As part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Topps baseball cards, we've asked fans (as well as our staff) to submit their all-time favorite baseball cards, and we've broken them down by team. We'll be revealing submissions regularly throughout the season, ranging from the famous to the weird, and everything in between.
Rockies: Todd Helton and Larry Walker, 2003 Topps
The Rockies have had a lot of batting champions -- nine, to be exact. A lot of that has to do with Coors Field -- not so much the altitude in this case, but the cavernous outfield. This card features the first Hall of Famer in Rockies history, Walker, and potentially the second in Helton. And as a bonus, we get Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sandwiched in between.
What’s funny is, none of them had the highest batting average in the NL in 2002 -- that was Barry Bonds, at .370. Maybe Bonds’ numbers were so far off the chart that Topps decided to give some love to the three guys behind him -- Walker (.338), Guerrero (.336) and Helton (.329).
Guerrero never actually won a batting title, but Walker and Helton did -- Walker led the league in batting average in 1998, ’99 and 2001; and Helton did in 2000.
In other words, the Rockies had the NL’s batting champ every year from 1998-2001. While Guerrero never officially led his league in batting average in a season, he got himself on an “NL Batting Leaders” card, which is pretty impressive. -- Manny Randhawa
Iconic Rockies card: Dante Bichette, 1996 Upper Deck Collector's Choice
"Bichette Happens." A great T-shirt. But how did the Bichette Happens shirts happen?
"There was a comedian in town using it for his routine," said former Rockies slugger Dante Bichette, who was the inspiration for the shirt. "He was selling them outside the ballpark and I took some pictures with him and got some shirts."
Bichette just happened to be wearing one of these awesome shirts when Upper Deck came by Coors Field for a 1996 Collector's Choice photo shoot. And the rest is history -- an iconic card was born, one Rockies fans have become very fond of since it was issued 25 years ago.
Bichette and his incredible 1995 season at the plate formed the inspiration for the shirts printed up by Chip Chinery, and it was only a matter of time before some of them got to the man himself. Just how good was Bichette in '95? He not only hit a walk-off home run in the 14th inning of the first game ever played at Coors Field, but went on to lead the Majors with 197 hits and 128 RBIs while leading the National League with 40 homers, a .620 slugging percentage and 359 total bases.
Despite leading the league in so many offensive categories, Bichette finished second in NL MVP Award voting in 1995. He may not have been awarded MVP honors that year, but his Upper Deck Collector's Choice card from the next year is certainly MVP worthy in our hearts.
As NL pitchers knew all too well in 1995, long before the T-shirts were printed up, Bichette happens.