2002 Topps scans

24 05 2015

In 2002, Topps went with an orange border – the fifth year in a row there wasn’t a white border.  The big card was again a rookie card in series 2 – Joe Mauer’s draft pick card.

2002 Topps Joe Mauer RC

However, a lot of this set was all about showing off two amazing seasons that had taken the league by storm.  First – Barry Bonds and his 73 homers and slugging percentage that had only been approached by Babe Ruth.  Bonds got one of those “SP variation” cards that most set collector’s despise – one version for each of his 73 homers.

2002 Topps Barry Bonds

2002 Topps s1 box Bonds 365

The other force was Ichiro Suzuki, who came over from the Nippon Professional League and won the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year award – a feat only Fred Lynn had accomplished in the past.  Albert Pujols joined Ichiro as the NL RoY.

2002 Topps Ichiro Pujols

Topps included a subset of those award winners – Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens rounded out the awards as the Cy Young winners.

2002 Topps Award Winners

The rest of the Award Winner subset included the 18 gold glove winners (so Ichiro actually had 3 cards in this subset alone).  Here’s the 3 guys who had racked up at least 10 awards at this point.  And I didn’t scan Omar Vizquel, who had 9 Gold Gloves at this point – that was one heck of a double play combo in Cleveland.

2002 Topps Gold Glove

Ichiro was interesting in the 2001 set – he got a card in series 2 with his Japan League stats on the back.  In 2002 Topps, So Taguchi and Kaz Ishii got similar treatment.

2002 Topps So Taguchi Kaz Ishii

All that said – Pedro Martinez got the #1 card in the set.  He replaced Cal Ripken from the year before.

2002 Topps Pedro

Two more cards I show every time are Griffey and Rickey – two of my favorite players.

2002 Topps Griffey Rickey

Rickey, like Bonds, was prominent in the set.  He got 2 cards in the season highlight subset for breaking the all-time walks record and getting his 3,000th hit.  Topps also did a subset describing the games across MLB that followed the 9/11 attacks.

2002 Topps Bonds Rickey September 11

Another set of scans I’ve been doing is the trifecta of great shortstops from this era.  I don’t have Jeter’s card, so I had to use an internet scan.  My scanner seems to want to cut off some of them on the left hand side…

2002 Topps Nomar A-Rod

2002 Topps Derek Jeter

Here’s some of the pictures I liked the best from this set.

2002 Topps best pics_0001

Another thing that’s always good to show off – guys who are in new uniforms.  These are three of the most notable.

2002 Topps new uniforms s2

And here are some guys who were in uniforms that I didn’t realize (or at least didn’t remember) they ever wore.

2002 Topps surprise teams

That was Canseco’s last Topps card.  He never actually played for the Expos; he didn’t make the team out of 2002 and 2001 was the last he ever played in the majors.  Of course he could have been found on the minor league diamond 12 years later.

Mark McGwire was Canseco’s fellow bash brother, fellow persona non-grata, and he also had his last card in 2001 Topps.  Along with McGwire, here are some other great players who were toward the end of their career.

2002 Topps older players

On the other side of their careers – here were some young pitchers and hitters who were at the start of their careers.

2002 Topps young pitchers

2002 Topps young hitters

The next cards are the guys who were already the best hitters at the time.

2002 Topps best hitters

2002 Topps best hitters_0001

And to wrap it up – here are the best pitchers of the day in 2002.

2002 Topps best relievers

2002 Topps best starters

2002 Topps All-Star Rookie subset

23 05 2015

Topps All-Star Rookies

  • RHP – Roy Oswalt
  • LHP – C.C. Sabathia
  • C – Shawn Wooten
  • 1B – Craig Wilson
  • 2B – Alfonso Soriano
  • 3B – Albert Pujols
  • SS – Jimmy Rollins
  • OF – Adam Dunn, Ichiro Suzuki, Tsuyoshi Shinjo

After a few mediocre years, the 2001 Topps All-Star Rookie Team (featured on 2002 Topps) was a heck of a class.  In fact, as far as Topps All-Star Rookie classes go, it has to be the best of all time.  I haven’t researched it, but 6 of the 10 players were guys that are going to get some Hall of Fame votes.  There are two first-ballot HOF-ers in that group.  Albert Pujols would be considered the 2nd or 3rd best 1st baseman in the history of the game if he retired today.  Ichiro has a great chance at becoming the all-time professional hits leader.  CC Sabathia is a 200-game winner and a former Cy Young.  Alfonso Soriano was a 40-40 guy with 2,000 hits, 400 homers, and 1,100+ RBI and runs.  Adam Dunn just retired with 462 homers.  Jimmy Rollins won an MVP and is the Phillies all-time hits leader.   And Roy Oswalt won over 160 games with 5 top-5 finishes in the Cy Young race.

A.J. Pierzynski probably deserved the catchers spot over Wooten – that would have made this class even more impressive from a career-worthy aspect.  I don’t have the Soriano or Wooten card yet – didn’t get them from my box.

2002 Topps ASR team

2002 Topps ASR Shawn Wooten

2002 Topps ASR Alfonso Soriano

2002 Topps series 2 hobby box break

21 05 2015

2002 Topps s2 box

As with series 1, I got a hobby box for 2002 Topps series 2.  I got this box from Dave & Adam’s Card World.  My purchase to open timing is going down a bit – I bought this in November 2013, so only a little over a year on this one!

My series 2 box had more damaged cards than series 1 – unfortunately this has just been the nature of buying boxes of glossy cards from a decade ago.   I had 58 damaged cards that would have been singles toward the set in this box.  And I lived with some sticky left over on a few more than that to go toward my set.  Oh well, it is what it is.

Here’s a look at what I got in the second box.  Topps Gold parallels were back for their 2nd straight year in 2002.  I got three of them; they are numbered out of 2,002 on the back.

2002 Topps s2 box Gold

As far as the 1952 retro-themed inserts go – I flipped the numbers on the 2 insert sets.  I pulled 2 Gold reprints from the 1952 set, and just 1 of the 1952 World Series cards.  I got the reverse in series 1.

2002 Topps s2 box 52 Reprints

2002 Topps s2 box 52 WS Highlight

There’s only 1 other insert set in series 2 – this is very different from the increasing number of insert sets that Topps had been building up in the years prior to 2001.  As someone who is collecting them all – I’m not complaining!  The All-World team is a good idea, though I’m not completely sure I understand the theme.  Vlad Guerrero is Dominican, and Walker is Canadian.  Todd Helton is from… Knoxville, Tennessee?

2002 Topps s2 box All World

I didn’t get any hits in the box.

Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 10 cards per pack = 360 cards

9 doubles

342 of the 354 card set. (97% set completion)

58 of my singles were “damaged” – so I really only got 284 towards the set

3 Topps Gold

2 1952 Reprints

2 1952 World Series Highlights

3 All-World Team

Including the first box:

614 / 718 of the base cards (86%)

2002 Topps series 1 hobby box break

19 05 2015

2002 Topps s1 box

I again went with hobby boxes to work on the 2002 part of my Lifetime Topps collection.  They seemed like the best bang for your buck.  This box cost me 22 bucks back in early 2013 from BB Card Exchange.  Like 2001 – there were some issues with damaged cards.  I think the colored borders don’t hold up as well over time and cause a lot of the cards to stick together.  The series 1 box wasn’t bad at all.  There were a few cards damaged, but not nearly as bad as 2001.  The series 2 box wasn’t so good – but that’s for my next post.

The box collation wasn’t anything to write home about.  I got 272 out of the 364 cards from the set.  There were 71 duplicates – which would make up a big chunk of that 92-card shortage.  13 cards were damaged, so I’m really 115 cards short of the set as of now.

I got two of the Barry Bonds variation short-print cards – home runs #5 and #25.  I guess that second one is his uniform number.  There are 73 versions of these – one for each home run.  These cards were a little better than the 1998 Sosa/McGwire home run cards, and they don’t feature just the same photo with different numbers behind them.  There’s a home photo and a road photo – so that’s better I guess!

2002 Topps s1 box Bonds 365

Again I’ll start with the parallel set.  There’s only 1 parallel set available in packs in 2002 – Topps Gold, numbered out of 2002.  I pulled 2 Topps Gold cards.  These have a foil border which looks much nicer than the gold cards from today’s sets.  Two pretty good pitchers – though the Mulder has some of the sticky problems that plagued some of the base cards.

2002 Topps s1 box Gold Mulder Smoltz

Next up are the 1952 inserts.  Topps did the 50th anniversary thing in 2001 – since 2001 is the 50th Topps set (not counting the 1951 cards, which were really more of a game set).  2002 Topps took the angle that it was 50 years since the 1952 set, so all the retro-themed inserts were 1952-style.  I got 1 of the 1952 reprints, which have a gold border.  Andy Pafko – card number 1 in the set!  I got 2 of the ’52 World Series cards as well.  Getting 3 in total is about right as far as the odds go both inserts are 1:25, so I’d expect to get 1 or 2 of each.

2002 Topps s1 box Hobby Masters Pudge Rodriguez

2002 Topps s1 box 52 World Series

An interesting set in series 1 was the East vs West insert set, which is based on Masanori Murakami’s dual player Topps rookie card from 1965.  Murakami stays put on the right side of the card while other Japanese-born ballplayers like Hideo Nomo are on to the left side.  I got 3 of these, which is much better than the odds, which list out at 1:24.

2002 Topps s1 box East Meets West

Where I didn’t do so well on the odds was with the “Masters” insert sets.  I only got 1 Hobby Masters card, which is about right at 1:25.  But there are also Ring Masters inserted into this series at the same rate – I got none of those!  2 sets at 1:25 each – odds say you’d hope to get 3 in total.  My Pudge card will have to do for the moment.

2002 Topps s1 box Hobby Masters Pudge

Last up were the filler inserts “Own the Game” (3 of those), and the 5 Team Logo inserts, which are part of a promotion Topps ran at the time to get a new baseball cap.

2002 Topps s1 box Own the Game

2002 Topps s1 box team stickers

I didn’t get any hits in this box – which is about right after getting quite a few in the 2001 boxes!

As always, the numbers below don’t factor in the damaged cards – I’m tracking this to know what it would have been if I had bought the cards in 2002, and I assume they wouldn’t have been stuck together back then.


Stats for the box:

36 packs per box * 10 cards per pack = 360 cards

66 doubles

272 of the 364 card series. (75% set completion)

2 Topps Gold

1 1952 Topps Reprint

2 1952 World Series Highlights

3 Own the Game

3 East Meets West

1 Hobby Masters

5 Team Logo Stickers

5 Ticket to History Promotion

2002 Topps Overview

17 05 2015

718 cards in the set – 364 in series 1 and 354 in series 2.  This is a bit of a decrease from the 790 in 2001.  Card #7 was still retired at this point in honor of Mickey Mantle (this was the 6th year Topps excluded Mantle’s number 7 from the set).

2002 Topps Griffey Packs

  • Subsets: Season Highlights (#332-336), League Leaders (#337-348), Postseason Team Cards (#349-356), September 11 Tribute (#357-364), Managers (#277-305), Prospects (#307-325, 671-690), Draft Picks (#326-331, 691-695), Team Checklists (#641-670), Award Winners (#696-719), and Barry Bonds HR Tribute (#365).  The September 11th Tribute cards highlighted games played across 8 ballparks when baseball resumed.  Manager cards were back for the second straight year, and award winners was a new subset that had winners in both leagues of the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Gold Glove awards.  The prospect and draft pick cards were single-player cards this time, after typically depicting multiple players in the past.  Topps did a tribute card for Barry Bonds honoring him for setting the new record of 73 homers.
  • Set Design: The card fronts feature an orange border with a colored ribbon and team logo in the top left corner.  The words 2002 Topps are in white type across the top right border.  There is another ribbon at the bottom with the player name in gold foil and the Topps logo in the bottom left (also in gold foil).  This was the sixth straight year Topps didn’t have a white border.  The backs are oriented horizontally, with a small player photo on the right.  The player’s name, position and card number are across the top, with biographical information right below that.  Seasonal and career statistics are below that, with a write-up if there’s room at the bottom.
  • Packs: Topps stayed at 10 cards per retail and hobby packs (36 per box).  Topps no longer listed MSRP on the packs or the boxes themselves, but it was the same $1.29 from the previous few years.  The jumbo packs were HTA (hobby) exclusive and contained 12 packs per box, 38 cards per pack.  I’ve also seen 2 types of blaster boxes, both with 7 cards per pack.  The first has 15 packs (14 + 1 “bonus”) for $13.99, while the second has 22 packs (20 + 2 “bonus”) for $19.99.  I’ve never seen retail jumbo packs online but wouldn’t be surprised if they exist.
  • Rookies: After a pretty big rookie card in Ichiro from the year before, Joe Mauer made it into the draft pick portion this set as a big rookie card.  Also included are RC’s of Rich Harden, Jason Bay and Kaz Ishii.
  • Hall of Fame: 15 Hall of Famers in this set, a decrease of 8 from the year before.  Most of this was due to the Golden Moments subset from the 2001 set that had a bunch of retired players.  There were 8 Hall of Famers in that subset.  Aside from that, Cal Ripken was gone after the 2001 set.  Tony Perez offset the loss of Ripken – he was in the manager subset as the skipper for the Marlins.
  • Variations: There are 73 variations of Bonds’ Home Run card #365, one for each home run he hit in his record-setting season.  Each card is just as common as the others, making these cards individually short-printed compared to other cards in the set.  Additionally, there is an interesting error with Albert Pujols’ card #160.  Placido Polanco is actually on the back of the card.  The opening day set does have a different picture with Pujols on the back.  I’ve read that there’s a corrected version out there, but I’ve never seen it on an actual Topps base card.

2002 Topps s1 box2002 Topps s2 boxFor the second year in a row, Topps featured multiple current players on the flagship packaging.  Series 1 boxes had a red and black background, with Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Pedro Martinez.

Series 2 has a blue lines on the side with a gold and black background.  Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols were featured on series 2.

The “Topps” logo is large at the top, and the write-up tells you the box has Major League Baseball Cards Series 1/2.  Advertisements on the box promote inserts and the fact that original Topps cards and autoproofs are inserted.

Promo Cards

Topps came back with pre-production cards in 2002.  There was a set of 3 cards again previewing what the design is.

Update Sets

Topps again issued a Traded set in packs.  It was called Traded & Rookies, and this was the third Traded set to be issued exclusively in pack form.  There wasn’t much as far as rookie cards in the Traded set this year – Jose Bautista grew into the biggest name in the set.  Topps Chrome Traded was again included in the same product.

Parallel Sets

There are 3 parallel sets in 2002 – the same ones as 2001 except there was no Employee set this year.  Only one of the parallels was inserted into packs – that was 2002 Topps Gold.  Topps Gold cards were numbered out of 2002, though cards number 332-365 and 696-719 were not included in this parallel.

There other 2 types of full parallels available via factory sets.  First was Limited Edition factory sets, which were made in the idea of the old Tiffany sets, with only 1,950 sets produced.  These have the words “limited edition” on the bottom and were printed on thicker stock than the base cards.  Home Team Advantage sets were back for the 2nd year – they are stamped with a “Home Team Advantage” logo.  The foil cards in the HTA set don’t have the HTA logo, so other than them being in the set, cards #332-364 aren’t distinguishable from the base set.

  • Gold – 660 cards (1:19 s1, 1:12 s2)
  • Home Team Advantage – 718 cards (in HTA factory sets)
  • Limited – 718 cards (in Limited Edition factory sets)

Insert sets

Topps continued reprinting old cards as inserts for the for the 7th straight year.  This year, Topps went back 50 years and included glossy reprints of the 1952 Topps cards with a gold border.  There were also cards that highlighted the ’52 World Series done in the Topps style from that year.  These were inserted in both series 1 and series 2.  The East Meets West cards took Masanori Murakami’s dual player Topps rookie card from 1965 and put other Japanese-born ballplayers on to the other side.

  • 1952 Reprints – 19 cards (1:25)
  • 1952 World Series Highlights – 7 cards (1:25)
  • Own the Game – 30 cards (1:12 series 1)
  • Hobby Masters – 20 cards (1:25 series 1)
  • Ring Masters – 10 cards (1:25 series 1)
  • East Meets West – 8 cards (1:24 series 1)
  • All-World Team – 25 cards (1:12 series 2)
  • Topps Draft Picks – 10 cards (5 per Retail & HTA factory sets)

There were no insert parallels or box-toppers in 2002.

Autographs & Memorabilia

The standard Autographs were down to just 40 cards, after being at 99 the year before.  However, Topps continued growing the number of different autograph sets in the flagship product in 2002.  Topps made up for this with a very ambitious buyback program.  A total of 330 different cards of Hall of Famers were purchased on the secondary market, autographed by the players and then inserted into series 1 and 2 packs.  Most of the cards were numbered to 100 (about 15 were numbered to 200 or 300).  A total of 27 different players made up the 330 different buyback cards – ranging from Stan Musial (1 card) to Fergie Jenkins (34 cards).  Topps also inserted signed versions of the 1952 reprints – 11 total between the two series.  There was one reprint in the autograph set that wasn’t in the regular set – Joe Black.

On the relic side – Topps included relics from 3 current players on the East Meets West insert set.  They also included old Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium seat pieces on 1952 reprints of Brooklyn Dodger & New York Yankee players.  The Prime Cuts insert program featured bat pieces in varying levels of rarity, while the 5-card stud relics featured jersey pieces with a playing card theme (Aces for pitchers, Kings and Jacks for hitters, deuces for dual pieces and threes for triple pieces).

The Ebbets Field / Yankee Stadium dual relic cards had an autographed version, and 8 of the Prime Cut Barrel cards had autographed versions as well.

  • Autographs – 40 cards (1:985-1:15,402 s1 / 1:940-10,071 s2)
  • 1952 Reprint Autographs – 11 cards (1:10,268 s1 / 1:7,524 s2)
  • Hall of Fame Buyback Autoproofs – 330 cards (1:2,341 s1 / 1:2,431 s2, #/100-300)
  • East Meets West Relics – 3 cards (1:3,419 to 1:12,296 s1)
  • Like Father Like Son Relics – 5 cards (1:1,304 s1 retail)
  • Summer School Relics  – 5 cards (1:3,373-4,401 s1)
  • Ebbets Field Seat Relic – 9 cards (1:9,116 s1)
  • Yankee Stadium Seat Relic – 9 cards (1:579 s2)
  • Ebbets Field / Yankee Stadium Dual Seat Relic – 2 cards (1:86,070 s1 / 1:59,511 s2 #/52)
  • Prime Cuts Pine Tar Relics – 20 cards (1:4,420 s1 / 1:1,043 s2, #/200)
  • Prime Cuts Trademark Relics – 20 cards (1:8,868 s1 / 1:2,087 s2, #/100)
  • Prime Cuts Barrel Relics – 8 cards (1:7,824 s2, #/60)
  • 5-Card Stud Relics – 15 cards (1:1,180-1,449 s2)
  • 5-Card Stud Deuces Are Wild Relics – 5 cards (1:1,962 s2)
  • 5-Card Stud Three of a Kind Relics – 5 cards (1:2,039 s2)
  • Coaches Collection Relics – 26 cards (1:236 s2 retail)
  • Ebbets Field / Yankee Stadium Dual Seat Relic Autograph – 2 cards (1:15,670 s1 HTA / 1:11,908 s2 HTA,#/25)
  • Prime Cuts Autograph Relics – 8 cards (1:88,678 s1 / 1:8,927 s2, #/50-60)

Factory Set

There were again quite a few different Topps factory set options in 2001.

First, the hobby factory sets were packaged with a brown background.  These sets also had 5 Topps Archives reprints included.

2002 Topps Factory set Hobby

The retail factory set was packaged in a green background.  This set had the first 5 cards in the bonus Topps Draft Picks set, and, like the hobby version had just the base set.  The retail price was $49.99.

2002 Topps Factory set Retail

There was a Home Team Advantage factory set, that had the last 5 bonus Topps Draft Picks.  It has the same general design as the sets above, except with a blue box.

2002 Topps Factory set HTA

The Limited Edition factory set was presented in a nice wood box.  It’s reminiscent of the Tiffany sets.  Limited Edition cards were on thicker card stock.

2002 Topps Limited Edition Factory set


Topps followed up with the 50th Anniversary “History” promotion from 2001 with another buyback program.  They again inserted old cards they had bought back and at a rate of 1:616 in series 1 and 1:431 in series 2.  From the wording on the back of the packs – I believe they only bought back cards of Hall of Famers.

Additionally, Topps inserted a logo race card in series 1 each pack.  They also inserted sticker cards randomly into packs.  If you got all the stickers from a division, you could stick them on the logo race card and send it in to get a cap of your favorite MLB team.

2002 Topps Logo Race

Finally, Topps also inserted Ticket to History Sweepstakes cards which you could fill out and send in.  500 winners were selected to win various 1952-related items from the Topps Vault, like a ’52 World Series program.

2002 Topps ticket history promotion

Other releases associated with the Topps flagship set

#1 – Topps again issued the “Topps Chrome” product – its 7th year.  It wasn’t a full chrome reproduction of the base set for the 2nd time in those 7 years; Topps only included 660 of the 718 cards.

#2 – Topps issued its 6th “Opening Day” set in 2002.  Again, the 165 card set was retail only, and features the same photos from the base set.  The border is green instead of gold, and there is an Opening Day logo instead of the Topps logo.

#3 – Topps issued a Japanese set in conjunction with Kanebo, a company that I think is a gum manufacturer in Japan.  There are 55 cards, most of them done in the same design and photo as 2002 Topps.  There are a few cards that are actually the same as the player’s 2003 Topps card.  The backs are written in Japanese.

2002 Topps Pre-Production

16 05 2015

After not doing in 2001 for the first time in over a decade, Topps came back out with a standard card set to promote and preview their 2002 design.  The cards are numbered with a “PP” prefix, and they don’t have the previous year’s (2001) statistics.  Unlike most of the previous sets, where there was a bottom line with “Topps Pre-production” wording, this set just doesn’t have a line for 2001.  This set has 3 cards.  I bought these 3 cards on the “Check Out My Cards” site recently.

2002 Topps pre production

These are different photos from the base set – which I think is pretty cool.  Giambi is actually on a different team; his 2002 Topps card is in series 2 and shows him with the Yankees!

  • PP1 – Sammy Sosa
  • PP2 – Jason Giambi
  • PP3 – Curt Schilling

2001 Topps cards – Big Red Machine

14 05 2015

I also missed doing a Big Red Machine post for 2001 Topps.  There aren’t any Big Red Machine members in the base set, but in 2001 Topps celebrated its 50th anniversary with a number of sets with retired players.  And of course there were a few cards with the 2 most famous Hall of Famers from the 1975-76 World Champions.

Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan were both on a Topps Combos card with the Reds’ Moeller connection, Ken Griffey, Jr. and Barry Larkin.  Bench had a 2nd card in that set – he was featured with Pudge Rodriguez.

2001 Topps Combos Big Red Machine

2001 Topps Combos Bench Pudge

Bench was also in the Golden Anniversary set.

2001 Topps Golden Anniversary Bench

And both players were in the Noteworthy set as well.  It appears Topps’ problems with re-using the same photo goes back at least to 2001.

2001 Topps Noteworthy Johnny Bench

2001 Topps Noteworthy Joe Morgan

They both also had an insert in the Through the Years reprints – Bench with his 1970 Topps card.  Morgan has a blown up piece of his part of his 1965 rookie card.

2001 Topps Through the Years Bench

2001 Topps Through the Years Morgan

Morgan and Bench (2 cards) also had cards in the Team Topps Legends autographs – which were inserted across multiple Topps products.


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