Friday, February 24, 2012

Heroic

OK, I guess I'll talk about it a little. ... No, not Ryan Braun.

Phungo brought up the topic of hero numbers -- you know, 100, 200, 300, etc. Back when I collected as a child, it was common knowledge that Topps would give the stars of the day a card number with a double zero at the end.

It was kind of an unwritten rule. We didn't know if every set every year featured a star player at every hero number. We didn't even pay attention to whether that was the case in whatever year's set we were chasing. We just knew that Reggie Jackson and George Brett sure popped up on a lot of cards that said "200" or "600" or "700" on the back.

Later, when I was older, I noticed that this wasn't always the case. Sometimes Topps put League Leaders cards at the hero numbers. Sometimes, way back in the '50s, they put league presidents at the hero numbers. And during the '90s, they put players you've never heard of at the hero numbers. Yorkis Perez? Dustin Carr?

It seemed like the hero number was no more.

But actually it's still going strong -- sort of.

When Topps feels like honoring a player with a hero number it does. When it doesn't, it doesn't. The hero numbers are treated to that same randomness that Topps hands out in a lot of its card decisions.

Lately, it's stuck as closely to the hero number concept as it did in the '60s and '70s. With only an exception or two, the players with the double zero are worthy candidates.

I saw a lot written about hero numbers on the blogs when I first started reading card blogs in 2008. So I stayed away from writing about it much. But I haven't seen anyone put together a list of every player who has received a hero number in a Topps base set.

So, get ready for the list:


1952 : 100- Del Rice; 200 - Ralph Houk; 300 - Barney McCosky; 400 - Bill Dickey (coach)

1953: 100 - Bill Miller; 200 - Gordon Goldsberry

1954: 100 - Bob Keegan; 200 - Larry Jansen

1955: 100 - Monte Irvin; 200 - Jackie Jensen

1956: 100 - Baltimore Orioles team card; 200 - Bob Feller; 300 - Vic Wertz


1957: 100 - Warren Giles/William Harridge (N.L./A.L. presidents); 200 - Gil McDougald; 300 - Mike Garcia;  400 - Dodgers Sluggers (Furrillo, Hodges, Campanella, Snider)

1958: 100 - Early Wynn; 200 - Bob Keegan; 300 - William Harridge/Warren Giles; 400 - Nellie Fox

1959: 100 - Bob Cerv; 200 - Warren Giles; 300 - Richie Ashburn; 400 - Jackie Jensen; 500 - Vic Wertz

1960: 100 - Nellie Fox; 200 - Willie Mays; 300 - Hank Aaron; 400 - Rocky Colavito; 500 - Johnny Temple

1961: 100 - Harvey Haddix; 200 - Warren Spahn; 300 - Mickey Mantle; 400 - Vern Law; 500 - Harvey Kuenn

1962: 100 - Warren Spahn; 200 - Mickey Mantle; 300 - Willie Mays; 400 - Elston Howard; 500 - Duke Snider

1963: 100 - Checklist; 200 - Mickey Mantle; 300 - Willie Mays; 400 - Frank Robinson; 500 - Harmon Killebrew

1964: 100 - Elston Howard; 200 - Sandy Koufax; 300 - Hank Aaron; 400 - Warren Spahn; 500 - Camilo Pascual

1965: 100 - Ken Boyer; 200 - Joe Torre; 300 - Sandy Koufax; 400 - Harmon Killebrew; 500 - Eddie Mathews


1966: 100 - Sandy Koufax; 200 - Eddie Mathews; 300 - Roberto Clemente; 400 - Zoilo Versalles; 500 - Hank Aaron

1967: 100 - Frank Robinson; 200 - Willie Mays; 300 - Jim Kaat; 400 - Roberto Clemente; 500 - Juan Marichal; 600 - Brooks Robinson

1968: 100 - Bob Gibson; 200 - Orlando Cepeda; 300 - Rusty Staub; 400 - Mike McCormick; 500 - Frank Robinson

1969: 100 - Hank Aaron; 200 - Bob Gibson; 300 - Felipe Alou; 400 - Don Drysdale; 500 - Mickey Mantle; 600 - Tony Oliva

1970: 100 - Mel Stottlemyre; 200 - ALCS, Game 2 (Boog Powell); 300 - Tom Seaver; 400 - Denny McLain; 500 - Hank Aaron; 600 - Willie Mays; 700 - Frank Robinson


1971: 100 - Pete Rose; 200 - NLCS, Game 2 (Bobby Tolan); 300 - Brooks Robinson; 400 - Hank Aaron; 500 - Jim Perry; 600 - Willie Mays; 700 - Boog Powell

1972: 100 - Frank Robinson; 200 - Lou Brock; 300 - Hank Aaron, In Action; 400 - Tony Oliva; 500 - Joe Torre; 600 - Al Kaline; 700 - Bobby Murcer, In Action

1973: 100 - Hank Aaron; 200 - Billy Williams; 300 - Steve Carlton; 400 - Gaylord Perry; 500 - Oakland A's team card; 600 - Dave McNally

1974: 100 - Willie Stargell; 200 - Cesar Cedeno; 300 - Pete Rose; 400 - Harmon Killbrew; 500 - Lee May; 600 - Rookie Infielders

1975: 100 - Willie Stargell; 200 - 1962 MVPs (Mantle/Wills); 300 - Reggie Jackson; 400 - Dick Allen; 500 - Nolan Ryan; 600 - Rod Carew


1976:
100 - Jim Hunter; 200 - A.L. Victory Leaders; 300 - Johnny Bench; 400 - Rod Carew; 500 - Reggie Jackson; 600 - Tom Seaver

1977: 100 - Joe Morgan; 200 - Frank Tanana; 300 - Jerry Koosman; 400 - Steve Garvey; 500 - Dave Kingman; 600 - Jim Palmer

1978: 100 - George Brett; 200 - Reggie Jackson; 300 - Joe Morgan; 400 - Nolan Ryan; 500 - George Foster; 600 - Frank Tanana; 700 - Johnny Bench

1979: 100 - Tom Seaver; 200 - Johnny Bench; 300 - Rod Carew; 400 - Jim Rice; 500 - Ron Guidry; 600 - George Foster; 700 - Reggie Jackson

1980: 100 - Johnny Bench; 200 - Batting Average Leaders (K. Hernandez/Lynn); 300 - Ron Guidry; 400 - George Foster; 500 - Tom Seaver; 600 - Reggie Jackson; 700 - Rod Carew

1981: 100 - Rod Carew; 200 - George Foster; 300 - Paul Molitor; 400 - Reggie Jackson; 500 - Jim Rice; 600 - Johnny Bench; 700 - George Brett


1982: 100 - Mike Schmidt; 200 - George Brett; 300 - Reggie Jackson; 400 - Johnny Bench; 500 - Rod Carew; 600 - Dave Winfield; 700 - George Foster

1983: 100 - Pete Rose; 200 - Rod Carew; 300 - Mike Schmidt; 400 - Dave Concepcion all-star; 500 - Reggie Jackson; 600 - George Brett; 700 - Keith Hernandez

1984: 100 - Reggie Jackson; 200 - Andre Dawson; 300 - Pete Rose; 400 - Cal Ripken all-star; 500 - George Brett; 600- Rod Carew; 700 - Mike Schmidt

1985: 100 - George Brett; 200 - Reggie Jackson; 300 - Rod Carew; 400 - Oddibe McDowell, U.S. Olympic team; 500 - Mike Schmidt; 600 - Pete Rose; 700 - Eddie Murray

1986: 100 - Nolan Ryan; 200 - Mike Schmidt; 300 - George Brett; 400 - Rod Carew; 500 - Rickey Henderson; 600 - Dale Murphy; 700 - Reggie Jackson

1987: 100 - Steve Garvey; 200 - Pete Rose; 300 - Reggie Jackson; 400 - George Brett; 500 - Don Mattingly; 600 - Dave Parker all-star; 700 - Dave Bergman

1988: 100 - Jack Clark; 200 - Wade Boggs; 300 - Don Mattingly; 400 - Ozzie Smith, all-star; 500 - Andre Dawson; 600 - Mike Schmidt


1989: 100 - Mike Schmidt; 200 - George Brett; 300 - Darryl Strawberry; 400 - Alan Trammell, all-star; 500 - Jose Canseco; 600 - Wade Boggs; 700 - Don Mattingly

1990: 100 - Will Clark; 200 - Don Mattingly; 300 - Bo Jackson; 400 - Ozzie Smith, all-star; 500 - Kevin Mitchell; 600 - Darryl Strawberry; 700 - Kirby Puckett

1991: 100 - Don Mattingly; 200 - Darryl Strawberry; 300 - Kirby Puckett; 400 - Barry Larkin, all-star; 500 - Will Clark; 600 - Bo Jackson; 700 - Jose Canseco

1992: 100 - Jose Canseco; 200 - Len Dykstra; 300 - Don Mattingly; 400 - Cal Ripken, all-star; 500 - Vince Coleman; 600 - Paul Molitor; 700 - Ruben Sierra

1993: 100 - Mark McGwire; 200 - Kirby Puckett; 300 - Cal Ripken; 400 - Bo Jackson; 500 - Jose Canseco; 600 - Bret Saberhagen; 700 - Nolan Ryan; 800 - Shawn Jeter

1994: 100 - Kirby Puckett; 200 - Cal Ripken; 300 - Ryne Sandberg; 400 - Ken Griffey Jr.; 500 - Bo Jackson; 600 - Don Mattingly; 700 - Barry Bonds

1995: 100 - Barry Bonds; 200 - Tim Salmon; 300 - Jose Canseco; 400 - Henry Rodriguez; 500 - John Hudek; 600 - Yorkis Perez

1996: 100 - Frank Thomas; 200 - Cal Ripken; 300 - Barry Bonds; 400 - Manny Ramirez

1997: 100 - Dwight Gooden, highlight; 200 - Damian Moss; 300 - Ken Griffey Jr.; 400 - Cal Ripken


1998: 100 - Mike Piazza; 200 - Dennis Eckersley; 300 - Roger Clemens; 400 - Delino DeShields; 500 - Dustin Carr-Luis Cruz

1999: 100 - Ken Griffey Jr.; 200 - David Wells, highlight; 300 - Alex Rodriguez; 400 - Moises Alou

2000: 100 - Alex Rodriguez; 200 - Jose Canseco; 300 - Mike Piazza; 400 - Ken Griffey Jr.

2001: 100 - Derek Jeter; 200 - Alex Rodriguez; 300 - Vladimir Guerrero; 400 - Will Clark, highlight; 500 - Kent Mercker; 600 - Russ Johnson; 700 - Frank Catalanotto

2002: 100 - Vladimir Guerrero; 200 - Randy Johnson; 300 - Lou Piniella (manager); 400 - Curt Schilling; 500 - Barry Bonds; 600 - Mark McGwire; 700 - Eric Chavez (gold glove)

2003: 100 - Ichiro Suzuki; 200 - Albert Pujols; 300 - Andy Marte (first year card); 400 - Derek Jeter; 500 - Mike Piazza; 600 - Garret Anderson; 700 - Andruw Jones (award winner)

2004: 100 - Alex Rodriguez; 200 - Nomar Garciaparra; 300 - Brayan Pena (first year card); 400 - Dontrelle Willis; 500 - Ivan Rodriguez; 600 - Alfonso Soriano; 700 - Eric Chavez (gold glove)

2005: 100 - Albert Pujols; 200 - Jason Giambi; 300 - Chris Seddon (first year card); 400 - Ichiro Suzuki; 500 - Barry Bonds; 600 - Derek Jeter; 700 - Derek Jeter (gold glove)

2006: 100 - Barry Bonds; 200 - Albert Pujols; 300 - Ryan Garko; 400 - Vladimir Guerrero; 500 - Derek Jeter; 600 - Ned Yost (manager)


2007: 100 - Dontrelle Willis; 200 - Carlos Beltran; 300 - Vladimir Guerrero; 400 - Ichiro Suzuki; 500 - Pedro Martinez; 600 - Ryan Zimmerman

2008: 100 - Ryan Howard; 200 - Manny Ramirez; 300 - Chien-Ming Wang; 400 - Matt Holliday; 500 - Chipper Jones; 600 - Tom Glavine

2009: 100 - David Wright; 200 - Chase Utley; 300 - Ichiro Suzuki; 400 - Alfonso Soriano; 500 - Ryan Howard; 600 - Jake Peavy

2010: 100 - Albert Pujols; 200 - Roy Halladay; 300 - Chase Utley; 400 - Alex Rodriguez; 500 - Brad Lidge; 600 - Hanley Ramirez

2011: 100 - Albert Pujols; 200 - Ichiro Suzuki; 300 - Roy Halladay; 400 - Troy Tulowitzki; 500 - Kevin Youkilis; 600 - Neftali Feliz (rookie cup)


2012: 100 - Jose Bautista; 200 - Miguel Cabrera; 300 - Josh Hamilton


OK, I ran out of time to find/scan cards. I'll add some more later. (EDIT: More added)

I may also total up who's had the most hero numbers. So look for updates ... someday.

A couple of observations.


  • 1962 seems to be the year in which Topps really devoted itself to the concept of putting a star at almost every century number. Before that, it was very sporadic. Sometimes there was a star, sometimes there was a semi-star who was there just because he had a century number in a preceding year.



  • Not a lot of Dodgers in this list: Dodgers Sluggers (1957); Duke Snider (1962); Sandy Koufax (1964, 1965, 1966); Don Drysdale (1969); 1962 MVPs (Maury Wills) (1975); Steve Garvey (1977); Henry Rodriguez (1995); Mike Piazza (1998)


         Yes, Henry Rodriguez. That's when Topps started to veer away from the hero number concept a little.


  • Tony Gwynn never had a hero number. What?!!!!



It's cool that Topps seems to have come back to the hero numbers the last few sets. It's also nice to know that Topps didn't commit whole-heartedly to the hero number concept every year, even going back to the early days. I don't like the feeling that every tradition is dying.

In this case, it's a tradition, but not a carved-in-stone tradition.

Thanks, Phungo for the incentive.

7 comments:

  1. I think the same holds true for the 5-oh's as well. For example 1975 Topps #50 Brooks Robinson, #150 Bob Gibson, #350 Bobby Murcer, #450 Willie McCovey, Well for the most part anyways.

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  2. I seem to remember, at least in 70's when I was a kid, that any number divisible by 5 seemed to have a star, either minor or major, but definitely better than average guys.

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  3. It seemed that there was a hierarchy.

    00 - major star
    50 - star
    10 - starter
    5 - veteran

    Never 100%, but usually pretty close

    Tony Gwynn (one of my faves after Carew and T Williams) was 660, 10, 530, 360, 570, 730, 180, and 270 from 1985-1992

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  4. Topps had quite a streak of heroes until Dave Bergman #700 in '87.
    You know the sound effect used on tv when a needle goes scratching acrossed a record? It's usually used in a shocking situation...I heard that in my head when I got to Bergman on your list.

    For those under 35, when I say record I mean the black vinyl discs. :)

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  5. That 1957 card is one of those "great cards that I'll never be able to get." Even though he was a Dodger, Campy is one of my all-time favorites.

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  6. Great list! Bummed to hear Gwynn never made the elite 00 club.

    Agree with Brandon... the 87 Bergman made me second guess myself and look up his stats on baseball reference.

    The guy batted .231 and played 65 games in 1986, so not sure what happened there.

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  7. Some academics actually did a look at whether Topps was racist in the assigning of hero numbers.
    http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ768445&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ768445

    ReplyDelete