5. 2001 Pacific Private Stock- So Pacific had an MLB license and they lost it in 2001. Some people say it was a Manny Ramirez bat card that used a corked bat others say MLB was just tired of them and wanted to rip up their license for no good reason. Whatever you believe, Pacific give MLB the middle finger on the way out and collectors were the winners. Did Pacific have an agreement with Mark McGwire? No, they still made a bat card of him in 2001 Pacific Private Stock. Sammy Sosa, nope, but he's in there too. Pacific put out their final baseball product as a per pack relic set which featured bats, jersey pieces, and patch pieces. Many of the cards from this set can be found dirt cheap, but there are some really cool pieces out there.
4. 2001 Archives- Topps tinkered with the idea of an Archives set back in the mid 1990s when they released a rehash of the 1954 set to celebrate the legendary set's 40th birthday. The 2001 product was a celebration of the first 50 Topps sets and featured great players from the entire run of Topps base sets. Each player in the set was showcased on a remake of their rookie card and final card in a Topps set. Some of the cards are an exact replica while others had a little bit of editing. Say, didn't Jerry Koosman used to be on that Nolan Ryan card up there? The set also featured a very strong run of autographed cards. Some of the short printed signatures can be tough to find and very expensive to buy. The set came out in two series and was a pretty tough set to assemble.
3. 2001 Sweet Spot- You could always count on Upper Deck to push the envelope and this was one their more innovative sets. It ended up sticking around for a chunk of time, but when this product came out collectors loved these autographs. I loved these autographs. The signed ball pieces in the middle of the card are made from actual signed balls, not sure I totally believed that, but that's how the product was marketed. There were a lot of good modern players in the set, but also some cut signatures of players like Joe DiMaggio. In time, Upper Deck would split this into two sets with the Classic version featuring older players and the regular Sweet Spot product housing the modern players. Some of the later version also had some quality control issues.
2. 2001 Playoff Absolute- This was a brand new product in 2001 too and one of the better things put out by Playoff before their run as a card company came to an end in the mid 2000s. Each box came with a stamped autograph baseball in addition to the cards which featured loads of cool autographs and relic cards. Playoff tried to push the envelope with this product and at the time it was a really cool and popular product with collectors. It also was the beginning of the dreaded sticker autograph which was featured in a few other Playoff products that summer including Donruss Classics. I collected this set for the rookies which were pretty valuable at the time of the products release. My favorite....
2001 Topps Heritage- A no brainer and easy pick for the number one spot this week. Topps did a great job with the first Topps Heritage set and it has become one of the best modern baseball card sets of all-time. It launched the Heritage brand, which is not going anywhere and has become just as important as the Topps base set, and also remade one of the best Topps base sets of all-time. The base set of Topps Heritage looks great with loads of short prints to challenge collectors and a slew of great autographs to chase down too.