2002 Fleer Tradition Baseball Box Break and Review

It has been a while since I've bought a box of Fleer baseball. I think it was 1998 when I last did. I still need one dang short print to finish the set, even after all these years. Oh, well. It's 2002 and I finally caved and went for a box of the single series base Fleer Tradition set. At 500 cards, I knew it was impossible to build the entire set. I'd heard rumors the first 100 cards were SP'd as well, although the packs said nothing of the sort. Well after all 36 packs were opened, the cards sorted and the numbers worked out, I had a total of 18 cards between one and 100. The rumors were true and Fleer has gone and made a chase out of their base set. You know the one that's supposed to be collector friendly.

I guess I should have known. It seems every product Fleer puts out has to have SPs. Strangely, in this case at least, I don't mind it so much. Averaging one in two packs, it is possible to collect them all. And it's not all stars who get the SP treatment. Sure there's Barry Bonds and Ichiro, but there's also the likes of AL Leiter, Jose Ortiz and Time Raines in the set's first century. In essence, what this does is keep common bin staples like Wade Miller and Rusty Greer out of the common box for once. The SPs are common enough that it is possible to build the set over a long period of time, which is exactly what I plan to do. It'll keep me busy enough that I won't go out and waste my money on the more generic Fleer offerings such as Maximum, Marquee or Premium.

With retro nostalgia continuing to dominate set designs, Fleer has borrowed from the 1930s Goudey layout. Full of pastels and strong lines, it takes a little getting used to, but it has grown on me. Card backs provide complete stats, but sadly none of the quirky comments and trivia tidbits that made these old-time sets so fun. The cardboard stock is nice and thick and the centering is much better than the past two years.

All of the insert cards are relatively easy to find, but sadly most of them look as though they were spit out for the sake of having inserts. The Diamond Tributes set has got to be the ugliest collection of inserts I've ever seen. From the gawdy fonts to the ghastly colors, stay away from this one. The fluorescent green that dominates the Grass Roots remind me of the bright yellows used in the 1991 Fleer set. Yikes! is all I have to say about that. Besides hating the design of the Lumber Company set, I don't understand what its purpose is. In the past it has been used to highlight great hitters, mostly the ones who hit lots of home runs. But the checklist includes veterans like Moises Alou and Barry Larkin, youngsters such as Drew Henson and Corey Patterson and even pitcher Curt Schilling. The embossed look of the two-per-box This Day in History is all right, but not spectacular. I did enjoy the 10-card Heads Up set, which features cartoon-like caricatures reminiscent of the 1991 Score All Stars sub set.

I can't rate either the game used or the autograph cards because I didn't get any. They're insert one in every other box. I guess mine was the dud. Oh, well.

As far as my box goes, the numbers went accordingly with no real surprises. I did get three extra cards, but that evened out because I got three doubles. Getting doubles of the Diamond Tributes ARod was annoying considering there is 15 cards in the set. The lack of a game used or autograph was a little disappointing, but not the end of the world.

Overall, 2002 Fleer Tradition is nothing spectacular. It's classy, but not classic. At the very least putting the set together should keep me busy for a while at least.

2002 Fleer Tradition Baseball Box Breakdown:

Packs per box: 36
Cards per pack: 10
Total cards: 363

Cards in set: 500
Singles: 346
Doubles: 3
Triples+: 0

Inserts: 14

  • Diamond Tributes: (1:6): 6 (1. Cal Ripken, 3. Derek Jeter, 10. Alex Rodriguez (2), 12. Chipper Jones, 15. Jason Giambi)
  • Lumber Company: (1:12): 3 (1. Moises Alou, 19. Corey Patterson, 20. Joe Crede)
  • Grass Roots: (1:18): 2 (1. Barry Bonds, 5. Alex Rodriguez)
  • Heads Up: (1:36): 1 (4. Mike Piazza)
  • This Day in History: (1:18): 2 (4. Tony Gwynn, 14. Roger Clemens)
  • Game Used/Autos: (1:72): 0

 

San Diego Padres Trevor Hoffman Signed 2002 Fleer Tradition Auto Card
San Diego Padres Trevor Hoffman Signed 2002 Fleer Tradition Auto Card
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 Derek Jeter 2002 Fleer Tradition
Derek Jeter 2002 Fleer Tradition "Lumber Company" Game Used Bat Patch Card SP
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2002 FLEER TRADITION
2002 FLEER TRADITION "THIS DAY IN HISTORY" GAME USED BAT BARRY BONDS - SWEET!
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2002 Fleer Tradition Bob Wickman #134 PSA 9 CS86
2002 Fleer Tradition Bob Wickman #134 PSA 9 CS86
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2002 Fleer Tradition Lumber Company Game Bat Albert Pujols
2002 Fleer Tradition Lumber Company Game Bat Albert Pujols
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2002 FLEER TRADITION GLOSSY ROGER CLEMENS BNR #174/200
2002 FLEER TRADITION GLOSSY ROGER CLEMENS BNR #174/200
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2002 Fleer Tradition DIAMOND TRIBUTES 15 Card Insert SET Ripken Jeter Chipper
2002 Fleer Tradition DIAMOND TRIBUTES 15 Card Insert SET Ripken Jeter Chipper
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2002 Fleer Tradition DIAMOND DEBUTS 15 Card Insert SET Prior Blalock Crawford
2002 Fleer Tradition DIAMOND DEBUTS 15 Card Insert SET Prior Blalock Crawford
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2002 Fleer Tradition THIS DAY IN HISTORY 25 Card Insert SET Jeter Ozzie Ripken +
2002 Fleer Tradition THIS DAY IN HISTORY 25 Card Insert SET Jeter Ozzie Ripken +
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2002 Fleer Tradition GRASS ROOTS 10 Card Insert SET Jeter Ripken Bonds Arod Irod
2002 Fleer Tradition GRASS ROOTS 10 Card Insert SET Jeter Ripken Bonds Arod Irod
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2002 Fleer Tradition PLAYS OF THE WEEK  30 Card Insert SET Griffey Pujols Bonds
2002 Fleer Tradition PLAYS OF THE WEEK 30 Card Insert SET Griffey Pujols Bonds
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2002 Fleer Tradition DEREK JETER New York's Finest Game Used Jersey Ordonez
2002 Fleer Tradition DEREK JETER New York's Finest Game Used Jersey Ordonez
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