Saturday, October 10, 2009

2001 - Not Quite an Odyssey

Once again, a year ends in a 1, and the Angels didn't have a great year.  (I'd start to think that putting up the cards by alternating decades wasn't such a great idea; luckily years that end in 2 have been much nicer to the Halos.)  They went 75-87 and finished in third place, largely due to a ton of injuries and a Seattle Mariners team that won a Major League record 116 games.  But in spite of all this, the Angels drew over 2 million fans to the ballpark (then named Edison Field of Anaheim; man, I want to smack myself for calling it the Big Ed a couple of times).

Most of the cards here are Topps' "Home Team Advantage" variants, with an extra gold stamp.  I believe these were exclusive to hobby shops that year.  That's Bengie Molina's first card as an Angel at the bottom right, and he signed it for me at the Angels Fan Fest in 2004, as did Ramon Ortiz.  Jeff Mathis signed his card for me during Spring Training in 2008.

Man, 2001 was a great year for first-year Angels cards.  In addition to the Bengie, Ortiz and Mathis cards, Scott Spiezio and Mike Scioscia got their first regular Angels cards, and there were certifed auto cards of Scioscia and John Lackey (rookie auto!).

2001 was a great looking set, with the green borders being oddly evocative of the outfield wall at the Big A.

2001 was also the 50th year of Topps baseball cards. As such, the set included a bunch of reprints, including the oft-reprinted 1980 Nolan Ryan.

Topps inserts finally got interesting in 1996, but it wasn't until 2001 that the Angels got their first jersey card with the "King of Kings" Nolan Ryan card.  The "Who Would Have Thought" cards were great this year as well, covering two of the greatest acquisitions in team history, Ryan and Carew.

Although '01 wasn't a great year, the position players got a lot of experience working together, which would come in handy in 2002...

2001 Topps Angels

4 - Garret Anderson
39 - Shigetoshi Hasegawa
80 - Darin Erstad
87 - Scott Spiezio
161 - Benji Gil
175 - Troy Glaus
186 - Seth Etherton
251 - Scott Schoeneweis
271 - Bengie Molina
309 - Matt Walbeck
324 Mike Scioscia MGR
390 - Troy Glaus SH
392 Sammy Sosa/Troy Glaus HR Leaders
397 Todd Helton/Darin Erstad Hit Leaders
419 - Troy Percival
470 - Gary DiSarcina
484 - Tim Belcher
514 - Adam Kennedy
529 - Orlando Palmeiro
546 - Tim Salmon
586 - Kevin Stocker
604 - Jarrod Washburn
621 - Mo Vaughn
636 - Jose Canseco
722 - Ramon Ortiz
728 - Phil Wilson Angels - Jake Peavey (sic) Padres - Darwin Cubillan Rangers
729 - Steve Smyth Cubs - Mike Bynum Padres - Nathan Haynes Angels
731 - Pena - Larry Barnes Angels - Wise
745 - Joe Torres/Ben Diggins
752 - Anaheim Angels Team Card

Golden Anniversary Prospect Autograph
GAAJL - John Lackey
Golden Anniversary Great Autograph
GAARC - Rod Carew
Going for Gold
GA45 - Troy Glaus
GA48 - Mo Vaughn
Through the Years Reprints
39 - 1980 Nolan Ryan
A Tradition Continues
TRC17 - Mo Vaughn
Base Hit Base Card
BH1 - Mike Scioscia MGR
King of Kings Jersey
KKR6 - Nolan Ryan

2001 Topps Traded

T33 - Ismael Valdes
T38 - Pat Rapp
T104 - Reggie Jackson 82
T120 - Wally Joyner 86
T142 - 1995 Sexson, Arias, Sweeney, Schneider Reprint
T151 - Jared Abruzzo RC
T197 - Brian Specht RC
T227 - Alfredo Amezaga RC
T258 - Jeff Mathis RC

Who Would Have Thought?
WT1 - Nolan Ryan
WT12 - Rod Carew

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