Sunday, April 29, 2012

2000 Topps Phillies

2000 Topps #328, #38, #10 and #327
As of this writing, I have just 13 more of these posts to go to cover the Phillies baseball cards featured in each of the Topps flagship baseball card sets since 1951.  I'm a little relieved to be leaving the '90s and heading into happier times for the Phillies (and me).  But before we get to those happier times, there's the little matter of the year 2000.

2000 Topps #327 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  There are 478 cards in the base set with no #7 in the set as Topps continued to honor Mickey Mantle.  If you count all the variations available for the Magic Moments subset, there are actually 520 cards in the set.  Topps released five different versions of each of the Magic Momemts cards featuring highlights from the careers of Mark McGwire, Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken, Jr., Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey, Jr., Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.  Topps also released a Traded Set with 135 cards.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  Remember how weird it was to first write out the year "2000"?  The Topps design team must of have wanted to make sure we knew we were collecting futuristic cards since they added the little "TOPPS 2000" bit above the player's name on the base cards.  This was the first time Topps ever featured the year of the card within the design of its base cards, and it's also the first time the word "Topps" is redundantly featured twice on the fronts of its base cards.  Other than the difficult to read gold foil, I really liked these cards when they came out.  The cards have a clean design and the appearance of the team logo is a plus.  Topps brought back vertical backs for the first time since 1993.
Notable competition:  There were a ton of baseball cards released in 2000.  With some disposable income available and eBay just a dial-up on the modem away, I added as many Phillies cards as I could.  This was also the year I began to catalog my growing Phillies collection in Excel spreadsheets.  By my unofficial tally, the card manufacturers released a large number of different baseball card sets, as follows:  Fleer (15 sets), Pacific (13 sets), Topps (18 sets), Upper Deck (16 sets).  The days of conceivably being able to add just about every baseball card released in a given year (circa 1980 to 1986) were now long gone.

2000 Topps Traded #T104, 2000 Topps #258, #102 and 2000 Topps Traded #T105
2000 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Y2K Phillies were terrible.  Just awful.  They finished in last place with a record of 65-97, equalling their loss total from the dreadful 1972 season.  The horrible season cost manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff their jobs at the conclusion of the season.  It was the team's 13th losing season in a 14-year span, with the only bright spot being the surprising 1993 season.  Fortunately, the Phils were about to turn the corner in 2001.
Key players:  Scott Rolen was limited to 128 games due to injuries (sprained ankle, sprained wrist and back issues throughout the season), but he still hit .298 with 26 home runs and 89 RBIs.  Bobby Abreu had his second straight strong season, hitting .316 with 25 home runs and 79 RBIs.  Pat Burrell (.260, 18 home runs, 79 RBIs) took over regular first base duties while Mike Lieberthal (.278, 15 home runs, 71 RBIs) enjoyed another decent season despite only playing in 108 games.  Randy Wolf led the pitching staff with 11 wins, followed by Robert Person's 9.  Jeff Brantley was the team's top closer, saving 23 games.
Key events:  Disgruntled star Curt Schilling asked for a trade and General Manager Ed Wade delivered, shipping the pitcher to the Arizona Diamondbacks in July for four question marks - Pitchers Omar Daal, Vicente Padilla and Nelson Figueroa and first baseman Travis Lee.  Wade wheeled and dealed all season, with not much to show in return.  By the end of the season, five of the Phillies' Opening Day starters were with other teams - First baseman Rico Brogna (Red Sox), second baseman Mickey Morandini (Blue Jays), shortstop Desi Relaford (Padres), left fielder Ron Gant (Angels) and pitcher Andy Ashby (Braves).  Wearing #29, Jimmy Rollins made his Major League debut on September 17, 2000, starting at short and collecting his first hit (a triple) off Marlins' pitcher Chuck Smith.

2000 Phillies in 2000Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 14 Phillies cards in the regular set and another 7 Phillies cards in the traded series.  The total of 21 cards is a step up from the 16 Phillies cards available in 1999.
Who’s in:

  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 7 cards
#10 Mike Lieberthal (c), #T104 Mickey Morandini (2b), #258 Desi Relaford (ss), #328 Scott Rolen (3b), #102 Ron Gant (lf), #327 Doug Glanville (cf), #38 Bobby Abreu (rf)

Now we're talking.  After years of having just a few starters receive cards, Topps redeemed itself with a nice player selection in its regular and traded sets.  First baseman Burrell is featured on a multi-player Prospects card.

2000 Topps #120, #393, 2000 Topps Traded #T134 and 2000 Topps #166
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 3 cards
#120 Curt Schilling, #393 Andy Ashby, #T134 Bruce Chen

Top starters Wolf and Person were completely shut out from the set for some reason.
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 2000 - 5 cards
#166 Paul Byrd, #273 Rico Brogna, #341 Marlon Anderson, #T105 Travis Lee. #T120 Omar Daal
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 2000 - 4 cards
#63 Chad Ogea (Indians), #T11 Russ Jacobson, #T25 Brett Myers, #T87 Keith Bucktrot

The traded series was heavy with prospects and suspects and we got two Phillies cards for a couple of players who never sniffed the Majors.  Jacobson bounced around the team's minor league system until 2004 and Bucktrot lasted until 2005.  Myers was fist called up by the Phillies in July 2002.
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player Prospects cards - 1 card, #204 Pat Burrell
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player Draft Picks cards - 1 card, #213 Brett Myers
2000 Topps #341, #273, #48 and 2000 Topps Traded #T120
Who’s out:  Wolf and Person, as previously mentioned, should have had cards.  The bullpen got completely shut out, with nary a reliever in the set.  If I had to pick three relievers deserving of cards, I'd go with Brantley (55 games, 23 saves), Chris Brock (63 games, 7-8 record) and Wayne Gomes (65 games, 7 saves).  Bench mainstays Kevin Jordan (109 games) and Rob Ducey (112 games) were also left out.
Phillies on other teams:  Daal (#32 with the Diamondbacks), Morandini (#106 with the Cubs) and Lee (#377 with the Diamondbacks) made it into the traded series as Phillies while Kent Bottenfield (#48 with the Cardinals) did not.  Also, reliever Michael Jackson (#194 with the Indians) is in the set.  Jackson returned to the Phillies as a free agent in December 1999, hurt himself warming up on Opening Day, and never pitched during the season.
2000 Topps #204
What’s he doing here:  Jacobson and Bucktrot share the honors.
Cards that never were candidates:  It was always strange to me that Myers received a stand-alone card in the traded series, but Burrell didn't.  Here's a list of ten players deserving of cards that never were:  Burrell, Wolf, Person, Brantley, Brock, Gomes, Jordan, Ducey, Padilla and Rollins.
Favorite Phillies card:  Nothing really jumps out at me.  By default, I'll pick Byrd's card over Morandini's return to Phillies cardboard.  Chalk it up to the high socks.

Other Stuff
Recycled:  Topps re-used this design on a number of parallel sets in 2000 - Topps Chrome, Topps Limited Edition and Topps Opening Day.  I believe the Limited Edition cards were available only in factory set form, and they're supposed to somehow be glossier than the "regular" edition of Topps.  Opening Day featured silver foil in place of the gold foil found in the regular set.
Blogs/Websites:  I got nothing.  Maybe there's a kid somewhere out there who loves the 2000 Topps set and he or she is about to take the plunge and blog about this set.  Until then, here's a post I ran a few years ago pondering the decade of the '00s. 
Did You Know?:  Wade traded Rob Ducey to the Blue Jays and received . . . Rob Ducey in return?  And now you know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Setting aside my standard quibble about the use of foil on the card, the 2000 Topps set design is not a bad one. Nothing special, but a simple, solid, albeit a little boring, design that might've looked slightly better if done with a white border.

Other than the ridiculously small size and the overload of prospects, I have no complaints about the set.