Saturday, December 5, 2020

Adventures in Chrome

Topps like their "Chrome" cards - and if you want to know how they make them, then check out this blog post from the Society for American Baseball Research about the patents for chrome cards. The chroming technique is also used for Topps Finest cards. Topps release Chrome versions of their sets every year now, but today's post features a few older cards.

Chrome cards are lovely to look at but they don't like scanners, and the cards tend to warp and curl, making it hard to line them up straight on the scanner as well. A double whammy of scanning problems.

Card Number 519: Bowman Chrome, 1999; #264

Topps have owned the Bowman brand since 1956, and have issued Bowman cards since 1989.

The cardback features two photos of Tony - a "now" and a "then". The "now" photo was re-used in the Topps flagship set in 2000 for the "Memorable Moments" overprinted cards that I blogged about in June.

The "then" photo is from 1984. It looks familiar but I can't place it on another card.

There is a resume on the back and a description to go into my big file of descriptions - "baseball's best pure stroker since Ted Williams". I don't think Tony would have agreed that he was a tinkerer with his swing. In Tony Gwynn's Total Baseball Player he made it very clear that he tried to swing at every ball in exactly the same way.

Card Number 520: Topps Chrome (Season's Best insert), 1997; #SB1

At last a shiny card that scans well!

There are some impressive numbers on the back, including his sequence of three seasons with a batting average over .350, which hadn't been achieved for just over 70 years!

I like the way the baseball stitching is peeping around the photo on the back there.

Card Number 521: Topps Finest, 2000; #68

As the cards are made using the same process I am adding in this Finest card to make this a trio of chromed cards. It also has baseball stitching integral to the design.

The back is very blue, which matches the uniform Tony is wearing in the picture.

Tony's "Finest Feature" is his offensive consistency, according to Topps. The card also mentions his 3000th hit in the preceding season and his 17th season batting over .300. 

This card also lists Tony's weight as 200lbs, which is also the weight given on the Bowman Chrome card from 1999. This is down by 15lbs from the 1997 card. I highly doubt the accuracy of any of these recorded weights, although I read in He Left His Heart in San Diego that he was trying to reduce his weight in the last couple of seasons that he played to reduce the pressure on his chronic knee injury. So maybe Topps were printing accurate information for once.

Total: 521 cards

1 comment:

  1. Kinda cool that Gwynn actually raised his career batting average by one point after that Number Crunchers card was created.