Sunday, February 24, 2013

2002 Topps Phillies

2002 Topps #545, #13, #610 and #164
Two weeks in a row for a Topps Phillies post!  My motivation for getting through these difficult years is the knowledge that better years are coming up.

2002 Topps #221 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  There are 718 cards in the base set - 364 cards in series one and 354 in series 2.  Card #365 commemorates Barry Bonds' record breaking 73 home runs in 2001, with a different card for each home run.  There are 275 cards in the Traded & Rookies set.  The total tally of 993 cards falls a little short of the prior year's 1,055 cards.  The Traded & Rookies set is especially difficult to track down as Topps (perhaps mistakenly?) short-printed the 110 traded players and managers in the set.  I only recently added this team set to my collection after realizing I'd have to pay more than I was willing in order to cross it off my list.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  For the third time in five years, Topps went with a full gold border.  I don't mind this set, but before digging through my 2002 Topps cards for this post I would have been hard pressed to picture in my mind what the 2002 Topps base cards looked like.  (I can't picture the 2003 Topps cards in my head right now either.)  One of the things I noticed about these cards when scanning them in groups - the gold border on the cards isn't always an exact color match.  Weird.
Notable competition:  Collectors had a ton of different sets from which to choose from in 2002.  Pacific was gone, but Fleer, Playoff and Upper Deck put out dozens of sets.  Collectors had a few more years of this flooded landscape before only Topps remained as the sole baseball card manufacturer.  I definitely miss the other card companies, but I don't miss the hundreds of different sets that used to be released.

2002 Topps #367, #199, #269 and #577
2002 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies took a step back in 2002, finishing a game under .500 (80-81) and in third place behind the Braves.  They never recovered from a poor April, in which they went 9-18.
Key players:  Pat Burrell had a terrific season, hitting .282 with 37 home runs and 116 RBIs.  Bobby Abreu (.308, 20 home runs, 85 RBIs) was solid again, as was Scott Rolen (.259, 17 home runs, 66 RBIs) before he demanded to be traded.  Jimmy Rollins joined Rolen as a starter in the All-Star Game and led the league with 10 triples.  Converted reliever Vicente Padilla led the pitching staff with 14 wins and Randy Wolf enjoyed another nice season, going 11-9 with a 3.20 ERA.  Jose Mesa set a franchise record with 45 saves, but most of us remember his painful 9 blown saves.
Key events:  The biggest event of the season was the ongoing Rolen saga.  After making it clear that he wanted out of Philadelphia, Rolen was traded to the Cardinals on July 29th for Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin and Bud Smith.  Jeremy Giambi joined the team in May and became the first Phillie in history to hit two home runs in his first two at-bats.  Robert Person had a disappointing season on the mound, but on June 2nd he hit two home runs (including a grand slam) while driving in 7.

2002 Phillies in 2002 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 24 Phillies cards in the base set and another 16 in the prospect-heavy Traded and Rookies set.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#367 Mike Lieberthal (c), #199 Travis Lee (1b), #269 Marlon Anderson (2b), #164 Jimmy Rollins (ss), #610 Scott Rolen (3b), #545 Pat Burrell (lf), #577 Doug Glanville (cf), #13 Bobby Abreu (rf)

For the first time since 1994, the entire starting line-up received Phillies cards within the base Topps set.

2002 Topps #221, 2002 Topps Traded #T83, 2002 Topps #578 and #394
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 5 cards
#221 Randy Wolf, #T83 Vicente Padilla, #578 Brandon Duckworth, #394 Robert Person, #524 Terry Adams

So not only do we have cards of the entire starting line-up, the top five starting pitchers also have cards.  This marks the first year since 1991 that Topps went 13 for 13 in this department.  Nice going, Topps.
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 2002 - 7 cards
#83 Ricky Bottalico, #184 Jose Mesa, #594 Ricky Ledee, #T16 Dan Plesac, #T31 Mike Timlin, #T62 Placido Polanco, #T77 Jeremy Giambi
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 2002 - 2 cards

Daal was traded to the Dodgers in November 2001 and Wendell spent the entire 2002 season on the disabled list.
  • Base cards of players appearing on Prospects cards - 13 cards
#311 Marlon Byrd, #675 Taylor Buchholz, #680 Nate Espy, #T122 Mark Outlaw, #T124 Michael Floyd, #T126 Pete Zamora, #T130 Gavin Floyd, #T136 Elio Serrano, #T166 Carlos Cabrera, #T189 Josh Cisneros, #T228 Ezequiel Astacio, #T235 Jorge Padilla, #T259 Travis Chapman

This is where I have a problem with the 2002 Topps Traded & Rookies set.  I mean no offense to any of these minor leaguers, but there was absolutely no reason for the majority of these players to have a Topps baseball card in 2002.  Byrd was the only "Prospect" to actually see time with the Phils in 2002.  Gavin Floyd and Chapman both eventually played briefly with the Phils.
  • 2001 Gold Glove Award Winner card - 1 card, #709 Scott Rolen
  • Phillies cards in Who Would Have Thought subset - 1 card, #T271 Curt Schilling
This subset was an insert with the 2001 traded series, but Topps decided to include it within the main set in 2002.
  • America: United We Stand subset - 1 card, #359 Braves vs. Phillies
  • Team card - 1 card, #662
  • Manager card - 1 card, #294 Larry Bowa
2002 Topps #184, 2002 Topps Traded #T62 and #T77 and 2002 Topps #524
Who’s out:  The bench got largely ignored, with Tomas Perez (again), Todd Pratt and Jason Michaels deserving of cards.  Rookie Brett Myers (started 11 games) and Joe Roa (started 11 games) would have been good candidates for the traded series.  Pitchers Carlos Silva (68 games), Rheal Cormier (54 games), Jose Santiago (42 games) and David Coggin (38 games) all got ignored by Topps.
Phillies on other teams:  Giambi (#236 with the Athletics) and Polanco (#268 with the Cardinals) are in the first series with their former teams.
What’s he doing here:  Overall, Topps did a great job with player selection for the Phillies with this set.  Daal and Wendell weren't around in 2002, but it makes sense why they'd have Phillies cards.  I'll award this to the 10 minor leaguers appearing on Prospects cards who never actually played with the Phillies.
Cards that never were candidates:  I'm trying to cut down the number of candidates for this set, so I'll go with the six most deserving again - Perez, Pratt, Michaels, Myers, Silva and Cormier.
Favorite Phillies card:  By far the most meaningful Phillies card in the set is featured within the America: United We Stand subset.  I spotlighted the card in a post last week.

2002 Topps Traded #T166
Other Stuff
Recycled:  The 2002 Topps Chrome set used the same design, just with shiny silver borders and the 2002 Topps Opening Day set went with the same basic design, except with silver foil for the nameplates.
Blogs/Websites:  I'm fresh out of ideas here when it comes to the Topps sets from the 2000s.  Unless I'm missing something, there just isn't a good reason for a blog dedicated to the 2002 Topps set.
Did You Know?:  One of the Phillies minor leaguers included within the Prospects subset in the Traded & Rookies set was right-handed pitcher and 1999 free agent signee, Carlos Cabrera.  In June 2003, it was discovered that Cabrera had lied about his age (he was actually almost two years older) and his real name was Alfredo Simon.  The Phils sent him to the Giants in July 2004 as part of the Ricky Ledee/Felix Rodrgiuez deal and he played in the Giants and Orioles systems until making his big league debut with the O's in September 2008.  He's had an eventful past few years after he was arrested in the Dominican Republic as a suspect in a fatal shooting incident.  He was eventually cleared of all charges and bounced back in 2012 to have a great season with the Reds as a late/middle inning reliever.  So if you're trying to track down an Alfredo Simon rookie card - you'll need to start your search with the pitcher formerly known as Carlos Cabrera.


night owl said...

I always always always confuse 2001 and 2002 Topps. I don't know why because they're very distinct from each other, but I have to actually concentrate when I look at both to figure out which year they are.

Jim said...

Agreed - all these sets run together in my mind.

Although I meant to point out in my post that this is one of the few baseball card sets to include the set's full name on its front - 2002 Topps.