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).

2004 Topps parallels – Brandon Webb

16 05 2016

2004 Topps

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:

  • Gold
  • Black
  • First Edition
  • Opening Day
  • Chrome
  • Chrome Refractors
  • Chrome Gold Refractors
  • Chrome Black Refractors
  • Chrome Red X-fractors


2004 Topps #502

2004 Topps Webb

2004 Topps Webb back

2004 Topps Gold #502

2004 Topps Gold Webb

2004 Topps Gold Webb back

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

2004 Topps Black Webb

2004 Topps Black Webb back

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

2004 Topps 1st Edition Webb

2004 Topps Webb back

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.

2004 Topps Opening Day #159

2004 Topps Opening Day Webb

2004 Topps Opening Day Webb back

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

2004 Topps Chrome Webb

2004 Topps Chrome Webb back

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

2004 Topps Chrome Refractor Webb

2004 Topps Chrome Refractor Webb back

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

2004 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor Webb

2004 Topps Chrome Gold Refractor Webb back

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

2004 Topps Chrome Black Refractor Webb

2004 Topps Chrome Black Refractor Webb back

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

2004 Topps Chrome Red Xfractor Webb

2004 Topps Chrome Red Xfractor Webb back

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.

The “Rainbow”:

2004 Topps Webb rainbow_0002

2004 Topps Webb rainbow 2

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.

2004 Topps Traded Autographs & Memorabilia

10 12 2015

I only have 1 of my own scans to show in this post, since I got 1 relic in the 2004 Topps Traded box.  The rest of these photos are from the internet (in most cases eBay).

Signature Moves – (9 cards, 1:169-675)

2004 Topps Traded Signature Moves Wainwright

Signature Moves was back for the 3rd year, showcasing autographs of guys who had switched teams.  Alex and Pudge Rodriguez are the biggest names in this insert set.  There were two tiers in this autograph set, A and B.  There were only 9 cards in this set, less than half of the 20 from 2003.

Signature Cuts – (5 cards, 1:91,472)

Topps included cut signatures in 2004 Traded, which seems a bit odd, but it did follow up from the cut signatures they had in series 1 and 2.  These were all baseball, however, with Babe Ruth, Catfish Hunter, Johnny Mize, Roger Maris and Warren Spahn all having cards.  I haven’t been able to find any pictures of these cards.

Finally on the autograph chase, Team Topps Blue Chips were also inserted in Topps Traded as a cross-product promotion.

There were a few different memorabilia sets you could get in Topps Traded.

Transactions Relics – 20 cards (1:106)

Transactions Dual Relics – 3 cards (1:562)

2004 Topps Traded Transaction Relics A Rod

The main memorabilia set was called Transactions Relics.  This was back for its 2nd year, featuring a bat or jersey piece of a player who switched teams in 2004.

2004 Topps Traded Transaction Relics Dual A Rod

There was again a dual version for 3 players, which contained a relic pieces from the player’s previous and current team.  Curt Schilling is only in the dual set, while A Rod and Rafael Palmeiro are in both.

Future Phenoms Relics – 17 cards (1:65-184)

2004 Topps Update Future Phenoms Hardy

Future Phenoms was back for the 2nd year.  Not my favorite design.

Hall of Fame Relic – 2 cards (1:1,011-3,338)

Hall of Fame Dual Relic – 1 card (1:3,338)

2004 Topps Traded HOF Relic Eck

There was a relic honoring each of the 2 Hall of Fame inductees in 2003.  Dennis Eckersley’s card had a jersey inset, while Paul Molitor had a bat.  The Molitor is the more difficult pull.

2004 Topps Traded HOF Relics Dual Molitor Eck

They also had a dual card, which is always pretty cool.  The dual card actually had the same odds as the Molitor individual relic.

2004 Topps Traded & Rookies – parallel sets

9 12 2015

Topps had no stand-alone insert sets in the 2004 Topps Traded product.  You could only find relics, autographs, or parallels.  There were a few parallel sets, though only 1 that was reasonably attainable.

Topps Traded & Rookies Gold (220 cards, 1:2)

Topps Gold was back, and just like the base set it was numbered to the year – out of 2,004.

2004 Topps Traded Gold Danys Baez

Topps Traded & Rookies Blue (220 cards, 1:4,574)

Topps didn’t include Topps Black in the Traded product, even though it was in the first 2 series.  They did include a 1/1 Blue parallel.  I’ve also seen unnumbered blue parallels; I don’t know the origin of these.  You can find a few on eBay from time to time, but I can’t tell where they came from.

2004 Topps Traded Blue Danys Baez

2004 Topps Traded Blue Mientkiewicz

Topps Traded & Rookies Printing Plates (220 cards, 1:1,151, #4/1)

For the first time, Topps included printing plates in any flagship Topps product – Traded or not.  As with any printing plate parallel, there are 4 different color plates available.

2004 Topps Traded D Baez

You could also get Chrome, Chrome Refractors, Chrome X-Fractors, Blue Refractors and Chrome Printing Plates in 2004 Traded packs, but I view those as a different product.  The fact that you could get a Chrome Plate or a regular plate creates a little bit of confusion.

2004 Topps Traded & Rookies scans

7 12 2015

Topps Traded has changed it a bit since 2004, but it’s probably best known for the rookies, and Felix Hernandez (2010 Cy Young) was easily the biggest rookie that year.

2004 Topps Update Felix Hernandez

And while it’s probably better known for the prospects or rookies, in 2004 I was most impressed with the “traded” players.  I didn’t even pull the first solo Topps card A-Rod with the Yankees, but there were a lot of notable names switching places.  First and foremost was the only Hall of Famer in this set, Greg Maddux.

2004 Topps Update Greg Maddux

Maddux actually still had quite a few years yet, but like these guys, his very best years were in the rearview mirror.

2004 Topps Update Nomar best behind them

On the other side, these guys were 1 year removed from playing in the World Series.  Pretty cool to see how many guys came to the White Sox or Astros, and then had a big impact on their postseason run in 2005.  Uribe is one of the few players from this portion of the set still playing.

2004 Topps Update White Sox Astros

The Red Sox reversed the curse in 2004, but there weren’t a ton of guys who were in the 2004 Traded set.  The biggest change from 2003 was the manager.  This set did capture the mid-season acquisition of Orlando Cabrera as well.

2004 Topps Update Francona Cabrera

From there, here’s just a few more “traded” players that were in this set.

2004 Topps Update big trades

OK, so rookies and prospects were still the big thing for Topps Traded, and here’s 9 of the biggest rookies behind King Felix.  I don’t know who is the 2nd biggest RC in this set.  Is it Homer Bailey?  As a Reds fan, I love that he has 2 no-hitters, but he’s also got to be the only pitcher with 50 wins ever signed to a $100 million contract who then had to have Tommy John surgery.  It could be Howie Kendrick, but while he’s been solid, he’s only made one All-Star game.

2004 Topps Update rookies

2004 Topps Traded & Rookies HTA box break

5 12 2015

2004 Topps Update box

I bought my 2004 Topps Traded box from Atlanta Sports cards last March and finally got to opening it over a year and a half later. It cost me $55 bucks, which doesn’t seem that bad when I look at prices today.  The hobby box comes with 24 packs, 10 cards per pack.

In 2003 I bought a HTA jumbo box, which I was very happy with.  I think I just got the regular hobby box here because it was cheaper and you still got one relic/auto either way.  The one thing better about the HTA box is that it’s still 2 Chrome cards per pack.  So you only get 20 Chrome cards in a HTA, and a lot more base.  Since I’m not collecting Chrome, that was actually better.  But the cost didn’t justify it.  At least that’s what I believe my thinking was – it’s been a while since I bought it.

There is one big rookie in 2004 Topps Traded – Felix Hernandez.  And this was something of a Felix Hernandez hot box.

Hot box

Here’s a little better of the 3 cards I got.  That’s a base card, a gold card, and a chrome refractor.  The only reasonable card I didn’t get was the chrome card.

2004 Topps Update Felix Hernandez base gold & chrome

Keeping with the parallels – I got 12 gold cards in the box.  That’s one in every other pack.

2004 Topps Update box Gold

Here’s the other, non Felix Hernandez, refractor.

2004 Topps Update Chrome Brooks Conrad

I got 46 regular Chrome cards, which is the 2 per pack you’re supposed to get, less the 2 refractors I got.  Here are 6 of those.

2004 Topps Update Chrome

You are supposed to get 1 relic or autograph per box – I got a Future Phenoms relic in this case.  This one was of JJ Hardy, who had some good years in Milwaukee and continued that with Baltimore – though it seems like he’s on a downturn after his 2015 season.

2004 Topps Update Future Phenoms Hardy

The one other thing that’s interesting for this product – they inserted puzzle cards.  Every pack had a puzzle card (or a relic/auto) with a checklist of the 2004 Traded set on the back.  On the front – the puzzle part – are cards from the regular Topps set.  So if you put together all 110 puzzle cards, you’d have a picture of the 2004 Topps set.  Here’s an example of those.  I’m not collecting these – except that I’m keeping enough to have a full checklist.

2004 Topps Update Puzzles

I had no damaged cards in this box.  That’s something to shout about!

Stats for the box:

  • 24 packs per box * 10 cards per pack +1 relic = 241 cards

180 of the 220 card set. (100% set completion – though 5 singles were damaged)

  • 12 Topps Gold
  • 46 Chrome
  • 2 Chrome Refractors
  • 1 Future Phenoms Relic

Of course, I didn’t get the Barry Bonds card, #221, which you could only get from hobby dealers.  I’ll have to buy that online at some point.

2004 Topps Traded & Rookies Overview

3 12 2015

The 2004 Topps Traded packs again included Topps Traded Chrome.  I’m begging for the day when this will end!  I guess I could look it up, but it’s more interesting to just go to each new Topps year with my fingers crossed 🙂

2004 Topps Update pack Bailey

221 cards in the set – 54 less than the previous 2 years.

  • Subsets:  Managers (#66-70), Draft Picks (#71-90), Prospects (#91-110).  The first 70 cards are “traded” players and managers.  Cards numbered 111 through 220 are first year players, while Barry Bonds got added as card #221 when he signed an exclusive deal with Topps late in the 2004 baseball card season.  The Bonds card was not inserted into packs.  It was sent to hobby dealers in January 2005, and was supposed to be given out to customers who bought Topps Traded packs.
  • Set Design:  The set design is the same as the base 2004 set.  The back of the cards have a “T” suffix.
  • Packs:  Hobby and retail packs have 10 cards, the same as series 1 and series 2.  There are 24 packs per box (12 less than s1/s2).  I think the MSRP was $1.99.  There were also HTA Jumbo packs with 35 cards per pack (10 packs per box).  The packs are white with a blue stripe down the left side, a gold stripe on the bottom and a baseball where those meet.  The Topps logo is large and red at the top, followed below by wording for “Traded and Rookies 2004 Major League Baseball Cards”.  Of course they remind you that, yes, Topps Chrome is included.
  • Rookies:  Felix Hernandez is a very big rookie card.  Aside from him, there really isn’t much – Homer Bailey, Kurt Suzuki, Phil Hughes and Howie Kendrick are the only notable rookie cards.
  • Hall of Fame:  2.  Greg Maddux, who went back to the Cubs for the 2004 season, and Larry Walker who was traded from the Rockies to St. Louis after a decade in Denver
  • Variations:  No variations.

2004 Topps Update box

The box has a white background with a blue vertical stripe and a white horizontal stripe.  Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Roger Clemens are featured in their new uniforms.  Clemens is a bit unusual, because Clemens isn’t in the base set as he had an Astros card in series 2 (he does have a transaction relic).  The 2004 Topps logo is prominently displayed at, with the wording “Traded and Rookies 2004 Major League Baseball Cards” on the red stripe.  There is advertising for the 2 Topps Chrome cards where the stripes intersect and more ads for the autographs & relics – which come 1 per box.

Parallel sets

There was 1 normal parallel set – Topps Gold, which were numbered out of 2004, coming 1:2 packs.  There were also blue 1/1 parallels and printing plates, with 4 unique versions.  And I’ve also seen unnumbered blue parallels; I don’t know the origin of these.

Once again, this product came packaged along with Topps Chrome Traded.  Every pack had 2 Topps Chrome cards.  I don’t really think of these as parallel cards – they are really a separate product.  The Topps Chrome cards had refractor, X-fractors (#/20), blue refractors (#/1) and Chrome printing plates (4 unique) as well.

Insert sets

There are no insert sets aside from the parallels – consistent with what Topps had done for its Update product.

Autographs & Memorabilia

As the box tells you – there is one relic or autograph in each box.  Signature Cuts was a new autograph that included a cut signature of Babe Ruth.  For more realistic inserts, the Hall of Fame relics are again very nice cards.  These feature Paul Molitor (bat) and Dennis Eckersley (jersey).

  • Signature Moves Autographs – 9 cards (1:169-1:675)
  • Signature Cuts – 9 cards (1:91,472)
  • Transactions Relics – 20 cards (1:106)
  • Transactions Dual Relic – 3 cards (1:562)
  • Future Phenoms Relics – 17 cards (1:65-1:184)
  • Hall of Fame Relic – 2 cards (1:1,011-3,338)
  • Hall of Fame Dual Relic – 1 cards (1:3,338)

And there was one cross-product autograph inserted:

  • Topps Blue Chips Autographs – various cards {out of a number of cards across Topps products} (1:1,011)

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  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).