2004 Topps Overview

9 11 2015

732 cards in the set – 366 in series 1 and 366 in series 2.  This is an increase of 12 cards from 2003.  Card #7 was still retired at this point in honor of Mickey Mantle (for the 8th straight year).

2004 Topps packs with Griffey

  • Subsets:  Season Highlights (#332-336), League Leaders (#337-348), Postseason Highlights (#349-355, 730-733), Sporting News All-Stars (#356-367, 719-729), Managers (#269-296), Future Stars (#327-331), Team Checklists (#638-667), Draft Picks (#668-687), Prospects (#688-692), Combos (#693-695), Award Winners (#696-718).  These were all back from last year, with the Sporting News All-Stars again as a throwback to the 1960’s Topps subsets.  Cards #297 to 326 feature First Year players, and the Topps All-Star Rookie team is also dispersed throughout.
  • Set Design:  The card fronts feature a white border – the first time Topps had used a white border since 1997 (I could almost argue that 1997 isn’t a white border, but I won’t).  The team name is in foil capital letters across the top, somewhat reminiscent of 1986.  There is a thin, colored inner frame based on team colors.  The player name and position are shown at the bottom of the card in foil.  The unique part of this design is at the bottom-left corner of the card.  There is a foil outline of the player photo depicted on the card, with the player’s jersey number next to the outline.  The Topps logo is in red in one of the upper corners.  The backs are oriented horizontally, with the card number in the upper left and a head shot of the player in the upper right.  In between are the player name, position and biographical information.  Seasonal and career statistics are below that, with a write-up if there’s room at the bottom.
  • Packs:  Topps stayed at 10 cards per retail and hobby packs (36 per box).  They were no longer listing MSRP on the packs or the boxes themselves, but I’ve read it was $1.59, which is the same as what I read the year before’s suggested price was.  HTA jumbo packs contained 35 cards per pack, 12 packs per box.  There were retail jumbo packs that came 12 cards per pack, 24 packs per box, and cost $1.99.  I’ve only seen one type of blaster, which has 6 cards per pack and 11 packs (10 + 1 “bonus”) for $9.99.
  • Rookies:  After not having much in 2003, Yadier Molina is in the 2004 set in the First Year cards.  Carlos Quentin also has his rookie card in the set.
  • Hall of Fame:  14 Hall of Famers in this set, the same as the year before.  Rickey Henderson had his last Topps card in 2003, but Mike Schmidt was included on a combo card #695 with new Phillie slugger Jim Thome.
  • Variations:  There are 2 cards numbered 267; Juan Castro correctly has that as the last regular card from series 1.  After that, the manager subset starts.  Mike Scioscia is listed at card #274 on checklists, but has card #267.  It’s an interesting mix-up.  The manager subset is alphabetical by city – for every card except the Scioscia card if you assume it’s #274 as the checklist said it would be.  But if that card had gone alphabetically, Anaheim’s manager would have been the first card of the manager subset – right ahead of Bob Brenly for Arizona.  I’m just guessing, but I think the Mantle retired card #7 may have led to the mistake.  Additionally, there is an error on Robby Hammock’s card – Topps included the Rookie Cup on his card, but he wasn’t on the All-Star rookie team.  Topps corrected this for his Topps Chrome card.

2004 Topps s1 HTA jumbo box2004 Topps s2 boxFor second straight year, Topps didn’t feature any players on the packaging.  Or, I should say, they didn’t include any actual players on the packaging.  They did include generic players over a red and white background, with a large white border.  The Topps logo is in red in really large font at the top, with 2004 in blue below that.  Advertisement for inserts appears on the right side of the red/blue background.

Series 1 boxes feature a hitter following through on his swing, series 2 features a pitcher doing the same with his pitch.  Which means I can do a pretty cool effect when I put series 1 to the left and series 2 to the right here!  This actually goes very well with the design of the 2004 cards, which had the player outlines in the bottom right of the base cards.

As always, any odds below are for hobby packs unless otherwise noted.

Promo Cards

Topps again had pre-production cards in 2004.  There was a set of 3 cards again previewing what the design is.  There also were 4 baseball cards in the 2004 design that was released as part of National Trading Card day.  This was part of a larger, 12 card set that included baseball, football, basketball and hockey players.

Update Sets

Topps again issued an update set called Traded & Rookies which was available in packs.  The rookie crop in Topps Traded wasn’t anything to write home about – Huston Street, Kurt Suzuki, and Homer Bailey are the most notable names in the set.

Parallel Sets

Topps Black and Topps Gold were back in 2004.  Topps Gold was again numbered to the current year (2,004), with Topps Black numbered to 53, to honor 53 years of collecting since the 1952 set.  There was a new parallel set in 2004 – dealers who bought Home Team Advantage cases 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.

  • Gold – 658 cards (1:11 s1, 1:8 s2, #/2004)
  • Black – 658 cards (HTA Jumbo – 1:16 s1, 1:10 s2, #/53)
  • First Edition – 732 cards (1 box per HTA jumbo case)

Insert sets

After having reprints of some sort from 1996 to 2002, there were again no old Topps card reprinted in 2004.  There was a pretty cool insert set of a different type of reprint, however – the Fall Classic Covers insert had every single World Series program over the years.  This is easily one of the coolest inserts Topps has ever done.  Keeping with that them, there was also a set of players with significant World Series Highlights.

Topps also started getting Presidential in this set, I’m guessing in honor of the election that year.  Topps had an insert of all 42 presidents and described some connection they had to baseball.  Topps also had a few insert sets they’d done in previous years.

  • Fall Classic Covers – 99 cards (1:12)
  • World Series Highlights – 30 cards (1:18)
  • Own the Game – 30 cards (1:18 series 1)
  • Hobby Masters – 20 cards (1:12 series 1)
  • Hit Parade – 30 cards (1:7 series 2)
  • All-Stars – 20 cards (1:16 series 2)
  • Presidential Pastime – 42 cards (1:6 series 2)
  • Topps Draft Picks – 15 cards (5 per Retail factory set, 10 per HTA factory set)
  • Topps First Year Player Bonus – 10 cards (5 per Hobby factory sets)
  • Topps Team Prospect Bonus – 20 cards (5 per team factory sets)

Autographs & Memorabilia

The Autograph insert was again its own design and around 40 cards (34 this year).  They also created autographed versions of some of the insert sets, like World Series Highlights.  A few super tough pulls had to do with the Presidential / American theme.  On the relic side, the main theme was jerseys from the All-Star game.  There were actually no cards that had relics and autographs in 2004 Topps.

  • Autographs – 34 cards (tiered odds s1 / s2)
  • World Series Highlights Autographs – 20 cards (HTA Jumbo – 1:74 s1 / 1:69 s2)
  • American Treasures Presidential Signatures – 42 cards (1:175,770 s1, #/1)
  • American Treasures Presidential Signatures Dual – 1 card (HTA Jumbo – 1:208,320 s1, #/1)
  • American Treasures Signatures – 17 cards (1:658,152 s2, #/1)
  • American Treasures Signatures Dual – 1 card (HTA Jumbo – 1:196,592 s2, #/1)
  • All-Star Stitches Jersey Relics – 36 cards (1:136 s1)
  • Derby Digs Jersey Relics – 7 cards (1:585 s1)
  • All-Star Patch Relics – 43 cards (1:7,698 s2, #/15)
  • Series Seat Relics – 15 cards (1:316 s2)
  • Series Stitch Relics – 24 cards (HTA/hobby – tiered odds s2)
  • Presidential First Pitch Seat Relics – 16 cards (HTA/hobby – 1:592 s2)

Factory Set

Last year had quite a few, but there were even more versions of Topps factory sets in 2004.  Last year was actually more challenging to figure out, though.  I’m more confident in the info below that I was with 2003.  There are 8 different factory sets, 4 of which are team-specific.  Each of those factory sets contains a 5-card bonus pack (2 packs for the HTA set) making up 3 different bonus card sets.

First, the retail factory sets were packaged with a blue background.  This set has cards #1-5 of the Draft Pick Bonus set.  The original retail price was $49.99.

2004 Topps factory set retail blue

Next, I’ll show the HTA (Home Team Advantage) factory set which has a green background.  For the first time with this particular factory set, the cards weren’t specially stamped to create another parallel set.  A good thing in my opinion.

2004 Topps factory set HTA

If you look close enough, the stamp says “2 5-card packs”. I’m pretty sure these are cards #6-15 in the Draft Pick bonus set.

2004 Topps factory set HTA ad

All the other factory sets only have one 5-card pack.  Next up is the one area I’m not 100% sure on these.  I think there are two different hobby factory sets.  Both are packaged with a red background, but as you can hopefully tell below, the red looks a little different shade (this is tough though – I’m color blind), and, more noticeably, the hobby logo and advertisement are different shades.  I believe these have cards #1-5 and #6-10 of the First Year Bonus set.

2004 Topps factory set hobby red 2

2004 Topps factory set hobby red

Finally, there are 4 different team-specific factory sets.  These have 5 cards of team-specific prospects as the bonus set.  The Yankees, Astros, Cubs and Red Sox all had factory sets.  I’m not sure why it’s those 4 teams.  3 of the 4 were in the LCS from 2003 (the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs), and 3 of the 4 were in the 2004 LCS (Sox, Yankees and Astros).  But there isn’t any other thread from there.

2004 Topps factory set Yankees

2004 Topps factory set Astros

2004 Topps factory set Red Sox

2004 Topps factory set Cubs


There were no promotions I know of in 2004 Topps.  This was the first time in a few years Topps had no type of buyback program.

Other releases associated with the Topps flagship set

#1 – Topps again issued the “Topps Chrome” product – its 9th year.  The set was again much smaller than the flagship set, at 466 cards.

#2 – Topps issued its 7th “Opening Day” set in 2004.  Again, the 165 card set was retail only, and features the same photos from the base set, but a different color (gray) border.

#3 – Topps issued “Topps Retired Signature” for the 2nd time in 2004.  This was retired players on the base design.  It was a high-end product with 5 packs in a box, and one autograph per pack.




3 responses

19 06 2016

So roughly how much would the Astros compete set be worth, mine is open, the box inst mint condition, but all of the cards are?? Thanks for a reply 🙂

19 06 2016

Don’t know – any team set is probably just a few bucks. I don’t really collect cards for the value – and thus not something I’d know.

4 04 2018

Carsen, do you still have the Astros box? I’d be interested in the prospect bonus cards.

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