2004 Topps Wire-to-Wire Reds Cards

30 11 2015

The number of guys from the 1990 World Series team was down to just 2 for the 2004 Topps set.  That’s a decrease of 1.  The 1 player who was gone after having a card in the 2003 set was Jose Rijo.

  • Rijo came back after 5 years off 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).

Lou Piniella and Barry Larkin were both back in the Topps set – this would be Larkin’s last Topps card, while Piniella basically had cards through the 2009 season for his time with the cubs and Devil Rays.

2004 – Barry Larkin, Lou Piniella

2004 Topps Wire Reds Piniella Larkin

They had 3 parallel cards as well – Topps Gold, Topps Black and 1st Edition.

Larkin also was featured in the 2004 Hit Parade insert set, as he was 7th on the active hit list at that point.

2004 Topps Hit Parade Larkin

Piniella was also featured in the Series Seats Relic set, for his days with the Yankees.

2004 Topps Series Seat Lou Piniella

Finally, Paul O’Neill was also featured with the Evil Empire in a World Series set – you could find him in the Series Stitches relic set – though his “stitches” was a bat piece.

2004 Topps Series Stitch Paul O'Neill

2004 Topps cards – Big Red Machine

29 11 2015

Big Red Machine members were done being in the Topps set after 2002 when Tony Perez finished his final managerial stint.  But, there are quite a few insert cards of Big Red Machine members in every year after that.  In 2004, it was only Johnny Bench.  Bench was included in the World Series Highlights insert set.  You could find a regular insert, or an autographed version honoring his 1976 Series MVP award.

2004 Topps World Series Highlights Auto Johnny Bench

He was also in the Series Stitches relic.

2004 Topps Series Stitch Johnny Bench

It’s worth noting that 3 of the “Great Eight” members were included in 2004 Topps Retired Signature.  This used the same design as 2004 Topps.  It’s not the same product, so I don’t count it – just thought it was worth pointing out you could find Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion and George Foster in that product.

2004 Topps Autographs

27 11 2015

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I have been spending quite a bit of my day today going through COMC.com.  For the blog, up next are Topps autographs…


Autographs (34 cards, tiered odds – series 1  /  series 2)

2004 Topps Autograph Konerko

Topps did a set just for autographs for the 6th straight year.  I’ve really liked these cards in the past, though the 2004 design may be my least favorite.  I like it better when the picture fades into the section where the autograph is.  There are some pretty good names in this set – A-Rod is probably the biggest.

World Series Highlights Autographs (20 cards, 1:74 – s1 HTA Jumbo  /  1:69 – s2 HTA Jumbo)

2004 Topps World Series Highlights Auto Johnny Bench

Of the 30 World Series Highlights insert cards, 20 of them came in autographed versions.

American Treasures Presidential Signatures (42 cards, 1:175,770 – s1, #/1)

American Treasures Presidential Signatures Dual (1 card, 1:208,320 – s1 HTA Jumbo, #/1)

2004 Topps American Treasures Lincoln

American Treasures Signatures (17 cards, 1:658,152 – s2, #/1)

American Treasures Presidential Signatures Dual (1 card, 1:196,592 – s2 HTA Jumbo, #/1)

2004 Topps American Treasures Helen Keller

Last up out were 61 different cuts signature 1/1 cards.  Series 1 packs had a cut signature of each of the 42 presidents, with a dual version of the two Bush presidents inserted into series 1 HTA Jumbo packs.  Series 2 had cut signatures of non-presidential American Icons.  The dual card in series 2 is of Mark Twain & Samuel Clemens (who are really the same person).

2004 Topps Relics

25 11 2015

Unfortunately for me – for the 3rd straight year of this project – I didn’t pull any autographs or relics in my 2004 Topps boxes.  This means these scans are borrowed from the interwebs.  As always, odds below are for hobby packs unless otherwise noted.


All-Star Stitches Jersey Relics (36 cards, 1:136 s1)

2004 Topps All-Star Stitches Hasegawa

Derby Digs Jersey Relics (7 cards, 1:585 – s1)

2004 Topps Derby Digs Pujols

All-Star Patch Relics (43 cards, 1:7,698 – s2)

2004 Topps All-Star Patch Shigetoshio Hasegawa

These are all event-worn jerseys from the 2003 All-Star Festivities.  There are 43 cards in the first series – 7 of them are from Home Run Derby participants (Gary Sheffield is the lone Derby participant who didn’t have a card), 36 from other All-Stars.   Each of those 43 players has a rarer patch card in series 2 (only 15 were produced).

Series Seat Relics (15 cards, 1:316  s2)

2004 Topps Series Seat Lou Piniella

Series Stitch Relics (24 cards, tiered odds  s2 HTA/hobby)

2004 Topps Series Stitch Paul O'Neill

The next theme was for the World Series, both inserted into series 2.  The Series Seat Relics have a piece of a seat from the home park where the player featured made a past World Series appearance.  The Series Stitches have jersey or bat pieces used by a player who appeared in the Fall Classic.

Presidential First Pitch Seat Relics (16 cards, 1:592 – s2 HTA/hobby)

2004 Topps Presidential First Pitch Taft

The final relic was a relic parallel to the Presidential Pastime insert set.  It also has a piece of a seat – in this case from a park where the president threw out a first pitch.  In most cases, this is listed as Griffith Stadium, however Topps had some blatant errors here.  The checklist is below:

  • Griffith Stadium, Washington D.C. – Taft (1910*), Wilson (1913), Harding (1921), Coolidge (1924), Hoover (1929), Roosevelt (1933), Truman (1945), Eisenhower (1953), JFK (1961), LBJ (1966**), Nixon (1969**)
  • Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia – Ford (1976)
  • Wrigley Field, Chicago – Reagan (1988)
  • Memorial Stadium, Baltimore – Bush Sr. (1989)
  • Jacobs Field, Cleveland – Clinton (1994)
  • Yankee Stadium, NY – Bush Jr. (2001)

2004 Topps Presidential 1st Pitch Reagan

* There’s an error here.  The back of the card references the first pitch Taft threw in 1910, which began the tradition of Presidential First Pitches.  However, Taft threw that pitch at National Park, not Griffith Stadium, which didn’t open until 1911.  This could be argued as just being a typo, however.  Taft did throw out the first pitch when Griffith Stadium (which was at the time called National Park II) the next year in 1911.

** There’s an even more blatant error here. the Senators stopped playing in Griffith Stadium in 1962, and it was demolished in 1965.  Johnson and Nixon never threw a first pitch in Griffith – they did so in RFK Stadium.

2004 Topps Factory Set inserts

24 11 2015

Topps was decreasing the number of insert sets in 2002, 2003 and 2004, but they were creating quite a bit more factory base sets with bonus insert sets.  These all had the same basic design as the Topps set.

  • Topps Team Prospect Bonus – 20 cards (5 per team factory sets)

Topps Draft Picks (15 cards, 5 per Retail factory set, 10 per HTA factory set)

2004 Topps Draft Pick Bonus

The retail factory sets (blue background) have cards #1-5 of the Draft Pick Bonus set.  The Home Team Advantage factory (green background) had cards #6-15.  They came in 5-card clear packages.  Gio Gonzalez and Phil Hughes are the biggest names in this bonus set.

Topps First Year Player Bonus (10 cards, 5 per Hobby factory sets)

2004 Topps First Year Bonus

I’m not 100% sure on which sets they came in, but I believe there were two different types of hobby factory sets (red background), with 1 package each containing either cards #1-5 or #6-10 of the first year bonus set.  It also possible that there is just one, and you have 1 of 2 when you buy a hobby set.  Ervin Santana is the only name worth noting from this set.

Topps Team Prospect Bonus (20 cards, 5 per team factory sets)

There were 4 different team-specific factory sets – the Yankees, Astros, Cubs and Red Sox.  These have 5 cards of team-specific prospects as the bonus set.  They look the same as the First Year Prospect bonus above, with the first year designation at the bottom.

2004 Topps inserts

22 11 2015

Standard inserts are next in my 2004 Topps round of posts.  The last post covered the Fall Classic Covers insert set; today’s post covers all the rest.  As always, the insert odds reflect hobby packs unless otherwise noted.  It seems like Topps had been decreasing the total number of insert sets in 2002, 2003 and 2004.  Unfortunately that trend goes back the other way in the late 2000’s.

Again, there were a lot of familiar insert sets.

World Series Highlights (30 cards, 1:18)

2004 Topps World Series Highlights s2 box

Along with the Fall Classic Covers, this was the other insert set with a World Series theme.  These were available in both series, covering some of the best performances in the history of the series.  These cards are lettered instead of numbered – the worst way to do it.  The cards have a foil background and the back has either the box score from the game highlighted or a write-up about the accomplishment.

Own the Game (30 cards, 1:18 – series 1)

Own the Game was back for the 4th time.  It is always a league leader set, with holofoil of some sort, though this year I really like the black borders.

2004 Topps Own the Game s1 box

Hobby Masters (20 cards, 1:12 – series 1 hobby/HTA)

Hobby Masters was back, also for a 4th time (1997, 2002 and 2003 being the other years).  These are made to have some sort of … elegance, I think?

2004 Topps Hobby Masters s1 box

Hit Parade (30 cards, 1:7 – series 2)

Hit Parade was back for the 2nd year (3rd if you count the 2001 relic set by the same name).  I don’t like this design quite as much as the year before, but it’s still not a bad set.  This set lists active career leaders in Hits, HR and RBI).

2004 Topps Hit Parade s2 box

All-Stars (20 cards, 1:16 – series 2)

All-Stars was also back in 2004, with select players who made the 2003 All-Star game.

2004 Topps All-Stars s2 box

Presidential Pastime (42 cards, 1:6 – series)

Since it was an election year, Topps got Presidential in this set.  All 42 presidents are inserted, with a description of how they are tied to baseball in some fashion.  A lot of the time, this covers the first pitch.  A very cool set.

2004 Topps Presidential Pastime s2 box

2004 Topps Retro inserts (Fall Classic Covers)

21 11 2015

Topps didn’t reprint old cards in the flagship set for 2003, though they did have an insert set based on the 1951 Blue and Red Back sets.

In 2004, Topps had nothing based on an old Topps design (or an old card design).  Very different from today’s card world when there are reprints every day.  However, there is one insert set that loosely meets the idea of “retro”, even if it’s different from what we’re used to.  This is one of my favorite insert sets Topps has ever created – so I figured it was worth its own post.

As always – odds below are for hobby packs.

Fall Classic Cards (99 cards, 1:12)

This insert set had every single World Series program to date.  Even numbered years (48 of them, since the World Series wasn’t played in 1904 and 1994) were found in series 1.  Odd numbered years were found in series 2.

2004 Topps Fall Classic Covers s1 box

The card backs have the results of the series and a brief write-up.

2004 Topps parallel sets

20 11 2015

Topps again had 3 parallel sets in 2004, with Topps Gold back as always and Topps Black returning for its 2nd year.  The Home Team Advantage cards from factory sets were gone, but First Edition cards were shipped to hobby dealers for the first time.

As always, odds below are for hobby packs.

Topps Gold – 658 cards (1:11 s1, 1:8 s2 – #/2004)

2004 Topps Gold Rolen

Topps Gold was back for the 4th straight year (5th time overall).  It had a gold border, but in 2004 Topps seemed to be going a little cheaper on this insert.  Instead of the foil gold border, it was really just a different color border than the regular set.  Numbering Topps Gold to the current year is a trend Topps has kept to this day.  There were 74 cards that didn’t have gold (or black) parallels – basically the season/postseason highlights, the Sporting News All-Stars and the Award Winners.

Topps Black – 684 cards (HTA Jumbo only – 1:16 s1, 1:10 s2 – #/53)

Topps Black was back in 2004, numbered to 53, to honor 53 years of collecting since the 1952 set.

2004 Topps Black Rolen

Topps First Edition – 732 cards (1 box per HTA Jumbo case)

There was a new parallel set in 2004 – dealers who bought a Home Team Advantage case got 1 bonus box of Topps First Edition.  These cards had a “1st Edition” stamp on the card.  There were 10 cards per pack, 20 packs per box.

2004 Topps 1st edition Rolen

Redemption – The Gettysburg Address on cardboard and in audio

19 11 2015

152 years ago on this date, President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.  He gave it at a dedication at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, 4 months after the Battle of Gettysburg.  In his 2-minute statement, he declared the Civil War as more than just a fight for the Union of America – he declared it a battle for the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

I bought 3 boxes of 2015 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions, and in the 2nd box, I got a redemption for the Historical Rhetoric insert.  3 weeks ago, I got that card redeemed.  It’ an audio recording of the Gettysburg Address, so I figured it would be fun to post about it on the anniversary of the speech.  Here’s the front of the card:

2015 Goodwin Historical Rhetoric Gettysburg

It’s as big as a standard size card, but it’s a booklet.  On the side of the card is a plug, which I assume recharges the battery.  It needs a battery because there is an audio recording of Lincoln’s 2 minute speech.  Here’s the card opened up – which means it’s playing the recording of someone reading Lincoln’s speech.  I don’t have the video upgrade on WordPress – so this is the best I’ll do 🙂

Lincoln goodwin rhetoric.jpg

This is a cool idea.  And it’s one Topps could piggyback.  Inserting sound bites of great announcer calls (think “Touch ’em all Joe”) would do great in a baseball product!

2004 Topps scans

17 11 2015

There was a fairly notable rookie card in 2004 – Yadier Molina from the Cardinals.  But there were 2 guys who were more notable in their absence.  Barry Bonds, who was in the midst of 4 straight MVP awards, opted out of the MLBPA deal with card companies early in 2004.  So he was in far fewer card sets in 2004.  He eventually signed an exclusive deal with Topps at the end of the year, and was featured in 2005 Topps.

And Rickey Henderson was not in the regular Topps product for the first time since his 1980 rookie card.  One of the things I always show in these posts was a picture of my two favorite players – Rickey Henderson and of Ken Griffey, Jr.  So here’s Griffey, all by his lonesome.

2004 Topps Griffey

And here’s that Molina card.

2004 Topps Yadier Molina RC

Jim Thome got the nod with card #1, after leading the NL in homers in his first season in the senior circuit.  Sammy Sosa got the first card of the 2nd series.

2004 Topps Thome Sosa first card

A few other groupings I show every year – here are the big 3 shortstops who put their stamp on baseball from the mid-90’s on.  This would be Nomar’s last Topps card with the Red Sox.

2004 Topps A-Rod Jeter Nomar

Jeter and A-Rod were on the same card later in that set.  Topps did 3 combo cards in series 2, one of which was showing the press conference for when Rodriguez was traded to the Yankees.  Personally, I’d take the card with Mike Schmidt and Thome.

2004 Topps Combo cards

And here’s Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz.  Maddux had a retro uniform on, while Smoltz had the same uniform for his 2003 Topps card.  Glavine just always looked strange in a Mets uniform.

2004 Topps Maddux Glavine Smoltz

Here was another big 3 pitchers, though they obviously didn’t turn out as well as the 3 guys above.  It was pretty cool, though, when Zito and Hudson pitched against each other in late September to end their careers.

2004 Topps Hudson Zito Mulder

Last of these trios are the killer B’s.  By this point, Berkman had become Houston’s best player, and Bagwell was really near the end of his career.

2004 Topps Bagwell Biggio Berkman

I always like the Season Highlights subset, and there were 5 cards in this subset in 2004.  There was quite a bit of history in this subset – a pretty unique season.  Two players reached the 500 homer plateau, Roger Clements got his 4,000th strikeout in the same game as his 300th victory, and Eric Gagne set the record by converting his 55th straight save.  Oh, and Kevin Millwood threw a no-hitter.  OK, so most of them are pretty unique.

2004 Topps Season Highlights

Moving on from those cards, here are some of the photos I liked.  I noticed a bunch of cards that had the American Flag on the wall in the background.  When I flipped back through the set, I found 6, though there could be more.

2004 Topps American Flag cards

OK, so from there – I’ve got to say, I love this set.  The silhouette, circle figure or whatever you want to call that thing in the bottom left?  I think it’s a phenomenal addition, and I would love for it to be on some other cards.  It does a few things.  First, it forces the photo to be back a bit, so that most of the player’s form is in the picture.  In a lot of cases, like the Raul Ibanez card above, Topps goes too extreme with this.

2004 Topps action shots

But It’s cool to see the image and then compare it to the colorless drawing.  For any action shots, it makes me appreciate what is going on in the play featured.  It could be a rundown, a race to home after a wild pitch, the aftermath of a pop-up chased by 2 fielders, or breaking up a double play.  But the little stick guy makes those plays stand out on this card more than any other set.

2004 Topps windups Nomo Kim Bradford

It’s a unique design element that isn’t really on any other card set.  Yes, it harkens to 1976 Topps, but those figures weren’t unique to each card.  The catchers had the same logo, the pitchers had the same logo, etc.  On a lot of the cards, you could probably guess the player in question just from the little white figure.  Like Hideo Nomo in his windup.  Or submariner Chad Bradford and Byung-hyun Kim…

2004 Topps batting Grissom Soriano Giambi

…Marquis Grissom’s batting stance, Alfonso Soriano’s bat flip, Jason Giambi’s follow-through…

2004 Topps Phillips Posada Dunn

I always thought Brandon Phillips had a very distinct plant and throw to first, it’s captured well here.  Posada is getting after it in his catching gear.  And of course, Adam Dunn directing traffic.  He always seemed like one of those “delegators”.

2004 Topps horizontal pics

The design also lends itself very well to horizontal designs.  These are some of the best cards in the whole set.  Jason Kendall likes horizontal designs.

2004 Topps horizontal pics_0001

Here’s a few more great action shots, but in the vertical format.

2004 Topps action shots_0001

And a final group of cards that I picked because I like the picture.  These are more pose, or at least not a ton of action.  I thought the Scioscia card was weird – putting a 2002 World Series trophy in the 2004 set was odd.  I think it may have been a celebration early in the 2003 season in front of the Anaheim home fans.

2004 Topps good photos

Of course, series 2 showed a lot of guys in new uniforms.  Here are the biggest names.  Clemens made headlines because he had gone through the whole retirement thing the year before.  Then he was “coaxed” out of retirement by the Astros.  Vlad Guerrero was probably the biggest signing – he would add an MVP to his mantle in his first year in Anaheim.  Just like Reggie Jackson had done 28 years earlier, Miguel Tejada took the MVP he already had from Oakland to Baltimore.  A few years down the line, he would be in the middle of lidocaine and B-12 controversy with the other free agent to come to Baltimore that year.  Pudge Rodriguez was one-and-done in Florida, but he helped the Marlins to a World Series in that one year.  And Kevin Brown, well the most interesting thing I can say about his tenure in New York has to do with who he was traded for.  The Yankees shipped Brandon Weeden to LA.  That was 12 years ago; last month, Weeden was busy starting at quarterback for the most valuable franchise in sports.

2004 Topps free agents

Then there’s always a few guys with new uniforms where I always say “he played for them?”

2004 Topps he played for them

As I mentioned, Yadier Molina had the only notable rookie card in the set.  There were quite a few guys from prospect cards who had great careers, and other guys who were rookies in the 2003 season.

2004 Topps 03 rookes

Moving up to guys who had a little more experience (but not much) – these guys were just starting to show their promise.

2004 Topps youngster hitters

2004 Topps youngster pitchers

Moving up the ladder, these guys were all-stars on their way to being some of the best in the game.

2004 Topps young stars

The next cards were players who, regardless of their age, were the best in baseball at this point.

2004 Topps best in baseball

2004 Topps best in baseball_0001

These guys were nearing the end of their career, but still had a little left in the tank.

2004 Topps older stars

Finally, here’s the guys who were really near the end of their careers.

2004 Topps retiring stars

These scanning posts are always my longest, and this one seems to have been longer than usual.  Thanks for reading!