I never did complete a set of Topps Chrome. I recall it being like $20 a pack or something ridiculous at a show back when it first came out in 1996. It was the first complete parallel set sold separately. Topps had given us the beautiful high end sets of Stadium Club and Finest, but then basically said "hey, look, it's the same base set...only SHINY!!!" It was simultaneously an ingenious and dick move. Collectors, needless to say, just lost their minds for this stuff and have had a soft spot for it ever since. Oh sure, I get excited every year when it comes out and buy a bunch of it, but the magic wears off quickly. It's like Chrome is your mistress and no matter how shiny and tempting it is, you always go back to your wife.
I have every year from 1996 to 2009 represented in page form:
I put the 1996 page together well after the fact. It is the only year when they put little pits in the pattern, like diamond plating or something. It's kinda neat and goes with the theme, I wonder why they never did that again?
I have wanted do this page in horizontal cards, but have never gotten around to it. I always liked the subtle differences in the longways cards in the '97 set. The color-coding of the leagues, however, I never quite understood.
1998 was the first year I remember actually buying packs of Chrome, as the hoopla had died down some. Something about the 1998's just scream "Shiny!" - some sets just work better than others with the concept...
...see, where as the '98s work so well, the 1999 set looks much better in its base gold.
Remember the year 2000 when everything had to have the number 2000 on it?
2001 Chrome is one of the worst offenders of the bugaboo that is the Achilles' Heel of Chrome: curling. This page had been tightly sandwiched in a binder for years and the cards still arc. Also, if he has nine cards, I want to put together a page of Stubby Clapp.
2002 is the first year I recall buying Chrome in stores like CVS. This page is a bit of a mess and I should replace some cards, like that Roger Clemens card. Yuck, what the hell was I thinking there?
Blue! I don't know if the green from 2001 works well, but the blue from 2003 is wonderful. This is the high point of Chrome; IMHO, it is all downhill from here.
Topps kind of forgot the name of the set in 2004 and made the cards white. Isn't the name of the set Chrome and the cards are supposed to be silver and shiny? I can almost see it as a one-time choice for some variety and maybe to make the position icon pop (which it does, I always loved that feature of the '04s) but then they kept on doing it...typical. I consider this when Chrome lost its way.
Proving my point, if they didn't have the logo on them, you could not tell these were Chrome by looking at the scan.
More of the same in 2006. Even my picture choices here bore me. If I am bored, oh shit, what must you guys be? OK, I'll try and get more interesting.
OOOOoooo...Topps got back on track a little here as the black borders really pop on these '07s. The autographs from this set were also awesome. People complain about sticker autographs, but on "futuristic" sets like chrome, the shiny stickers work. On vintage themed sets, however, I see the validity of the concern. I have a bunch of the autos from this set, but not in nine page form; I still employ top loaders from time to time.
Ugh, back to the white. The only saving grace of 2008 Chrome is that they started to mix up the pictures from the base set, something that should have occurred to them, like, ten years earlier.
The design was pretty sweet in '09, and the white almost works with it. Almost. I bought a bunch of this year; it is probably the closest I came to completing a set. Also, a few years before, a family friend married a dude named Jason Jaramillo (not the baseball player) so I always hold on to his cards.
Then, in 2010, I stopped buying new product, so that is where our journey with Chrome ends. Which is a shame, because I have a few cards from '10 and I see they ditched the white and went back to the chrome borders. It only took Topps six years to figure that one out (not too bad, for them). If anyone has some doubles, I would gladly take them off your hands. I mean, if I have made it this far, I should keep going with them (which seems to be Topps attitude towards this set as well...).