Card I selected: #502 – Brandon Webb
This is the only one of these cards I selected that has the Topps rookie cup on it. Webb had about as unique a career as you could have. He went 10-9 with a 2.84 ERA to get 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2003. He probably should have won the award, but that performance at least got him onto the Topps All-Star Rookie team. In 2006, he won the NL Cy Young, and he followed that up with runner-up finishes the next 2 years. His 2008 campaign included a 22-win season. To have 3 straight seasons of winning or running up in the Cy Young voting doesn’t happen much. But after that, he pitched one more game in the majors due to injury.
He’s from Ashland, Kentucky, which is pretty close to where I grew up. So I always liked him and wish he could have made it back in his couple comeback attempts. I actually have all of these cards, so this post can be considered “final”!
# of cards (including the Topps card): 10
The parallel sets in 2004 include:
- First Edition
- Opening Day
- Chrome Refractors
- Chrome Gold Refractors
- Chrome Black Refractors
- Chrome Red X-fractors
2004 Topps #502
2004 Topps Gold #502
Topps Gold, with a Gold border, was back for the another year (6th time overall, 3rd straight). This parallel had a shiny gold foil border and was numbered to 2,004 on the back in gold foil stamping. The front doesn’t have the “53 years of collecting” that had been on the Topps Gold cards the previous couple of years.
2004 Topps Black #502
Topps Black was in just its 2nd year in 2004. The border is black. Topps Black was numbered to 53, with a gold foil stamp on the back, to honor 53 years of collecting since the 1952 set.
2004 Topps First Edition #502
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 front of the card, but are otherwise exactly the same as the regular Topps cards.
2003 Topps Opening Day #159
Opening Day was back for the 7th time in 2004. 165 cards, retail only, and the same photos from the base Topps set. The border is a blue-gray color, 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.
2004 Topps Chrome #261
Topps Chrome was back for its 9th year. It was 466 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.
2004 Topps Chrome Refractor #261
Inserted every 4 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.
2004 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor #261
Topps Gold Refractors have a gold border (that looks a little orange to me) and the refractor effect. After being numbered in 2003, these cards weren’t sequentially numbered in 2004. The word gold refractor is noted on the back by the card number.
2004 Topps Chrome Black Refractor #261
Black Refractors were back, this time not numbered. The black refractor wording is noted on the back by the card number.
2004 Topps Chrome Red Xfractor #261
This card has the refractor / diffraction effect but with a checkered finish that Topps called “X-fractors”. This year’s version had a red border. Red X-fractors came 1 per hobby box, and also weren’t numbered. However, the production numbers were calculable, and this red version of Webb’s card had 61 copies. The wording “X-fractor” is on the back by the number.
Any sets I didn’t get: Topps Traded had Blue 1/1 parallels, and also had printing plates for the first time in a flagship Topps product. First off, that’s Topps Traded so I feel fine not counting it. Second, cards numbered out of 20 or so is around where I draw the line – I definitely won’t be getting any one-of-ones as part of this parallel project.
Other cards I would have liked to do: This is such a great set. I love the design and the outline of the player in the corner – just about any card is great in this set.