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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.