1996 Topps Laser Baseball Cards

1996 Topps Laser Baseball Cards



Product Details

VN:RO [1.9.17_1161]
User Rating:

While the late-1980s will always be referred to as the Junk Wax Era, the 1990s can be remembered as the Insert Era. 1996 Topps Laser Baseball originated from the card companies' belief in raising the bar in terms of unique content. This could be seen as an attempt to set them apart from the competition. As a result, die-cut cards were just one of the many new designs and technologies that took the hobby by storm. Upping the ante in this realm was Topps and their introduction of Laser Baseball.

1996 Topps Laser Baseball has two series, each consisting of a 64-card base set. Despite the small number of total cards, completing the set was a challenge due to the product's pack-out configuration. Packs have only four cards with hobby boxes having 24 packs each. At an initial MSRP of $5 a pack, this was a significant change to what collectors had become accustomed to spending.

1996 Topps Laser introduced collectors to the next generation of die-cutting. Gone were the rounded edges and missing sections on the card’s perimeter. Topps Laser has intricate and complicated designs cut into the cards themselves. Some of these designs are so intricate that even the finest of sculptors would find them impressive. Topps Laser took an insert-type concept and made it the base card design.

Base Set

The base card checklist has four subsets, each based on a different playing attribute: pitching, hitting, fielding and base-running.

Cards 1-16 and 65-80 focus on hitters. Full-bleed photographs cover three-quarters of the card with the laser etching taking up the bottom and right side of the card. An overhead view of a player in the batter's box, swinging through a pitch, is cut into these cards. Topps Laser is cut into the bottom-left, just above the player's extended bat. It makes for a dynamic-looking design, especially with the use of the color black surrounding the cutouts.

1996 Topps Laser Sammy Sosa 1996 Topps Laser Sammy Sosa Back

Fielding is covered in cards 17-32 and 81-96. These cards are oriented horizontally with the player photo taking up two-thirds of the front. The laser cut image of a fielder at the ready position takes up the left side. The gold foil on these cards provides a rather sharp and abrupt ending to the player photo not present in the rest of the set.

1996 Topps Laser Craig Biggio 1996 Topps Laser Craig Biggio Back

Cards 33-48 and 97-112 are the base runners. These are also the only cards in the set that alternate which side of the card the laser cutouts are featured. You would think, for continuity sake, that Topps would have stayed with the layout of the rest of the cards, but again, this was just typical of the quirkiness of the Insert Era. The angled red swath and the gold foil player name box along the bottom make these cards attractive. Even the slight touch of a black rectangle in the bottom-left part of the player's name provides a nice subtle contrast.

1996 Topps Laser Mark McGwire 1996 Topps Laser Mark McGwire Back

Finally, cards 49-64 and 113-128 are highlighted by pitchers. These make up, by far, the best base card design in this set. When you see these cards, there is not a single criticism that can be leveled at their design. What could be better than a giant flaming baseball as a backdrop for some of the most dominating pitchers of the 1990s?

1996 Topps Laser Hideo Nomo 1996 Topps Laser Hideo Nomo Back

Insert Sets

1996 Topps Laser Baseball has three insert sets that were carried over from Series 1 to Series 2. Even the numbering for the sets continued. While this seems to be a daunting task for manufacturers today, it appears as though it was quite easy to do back in 1996. Bright Stars, Power Cuts and Stadium Stars each have a total of 16 cards between both series.

Bright Spots

As its name indicates, Bright Spots is a set that focuses on the up-and-coming players back in 1995. While the inclusion of Derek Jeter in this set was a no-brainer, the need to include him twice is somewhat questionable. They're inserted 1:20 packs for both Series 1 and Series 2. Series 1 cards are etched into silver foil while the Series 2 cards use gold foil.

The real worth of the laser cutting idea is on full display in this insert set. The Bright Spots name is etched into a set of outfield grandstand lights. The amount of detail is amazing.

1996 Topps Laser Derek Jeter Bright Spots

Power Cuts

Power Cuts focuses on baseball's home run hitters. Falling 1:40 packs, it's a tough set to complete. The laser-cut design here isn't used to its full potential. A pair of crossed baseball bats with Power Cuts etched over a rounded banner make these cards the least visually appealing in the product. One saving grace with this insert design is the Topps logo, which is really nicely done.

1996 Topps Laser Larry Walker Power Cuts

Stadium Stars

By far, the best looking insert in 1996 Topps Laser Baseball is Stadium Stars. Showcasing top players from the day, they have a full-color, in-action player photo on the face of the card. The design of the card backs is interesting as well. All the vital stats are there as well as a second player that's different from the on the front of the card.

What makes these cards truly amazing is the foil overlay that covers the front face of the card. The intricacy of the cutouts on Stadium Stars borders on art. A generic baseball stadium façade that closely resembles Ebbets Field takes up the majority of the front. This is further highlighted by the etching of the team logo in the center of the stadium. As with the other inserts, the first eight cards are available in Series 1 packs and the second eight are in Series 2.

Seeded 1:60 packs, Stadium Stars are the hardest inserts to hit.

1996 Topps Laser Roger Clemens Stadium Stars

While the initial price tag of $5 for a pack of four cards may have been considered high back in 1996 (and may have led to Topps Laser Baseball not making the cut for 1997), this set is one that collectors may want to take some time and revisit. The innovation that spawned this set should not be ignored. For collectors of 1990’s inserts, these are still some of the more desired and requested cards from this era. As far as base sets go, this is certainly one of the more interesting and visually appealing sets from the decade.

For a detailed conversation about 1996 Topps Laser, listen to the Cardboard Connection Radio Show archive from January 22nd, 2014 and tune in each week for a new 'Set of the Week' segment.

Top eBay Listings

1996 TOPPS LASER 5card lot RIPKEN, BONDS, GWYNN, PIAZZA, MADDUX All-Stars LISTED
$12.50

1996 Topps Laser Bright Spots Jason Kendall Die-Cut
$5.95

1996 Topps Laser #37 Barry Bonds Mint BV $7.50
$7.99

1996 Topps Laser #90 Cal Ripken - NM-MT (8)
$5.68

1996 Topps Laser Barry Bonds Power Cuts insert Giants # p10
$9.99

CHIPPER JONES 1996 Topps Laser BRIGHT SPOTS DIE-CUT Insert Card SP #B14 BRAVES
$6.95

1996 Topps Laser Bright Spots #2 Derek Jeter New York Yankees
$19.99

1996 Topps Laser #90 Cal Ripken Baltimore Orioles
$8.00

1996 Derek Jeter Topps Laser #82 BGS 9 Mint
$79.00

Matt Williams– 40 card Lot- 1996 Topps Laser Cuts # 96, 2000 Pacific
$15.88

1996 Topps Laser Stadium Stars 8 Cal Ripken Jr.
$14.99

1996 Topps Laser UNCUT PROOF Bright Spots Hideo Nomo Dodgers
$25.00

1996 Topps Laser Stadium Stars 10 Roger Clemens
$14.99

1996 Topps Laser #30 Mike Stanley
$5.00

1996 Topps LASER -- HIDEO NOMO -- ** BRIGHT SPOTS ** -- LASER CUT -- RARE!!
$5.00

1996 Topps Laser #82 Derek Jeter RC !! RARE PREMIUM ROOKIE
$5.89
« Previous123

Checklist

1996 Topps Laser Baseball Checklist

Base Set Checklist

128 cards. Series 1 #1-64, Series 2 #54-128.

1 Moises Alou
2 Derek Bell
3 Joe Carter
4 Jeff Conine
5 Darren Daulton
6 Jim Edmonds
7 Ron Gant
8 Juan Gonzalez
9 Brian Jordan
10 Ryan Klesko
11 Paul Molitor
12 Tony Phillips
13 Manny Ramirez
14 Sammy Sosa
15 Devon White
16 Bernie Williams
17 Garret Anderson
18 Jay Bell
19 Craig Biggio
20 Bobby Bonilla
21 Ken Caminiti
22 Shawon Dunston
23 Mark Grace
24 Gregg Jefferies
25 Jeff King
26 Javy Lopez
27 Edgar Martinez
28 Dean Palmer
29 J.T. Snow
30 Mike Stanley
31 Terry Steinbach
32 Robin Ventura
33 Roberto Alomar
34 Jeff Bagwell
35 Dante Bichette
36 Wade Boggs
37 Barry Bonds
38 Jose Canseco
39 Vinny Castilla
40 Will Clark
41 Marty Cordova
42 Ken Griffey Jr.
43 Tony Gwynn
44 Rickey Henderson
45 Chipper Jones
46 Mark McGwire
47 Brian McRae
48 Ryne Sandberg
49 Andy Ashby
50 Alan Benes
51 Andy Benes
52 Roger Clemens
53 Doug Drabek
54 Dennis Eckersley
55 Tom Glavine
56 Randy Johnson
57 Mark Langston
58 Dennis Martinez
59 Jack McDowell
60 Hideo Nomo
61 Shane Reynolds
62 John Smoltz
63 Paul Wilson
64 Mark Wohlers
65 Shawn Green
66 Marquis Grissom
67 Dave Hollins
68 Todd Hundley
69 David Justice
70 Eric Karros
71 Ray Lankford
72 Fred McGriff
73 Hal Morris
74 Eddie Murray
75 Paul O'Neill
76 Rey Ordonez
77 Reggie Sanders
78 Gary Sheffield
79 Jim Thome
80 Rondell White
81 Travis Fryman
82 Derek Jeter
83 Chuck Knoblauch
84 Barry Larkin
85 Tino Martinez
86 Raul Mondesi
87 John Olerud
88 Rafael Palmeiro
89 Mike Piazza
90 Cal Ripken Jr.
91 Ivan Rodriguez
92 Frank Thomas
93 John Valentin
94 Mo Vaughn
95 Quilvio Veras
96 Matt Williams
97 Brady Anderson
98 Carlos Baerga
99 Albert Belle
100 Jay Buhner
101 Johnny Damon
102 Chili Davis
103 Ray Durham
104 Lenny Dykstra
105 Cecil Fielder
106 Andres Galarraga
107 Brian Hunter
108 Kenny Lofton
109 Kirby Puckett
110 Tim Salmon
111 Greg Vaughn
112 Larry Walker
113 Rick Aguilera
114 Kevin Appier
115 Kevin Brown
116 David Cone
117 Alex Fernandez
118 Chuck Finley
119 Joey Hamilton
120 Jason Isringhausen
121 Greg Maddux
122 Pedro Martinez
123 Jose Mesa
124 Jeff Montgomery
125 Mike Mussina
126 Randy Myers
127 Kenny Rogers
128 Ismael Valdes
1996 Topps Laser Baseball Hideo Nomo

Bright Spots Checklist

16 cards. Inserted 1:20 packs. #1-8 Series 1, #9-16 Series 2.

1 Brian Hunter
2 Derek Jeter
3 Jason Kendall
4 Brooks Kieschnick
5 Rey Ordonez
6 Jason Schmidt
7 Chris Snopek
8 Bob Wolcott
9 Alan Benes
10 Marty Cordova
11 Jimmy Haynes
12 Todd Hollandsworth
13 Derek Jeter
14 Chipper Jones
15 Hideo Nomo
16 Paul Wilson

Power Cuts Checklist

16 cards. Inserted 1:40 packs. #1-8 Series 1, #9-16 Series 2.

1 Albert Belle
2 Jay Buhner
3 Fred McGriff
4 Mike Piazza
5 Tim Salmon
6 Frank Thomas
7 Mo Vaughn
8 Matt Williams
9 Jeff Bagwell
10 Barry Bonds
11 Jose Canseco
12 Cecil Fielder
13 Juan Gonzalez
14 Ken Griffey Jr.
15 Sammy Sosa
16 Larry Walker

Stadium Stars Checklist

16 cards. Inserted 1:60 packs. #1-8 Series 1, #9-16 Series 2.

1 Carlos Baerga
2 Barry Bonds
3 Andres Galarraga
4 Ken Griffey Jr.
5 Barry Larkin
6 Raul Mondesi
7 Kirby Puckett
8 Cal Ripken Jr.
9 Will Clark
10 Roger Clemens
11 Tony Gwynn
12 Randy Johnson
13 Kenny Lofton
14 Edgar Martinez
15 Ryne Sandberg
16 Frank Thomas


 |  E-Mail Author
Rob Bertrand is an avid collector with over 20 years of active experience in the hobby. He is one of the site's most accomplished writers, as well as the co-host of Cardboard Connection Radio. You can follow him on Twitter @VOTC.

Review This Product

Rate this product from 1 to 5 stars using the following rating scale:

1 Star - Avoid this product like the plague
2 Stars - Below Average Product
3 Stars - Average Product
4 Stars - Excellent Product
5 Stars - Incredible Product

Please explain your rating below.