Release date: August 1998
Insertion Ratio: 1:82 packs
This set is where my fascination with the atomic refractor really started. The "atomic" name had been used by Topps in previous years, but this iteration of the atomic refractor really took the refractor pattern to the next level in my opinion. The "cracked ice" look of the random pattern just refracts light like no other card can!
There is a good reason Topps has used this pattern again and again in recent years. You'll see it in several different sets as a parallel in multiple different colors as well as sets like Topps Sapphire. I believe it is safe to say that collectors, at large, love shiny cards. And in the late 90s, shiny was king!
Lets take a look at this design overall. The background of the card is definitely obscured by the atomic refractor pattern, but that doesn't take away from the appeal of the card. There is a baseball superimposed over the photo background just over Scott's shoulder. It's tough to see, but it's there. Around the baseball is a field of yellow color which really makes the refractor pattern shine in-hand. And the photo of Scott itself; it's nothing outstanding, but it's far superior to the photo Topps used for his 1996 Bowman's Best card (with his eyes closed).
Another thing this card has going for it is the fact that it is serial numbered to just 100 copies. We've talked about serial numbering of cards before. And while 100 copies of a card these days doesn't seem like that rare of a card, believe me, back in 1998, pulling a card numbered to 100 was huge! As with most things, the law of supply and demand kicks in with cards like this. They're certainly not making any more of these, and with Scott's recent election to the Hall of Fame, these cards are in demand which of course drives up their value.
Here is a scan of the exact same card featured in this Spotlight for comparison. You can see the atomic pattern in the scan, but what you don't get is the refraction of light.
If you don't already have one of these in your collection, I highly recommend you pick one up of your favorite player or any player from your favorite team. You will not be disappointed!