I'm currently scanning Astros cards. While working on my 1997 cards, I remembered how much I always liked the 1997 Topps set. it was a relatively small set, only 495 cards. There were not a lot of 'filler cards'. The cards came in two basic colors, green for NL teams and red for AL teams. They had a minimum of foil, just the player name and Topps logo. The card fronts featured a small team logo. The backs featured full player stats and another player photo.
One feature that I particularly liked does not show up on the scan at all. The cards have a white border, as do pretty much all Topps cards. The photo is tinted red or green at the outer edges and along the bottom where the player name is. You can see a green or red rectangle around the player. What is interesting is that inside this border, the card is glossy, while outside it is not. Topps had only started making their regular edition cards glossy a few years before. It is quite common nowadays to have cards with a partial glossy front, but I believe this is the first regular issue set to use this technique.
Here are a representative selection of cards.
#295 Jeff BagwellI will admit that it was only while writing this entry that it occurred to me that the NL teams are green and the AL teams are red.
#400 Cal Ripken, Jr.
I'll call this border color red. You may call it something else.
#102 John MabryOn May 18, 1996, John Mabry hit for baseball's 212th 'cycle'. Although relatively rare, perhaps not such an amazing feat. But Mabry hit for the cycle in order, single, double, triple and home run. Only the second such documented cycle up to that time.
#42 Jackie Robinson1997 was the 25th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's death so there were a lot of Robinson cards that year.
#488 Ben Grieve/Richard Hidalgo/Scott MorganThe Prospect cards featured three players. This is well before MLB forced the card companies to strictly label players as rookies.
#479 Eric Chavez/Adam EatonDraft Pick cards featured 2 players. I think now, that draft picks cannot be part of a regular set like this.
#472 Mike DeCelle/Marcus McCain#251 Ron Hartman/David Hayman1997 was the year before the inaugural year for the D-Backs and the Devil Rays. Both teams signed minor league free agents and had draft picks in 1996. Topps featured a number of them on these cards. Not one of these four guys ever got out of the minor leagues.