Setting the Record Straight

One of my favorite parts of the card sets of my youth (’70s,’80s) were the Record Breakers subsets that often graced the beginning of the set or the low to mid-200s. I guess the interest was two-fold: first, it put the previous baseball season in an historical context and, second, at that point in my young life, I thought of Record Breakers as being the really big names in the sport (Reggie, Ruth, Seaver)- not the Greg Minton‘s of the world. And that they celebrated obscure records like the most stolen bases by a catcher in a season. Are you kidding me? I found it fascinating.

And just as records are meant to be broken (I know, cliche), so it is that the inclusion of subsets such as Record Breakers in the base set would one day come to an end. The first exclusion of RB was a temporal one- the 1984 Topps set- before its return from ’85-’92.

Another hiatus took place from ’93 until the 1999 set featured card #220, with its 70 different versions of Mark McGwire’s Home Run record. That year also brought with it Record Numbers, a ten-card insert set that was randomly inserted one every eight packs. Unlike some of the earlier sets that featured unknowns, this one featured some of the sport’s biggest stars: McGwire, the Kid, Clemens, Ripken.

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The design of the 1999 Record Numbers set looks like it would have been more at home in the 1995 set, with its serrated edge. The fireworks in the card background are very much ’90’s-ish.

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I won’t go through the history following the ’99 set, but I do want to feature a few recent additions to my collection from this year’s Record Setters insert set.

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As cool as the cards are, the insert name is really a misnomer: some of the subjects didn’t set any records- at least none that are recognized on the card. Take Adrian Gonzalez, for instance. The AGonz card back says the following: “With a two-run homer in the fifth inning of an 8-0 whitewash of Atlanta on May 26, 2015, Gonzalez became the 12th active player to reach the 1,000-RBI plateau for a career. He finished with 90, making him one of four active players with at least that many in nine consecutive campaigns.” Am I missing something?

Regardless, I do like the design of the cards and am now down to needing only two for the insert set: RS7 Dallas Keuchel and RS14 Josh Donaldson.

 

 

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