2003 Topps inserts

15 09 2015

Standard inserts are next in my 2003 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 in 2002 and 2003, Topps went with decreasing the total number of insert sets compared to the number from 1997-2001.  I like this, but unfortunately they would soon go way back the other way.

There were a lot of familiar themes in the insert sets; in fact, all except the first set below was an insert sets that had been in Topps flagship in a previous year.

Record Breakers (101 cards, 1:6)

2003 Topps s1 box Record Breakers

The Record Breakers insert doesn’t have a previous insert set, though it kind of goes with the subsets in Topps base throughout the year.  This set is the most common pull, but it’s very large at 101 cards between s1 and s2.  Series 1 cards have purple background, while the series 2 cards are green.  These are, unfortunately, lettered instead of numbered.

Nolan Ryan Record Breakers (7 cards, unsure on the odds)

2003 Topps Nolan Ryan Record Breakers

As I mentioned in the overview I did, I don’t have much info on these.  I got the above picture here.  They are definitely pretty rare, though I just haven’t heard about them.  They honor Ryan’s 7 no-hitters, and there parallel relic and autograph versions.  Beckett and Baseballcardpedia say that the Nolan Ryan No-Hitter Record Breaker cards come 1:2 per series 2 HTA Jumbo.  I bought a s2 HTA Jumbo box, and I can tell you that’s not the case.  Record Breaker cards come 1:2, but the Ryan cards do not.  In a box of 12 packs, I did not pull a single Ryan card.  From searching for these online, they clearly are much more rare than that.  I wonder if they were retail specific?

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

Own the Game was an insert set that came back after being in 2000 and 2002.  It is always a league leader set, with holofoil of some sort.

2003 Topps s1 box Own the Game

Hobby Masters (20 cards, 1:18 – series 1 hobby)

Hobby Masters comes back, also for a third time.  It was first introduced in 1997, then came back in 2002 and 2003. In 1997, it was a hobby-only insert, but in 2002 it went away from that.  In 2003 it was back to what made sense – “hobby masters” being hobby exclusive.  Unlike the previous 2 incarnations, this set has the same thickness as other Topps cards.

2003 Topps s1 box Hobby Masters

Hit Parade (30 cards, 1:15 – series 2)

2003 Topps s2 HTA box Hit Parade

Hit Parade was a 2001 Relic set, but became a standard set in 2003.  This is probably my favorite insert set of 2003, I really like the design.  Also, the premise is that it lists the active career statistical leaders, which is something I like, and is also the reason I have 2 Sammy Sosa cards above (HR and RBI).

All-Stars (20 cards, 1:15 – series 2)

This set was back from 1997, when Topps picked All-Stars from the previous year for each league.  They went by position in 1997, but this set isn’t so discriminating – you just have to have made All-Star teams in 2002.  On the back, Topps lists the player’s total career seasons along with the total number of All-Star games.  Like many of the holofoil sets, they scan better than they look in person because you can really see the background.

2003 Topps s2 HTA box All-Stars

Flashback (15 cards, 1:12 – series 1 HTA Jumbo)

This set was a jumbo only set.  It also seems pretty hard to come by – I don’t see any on eBay at the moment.

2003 Topps Flashback Dykstra

Topps Draft Picks (10 cards, 5 per HTA Factory sets)

2003 Topps Draft bonus cards

This set was back for the 2nd time as a factory exclusive.  5 cards came per factory set.  I mentioned this in the 2003 Topps overview, but I’m not sure exactly which cards come in which factory sets.  What I listed above represents my best guess.  Nick Markakis is probably the best player in this set.

Topps First Year Player Bonus (10 cards, 5 per Blue & Brown factory sets)

2003 Topps First Year bonus cards

Again, I could have this a bit off on which sets contain which bonus cards.  This is an extension of the first year card subset that comes in the regular set.  Hanley Ramirez is the biggest name here.

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