packs): Continuing with the colorful insert theme, we have the Fortune 15 set. These 15 cards fall at a rate of 2 per box and feature the players’ images inside a crystal ball. Personally, I thought it would’ve been cool if the card backs had some sort of predictions about the players’ futures (You know, sort of like what Topps Tek did with milestones), but alas, they don’t. An interesting tidbit on the Griffey card tells me that at one point, the only players to hit 50 homers and steal 20 bases in the same season were Willie Mays, Junior, and Brady Anderson (one of these things is not like the other….). A very rare refractor version of this set exists, but they are limited to just 100 copies. Back then, 100 was pretty limited! Interestingly enough, these are the only serially numbered refractors in this product.
Record Numbers (1:36 packs): Just like the name says, this 10-card set celebrates players who have set some sort of signiciant records. My Ken Griffey, Jr. card points out that he became the youngest ever to reach 350 career home runs, at age 28. The fireworks background is a nice touch, but like the rest of the inserts, the design is very busy. The refractor version of this insert is seeded 1 in 144 packs on average.
What WASN’T Pulled: Aside from the refractor versions of the inserts I previously mentioned, I did not pull a Sammy Sosa “Home Run Parade” card. What’s that you ask? Let me refresh your memory. In 1999, Topps decided to make Home Run Parade cards for both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. McGwire cards were inserted into Series 1 while Sosa’s would follow in Series 2. These cards were featured in both basic Topps and Topps Chrome. Each player had one card for each home run hit during their 1998 “bring the fans back!” campaign. The back of each card gave the specific details of the home run depicted on the front. Details include the date, opposing team, opposing pitcher, baserunners if applicable, distance, trajectory, and a little blurb on the bottom. Oh, and there was also a picture of Roger Maris on the back.
If you’re thinking you’ve heard of this concept before, think about all those ridiculous Home Run History inserts of Mickey Mantle and Barry Bonds you’ve pulled from Topps products in the past few years. (insert trademark Chris Harris smirk here) At the time, however, the concept wasn’t ridiculous. Each HRP card came with a refractor version and went for some nice change. Some home run numbers also carried a premium such as the first and last home runs, as well as numbers 61 and 62. Here’s a link to an ebay store carrying one of these HRP cards.
Final Thoughts: This was a pretty solid box. I got just about what I expected for $25. The inserts delivered as expected and collation was good. None of the cards came out of the pack damaged either (a HUGE plus). All in all, this was an enjoyable, inexpensive break. I don’t plan on building the set together at this time so don’t expect to see more of this product on this blog. That, and I don’t want to have to un-stick any more chrome cards for a while! But if you’d like to, go right ahead. 🙂
As always, thanks for reading and good luck with your own breaks!