2002 Topps inserts

31 05 2015

Standard inserts are next in my 2002 Topps round of posts.  The last post covered the retro inserts; today’s post covers all the rest.  As always, the insert odds reflect hobby packs unless otherwise noted.  One impression I’ve had is that there were fewer inserts in 2002 than the past 4-5 years of Topps cards.

Own the Game (30 cards, 1:12 – series 1)

Own the Game was an insert set that came back from 2000 after skipping a year.  It was basically a league leaders set – the first 18 cards are hitters who led in categories like homers, RBI, stolen bases.  The last 18 cards are pitchers.  These are the only super-shiny foil insert cards.

2002 Topps s1 box Own the Game

Hobby Masters (20 cards, 1:25 – series 1)

Hobby Masters comes back after an even longer hiatus – it’s back for the second time after first being introduced in 1997.  Back then, this was a hobby-only insert, which makes sense given the name.  But in 2002 it was not only inserted in both retail and hobby packs – it was actually an easier pull (1:16) in retail packs.  This is an extra-thick insert set with a grid background.

2002 Topps s1 box Hobby Masters Pudge

Ring Masters (10 cards, 1:25 – series 1)

This insert set came in the same odds in series 1 packs, though unfortunately I didn’t get any in my series 1 box.  This is along the vein of the hobby masters – thick cards, but they’re based on players who have won World Series in the past.

2002 Topps Ring Masters Maddux

East Meets West (8 cards, 1:24 – series 1)

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.

2002 Topps s1 box East Meets West

All-World Team (25 cards, 1:12 – series 2)

The only insert set specific to series 2 was the All-World Team.  Someday when I complete this set, I’ll figure out what the point is for it.  Since Todd Helton from Knoxville, Tennessee is in the set – it can’t be an international theme.

2002 Topps s2 box All World

Topps Draft Picks (10 cards, 5 per Retail & HTA factory sets)

This was only available in the retail and HTA factory sets.  It’s in the same design as the Draft Picks subset in the regular set.  This is pretty notable for Brandon Weeden, who would go back to college to become Oklahoma State’s quarterback and one of the many failed first round picks of the Cleveland Browns.

2002 Topps Draft Brandon Weeden


A Piedmont completist

29 05 2015

Back in 1911 if you were a baseball card collector, you were probably a tobacco smoker.  And if Piedmont was your cigarette of choice, you could potentially get a card like this.

Piedmont Christy Mathewson

Now this isn’t a post about getting a few cards like that.  This is a post about getting a few cards from a place called Piedmont – which is a region in Italy.  I recently got a few cards from Riccardo, the Italian Completist (though I still owe him my end of the deal).  Riccardo sent me a few cards from the Upper Deck portion of my wantlist – which is a place that I haven’t crossed off in quite a while.  In fact – I looked at my timeline on that page; it had been over 2 years!

Trade - Italian Completist

Riccardo also sent me 2 base Topps cards – I have a feeling 2001 and 2002 are going to be some of the last sets I finish, so this is certainly helpful.

Trade - Italian Completist

Last but not least – he also sent me 4 inserts from last year’s Topps sets.  The Spring Fever is particularly helpful – I figure I’ll have to buy most of those to finish that set off!

Trade - Italian Completist_0001

Thanks again, Riccardo!

2002 Topps Retro Inserts (1952 Topps)

27 05 2015

After issuing reprints of various superstars, Topps went with a 50 year anniversary theme and did reprints theme honoring players from the World Series from 1952.  This meant Dodgers and Yankees.

As always – odds below are for hobby packs.

1952 Reprints (19 cards, 1:25)

2002 Topps s2 box 52 Reprints

2002 Topps s1 box Hobby Masters Pudge Rodriguez

The reprints are glossy with the 1952 World Series logo stamped on the front of the card.  There is a gold foil border as well.  There are 8 Dodgers and 11 Yankees in the set.  There aren’t Chrome versions inserted in the regular Topps Flagship sets.  However, you can find Chrome and refractor versions in the Topps Chrome product.

1952 World Series Highlights (7 cards, 1:25)

Topps also did an insert set directly commemorating the 1952 series.  The series went down to a 7th game, with the Dodgers winning game 1 and the two teams trading wins through game 6.  Joe Black of the Dodgers made his 3rd start of the series, splitting with Allie Reynolds in his first two starts. But Reynolds had pitched the end of game 6 to preserve a 3-2 lead, and Eddie Lopat was given the start.  Black gave up what would be the game-winning run in the 6th via a Mickey Mantle homer.  Reynolds came on after finishing the game 6 win the day before for his 4th appearance in the series, earning the win after holding the Dodgers scoreless over 3 innings.

2002 Topps s2 box 52 WS Highlight

There were a number of autograph and relic versions of the 1952 reprints.  There was one guy who wasn’t in the regular reprint set but did have an autographed version – Joe Black who started 3 games for Brooklyn.  And aside from that, they made reprints with pieces of seats from Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field in them – including a few dual-player options.

1952 Reprint Autographs (11 cards, 1:10,268 s1 / 1:7,524 s2)

2002 Topps 52 reprint auto Joe Black

Ebbets Field Seat Relics (9 cards, 1:9,116 s1)

Yankee Stadium Seat Relics (9 cards, 1:579 s2)

2002 Topps Ebbets Field seat Duke Snider

Ebbets Field / Yankee Stadium Dual Seat Relics (2 cards, 1:86,070 s1 / 1:59,511 s2 #/52)

Ebbets Field / Yankee Stadium Seat Relic Autographs (2 cards, 1:15,670 s1 / 1:11,908 s2 – HTA only, #/52)

2002 Topps Ebbets Field Yankee Stadium dual seat auto Rizzuto Pafko

2002 Topps parallel sets

26 05 2015

Topps was back down to just 3 parallel sets in 2002 – and again, only one could be pulled from packs.  The other 2 were packaged as specific factory sets.

Topps Gold – 660 cards (1:19 s1, 1:12 s2 – #/2002)

2002 Topps s1 box Gold Mulder Smoltz

Topps Gold was back for its second straight year and its fourth time overall.  And back for good, as Topps is still running out gold borders, though now it’s just a color change whereas in 2002 it was a shiny foil border.  Numbering Topps Gold to the current year is a trend Topps has kept to this day.  There were 58 cards that didn’t have gold parallels – basically any of the full bleed subsets and the Barry Bonds 73 HR card.

Topps Home Team Advantage and Limited Factory sets

Additionally, there are 2 other parallels available in factory set form.  Limited Edition factory sets were again made, with a similar idea as the old Tiffany sets, with only 1,950 sets produced.  These cards are stamped with the words “Limited Edition” in the bottom right and come on thicker card stock.

2002 Topps Limited Edition Smoltz

2002 Topps Limited Edition Factory set

Home Team Advantage factory sets have something similar – they are stamped with a “Home Team Advantage” logo.  The HTA factory sets come with the last 5 draft pick cards (retail sets had the first 5).

2002 Topps HTA Smoltz

2002 Topps Factory set HTA

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%)