2003 Topps parallels – Carlos Delgado – finally finished!!!!

24 06 2018

This is the product of finding one of those white whales!  I posted back in 2016 about the 2003 Topps parallels I was going after – and I’d never even seen his 2003 Chrome Silver Refractor.  The silver refractors were supposedly only in series 2.  This involved some pretty decent research (if I do say so) – I checked COMC’s history, looked through Worthpoint.  Far from exhaustive, but I’d never even seen the Delgado card.

It popped up on eBay recently, and I put about a $30 bid in on it (don’t tell the seller – it sold for $2.50 when I was the only bidder !) 🙂  And now I’m done with this year’s parallel collection…

2003 Topps

Card I selected:  #421 – Carlos Delgado

Delgado isn’t a Hall of Famer.  This isn’t the best card from this set.  But the blue goes well with his team (the Blue Jays).  And Delgado was an underrated player.  Most importantly, I was able to snag a card of Delgado from the Kanebo set, which is easily the hardest of the parallels to find.

There is one card of his I’ve never seen – the silver refractor which was only available in retail series 2 chrome packs.

# of cards (including the Topps card):  13

The parallel sets in 2003 include:

  • Gold
  • Black
  • Home Team Advantage
  • Kanebo
  • Opening Day
  • Opening Day Get a Hit Scratch-off
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Refractors
  • Chrome Silver Refractors
  • Chrome Gold Refractors
  • Chrome Black Refractors
  • Chrome Uncirculated X-fractors

Scans:

2003 Topps #421

2003 Topps Delgado

2003 Topps Delgado back

2003 Topps Gold #421

2003 Topps Gold Delgado

2003 Topps Gold Delgado back

Topps Gold was back for the third straight year (5th overall).  This parallel had a shiny gold foil border and was numbered to 2,003 on the back in gold foil stamping.  The front also has “52 years of collecting” written across the top.

2003 Topps Black #421

2003 Topps Black Delgado

2003 Topps Black Delgado back

Topps started Topps Black as a much rarer parallel insert set in 2003.  The border is black.  Topps Black was numbered to 52, with a gold foil stamp on the back, to honor 52 years of collecting since the 1952 set.  It has the same “52 years of collecting” at the top of the front.

2003 Topps Home Team Advantage #421

2003 Topps HTA Delgado

2003 Topps Delgado back

Topps Limited was gone, but Topps still created a Home Team Advantage (HTA) factory set with a foil-stamped “Home Team Advantage” logo on the front.

2003 Topps Kanebo #8

2003 Topps Kanebo Delgado

2003 Topps Kanebo Delgado back

Topps issued Japanese versions alongside a company called Kanebo for the 2nd year.  These seem to be harder to come by than the 2002 versions.  There are 55 cards, The backs are written in Japanese, and the card numbers are different.  The front differs from the regular Topps card in that it doesn’t have foil stamping and there’s no Topps logo.  The borders on the front and back are a different shade of blue – very close to the Opening Day cards.

2003 Topps Opening Day #15

2003 Topps Opening Day Delgado

2003 Topps Opening Day Delgado back

Opening Day was back for the 6th time in 2003.  Tge 165 card set was retail only, and features the same photos from the base Topps set.  The border is a little bit lighter shade of blue, and the team logo on the front is replaced with the Topps Opening Day logo.  The back is the same as the Topps set except for the different number and slightly different copyright info.

2003 Topps Opening Day Scratch-Off #NNO

2003 Topps Opening Day Scratch-off Delgado

2003 Topps Opening Day Scratch-off Delgado back

These stickers had a play-and-win game on the back.  It’s a partial parallel of the Opening Day set (72 cards).

2003 Topps Chrome #259

2003 Topps Chrome Delgado

2003 Topps Chrome Delgado back

Topps Chrome was back for the 8th year.  It was 440 cards, so not the same size as the regular set.  The front of the card reproduces the base set using Topps chromium technology and the logo is the Topps Chrome logo.  The back of the card is the same as the regular set except for the Topps Chrome logo and slightly different copyright wording.

2003 Topps Chrome Refractor #259

2003 Topps Chrome Refractor Delgado

2003 Topps Chrome Refractor Delgado back

Inserted every 5 packs of Topps Chrome were refractors with their colorful, reflective shine.  The word refractor is written by the number on the back – otherwise the back is the same as the regular Chrome card.  In 2003 Topps started numbering these – they were stamped in gold foil out of 699.

2003 Topps Chrome Silver Refractor #259

Series 2 retail packs had special silver refractors.  So it wasn’t a full parallel of Topps Chrome, which is a bit weird.  I was on the lookout for this card, had never seen it before, and now finally have it!

2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor #259

2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor Delgado

2003 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor Delgado back

Topps Gold Refractors had the gold border and the refractor effect.  These were numbered out of 449.  The word gold refractor is noted on the back by the card number.

2003 Topps Chrome Black Refractor #259

2003 Topps Chrome Black Refractor Delgado

2003 Topps Chrome Black Refractor Delgado back

Black Refractors were back, this time numbered out of 199.  The black refractor wording is noted on the back by the card number.

2003 Topps Chrome Uncirculated Xfractor #259

2003 Topps Chrome Uncirculated Xfractor Delgado

2003 Topps Chrome Uncirculated Xfractor Delgado back

These cards came one per box as a box topper.  They have the refractor / diffraction effect but with a checkered finish that’s called “X-fractors”.  They come in a hard case and are thus “uncirculated”.  Xfractor is written at the bottom by the card number.

The “Rainbow”:

2003 Topps Delgado rainbow

Any sets I didn’t get:  A few worth mentioning.  First, the Kanebo set comes with copper parallel.  Considering how hard it is to get the base card, getting the copper just isn’t realistic.  Though if I ever see it, I’ll try for it.  Also, Topps did create super-rare trademark variations where the Topps logo was the old logo from the 1970’s.  Delgado has a variation card, but it’s too rare for me to chase and I’m going with “variation isn’t a parallel” here.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  Griffey’s card is great in this set, and he has all of the above parallels.  But I did Griffey in 1999.  I thought about John Smoltz – he’s in a throwback Braves uniform on his card – but he didn’t have a Kanebo card.

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Completed insert set – 2003 Topps Ryan Record Breakers

3 06 2018

I finished another set recently and this is a white whale kind of set!  Over 3 years, I’ve slowly put together the set through eBay and COMC, and last month I got the last card of 7.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  Topps had a giant Record Breaker insert set in 2003, but it did a second off-shoot to commemorate Nolan Ryan’s 7 no-hitters.  There’s a card for each no-hitter, with a colorful background just like the regular set.

Set composition:  7 cards, I have no clue on the odds

Hall of Famers:  1 guy, 7 times

How I put the set together:

  • 5 cards from eBay
  • 2 cards from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  The regular set is way too large, but this set is pretty cool.  I wish it wasn’t so rare, though.

Card that completed my set:  #NR2 – Nolan Ryan (July 15, 1973)

I got this one on eBay last month.  I had 4 of the 7 cards going into 2018, then found 2 cards in January on eBay and the last card in April.

Best card (my opinion):  This is one of those sets that I just don’t think you can pick.  I don’t have a favorite Nolan Ryan no-hitter.  In fact, it would be easier for me to pick a least favorite card.  Ryan’s 7th no-hitter came on the day Rickey Henderson (my favorite non-Red player as a kid) broke Lou Brock’s stolen base record.  So it kind of overshadowed what was, in my opinion, a bigger moment.  I’ve always been a big fan or Nolan Ryan, though, so I got over it.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.  It sure would have been nice to have the Ryan Express on the Big Red Machine!

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Here’s a scan of the set.

Any other tidbits:  This Ryan Record Breaker set is a bit of a mystery to me – any info would be appreciated!  Beckett and Baseballcardpedia say that the Ryan No-Hitter Record Breaker cards come 1:2 per series 2 HTA Jumbo.  My series 2 box that I did was a s2 HTA Jumbo box, and I can tell you that’s not the case.  Regular 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.  Given the fact it will cost you over 10 bucks if you ever find one, they are much more rare than that.





Completed insert set – 1998 Topps HallBound

20 05 2018

I finished up a set recently through a COMC purchase.  I’ve been looking for this damn Paul Molitor card forever; I actually bought the chrome version on accident about 2 years ago!  Parallel confusion is no fun!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  These are die-cut glossy and shiny cards with a Cooperstown background with players that Topps determined were clearly bound for enshrinement there.  This was in the heart of the steroids era, before people really had much of an inkling of what was going on – so I bet this would have been pretty predictive if not for that.

Set composition:  15 cards, 1:36 odds (1998 Topps series 1 hobby)

Hall of Famers:  11.  Molitor, Gwynn, Boggs, Eckersley, Ripken, Maddux, Rickey, Griffey, Thomas, Piazza, Johnson

Basically, they were right on 11 guys, and 3 of the others are clear steroid holdouts.

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from series 1 hobby box
  • 11 cards from COMC
  • 2 cards from Beckett’s marketplace
  • 1 card from Sportlots

Thoughts on the set:  Really cool set, something that Topps should do every 5-7 years or so!  It’s particularly interesting given the era.  Love the design.

Card that completed my set:  #HB1 – Paul Molitor

As mentioned, I accidentally bought the Chrome version of this card a while ago.  And just hadn’t seen the regular version.  But I finally got it finished up!

Best card (my opinion):  #HB8 – Rickey Henderson

For reasons I’ll get to below.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none, though Barry Larkin would have obviously given them an increase in percentage correct here…

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Here’s a scan of the set – front and back.

Any other tidbits:  The Rickey Henderson card is the only Topps card depicting him in an Angels uniform and (counting the parallels), the only card of his from 1998.  He wasn’t in the base set for some odd reason – probably a numbers crunch and something of a pure oversight by Topps employees – but made the insert set.





2002 Topps parallels – Vlad Guerrero (and Chone Figgins) – a big step, but still some hunting left

14 05 2018

Yes it’s been a long time since I posted – but I got the following card on COMC after a long time waiting!

This doesn’t finish my rainbow, but the rest of the cards are very easy finds compared to a #/50 card from a guy who’s about to  go to the Hall of Fame!  So below is the updated post.

2002 Topps

Card I selected:  #100 – Vladimir Guerrero

I went back and forth a bit on who to pick here – basically determined by the Kanebo Silver card I could find.  I found a Sammy Sosa quite a while ago and bought it.  But I don’t love Sosa’s card and he’s far from my favorite player, too.  I bought the Kanebo packs mentioned in my last post, and pulled one silver card – of Vlad the Impaler.  I love this card, and Vlad has always been a cool player.  I’d much rather have him in this parallel set!

I have one more card to go to finish off the 2002 parallels.  Chrome introduced the rarer Black Refractors in 2002, and I just haven’t found one yet.  Not surprising that I have had trouble tracking down a card numbered to 50 from 14 years ago…

# of cards (including the Topps card):  11

The parallel sets in 2002 include:

  • Gold
  • Home Team Advantage
  • Limited
  • Kanebo
  • Kanebo Silver
  • Opening Day
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Gold Refractors
  • Chrome Black Refractors
  • Chrome Refractors (Traded only)

Scans:

2002 Topps #100

2002 Topps Vlad Guerrero

2002 Topps Vlad Guerrero back

2002 Topps Gold #100

2002 Topps Gold Vlad Guerrero

2002 Topps Gold Vlad Guerrero back

Topps Gold was back for its second straight year with a shiny foil border.  Numbering Topps Gold to the current year – #/2002 – is a trend Topps has kept to this day.  In 2002 it was only a partial parallel, though of most of the set.  There were 58 cards that didn’t have gold parallels – basically any of the full bleed subsets and the Barry Bonds 73 HR card.  The gold border was a little weirder in 2002 – as the base cards themselves had a gold/orange border.

2002 Topps Home Team Advantage #100

2002 Topps HTA Vlad Guerrero

2002 Topps Vlad Guerrero back

Cards from hobby factory sets got a stamp to special “Home Team Advantage” logo to designate them.

2002 Topps Limited #100

2002 Topps Limited Vlad Guerrero

2002 Topps Vlad Guerrero back

Limited Edition factory sets were back, coming in a wood box and a stated production run of 1,950 (though the cards themselves weren’t numbered).  These cards are stamped with the words “Limited Edition” in the bottom right.

2002 Topps Kanebo #6

2002 Topps Kanebo Silver #6

2002 Kanebo Topps Vlad Guerrero

2002 Kanebo Topps Vlad Guerrero back

2002 Kanebo silver Vlad Guerrero

2002 Kanebo Topps Silver Vlad Guerrero back

Now I’m getting to some hard to find cards.  This Japanese parallel of the 2002 Topps set was actually issued in 2003.  The regular Kanebo cards are pretty tough to find themselves, but at any given point they pop up on eBay.  Topps issued the cards in Japan in conjunction with Kanebo, a Japanese manufacturer of gum and plenty of other products.  There are 55 cards in the set.  The front of the card is basically the same, just without the gold foil on the name and the Topps logo.  The backs are completely in Japanese, have different numbering since they’re a partial parallel, and have a Kanebo logo in the bottom right hand corner.

There’s actually a black parallel that’s even harder to find and I’m just not including it here.  I’d love to add the Vlad to my parallel collection, but I’ve only seen 1 or 2 ever for sale and it would be pure luck if the particular player showed up.

2002 Topps Opening Day #29

COMING SOMEDAY TO A BLOG NEAR YOU

Opening Day was back for the 5th time.  Again, it’s a 165 card set that could only be found in retail outlets.  The border is brown instead of the orange/gold of the flagship set, and there is a foil Opening Day logo at the bottom.  The photos are the same as the base Topps set.  Naturally, the back has a different number.

2002 Topps Chrome #100

2002 Topps Chrome Vlad Guerrero

2002 Topps Chrome Vlad Guerrero back

Topps Chrome was here for its 7th year as a nearly, but not quite, full parallel.  Released in 2 series just like Topps, Chrome reproduced the first 695 cards of the regular Topps set using the chromium technology.  The other differences on the front are the Topps Chrome logo and the fact that the border is silver.  The back of the card is the same as the regular set except for the Topps Chrome logo and slightly different copyright wording.  The numbering is the same.  It’s kind of weird that the back is gold but the front is silver.

2002 Topps Chrome Gold Refractors #100

2002 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor Vlad Guerrero

2002 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor Vlad Guerrero back

Refractors were back, and they weren’t retrofractors this time.  But the regular season version of 2002 Topps Chrome didn’t have regular refractors – only gold refractors.  That makes an interesting twist to my collection here.  The back points out that it’s a refractor.

2002 Topps Chrome Black Refractors #100

Black Refractors made their first appearance in 2002.  They were very rare, which is why I haven’t been able to snag one yet.

2002 Topps Chrome Traded Refractors #T196

Vlad doesn’t have a card in the 2002 Topps Traded set, so I’m just using the card of Chone Figgins that I pulled.  They would be teammates soon after these cards came out.

The “Rainbow”:

COMING SOMEDAY TO A BLOG NEAR YOU

Any sets I didn’t get:  I didn’t include the black Kanebo cards above.  I’ve never seen that card for anyone but Magglio Ordoñez and So Taguchi, so while I think the card of Guerrero probably does exist, it’s unlikely I’ll ever find it.

Other cards I would have liked to do:  As I mentioned, I originally was going to go with Sosa because I found a silver Kanebo card of his.  Other than that, Vlad seems like one of the best cards in the set.  There are 55 guys in the Kanebo set, and most – but not all – are in Opening Day – so the population here is probably around 45 guys you could get all of the flagship Topps cards.  Raul Mondesi, Johnny Damon and Cliff Floyd are the 3 players who have all of the cards above – including a Topps Traded card.





Completed insert set – 2000 Topps MVP redemption set

12 08 2017

Unlike the redemption set from 1999 – which can be found on occasion for less than 30 bucks on eBay – the second of the two Topps MVP redemption sets is a really tough set to complete.  I’ve had a saved search on the Bay for at least 3 years, but any supposed hits have turned out to be incorrect.  Until a month ago, when a legit full set came up.

Info about the set:

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Set description: Topps had a promotion tied into a parallel set from 1999 and 2000 (this being the latter version).  Inserted at a limited rate into hobby packs were cards with a Topps MVP stamp on the front.  If the player depicted won MVP of the week in 2000, you could send that card in for a set of cards honoring each of the 25 winners.  There were only 100 of each of the parallel cards made, so that means there were at most 2,500 of the MVP redemption sets.  Particularly in 2000, there seem to be much fewer complete sets than that since the redemption expired after a year or so.

The cards in the set are the 25 weekly MVP “winners”.  They have a shiny foil background with the bronze word MVP going down the right side.  There’s an arch behind the players and 3 stars, with gold foil for the player’s name, team and week they won the weekly MVP distinction. The back of the card show the stats from the “MVP” week and a description of what the player did to earn the weekly distinction.

Set composition:  25 cards, send-in redemption

Hall of Famers:  3.  Pedro Martinez, Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell.

How I put the set together:

I gave up trying to find a complete set and started trying to buy single cards.  But this became pretty expensive.  When one showed up on eBay for bid, I kept my eye open.  I actually had a decent chunk of the set collected, but was missing some of the better players, and the Jeter seems to be going for $40 or so individually.  So I pulled the trigger on the full set for 80 bucks.

So now I have quite a few of these to put up for trade or sale!

Thoughts on the set:  This was probably a pretty cool concept in 1999, then lost steam in 2000.  Which is always a good way to make something rarer and thus harder to purchase 15 years or more later.  

I like the design of this set significantly more than I liked the 1999 set, and I think the idea of keeping fans linked to the season with their purchases cards is a great idea!

Card that completed my set:  N/A – bought it as a full set.

Best card (my opinion):  #MVP18 – Will Clark, MVP21 – Adrian Beltre

I love the design for this set, but the photo selections aren’t anything to write home about.  If I went on photo, I’d pick either Jeter or Giambi.  But for the coolness of the card, I was between Will Clark.  One thing I love about baseball is how often you can have one generation meet the next.  Will the Thrill first gained notoriety in the early 1980’s when he was the “Thunder and Lightning” duo at Mississippi State alongside Rafael Palmeiro.  Adrian Beltre just passed the 3,000 hit milestone – for folks reading this post 5 years from now, it’s 2017.  They meet in the middle in this set when Beltre is just getting started and Clark is finishing his career.  Since I think it’s so cool they’re in this set together – I’m picking both!

My Favorite Reds card:  #MVP9 – Dante Bichette

I was surprised to see Bichette got this but Ken Griffey Jr., who had a great season in his first year as a Red, did not.  But Bichette had a ridiculous week where he had 12 hits, 4 homers and an OPS over 1.600.  Makes sense.

Any other tidbits:  2000 NL MVP Jeff Kent did not get a card in this set – meaning he was never “player of the week”.  This isn’t too surprising – many folks (myself included) view Kent’s placement over his teammate Barry Bonds in 2000 as one of the more controversial selections for the award.





Completed insert set – 1996 Topps Masters of the Game

4 05 2017

I did the “elusive eight” post yesterday for getting the Kirby Puckett card from this set.  This is the completed set post.  I’m actually getting pretty close to finishing up the 1990’s!

Info about the set:

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Set description:  This hobby only insert highlights the best players in the game at the time.  The horizontal cards have a picture of the player on the front with a view of his home field in the background – all with a bit of the spectralight effect.  The back has particular accomplishments that I guess qualify this player as a “Master of the Game”.

Set composition:  20 cards, 1:18 odds (1996 Topps series 1 hobby)

Hall of Famers:  12.  Dennis Eckersley, Eddie Murray, Paul Molitor, Ozzie Smith, Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, Kirby Puckett, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas

How I put the set together:

  • 15 cards from COMC
  • 4 cards from Sportlots
  • 1 card from Beckett’s Marketplace

Card that completed my set:  #15 – Kirby Puckett

I just got this card to knock it off my Elusive 8 list last week.

Thoughts on the set:  I like the thicker card stock, and the background foil technology is great.  Topps could do something like this today and I would like it.  It would have been nice if they did a foil version of the Mantle tribute (card #7).

Best card (my opinion):  #7 – Tim Raines

I’ll go with the recently inducted HOF member.  It took too long for Rock to make it to Cooperstown.  By this point he was a grizzled vet.  The Mattingly card was a close 2nd – it was released right after he retired.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none.  Barry Larkin would have seemed appropriate here – coming right off his MVP season after a decade in the league.

Here’s the scan of the full set.

Any other tidbits:  As mentioned, this card came out after Mattingly retired.

12 out of 20 HOF-ers is pretty impressive, plus you’ve got Bonds and Clemens who are probably the best 2 (or at least 2 of the best 3) historical players in this group.





Completed insert set – 1998 Topps Roberto Clemente Finest

1 05 2017

I got caught up on all of my completed insert set posts last year.  Then I started posting at a far lesser clip, and I’ve finished off a few more sets.  The Clemente insert set is one of them.

Info about the set:

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Set description:  Clemente was the 3rd historic player honored with a reprint set (after Mickey Mantle in ’96 and Willie Mays in ’97).  Clemente was a good choice, as 1998 marked 25 years since his tragic death.  This set had reprints of the full run of his base Topps cards during his career.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1955-1973 were issued across both series.  The 10 odd years come in series 1, while the 9 even years come in series 2.  There is a gold Clemente logo, created just for this set.  There was a chrome version and a regular – this is the finest version, which came one every other box.

Set composition:  19 cards, 1:72 odds (1998 Topps series 1, 2)

Hall of Famers:  1 – just Clemente.  None of his multi-player cards are included.

How I put the set together:

I got none from the boxes I bought.  I did actually get one refractor – just no regular finest versions.

  • 17 cards from COMC
  • 1 card from Beckett Marketplace
  • 1 card from Sportlots

Card that completed my set:  #13 – 1967 Topps

I bought the last cards I needed from Sportlots a few weeks ago.

Thoughts on the set:  Retro sets are everywhere you look these days, but in 1998 there weren’t that many, and they were almost all reprints.  I like the Finest versions of these cards.  And, to be honest, I kind of wish Topps would abandon the shotgun approach and go back to individual players.  They do something similar with jumbo cards available online.  I think they could do some stuff like all the Griffey Topps cards, or even all the Willie McCovey Topps cards.  With the finest versions, it would do well.

Best card (my opinion):  #19 – 1973 Topps

I have to go with the same thing I did for the regular set.  The 1972 card is probably my favorite photo, but the 1973 card is great as well.  And there’s something awesome about seeing exactly 3,000 hits on the back of the card.

My Favorite Reds card:  There are none (obviously).

Here’s the scans of the whole set.