One of my goals for 2015 is to keep track of cards in my player collections. Adding onto this I want to keep up with any sets I am trying to complete. The first of such sets is 1999 Ultra. The Ultra brand has always been a favorite of mine. One of my best memories of sports cards is opening packs of 1994-95 Ultra basketball with my dad. What a great set that was. I wanted to put together an Ultra baseball team set together, and I'm quite fond of the 1999 design. I'm keeping track of what I have on my What I Collect page. Let's go through some Orioles and Braves from the 1998 season!
First up, Brady Anderson, a three-time All-Star. How did you hit 50 home runs and knock in 110 runs in 1996? And only 11.6 at-bats per home run. Anderson struggled in 1998 hitting just .236 but had a bounce back year in 1999.
Great card of Mike Mussina. I can't decide what I like better from this set, the text used for the player names or the photography.
I appreciate the card backs showing stats for the player's entire career. The Did You Know? facts are pretty interesting too. Mussina played multiple positions on his high school football team and was offered a scholarship to kick at Penn State. I'm guessing not too many major league pitchers can dominate like Mussina on the diamond and also kick a 60-yard field goal. The card says '60-year field goal'. Guess that one slipped past editing. Still love the card!
Sadly this Graf isn't in the best shape on the surface. If I find another copy of this one I won't mind replacing it. Graffanino came up in the Braves system playing three years for the major league team before being released in 1999. He played several infield positions and was a good contact guy.
Michael Tucker came to the Braves in a trade before the 1997 season along with Keith Lockhart for Jermaine Dye and Jamie Walker. I was sad to see the 23 year old Dye go to the Royals after seeing him in Richmond the year before. Back to Tucker... he spent 2 years with the Braves before being traded to the Reds along with our next Brave...
Denny Neagle. I always enjoy seeing shots of players signing for fans, and I enjoyed watching Neagle while with the Braves. He had one incredible All-Star season for Atlanta in 1997, going 20-5 with a 2.97 era, finishing 3rd in Cy Young voting.
And a nice shot of the Big Cat making contact. The photography in this set is pretty great. I'd argue it's the strongest photo of the group. What a season he had for the Braves in 1998, hitting 44 home runs and batting in 121 runs. He missed all of 1999 battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and came back with a strong 2000 season, winning Comeback Player of the Year. While he was only with the Braves for a few seasons, the Big Cat is one of my favorites.
And while he's pictured in a Devil Rays uniform, I couldn't pass up picking up this Fred McGriff. I am certainly not going to limit my Crime Dog collection to Brave uniforms only. I know I'm not alone in thinking McGriff should get consideration for the Hall of Fame. Sadly it doesn't look like it will happen based on his recent percentage of votes.