Thursday, October 14, 2021

350 is a magic number - more than zero

a few weeks ago i noted that i was pondering the idea of adding a number type mini-collection to my collection. of the options i considered - 190, 272, 350, or none at all - i decided to go with 350. as a reminder, here are the cards that make up this effort:

topps flagship #350 type collection

1957 topps eddie miksis       
1958 topps ken boyer           
1959 topps ernie banks  
1960 topps mickey mantle      
1961 topps ernie banks
1962 topps frank robinson  
1963 topps bob purkey         
1964 topps willie mccovey  
1965 topps mickey mantle  
1966 topps mel stottlemyre
1967 topps joe torre             
1968 topps hoyt wilhelm     
1969 topps richie allen         
1970 topps roberto clemente            
1971 topps billy williams      
1972 topps frank howard    
1973 topps tom seaver        
1974 topps bob gibson         
1975 topps bobby murcer   
1976 topps lefty grove         
1977 topps larry dierker       
1978 topps steve garvey      
1979 topps garry templeton              
1980 topps george hendrick               
1981 topps j.r. richard          
1982 topps thad bosley        
1983 topps robin yount        
1984 topps george foster    
1985 topps wade boggs       
1986 topps jack clark            
1987 topps keith hernandez               
1988 topps will clark             
1989 topps andy van slyke  
1990 topps bret saberhagen              
1991 topps glenn davis        
1992 topps gregg olson        
1993 topps joe carter           
1994 topps jim abbott          
1995 topps barry larkin        
1996 topps jay payton          
1997 topps kenny lofton      
1998 topps chuck carr          
1999 topps larry walker       
2000 topps jose cruz jr.        
2001 topps bruce bochy      
2002 topps oakland athletics             
2003 topps post season highlight     
2004 topps mark prior|kerry wood 
2005 topps albert pujols|larry walker            
2006 topps joe nathan                         
2007 topps chase utley        
2008 topps mark teixeira     
2009 topps dustin pedroia  
2010 topps prince fielder|ryan braun            
2011 topps francisco liriano
2012 topps evan longoria    
2013 topps albert pujols      
2014 topps carlos gonzalez 
2015 topps yasiel puig          
2016 topps kris bryant          
2017 topps david ortiz          
2018 topps clayton kershaw
2019 topps nick markakis    
2020 topps pete alonso   
2021 topps d.j. lemahieu

i am posting cards from the same year of each decade, and so far i've shown nine of the 10 sets: the 8s7s6s3s2s1s4s9s, and 5s. that means this is the last post, and it's all about the zeroes.

1960 topps #350
mickey mantle is one of two players to appear on this list twice. i am happy to have an excuse to add this particular card to my collection as it really is a nice piece of cardboard. i own his 1957, 1960, 1965, and 1969 flagship cards, plus a few subset cards from his playing career, and 10-year old gcrl would be giddy about it. mantle didn't lead the league in any categories in 1959 other than strikeouts (which i'm not tracking) and ops+ (which nobody knew about back then) as the yankees failed to win the al east for the first time since 1954. he bounced back in 1960 to lead the league in home runs and runs scored along with ops (and ops+) as the yankees returned to the fall classic.

1970 topps #350 
roberto clemente was one of the cards that gave me pause when considering this endeavor. luckily, i had a dupe of his 1970 card from my set build effort so the pursuit was officially a go once i discovered that fact. as the card back states, clemente just missed leading the league in batting average in 1969, but he did lead the circuit in triples. he hit .352 in 1970 but failed to qualify in the batting race, but it didn't matter as rico carty hit .366.

1980 topps #350
george hendrick is no doubt wearing his pants in his traditional fashion with no sock or stirrup showing even though you can't see it on the front of the card, regardless of what the cartoon on the back shows. he had a solid season for the cardinals in 1979 and improved upon it in 1980, making the national league all-star team for the first time. this was the second year in a row that a cardinal checked in at number 350.

1990 topps #350
bret saberhagen really did pitch better in odd seasons. just look at the back of his card! he led the league in wins and era in 1989 (along with innings pitched and games started) and won the cy young award as a result. unfortunately for saberhagen and the royals, the a's were a powerhouse in the al west at the time.

2000 topps #350
jose cruz jr. was a big deal when he debuted, as the card back states. i was shocked that the mariners traded him in 1997, but i guess they really needed help in the bullpen. still, cruz went on to have a decent career for the blue jays, giants, and dodgers among a host of other teams. he hit over 30 homers in both 2000 and 2001, and even had a 30/30 season in '01.

2010 topps #350
ryan braun/prince fielder bring us the first and only checklist in the collection. it's interesting that ryan braun is also card number 331 and is included on this checklist twice. i'll go ahead and consider this a subset so i won't count prince fielder and his 2009 league-leading rbi total in my tally at the bottom of the post.

2020 topps #350
pete alonso was named the national league's rookie of the year in 2019 after leading the league with 53 home runs. he also won the home run derby at the all-star game. it's worth noting that his offensive war for the season was 5.5 but he had a negative defensive war which brought it down below 5 as seen on the card. i am guessing at some point he transitions to dh full-time.

i have been tracking a few things in an effort to find any consistency with number 350, although there really isn't any. still, i am keeping track of the following occurrences, now final through 10 posts:

number of reigning rookies of the year: 2 (kris bryant, pete alonso)

number of reigning mvps: 4 (ernie banks, frank robinson, robin yount, dustin pedroia)

number of reigning cy young winners: 1 (bret saberhagen)

number of reigning world series champions: 2 (keith hernandez, joe carter)

number of reigning pennant winners: 9 (frank robinson, mickey mantle, steve garvey, robin yount, jack clark, keith hernandez, joe carter, 2004 st. louis cardinals, clayton kershaw)

number of reigning league leaders: 18 (ernie banks - home runs, rbi; ernie banks - home runs; mel stottlemyre - complete games; willie mccovey - home runs; roberto clemente - triples; billy williams - runs, hits; garry templeton - triples; robin yount - hits, doubles; keith hernandez - walks; andy vanslyke - triples; kenny lofton - sb; larry walker - batting average; chase utley - runs; dustin pedroia - hits, runs; david ortiz - doubles, rbi; clayton kershaw - wins, era; pete alonso - home runs; dj lemahieu - batting average)

subset types: 3 (all-time all-stars, postseason highlights (4), checklists)

number of repeat players: 2 (ernie banks, mickey mantle)

number of dodgers: 3 (steve garvey, yasiel puig, clayton kershaw)

frequency of teams: cardinals (8), cubs (5), yankees (5), mets (5), astros (4), twins (3), braves (3), dodgers (3), reds (3), red sox (3), giants (3), brewers (3), a's (2), phillies (2), rockies (2), pirates (2), blue jays (2), white sox, indians, angels, rangers, orioles, rays, padres, royals

it looks like if you were a cardinal and a reigning league leader you would have a pretty good shot at getting card 350. we will see who lands there in 2022!


  1. Great cartoon on the back of the Mantle.

  2. Awesome minicollection.. congrats on putting it together!

  3. I'm gonna save this so I can tally the Hall of Famers later.

    1. i probably should have been tracking that...

  4. This was great to see, thanks for showing them off!