2003 Topps Traded Autographs & Memorabilia

30 09 2015

I only have 1 legitimate scan to show off in this post, since I got 1 relic in the 2003 Topps Traded box.  The rest of these photos are swiped from the internet (in most cases eBay).

Signature Moves – (20 cards, 1:114-280)

2003 Topps Traded Signature Moves Victor Martinez

Signature Moves was back for the 2nd year, showcasing autographs of guys who had switched teams and a few rookies, like Victor Martinez above.  There were two tiers in this autograph set, A and B.  It’s actually a fairly obtainable set.  I was looking on eBay and the prices aren’t too bad for guys like V-Mart and Teixeira.

Team Topps Legends and Blue Chips were also inserted in Topps Traded as cross-product autographs you could find.  I covered those back in the Autograph overview for the regular Topps set.

There were a few different memorabilia sets you could get in Topps Traded.

Transactions Relics – 25 cards (1:78-168)

Transactions Dual Relics – 3 cards (1:421)

2003 Topps Traded Chrome Refractors_0001

The main memorabilia set was called Transactions Relics.  This basically replaces Tools of the Trade from the year before.  The single-player cards all contain bat pieces, and like the Signature Moves cards they are inserted in 2 different tiers.

2003 Topps Traded Transaction Relic Dual Pudge

There was again a dual version for 3 players which contained jersey pieces from the player’s previous and current team.

Future Phenoms Relics – 15 cards (1:101-2,330)

2003 Topps Traded Future Phenoms Relic Hafner

There were separate rookie/prospect relic cards called Future Phenoms as well – this was the first year for these.

Hall of Fame Relic – 2 cards (1:1,009)

Hall of Fame Dual Relic – 1 card (1:2,015)

2003 Topps Traded HOF Relic Murray

There was a relic honoring each of the 2 Hall of Fame inductees in 2003.  Gary Carter’s card had a jersey inset, Eddie Murray had a bat.

2003 Topps Traded HOF Dual Murray Carter

They also had a dual card.  I really like the design for these – it seems a lot more Hall of Fame appropriate than the Ozzie Smith the year before.

After Jose Canseco in 2002 and Tony Gwynn/ Cal Ripken in 2001, the Farewell Relic didn’t make a return showing in 2003.  This may have been due to lack of a clear person to honor.  Rickey Henderson played his last game in 2003, but he didn’t officially retire for quite a few years.  Matt Williams also retired in 2003, but Topps may have not known he was definitely retiring at the end of the season.  Tim Raines may have been the best bet.  He didn’t play after the 2002 season, and it was probably official at that point.  But Raines had retired once before and so it’s possible nobody was sure at that point.

2003 Topps Traded & Rookies – parallel set

29 09 2015

Topps had no stand-alone insert sets in the 2003 Traded product.  Aside from relics or autographs, the only insert set was one parallel set.  You could also get a Chrome and Chrome Refractor variations in the packs, but I view those as a different product.

Topps Gold (275 cards, 1:3)

Topps Gold was back, and just like the base set, it was numbered to the year – out of 2,003.  Topps didn’t include Topps Black in the Traded product, even though it had its debut in the 2003 series 1 and series 2 Topps sets.

2003 Topps Traded Gold cards

2003 Topps Traded & Rookies scans

27 09 2015

I’m pretty used to Topps Traded being bought through packs as opposed to through factory boxes; this was the 3rd year after Topps had switched over to that medium.  2003 was still something of a transition phase to what we have today, as:

  • the base set only consisted of traded players, first year players and prospects.
  • the only inserts in the product are gold parallels and relic/autograph hits.
  • Topps Chrome is included as well.  I’m not sure when it will end, but I hope it does soon.  I’d rather get base cards toward my set.

Today it’s essentially a third series of the product which contains All-Stars, home run derby participants and season highlights as well as its own standard inserts.

Rookies and prospects are always a big thing in Topps Traded, and there’s one very big rookie card in this set.  That’s Robinson Cano, who is still one of the best second-sackers in baseball, even if he isn’t doing quite as well in Seattle as he probably envisioned.

2003 Topps Traded Robinson Cano RC

There are 4 other guys who have had significant, sustained success in MLB.  Hanley Ramirez is back with his original team – though he’s also not doing as well as Cano.  McCann is now with the Yankees and has put together a solid career.  Dan Haren just won his 150th game, and Shane Victorino has played a major role on 2 World Series champions.  These are all Rookie Cards.

2003 Topps Traded McCann Hanley Haren Victorino RCs

There’s a few more guys from the set whose success has been much more fleeting – but they still gained some notoriety along the way.  Ishikawa is a little different from the other 3 – he earned that notoriety when he became the last year, whereas the other 3 guys had some significant success in the mid 2000’s.

2003 Topps Traded Wang Webb Ishikawa Bonderman FY RCs

Aside from these first year cards, there is also a “prospects” subset.  Miggy is the most notable – in fact, Beckett says this is the second most expensive card in the set, behind Cano.

2003 Topps Traded Miguel Cabrera PROS

There’s quite a few other guys in that prospect subset, and most of them didn’t make their name with the team shown on the card below (James Loney aside).

2003 Topps Traded Gonzo Wainwright Choo PROS

Moving on to the veterans, there are 2 Hall of Famers in this set.  Both were very close to the end of their career.  This is one of the few cards you can find that evidence Rickey Henderson’s time with the Dodgers.  Alomar had a little more time with the White Sox, but he was close to the end at this point.

2003 Topps Traded Roberto Alomar Rickey Henderson

There are 3 veteran “traded” guys who really jumped out at me as significant acquisitions.  All 3 of the guys below were leaders on World Series winning teams.  Pudge, of course, led the Marlins to the championship in his only season in Florida.  But his impact that one year is probably understated.  His role in shaping the growth of the Marlins’ young pitching prospects.  Aside from him, Carpenter and Ortiz have led the Cardinals to multiple World Championships.

2003 Topps Traded Ortiz Pudge Carpenter

A notch below them are 3 more significant acquisitions.  None of these guys ever made the World Series with their existing team, but they certainly made an impact.

2003 Topps Traded Thome Kent Aramis

A fun thing about the Traded set are the “old guys”.  There’s always a lot of players who you kind of say “oh, yeah, he played for them”.  Or maybe you didn’t even know that they did play with that team!

2003 Topps Traded older stars

And it’s always fun to see the new managers.  Or in this case, the recycled managers.  Dusty moved on to Chi-town right after a World Series appearance, and Felipe took his place in San Fran.  Art Howe didn’t like the Moneyball approach so he went to New York, and Buck Showalter went to Texas for another underrated tenure.  And Trader Jack just guided his team to the World Championship in his first year in Florida!

2003 Topps Traded Managers

Two more scans.  First, these were my two favorite photos from the set.  Hundley just looks like he’s trying to catch rain, and Widger looks like he’s a blind man being led somewhere by Cal Eldred.

2003 Topps Traded best pics Hundley Widger

And, last but not least, for all the Red Sox fans out there.

2003 Topps Traded Aaron freakin Boone

Aaron f*cking Boone!

2003 Topps Traded & Rookies HTA box break

25 09 2015

2003 Topps Traded HTA box

I bought my 2003 Topps Traded box and opened it last month from Baseball Card Exchange for just under 90 bucks.  I just opened it, so this is one of the first boxes where I actually bought it right before I opened it.  I’ve purchases a lot of boxes in advance and just waited until I got to that point in the blog to open it.

There are 10 packs, 35 cards per pack.  The HTA box also has a box topper.  In every HTA box, you get one Chrome Uncirculated X-fractor.

2003 Topps Traded Chrome Uncirculated pack

These cards are numbered out of 25.  If you do the math, that means there are 6,875 boxes out there.

2003 Topps Traded Chrome Uncirculated Carlos Duran

There is a little better rookie crop in this box, so it was pretty fun to open.  I got one base card of the most notable rookie.

2003 Topps Traded Robinson Cano RC

I got 10 gold cards in the box – one card per pack.

2003 Topps Traded Gold cards

I got 20 regular Chrome cards, which is the 2 per pack you’re supposed to get.  I got a Chrome version of the Cano card as well.  Here are the 3 most notable guys out of those 20 Chrome cards.

2003 Topps Traded Chrome Cano

I also got 3 Chrome Refractors, which is slightly beating the 1:4 odds a little better than what the odds say (you should get 2 per box).  No Cano here – that would have helped defray the cost of the box!

2003 Topps Traded Chrome Refractors

You are supposed to get 1 relic or autograph per box – I got a relic in this case.  This is a pretty nice relic of Andres Galarraga

2003 Topps Traded Transactions Relic Galarraga

Damaged cards weren’t a big problem, but I did have 7-8 cards that had corners that were dinged pretty badly.  A couple of those were doubles, so I’m exactly 5 cards short of the set.  I’ll take that any day after the luck I’ve had with the rest of the boxes!

Stats for the box:

  • 10 packs per box * 35 cards per pack +1 box topper = 351 cards
  • 41 doubles

275 of the 275 card set. (100% set completion – though 5 singles were damaged)

  • 10 Topps Gold
  • 20 Chrome
  • 3 Chrome Refractors
  • 1 Chrome Uncirculated X-fractor
  • 1 Transacton Relic

RIP Yogi Berra, 1925-2015

24 09 2015

1963 topps Yogi

I was very sad to see an ESPN alert when I woke up yesterday with Yogi Berra’s name on it.  Before I read the full message, I guessed that he had passed away.  I’d heard that he wasn’t doing so well lately.  With Ernie Banks passing away a few months ago, that makes 2 Hall of Famers who have passed away in 2015.  While Yogi and Mr. Cub probably weren’t in the absolute highest echelon of ballplayers, they were damn close.  More importantly, they were by all accounts in the upper echelon of great human beings.  Both seemed to have a glowing personality that made others around them happier and better.

Yogi signing

Like Ernie Banks, I met Yogi in New Jersey at an autograph show.  It was a little over 4 years ago, and I could tell he was probably not going to be doing to many more autograph shows.  He was very nice, though.  Unlike a few other guys who have signed something for me, I didn’t chat at all, but he did shake my hand and smiled.  You can observe a lot by watching, though.  And he seemed like a happy-go-lucky old man, even if he was moving a little slower.  I’ve also seen him at one (at least) other baseball event I can remember, when my dad and I went to Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium in 2008.  I’m so glad we went to that game, because it was a great experience with my dad.  It was the last one at Old Yankee Stadium, and I knew that guys like Yogi and Whitey Ford only had so many more years at the Old Timers’ Day.  Yogi was, of course, the last player introduced.

Back to the autograph show, Don Larsen autographed the same ball for me.  I have been trying to figure out what to do with it.  I collect baseballs with autographs of guys with 3,000 hits and 500 homers.  But this didn’t fit into that collection.  However, I always liked Yogi and thought the World Series perfect game was a great moment in history.  I’ve been trying to decide what to do with it.  I’m toying with two ideas.  One is to get Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz, the other battery mates in a post-season no-hitter, to autograph the ball.  But they threw that no-no against my Reds, so I’m a little unsure on that one.  The other is to get the battery mates of all 6 Yankee perfect games.  This is maybe a little less concerting but also pretty daunting.

*Sep 21 - 00:05*

Regardless of all that, Yogi and his nuances will be missed in the baseball world.  He was recently mentioned by Craig Biggio in his Hall of Fame speech; that reminded me of the 1987 Topps Team Leaders card that showed Yogi with the Astros.  Naturally, he’s laughing on the card.

Yogi and Biggio

Yogi is the 11th HOF-er to pass away since I started this blog.  The future ain’t what it used to be without him in it.  Johnny Bench put it very well in the video below, where you can tell he’s choking up about Yogi, who was never a teammate but clearly impacted his life.

2003 Topps Traded & Rookies Overview

22 09 2015

The 2003 Topps Traded & Rookies was again issued in pack form.  This was the fourth time it came in packs instead of a factory set (1995, 2001 & 2002 being the other years).  By 2003 it had really become more of a series 3, focused on rookies and players traded in the middle of the season.  Topps gets so many players who were off-season movers into series 2 in their new uniforms.  The 2003 Update packs again included Topps Traded Chrome.

2003 Topps Traded Rickey and pack

275 cards in the set – same as the year before.

  • Subsets:  Managers (#116-120), Prospects (#121-165).  The first 120 cards are “traded” players and managers.  Thankfully for my project, Topps did not short print them in 2003 as they had done the year before.  Cards numbered 166 through the last card, #275, are First Year players.
  • Set Design:  The set design is the same as the base 2003 set.  The back of the cards have a “T” suffix.
  • Packs:  Hobby and retail packs have 10 cards, the same as series 1 and series 2.  There are 24 packs per box (12 less than s1/s2).  I think the MSRP was $3.00; but it isn’t listed on the packs.  There were also HTA Jumbo packs with 35 cards per pack (10 packs per box).  The packs are white with a baseball background.  The words Topps logo is large and red at the top, followed just below by wording for “Traded and Rookies 2003 Major League Baseball Cards”. Of course they remind you that, yes, Topps Chrome is included.
  • Rookies:  The most notable rookie card is Robinson Cano, but Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Brian McCann and Chien-Ming Wang all have rookie cards in this set.
  • Hall of Fame:  6 (was 2 when I started).  Roberto Alomar, Rickey Henderson, Fred McGriff, David Ortiz, Ivan Rodriguez, Jim Thome are the Hall of Famers in the set .  Alomar is featured with the White Sox, Henderson is shown with the Dodgers.  McGriff signed with the Dodgers in his 2nd to last season.  Ortiz got his first Topps card with Boston in what would become a monumental deal.  Thome signed with the Phillies toward the end of the Indians’ run that yielded no titles.  And Pudge was in Marlins gear for the one season that did in fact yield a title.
  • Variations:  No variations.

2003 Topps Traded HTA box

The white box features pictures of Jeff Kent, Pudge Rodriguez and Jim Thome in their new uniforms.  The Topps logo is prominently displayed at the top in Red, with the wording “Traded and Rookies 2003 Major League Baseball Cards” below.  There is advertising for the 2 Topps Chrome cards per pack and the 1 autograph or relic per box.

Parallel sets

There was 1 parallel set – Topps Gold, which came back for good in 2001.  These cards were numbered out of 2003, coming 1:2 packs.

As I mentioned, this product came packaged along with Topps Chrome Traded; every pack had 2 Topps Chrome cards.  I don’t really think of these as parallel cards – they are more like a separate product.  The Topps Chrome cards had refractor versions as well, and each HTA Jumbo box came with an X-Fractor uncirculated numbered out of 25.

Insert sets

There are no insert sets aside from the parallels – fairly unusual for Topps at this point in time.

Autographs & Memorabilia

As the box tells you – there is one relic or autograph in each box.  But there are a few options across this product.  The Hall of Fame relics are really nice cards and feature Eddie Murray (bat) and Gary Carter (jersey).

  • Signature Moves Autographs – 20 cards (1:114-1:280)
  • Transactions Relics – 25 cards (1:78-1:168)
  • Transactions Dual Relic – 3 cards (1:421)
  • Future Phenoms Relics – 15 cards (1:101-1:2,330)
  • Hall of Fame Relic – 2 cards (1:1,009)
  • Hall of Fame Dual Relic – 1 cards (1:2,015)

And of course, there were the two cross-product autograph inserted:

  • Team Topps Legends Autographs – various cards {out of 113 cards across 2001/2002 Topps products} (1:180)
  • Topps Blue Chips Autogrpahs – various cards {out of 113 cards across 2001/2002 Topps products} (1:631)

2003 Topps Wire-to-Wire Reds Cards

21 09 2015

The number of guys from the 1990 World Series team was at 4 players in the 2002 Topps set.  2 players had their last card that year, though one Reds player came back in 2003.

There were 2 players gone after having cards in the 2002 set:

  • Paul O’Neill played his last game in game 7 of the 2001 World Series.  He was in the 2002 set with his full stat line.
  • Eric Davis also played his last game in 2001, and he pinch-hit in the game where Barry Bonds hit his 71st homer to break the single season HR record.  He also got a full stat line in the 2002 Topps set.

There was 1 player back in the Topps set after a long hiatus:

  • After 5 years out of the big leagues due to injury, Jose Rijo came back to pitch two seasons for the Reds as a reliever.  He is one of two players to play after having received Hall of Fame votes (Minnie Minoso).  This was his first Topps card since 1997.  This was his final Topps card, as he retired after the 2002 season.

Lou Piniella and Barry Larkin were both back in the Topps set – Larkin had one more year after this.  Piniella basically had cards through the 2009 season.

2003 – Barry Larkin, Jose Rijo, Lou Piniella

2003 Topps 90 Reds Rijo Larkin Piniella

Each guy had 3 parallel cards – Topps Gold, Topps Black and HTA.

Larkin and O’Neill were both featured in the Farewell to Riverfront Stadium relic set.

2003 Topps BRM Farewell to Riverfront Larkin

2003 Topps BRM Farewell to Riverfront O'Neill

Larkin also was featured in the 2003 Hit Parade insert set.  At the end of 2002, he was 10th on the active hit list.

2003 Topps Hit Parade Larkin

Piniella was also featured through the buyback promotion.  9 of his old cards were inserted into 2003 Topps and then stamped with buyback embossing.

  • 1971 Topps #/2
  • 1972 Topps #/1
  • 1974 Topps #/2
  • 1974 Topps Traded #/1
  • 1975 Topps #/6
  • 1976 Topps #/8
  • 1977 Topps #/8
  • 1978 Topps #/15
  • 1979 Topps #/10

Larkin was also in the Kanebo Japan set that is kind of ancillary as being related to Topps 2003.  On that note, O’Neill was in the 2003 Topps retired set as well.

2003 Topps cards – Big Red Machine

20 09 2015

After Tony Perez was in the base set as a manager in 2002, we were back to no more Big Red Machine players in the base Topps set.  But, as would pretty much be the case going forward, there were quite a few insert cards of Big Red Machine members.

First, it’s worth noting that just about all of the “Great Eight” as well as manager Sparky Anderson were included in the Topps Retired Signature product.  This used the same design as 2003 Topps, except with a white border.  It’s not the same product, so I don’t count it – just thought it was worth pointing out.

Most of them were involved in the Vintage Embossed inserts.  You could argue this isn’t even really an insert, but I’ll list the cards that were bought back and the announced quantities.

  • 1968 Topps Joe Morgan AS (#/2)
  • 1971 Topps Johnny Bench / Tony Perez / Billy Williams LL (#/7)
  • 1971 Topps Johnny Bench / Tony Perez / Billy Williams LL (#/6)
  • 1973 Topps Johnny Bench / Dick Allen LL (#/8)
  • 1975 Topps Johnny Bench / Dick Allen MVP (#/13)
  • 1975 Topps Johnny Bench / Jeff Burroughs MVP (#/4)
  • 1976 Topps Johnny Bench (#/4)
  • 1977 Topps Joe Morgan (#/10)
  • 1980 Topps Joe Morgan (#/13)
  • 1981 Topps Joe Morgan (#/45)
  • 1982 Topps Ken Griffey Sr. / Tom Seaver TL (#/9)
  • 1983 Topps Joe Morgan SV (#/5)
  • 1983 Topps Johnny Bench (#/10)
  • 1984 Topps Glossy All-Stars Johnny Bench (#/1)

OK, so now we can move on to real cards made for the 2003 Topps product.  Three of the guys were in the relic set “Farewell to Riverfront Stadium”.  Bench, Morgan, Perez and Concepcion all had cards in this set.

2003 Topps BRM Farewell to Riverfront Bench 2003 Topps BRM Farewell to Riverfront Concepcion 2003 Topps BRM Farewell to Riverfront Morgan 2003 Topps BRM Farewell to Riverfront Perez

George Foster made it into a different set.  He was in the Record Breaker set for both series 1 and series 2.

2003 Topps RB George Foster

2003 Topps RB 2 George Foster

He had an autographed version as well.

2003 Topps RB auto George Foster

2003 Topps Autographs

18 09 2015

Moving on to autographs, Topps was well into years of having autographs all throughout the flagship product.


Autographs (38 cards, tiered odds – series 1  /  series 2)

2003 Topps Autograph Tejada

A set developed just for autographs was back for the 5th straight year.  And again, I think these were very well done!  I don’t know when Topps stopped having a set just called “autographs” – but I’ll find out.  I wish they had continued it.  Albert Pujols is easily the biggest name in this set.

Record Breakers Autographs (19 cards, 1:6,941 – s1  /  1:2,218 – s2)

2003 Topps RB auto George Foster

Nolan Ryan Record Breakers Autographs (3 cards, 1:6,941 – s1  /  1:2,218 – s2)

2003 Topps Record Breaker Auto Nolan Ryan

Like the relic cards, Topps also took the Record Breaker set and made an autographed version.  Willie Mays is the biggest name in the autographed set.  Chipper Jones, Luis Gonzalez, Richie Sexson, Robin Yount, Shawn Green, Mike Sweeney, Don Mattingly and Lance Berkman have both relic and autograph cards.

Nolan Ryan has the special no-hitter cards as well – he signed 3 of the 7 versions of those cards.

Turn Back the Clock Autographs (4 cards, 1:134 – s1 HTA Jumbo)

2003 Topps Turn Back the Clock Auto Madlock

Last up out of the autographs are the pretty rare Turn Back the Clock Autographs.  These are essentially autographed versions of the Flashback set.  I’m not sure why they didn’t call it the same, but the 4 players who signed autographs all have the same photos and same basic design as the Flashback insert.

I almost forgot – there are two other autographs were obtainable in Topps flagship, but these went across multiple products and even multiple years.  Team Topps Legends and Blue Chips were autographs you could find.

2003 Team Topps Legends Boog Powell 2003 Topps Blue Chips Auto Brandon Phillips

2003 Topps Relics

17 09 2015

Starting with 2003, I’m going to one post for relics and one post for autographs.  By this point, Topps was starting to make enough of each type of “hit” that the post would be getting pretty long if I do them together.  The question I’ll have to think through is what to do for cards that a relic/autograph combinations.  I’ll probably just keep them with the same “theme”.  So, for example, Heritage has a set called Clubhouse Collection.  That’s a relic set.  But there are super-rare Clubhouse Collection cards that also have autographs, and so I’d put those in a relic post since the base version was a relic.

But this isn’t Topps Heritage.  This is Topps.  And unfortunately for me – I didn’t pull any autographs or relics in my 2003 Topps boxes.  Or 2002, for that matter, so I’m not doing so great lately!  This means these scans are borrowed from the interwebs.  As always, odds below are for hobby packs unless otherwise noted.


Prime Cuts Pine Tar Relics (42 cards, 1:9,266 – s1  /  1:4,288 – s2, #/200)

Prime Cuts Trademark Relics (42 cards, 1:18,533 – s1  /  1:12,912 – s2, #/100)

Prime Cuts Barrel Relics (31 cards, 1:37,066 – s1  /  1:116,208, #/50)

2003 Topps Prime Cuts Barrel Berkman

“Prime Cut” relics were back for the second year.  There were again 3 different levels – all with different sizes of the bat piece inset into the card (and, naturally, different levels of rarity).  Each of these cards was numbered.  The one above is the rarest “Barrel” version.  It’s worth noting – the odds got much more difficult for these cards in 2003 as compared to 2002.

Record Breaker Relics (40 cards, tiered odds in s1 / s2)

2003 Topps Record Breaker Relic Mattingly

Topps took the Record Breaker set and made a relic version.  The full set was 100 cards, but the number of relics were 20 for each series.

Farewell to Riverfront Stadium Relics (10 cards, 1:37 – s2 HTA Jumbo)

2003 Topps BRM Farewell to Riverfront O'Neill

One year after having Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium relic cards, Topps put in relics for another baseball park – Riverfront Stadium!  It’s not nearly on the level of the two New York City legends, but it was a cool idea since Riverfront was going away.

Autographed Relics

Prime Cuts Autographed Relics (10 cards, 1:27,661 – s1  /  1:232,416 – s2, #/50)

2003 Topps Prime Cuts Auto Chavez

There’s an autographed version of the Prime Cut barrel relics – with the autograph right on the piece of the bat barrel.  These are really cool – and really hard to find any more!