2002 EX Baseball Box Break and Review

I've admired Fleer's EX line since it debuted in 1997. But until now that admiration has led to but the occasional loose pack purchase here and there. Finally I found a box of 2002 EX that was close enough in my budget that I could afford to buy it. The main draw for me was the card stock. Printed on plastic, these cards make for a great game of schoolyard leansies. If playing with your cards isn't your thing, they're also darned attractive. Although I preferred the 2001 design over this year's, the gold speckle and see-through finish are unlike anything else you will find.

The base set consists of 100 cards, loading the checklist with all the top stars. There's also a multi-tiered nEXt subset featuring 40 rookies and top prospects, many of you will have likely heard of or will ever see for more than a couple of games. Tne are numbered to 2999, 10 to 2499, five to 1999 and 15 are unnumbered.

Although the rush to get the latest rookies is part of the chase, this is also where EX suffers. I'm sorry, but I don't want to have to chase down no-name non-rookies. I understand the purpose behind short printing cards, but it's as though none of the companies even acknowledge what the others are doing. So if Fleer hasn't released a Mark Prior card nobody else has either. The same is true for Upper Deck and Topps as well so I won't point fingers here. Fleer, however, short prints far too many of these prospect type cards, which is one of the reasons why I've had a hard time telling the difference between many of their sets in the last couple of years. EX is one of their most distinct lines, second probably to Tradition.

The Essential Credentials parallels are a complex group of numbered cards available in both game-used and non-game-used versions. Essential Credentials Now includes 125 cards with numbers 1-60 being game-used. Cards are serial numbered to their corresponding part of the set (card 1 has one copy, 2 has two copies, etc.). Essential Credentials Future is inversely numbered and also has 125 cards divided into two sections. The first section invloves numbers 1-60. Card 1 has 60 parallels and card 60 is a 1/1. Serial numbers are also inversed for numbers 61-125. Confused? So am I.

EX also has a variety of insert sets, many of which look as though they were designed with their game-used parallels in mind. Behind the Numbers looks at superstar stats. The basic version has 35 cards in the set. The design is plain with lots of wasted space due in large part to the smallish player photo on the front. There's also a game-used jersey version that spices things up a little bit for 29 cards, but not much. There's also dual game-used versions limited to 25 copies.

The 30-card Hit and Run set is about as distinct as the Behind the Numbers inserts. Again, more wasted space and questionable motivations behind the reason for the inserts. The answer: game-used parallels offered in both base and bat variations.

HardWear focuses on the Charlie Hustle's of the game, the guys who go out there everyday and give it their all. Of all the base inserts, these are my favorites. The top-right corner has a touch of die-cutting and the player's position is done with a hint of embossing. Not too loud, not as plain as the other inserts, HardWear works for me.

Company spokesmen Derek Jeter and Barry Bonds are each saluted with their own four-card sets. Jeter's celebrates his four World Series victories, each serial numbered to the year the Yankees won with him on the team. Bonds' four MVP seasons are the focus of his insert set, each also numbered to the corresponding year.

Finally there's the game-used Game Essentials that includes a variety of different types of gear ranging from the typical jerseys to cleats to gloves. The packs list these as being serial numbered but the one I got isn't and it doesn't look like any of the others are either. None the less, the mixture of items beyond the generic bats and bases is nice.

The box I got was about as straight as you could get with 80 percent of the base set, three nEXt SPs (including two that are actual rookies) and base inserts that went accordingly. I even broke the odds and got one of the HardWear cards, which are inserted at a rate of 1:3 boxes. It's the GU cards where things get interesting. The overall odds of GU cards is 1:8 meaning a total of three per box. That's exactly what I got but not in the way I expected. Both the Behind the Numbers Jersey cards and Hit and Run Bat cards are inserted 1:24 packs so I figured I'd get one of each and a random card from one of the others. Instead I got one Game Essentials Kevin Brown (pants), which have no stated odds, and two Hit and Run Base cards of Troy Glaus and Vladimir Guerrero, which come at 1:120 packs each. While the GU Base cards are much tougher finds, I would have rather had the more personable jersey cards. The back of the Base cards say, "The card you've just received contains a piece of an authentic base, used in an official Major League game." So that means my Guerrero could have been used in a game between the Blue Jays and Twins down in Minnesota. Memorabilia like bases and balls are far too generic for my liking.

There was also a problem with several of the base cards starting to chip along the edges leaving my fingers looking like I'd just gone ape nuts on scrath 'n win lottery tickets.

All in all, my box of 2002 EX was a fun rip. If I'd paid original retail I would have been disappointed, but at the sale price I was happy, especially considering one of the better pulls (the Guerrero GU Base) will be heading straight to my Expos collection. Nothing in here is spectacular but the base cards are nice stuff.

2002 EX Baseball Box Breakdown:

Packs per box: 24
Cards per pack: 4
Total cards: 93

Cards in base set: 100
nEXt SPs in set: 40
Singles: 80
nEXt SPs: 3 (104. Chris Booker [2632/2999], 114. Takahito Nomura [0006/2499], 137. Kenny Kelly)
Doubles: 1
Triples+: 0

Inserts: 9

  • Essential Credentials Now Game-Used (#/1-60): 0
  • Essential Credentials Future Game-Used (#/1-60): 0
  • Essential Credentials Now (#/61-125): 0
  • Essential Credentials Future (#/61-125): 0
  • Behind the Numbers (1:8): 3 (5. Barry Bonds, 9. Craig Biggio, 12. Kerry Wood)
  • Hit and Run (1:12): 2 (10. Darin Erstad, 23. Jose Ortiz)
  • HardWear (1:72): 1 (10. Jason Giambi)
  • Derek Jeter 4x Champion (#'d to match year won WS): 0
  • Barry Bonds 4x MVP (#'d to match MVP year): 0
  • Behind the Numbers Jersey Card (1:24): 0
  • Behind the Numbers Dual Jersey Card (#/25): 0
  • Hit and Run Bat Card (1:24): 0
  • Hit and Run Base Card (1:120): 2 (Troy Glaus, Vladimir Guerrero)
  • Hit and Run Bat and Base Card (1:240): 0
  • Game Essentials: 1 (Kevin Brown - GU Pants)

 

MIKE PIAZZA 2002 Fleer EX Hit & Run Game Used Bat And Base Card
MIKE PIAZZA 2002 Fleer EX Hit & Run Game Used Bat And Base Card
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2002 E-X Essential Credentials Now #102 Jorge de la Rosa Boston Red Sox Card
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2002 E-X Essential Credentials Now #102 Jorge de la Rosa Boston Red Sox Card
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MIKE PIAZZA 2002 Fleer EX Behind The Numbers Game Worn Pants Card!!!
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2002 FLEER EX Chipper Jones BEHIND THE NUMBERS GAME-USED Atlanta Braves
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2002 E-X Hit & Run Base Memorabilia #JDDR JD Drew St. Louis Cardinals J.D. Card
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2002 E-X Hit & Run Base Memorabilia #JDDR JD Drew St. Louis Cardinals J.D. Card
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2002 E-X Hit & Run Base Memorabilia #JDDR JD Drew St. Louis Cardinals J.D. Card
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1970 Topps #681 Bob Garibaldi Giants EX/MT
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2002 FLEER EX Game Essentials Rickey Henderson 4 color patch jersey relic
2002 FLEER EX Game Essentials Rickey Henderson 4 color patch jersey relic
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2002 E-X 4x MVP #3BB Barry Bonds San Francisco Giants Baseball Card
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