PROJECT 100 BASEBALL CARDS

Project 100 Baseball Cards

In 1990, Topps trading card company embarked on an ambitious project to create special baseball cards featuring the top 100 players of all time as chosen in a vote by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Known as the Project 100 baseball cards, this special collection aimed to honor and commemorate the greatest players in baseball history on premium quality collector’s cards.

The project began with Topps working with the BBWAA to conduct an extensive poll of its members to determine the Top 100 players of all time. BBWAA members, who are baseball writers and journalists that cover the sport professionally, voted on who they believed were the top 100 performers in history based on their stats, accomplishments, and overall impact on the game. This ensured the list was compiled by those most knowledgeable about the history of baseball.

Once the list of the Top 100 was finalized, Topps’ design team got to work on creating special collector’s cards showcasing each honored player. The finished cards featured elegant graphic designs with historic photos of the players and descriptive bios highlighting their most impressive career stats and achievements. More premium materials and production techniques were used compared to standard baseball cards to really make these special Project 100 cards stand out in any collector’s album or display case.

The prestigious list included many of the usual suspects widely regarded as the greatest to ever play such as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, and Walter Johnson. Some more modern stars that had recently retired like Reggie Jackson and Rod Carew also made the cutoff for the Top 100 as their careers had stood the test of time. An interesting inclusion was that of 19th century pioneer player Moses Fleetwood Walker, one of the first Black players in the Major Leagues before the color barrier.

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Upon completion, the full set of 100 Project 100 cards was released by Topps in 1991. Each card came in a protective plastic case and featured the official BBWAA logo, paying proper respect to the association that compiled the list. While scarce at first, over time they grew in availability as collectors traded and the supply increased on the secondary market. With Topps only producing the set once, the Project 100 cards remain a prized piece of any vintage baseball card collection today.

For dedicated players, managers, coaches and all other personnel, Project 100 provided quality custom baseball cards highlighting their accomplishments.

In addition to honoring the top individuals to play the game, Topps also produced special Project 100 cards for a small selection of managers and coaches that greatly impacted the sport throughout its history. Figures like Connie Mack, Casey Stengel, John McGraw and Sparky Anderson were showcased with these unique managerial cards that focused on their managing careers and teams led.

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For true vintage card aficionados, being able to obtain even a single Project 100 baseball card of their favorite old-time star was a real coup. Despite mass production, the set has maintained its aura of prestige. In the decades since its 1991 release, the Project 100 cards have only grown more revered as a truly unique collector’s item chronicling baseball’s storied past. While pricey, they remain a Must-Have for the most dedicated fans and investors in the hobby.

While the initial run in 1991 enshrined the first official Top 100 as voted on by the BBWAA, Topps has revisited the concept a few times since to update the list. In 2007, they produced a new set highlighting the Top 75 players from 1975 onward as chosen in another BBWAA vote. And most recently in 2020, yet another Project 100 set was created to showcase the top 100 players from the past decade leading into the 2020s.

This has allowed newer all-time greats like Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera to receive their own special Project 100 cards commemorating their amazing careers. Collectors now have the opportunity to add these modern legends to their collections alongside the stars from baseball’s earliest eras. The Project 100 concept has proven an effective way for Topps to pay tribute to the game’s greatest talents, both past and present.

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For serious collectors, the 1991 Topps Project 100 baseball cards remain the holy grail of the set. Finding high grade specimens of players like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner in mint condition would be an incredible coup. Even well-centered, sharp examples of more common players are highly valued today. On the thriving third party marketplace, mint Project 100 cards can command thousands of dollars each for the all-time greats. As a one-of-a-kind historical set assembled with the input of the sport’s top scholars, the appeal and prestige of Topps’ Project 100 cards seems sure to endure for decades to come. They provide a unique window into appreciating baseball in all eras.

In summarizing, the Topps Project 100 baseball card sets from 1991, 2007 and 2020 have proven an excellent way for the iconic card company to honor the very best professional baseball players throughout history. Produced in partnership with the BBWAA, the curated lists and specially crafted cards pay proper tribute to the athletes that have made the most indelible marks on America’s pastime. For dedicated collectors, finding and owning examples from these sets is a lifelong quest and true testament to one’s fandom. Project 100 has undoubtedly cemented itself as one of the most prestigious initiatives ever within the hobby of baseball card collecting.

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