Completed insert set – 2004 Topps Hit Parade

18 01 2023

Continuing on with the insert set completion – still over a year behind compared to when I actually got these cards in the mail – but getting closer, any future completed insert sets will be cards I actually picked up in 2022 not 2021!  This is my first completed set of any sort from 2004 Topps.

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Info about the set:

Set description:  This insert set features the top 10 active leaders in home runs**, RBI and hits.

The set has the player over a holographic background covering a pinstripe sub-background with the words Hit Parade across the top.  The back has the list of the 10 active leaders.

** – except Barry Bonds, who was in a bit of a contract dispute with Topps in 2004

Set composition:  30 cards, 1:7 (2002 Topps series 2)

Hall of Famers:  8.  Fred McGriff, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Jeff Bagwell, Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio, Barry Larkin

How I put the set together:

  • 6 cards from my series 2 HTA box
  • 9 cards from trades
  • 8 cards from the 2015 NSCC
  • 5 cards from Sportlots
  • 2 cards from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  I like how the hologram backgrounds are different for the 3 categories.  The 10 homer cards have a baseball in front of some wood, the RBI cards have a plate, and the hits cards have a group of baseballs.  This set is pretty cool, particularly at this time period when you had some big numbers up there.  But it’s the 2nd year in a row they did it, so there’s a lot of duplication going from the 2003 set.  Maybe a pitch parade would have been better?  And the omission of Bonds, who was at the top of the first 2 categories and 3rd in hits – is glaring.

Card that completed my set: #HP18 – Ken Griffey Jr. RBI

I got this card from COMC at the end of 2021.

Best card (my opinion): #HP29 – B.J. Surhoff H

Surhoff had an underrated career that ended with 2,326 hits.  It’s cool to see a guy like him in a set like this.  We don’t always need 3 Rafael Palmeiro cards – sometimes one Surhoff is a good thing.

Best Reds card (my opinion):  #HP27 – Barry Larkin H

Beats out the couple Griffey cards, again for a similar thought – it’s nice to see Larkin with some recognition toward the end of his career.

Here’s the whole set.

Any other tidbits:  Since Bonds isn’t in the set, but is in all three top tens, they showcase the 11th player as card #10, #20 and #30.  They only add that player’s name on the back for those 3 cards, the other 27 cards just have the top 10 for that statistic.

Palmeiro, Galarraga, McGriff and Bagwell are the 4 players with 3 cards in the set.

Also, they weirdly didn’t go completely in order.  The cards are generally in order by the stat leader, but there’s a bit of unexplained jumping around (i.e. – Bagwell was 7th on the active HR list at this point but was the 10th card).

Completed insert set – 2001 Topps Through the Years

10 01 2023

Getting back to a few completed set posts – this was an insert set I completed at the end of 2021.  I’m almost to the ones I completed at the end of 2022!

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Info about the set:

Set description:  “These 50 cards, representing the 10 best players from each of the past five decades, are patterned after a classic Topps design from the last 50 years.  These commemorative cards display a brilliant gold foil stamp and include legendary players like Yogi Berra (1959 card style), Willie Mays (1953 card style), and Mark McGwire (1999 card style).”

That’s from the Hank Aaron sell sheet.  Interesting that they are so definitive with “the 10 best players” and the “brilliant stamp” 🙂  I guess it’s a sell sheet!

Unlike the single player reprint sets from previous years, there aren’t Chrome versions inserted in the regular Topps Flagship sets.  However, you can find Chrome and refractor versions in the Topps Chrome product.

Set composition:  50 cards, 1:8 odds (2001 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  43 – Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial, Duke Snider, Warren Spahn, Ted Williams, Eddie Mathews, Willie McCovey, Frank Robinson, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Harmon Killebrew, Whitey Ford, Roberto Clemente, Juan Marichal, Johnny Bench, Willie Stargell, Joe Morgan, Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Jackson, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Jim Palmer, Rod Carew, George Brett, Roger Clemens, Ryne Sandberg, Mike Schmidt, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount, Ken Griffey Jr., Mike Piazza, Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Derek Jeter

(not HOFers in the set – Pafko, Mattingly, McGwire, Sosa, A-Rod, Bonds, Nomar)

How I put the set together:

  • 4 cards from my 2001 series 1 hobby box
  • 2 cards from a trade (Addiction is Therapy)
  • 1 card from the 2015 NSCC
  • 11 cards from Sportlots
  • 2 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 30 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #15 – Sandy Koufax (1961 Topps)

One of a couple I got from COMC at the end of 2021.

Thoughts on the set:   After doing single player full-career reprints the previous 6 years, Topps went with a many-player, each-year represented reprint set that feels like they’ve done 50 more times.  Retro sets are everywhere you look these days, and this was the beginning of this overplayed theme.  I liked the single player sets from before this, and wish that had been what was continued.

I also don’t like the Ripken card where they cut off the other guys on a multi-player card.

Best card (my opinion):  #9 – Ted Williams (1954 Topps)

Like that they chose this one, it’s the first card of the 1954 set, and was in a bit of controversy back in 1994 when Upper Deck had Teddy Ballgame’s card rights and Topps couldn’t include him in the Archives set they did for the first card and card #250.  Upper Deck created a rarer version of both cards that was inserted into their 1994 All-Time Heroes product, along with a “card that never was” of Mickey Mantle at #259.

My Favorite Reds card:  #21 – Johnny Bench (1970 Topps)

There is a Morgan and even a Seaver from his Reds years – but the 1970 Bench is a more notable card than the others so I’m going with that.

Other tidbits:  Since there would have only been 49 years if you don’t count the 1951 game set, Topps doubled up on on 1952 Topps cards, having both Andy Pafko and Jackie Robinson.

Willie Mays (1953), Roberto Clemente (1963), Hank Aaron (1965) and Nolan Ryan (1980) got the first double dip on Topps reprinting the same cards in the flagship product.  Mickey Mantle didn’t have cards in this set for what I’m sure were contractual reasons.

Here’s a scan of the whole set.

Completed insert set – 2001 Topps A Tradition Continues

9 12 2022

One more completed set from 2001 Topps from COMC last year!

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Info about the set:

Set description:  This insert set came a couple per box in series 1, with a description of how current players were carrying on the game’s tradition.

Set composition:  30 cards, 1:17 odds (2001 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  14.  Chipper Jones, Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson, Derek Jeter, Roberto Alomar, Greg Maddux, Ivan Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, Pedro Martinez, Vladimir Guerrero, Tony Gwynn, Frank Thomas

How I put the set together:

  • 2 cards from my 2001 series 1 hobby box
  • 2 cards from a trade
  • 5 cards from a card show (3 from the NSCC)
  • 8 cards from Sportlots
  • 13 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #TRC4 – Ken Griffey Jr.

I technically got Griffey and McGwire in the same COMC purchase.

Thoughts on the set:  This one is filler in my set.  The design is OK, and there are just some other inserts in the product that seem to make more sense to me from a “why does this exist” standpoint.

Best card (my opinion):  #TRC18 – Barry Bonds


This picture goes particularly well with the design of the card; it’s one of the few hitter cards that isn’t showing the player’s back on a follow-through.

My Favorite Reds card:  #LA5 – Ken Griffey Jr.

The only one!

Here’s a scan of the full set:

Other tidbits:  Here’s the retired players named on the back of this set via player comparisons:

  • Mickey Mantle (Chipper, Andruw)
  • Babe Ruth (Ripken, Pedro, McGwire)
  • Tommy LaSorda (Piazza – quoted)
  • Willie Mays (Griffey, Bonds, Andruw)
  • Hank Aaron (Griffey)
  • Carl Yastrzemski (Garciaparra)
  • Sandy Alomar Sr. (Alomar)
  • Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, Steve Carlton (Maddux)
  • Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk (Pudge II)
  • Bobby Bonds (Bonds)
  • Roger Maris (McGwire)
  • Duke Snider (Andruw)
  • Ernie Banks, Al Kaline, Roberto Clemente (Gwynn)
  • Manny Mota (Green)

Cal Ripken is the only player with a card in the set who is referenced on the back – he’s compared to A-Rod and referenced on the back of Tony Gwynn’s card.

Completed insert set – 2001 Topps Golden Anniversary

6 12 2022

Here’s another completed insert set from the COMC bonanza I did over a year ago!  This one is from 2001 Topps – and the next one I do will be as well!  Only a few more for these!

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Info about the set:

Set description:  Golden Anniversary was an insert with subsets honoring the history of the game.  There were five different 10-card subsets.

  • Golden Greats – 10 cards featuring classic photos that capture legendary Hall of Famers during the hey-day of their illustrious careers.
  • Gold Nuggets – 10 clubhouse catalysts whose consistent All-Star performances have destined them for the hallowed Hall of Fame.
  • Glistening Gold – 10 dominating diamond men currently rewriting the record books with unparalleled play.
  • Hidden Gold – 10 leading prospects soon to infuse a load of young talent and inspired energy into the game.
  • Going for Gold – 10 former Team USA players who were dedicated to bringing honor to America’s most beloved sport.

Set composition:  50 cards, 1:10 odds (2001 Topps series 1)

Hall of Famers:  24.  Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Mike Schmidt, Willie Mays, Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver, Frank Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Ted Williams, Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey Jr., Greg Maddux, Rickey Henderson, Mike Piazza, Derek Jeter, Ivan Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, Jeff Bagwell, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Frank Thomas, Barry Larkin

How I put the set together:

  • 3 cards from my 2001 series 1 hobby box
  • 3 cards form a card show (2 were the 2015 NSCC)
  • 10 cards from Sportlots
  • 15 cards from Beckett
  • 19 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #GA10 – Ted Williams

#GA12 – Tony Gwynn

These were the last 2 cards – an appropriate duo – that I got last year from COMC.

Thoughts on the set:  The different subsets are pretty cool, but I will say this insert set doesn’t quite seem to stand out over time.  The dark gold design is shiny, but somehow dull at the same time.  It probably would be a more enjoyable way for Topps to have celebrated their Golden Anniversary if it was the only 50-card insert set in the product (but there were 3 that large).

Best card (my opinion):  #GA37 – C.C. Sabathia

Going through these insert sets that have the same historic greats over and over can get kind of mundane – but a card of a young CC in the United States uniform was really cool.  This card caused me to look it up – Sabathia would have been on Team USA but he got called up by the Indians (I guess Minor Leaguers would play in the Olympic tournament that year).

The last subset of this insert set would have been a lot cooler if Topps had dug up old pictures of guys like McGwire, Larkin and Garciaparra from their actual Team USA days.

My Favorite Reds card:  #GA49 – Barry Larkin

The gripe above aside, those sleeveless Reds uniforms from that era were my favorite and I like the Larkin card a little bit more than the Griffey (or the Bench) because of the reference to his Team USA days.

Here’s a scan of the full set:

Other tidbits (“nuggets”): McGwire has 2 cards in the set (he’s the only one) – one in the Golden Nuggest subset and another in the Going for Gold portion.

Completed set – 2003 Topps Traded & Rookies

9 11 2022

I made a few purchases last year on Sportlots to finish up some sets that were low hanging fruit.  One of those was 2003 Topps Traded & Rookies – where I had needed just one card for 5 years.

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Info about my set:

How I put the set together:

  • 270 cards from the Topps Traded HTA jumbo box
  • 4 card from a trade with reader Bill
  • 1 card from Sportlots

Card that completed my set:  #T146T – Gabe Gross

I got this from Sportlots in early 2021, as I mentioned I did kind of catch-all buy of some low hanging fruit.

Set composition:  275 cards (115 single MLB player cards, 5 Managers, 45 Prospects, 110 1st Year Cards)

Representation of ’02 MLB season:  This set passed the point where this is relevant to do for traded.  The guys in the first 115 cards are all players who either signed with a new team in the offseason – for example, David Ortiz, Pudge Rodriguez or Cris Carpenter signing with Boston, Florida and St. Louis respectively.

There are also some mid-season 2003 trades like Aaron bleeping Boone (see below)!  There aren’t any players with their 2002 baseball teams in this set, so putting this type of comparison with the 2002 regular set doesn’t make a ton of sense.

Last active player from this set:  #T158 – Adam Wainwright

Pretty wild there’s a guy in this set still playing – though it’s possible Wainwright will follow Yadier and Pujols and announce his retirement this offseason.

The earlier player is Rickey Henderson.  So the player years from this set span from 1979 to 2022 – 6 different decades!  That excludes the managers, where Felipe Alou would bring it back 2 more decades as he debuted in 1958.

Highest book value:  #T200 – Robinson Cano

This is a true RC for Cano, so it’s way ahead of any other cards from the most recent Beckett I have.  Miguel Cabrera is in the Prospects subset, but this is a couple years after his true RC.

Most notable card:  #T200 – Robinson Cano

That it’s the most notable rookie card in a Traded set makes it the default most notable card as well, though the first Red Sox Topps based card for Big Papi is worth mentioning as well.

Best card (my opinion):  #T108 – Aaron Boone

A part of me should hate this card, because Boone was a bit of a fan favorite for me when he was with the Reds – and this card exists to point out he was traded away when they started to stink in the early aughts.  But he hit one of the biggest homers in postseason history, one of only 3 walk-off homers to clinch the pennant in the history of this great game – and this is the card that shows the midseason trade for it.

Second best card (also my opinion):  #T52 – David Ortiz

Obviously Ortiz moving to the Red Sox had a much bigger long term impact than the Boone trade.

Best subset card:  #T116 – Dusty Baker

Dusty finally got that World Series ring as a manager the other day.  He’s beloved throughout all of baseball, and despite some silly fans who think they can do better – his win-loss record is second to none.  Felt appropriate to pick him here.

Favorite action photo:  #T81 – Bobby Kielty

Traded/Update sets aren’t particularly known for their action shots.  This is a very good one.  The Aramis Ramirez card was the other one I considered – looks like he’s just hit a home run.

Favorite non-action photo:  #T100 – Kenny Rogers

The Gambler was always a pretty cool player, and this dugout shot works pretty well.  said, I like the cool effect with the background here.  I couldn’t have told you he played for Minnesota, but apparently he went 13-8 his one season there.

My Favorite Reds card:  #T168 – Joe Valentine

Unfortunate default here – of the 4 Reds cards in this set, Joe was the only guy who ever spent time with the actual Major League ballclub, though he had a negative WAR so maybe that should even DQ him for this distinct honor!

Completed master set – one last look at 2000 Topps

7 11 2022

Back in 2017, I finished the last card for the Hank Aaron Chrome set – and even when I finally blogged about that in 2020, I forgot to realize that I had finished what I’m determining as my master set to 2000 Topps!  So here I am – 5 years later doing a post I used to do within a week or so of finishing this off.  Shoulder shrug!

This was a tougher master set to complete.  Counting the Finest sets has made late 90’s and this a tough one to finish, but the MVP redemption set was probably the toughest and the most expensive.  I had originally tried to complete that MVP set 1 at a time, but eventually got a good deal on a full set on eBay.

Info about my base set:

How I put the base set together:

  • 234 cards from the series 1 hobby box
  • 239 cards from the series 2 hobby box
  • 3 cards from trades
  • 2 cards from Beckett Marketplace

Card that completed my base set: #225 – Pedro Martinez PSH

Best card (my opinion): #85 – Barry Larkin

Check out this link to see the rest of the base set post.

My Master” Set Info:

653 cards – 478 “base”, “135” traded, 191 “insert”, 3 “other”

How I put the additional sets together:

  • Traded – boxed set from eBay
  • Promos – all 3 cards from an eBay auction
  • Inserts – 30 from my s1/s2 hobby boxes, 7 from trades, 65 from COMC, 36 from Sportlots, 29 from Beckett Marketplace, 17 from eBay, 7 from card shows

Other product bests

Read the rest of this entry »

Completed set – 2001 Topps

19 04 2020

Hope everyone is safe out there.  I thought I’d try to throw myself back to baseball cards with the extra 2 hours of time I’m saving by not commuting to work, but I just haven’t been able to put that to baseball card blogging use.  I have worked on this post for quite a while – these completed set posts take a lot of time to put together and remind me how much more free time I had back in 2010 to 2013 when this blog was in its “Heyday”.

From the Black Friday purchase (COMC) I was catching up on – I finished up the 2001 Topps set.  I’ve now completed the base set for everything from 1980 through 2001!

Info about my set:

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How I put the set together:

  • 289 cards from the series 1 hobby box
  • 232 cards from the series 2 hobby box
  • 22 cards from a second series 2 hobby box
  • 246 cards from trades
  • 1 card from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #389 – Ken Griffey SH (purchased on COMC)

I think at first I got this card in a trade but it was semi-damaged, so I had to wait a bit and didn’t finish this set until now.

Set composition:  790 cards (640 individual ML player cards, 25 Prospects, 25 Draft Picks, 30 Managers, 20 Golden Moments, 8 League Leaders, 5 Season Highlights, 7 Postseason Highlights, 30 Team Checklists)

*The 640 individual player cards include 10 All-Star Rookies

Representation of ’00 MLB season:

Out of the 640 player cards, 9 players did not play in the 2000 season.

  • Bret Saberhagen – out with a shoulder issue after a solid 1999 season with Boston.  The 2 time Cy Young winner tried to make a comeback in 2001 but only lasted 3 starts before retiring.
  • John Smoltz – Smoltz had famously Tommy John surgery and missed all of 2000.  He came back in late 2001 as a converted closer and saved 154 games over the next 3+ seasons.
  • Graeme Lloyd – missed all of 2000 with a shoulder injury
  • John Thomson – missed all of 2000 with a torn labrum
  • Justin Thompson – missed all of 2000 due to injury (short minors stint as well)
  • Mike Jackson – missed all of 2000 with a shoulder injury
  • Wilson Alvarez – spent 2000 in the minors
  • Ichiro Suzuki & Tsuyoshi Shinjo – they got very late additions to Topps 2001 series 2 after signing from Japan

Also, 5 players have two regular cards in the set.

  • Brian Meadows – for no apparent reason other than poor quality control by Topps.
  • Alex Rodriguez, Michael Tucker, Mike Hampton, Mike Mussina – all were traded or changed teams via free agency in the offseason and got a new card with their new team in series 2

That leaves 626 different players represented.  But, on top of that, there were 19 players in the Prospects set (Barry Zito being the most notable) who did play in the regular season but didn’t have a regular card.  So now that leads to 645 players.  The 645 players represent 52.4% out of the 1,230 players who played in MLB in 1999.

Earliest active player from this set:  #379 – Bobby Thomson, #105 – Rickey Henderson (active players)

Like most of these sets after the mid-90’s – there are again two answers to this.  Henderson is again the earliest active player, making his debut by playing both games of a doubleheader on June 24, 1979 (he stole a base in his first game).

Thomson is one of the 12 retired players in the Golden Moments subset and is the earliest.  He is in the set for his historic homer to win the 1951 pennant.  It’s been alleged the Giants had a system to steal signs and relay them from center field.  Baseball has moved past that at least*!  Thomson’s debut came September 9, 1946 when he went 2-4 with a double, a run and 2 RBI.

* – back when I started working on this post – how baseball teams were going to deal with the Astros this season was the biggest story in MLB.  That got superseded quickly in the middle of March when the season became in doubt.

Last active player from this set:  #355 – Adam Wainwright (DP), #746 – Edwin Encarnacion (PROS)

Wainwright & Encarnacion are the only 2 players from this set who are active in 2020.  Unless Ichiro makes a pitching comeback!

Player with the most cards in the set:  Todd Helton – 5 cards.  Helton had such a statistically insane year, he has 4 cards in the League Leaders set on top of his regular card.  He always gets the shiny front of these cards since Topps went with the NL guys on the front and the AL guys on the back.

Todd Helton – #255, #393 / #394 / #396 / #397  (League Leaders)

First Card and the Hundreds:  #1 – Cal Ripken, #100 – Derek Jeter, #200 – Alex Rodriguez, #300 – Vladimir Guerrero, #400 – Will Clark PS HL, #500 – Kent Mercker, #600 – Russ Johnson, #700 – Frank Catalanotto

Topps just kind of gave up on marquee guys as the hundred cards in series 2.

Highest book value:  #726 – Ichiro Suzuki RC

Most notable card: #726 – Ichiro Suzuki RC

Pretty easy choice here – Ichiro took the baseball world by storm in 2001, winning the MVP and Rookie of the Year and changing the face of Japanese players coming over to MLB.  He ended up being unique – with all respect to Hideki Matsui, no former Nippon League player came even close to matching his MLB accomplishments.

Best card (my opinion): #726 – Ichiro Suzuki RC

I have to go with Ichiro here as well.  There isn’t an incredible picture card here to wow you (though I really like the one below) enough to take away from one that captures Ichiro in the year he came to America.

Second best card (also my opinion): #60 – Pedro Martinez

Pedro was unreal in this stretch and this is a really cool card – you can see the grip on what I think is his knuckle curve.  Mike Piazza’s card where he’s crossing home as Robin Ventura throws up the “stand up sign” is in third to me, but worth the effort of a scan at the bottom of the post!

Best subset card: #379 – Bobby Thomson GM

None of the current year subset cards were particularly enticing, so I’m going with the most famous homer of all-time.  Apologies to other cards from this Golden Moments subset – Rickey Henderson’s card for breaking the stolen base record is a very cool picture and the Don Larsen perfect game card is arguably a better card than the Thomson one from an aesthetic aspect.

Favorite action photo: #537 – Magglio Ordonez

Ohhhh-eeeee-oh!  Maaaaaggg-gliooooo!

Favorite non-action photo: #580 – Curt Schilling

I like this card because it reminds me of some of the cards from the 60’s and 70’s where players would get their portrait shots into the set with empty bleachers in the background.

My Favorite Reds card:  #79 – Aaron Boone

The sleeveless uniforms were the best.

Other Notable Cards:  A few more really cool shots.

2001 Topps Brian Meadows and… 2001 Topps Brian Meadows

11 02 2020

I’m working on the 2001 Topps set recap since I just finished the base set.  And it takes a lot of work, more than I remembered (man, I used to have way more free time).  Anyways, I came across this.

2001 Topps Brian Meadows

And also this.

2001 Topps… Brian Meadows?


Now, you may think those are the same card.  But, you my friend, would be mistaken…

See, when trying to figure out how much the set represents the 2000 season as far as number and percentage of players, I have to check for guys who have a card in series 1 and 2.  Well, Brian Meadows has one, and he’s got the same picture on both cards.  I’m sure this has been written about somewhere, but I couldn’t find anything in a quick google search.  Topps could have used a little help in the QC back in 2001!

Completed insert set – 2000 Topps Hank Aaron Chrome

4 01 2020

Trying a little minor comeback.  I finished the regular Topps Hank Aaron set back at the end of 2016, and looking back to that post – it was kind of the end of me continuously blogging.

So maybe this will be a good kickoff for me to start up a little bit again in 2020! I have a few completed insert sets to do, want to do some Hall of Famer tributes for the legends who passed away since I stopped blogging.  And then, who knows, maybe I’ll pick back up with the Lifetime Topps Project!

Info about the set:

Set description:  Aaron was the 5th historic player honored with a reprint set (Mantle in ’96, Mays in ’97, Clemente ’98, Ryan ’99).  The first 4 all had Finest parallels; this was the only one where the parallel was dubbed as a Chrome card.  Though there aren’t too many differences as it’s the same technology.  This set had reprints of the full run of his base Topps cards during his career.  Reprints of his 19 regular cards from 1954-1976 were issued across both series.  The 12 even years come in series 1, while the 11 odd years come in series 2 (which is the same as the regular inserts).  There is a gold Aaron logo, created just for these sets.

Set composition:  23 cards, 1:72 odds (2000 Topps)

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

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from the 2000 series 2 hobby box I bought (I did not pull a card in my s1 box)
  • 4 cards from Beckett Marketplace
  • 3 cards from Sportlots
  • 17 cards from COMC

Card that completed my set:  #3 – 1956 Topps

I bought the last card I needed from COMC back in late 2017.  2+ years later I’m blogging about it!  I’d been one card shy for close to a year.

Thoughts on the set: Retro sets are everywhere you look these days, but even in 2000 there weren’t that many, and they were almost all reprints.  It’s a fun set, and I kind of wish Topps had kept this concept going.  Unfortunately it ended after Hammerin’ Hank.  Also, I don’t know why, but I liked the Finest designation better than Chrome, even though it’s really just very similar.

Best card (my opinion):  #20 – 1973 Topps

Aaron is one of those players who has an iconic rookie card, and I picked his 1954 Topps card for the base set.  But I like the 1973 picture and am gonna pick that one for the Chrome treatment.

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

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


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.