2002 Topps Traded and Rookies Baseball Review

Talk about your letdowns. 2002 Topps Traded and Rookies has gone to the dark side and jumped on the short print bandwagon. Every year I buy Topps for one reason: to build a set. To round out my set, I'm always sure to pick up Topps Traded. Until last year, it came in a set-friendly factory set. Last year it went to pack form. Although it was a change from what I was used to, the packs were fun to open and made making the set a little more challenging and fun.

After opening my box of 2002 Topps Traded, it looks like the completeist in me might have to wait for several months to finish this one off as the first 110 cards have been short-printed to one-per-pack. To put it politely, I'm a little pissed as this was mentioned in none of the sales literature I saw. I'm happy to buy one box of the stuff, maybe two. But with perfect collation it will take me four to five boxes of the stuff just to get them all.

I'm not against short-printing cards, but I think they should be left to certain sets and base Topps and its season-ending follow-up is definitely not one of them. Keep them to lines like SP Authentic, Fleer Premium and Topps Gallery. Those who buy Topps Traded generally aren't looking to make lots of money. The whole point of the set is to get something with tons of rookies at a reasonable price. But unlike most sets, it's not the desirable rookies that come in short form, it's the traded veterans. While this will help the set hold some value, it's going to be a nightmare to put together.

The design follows that of the Topps base set. The orange borders are bland and the banners uninspiring; photography is adequate, but not spectacular; card backs are standard Topps: full stats and bio tidbits are complimented by a clean look. The players are a mix of old veterans on new teams and hot prospects, more than 100 of which are making their Topps cardboard debut. The prospects come with their own design that can be summed up with one word: ugly. I look to rookie cards to give some insight on what the future might bring for these up-and-comers. Bios, however brief are key. What are we given? Stats and draft position. How exciting. Rounding out the 275-card checklist is "Who Would Have Thought," a now and then type tribute to some of the game's bigger stars.

Like last year's Topps Traded, you get two sets in the same pack as two Topps Chrome Traded cards are also included. The cards are all the same, except they come with a Chrome finish. Also, the veterans do not appear to be short-printed.

My box gave me everything as promised except box busting satisfaction. Inserts ran accordingly with the big pull coming in the form of a Reggie Sanders bat card. Last year Topps inserted repurchased a handful of original Topps Traded singles from years past and inserted some one per several thousand packs. I pulled a 1988 Topps Traded Ty Griffin then and wondered why they even bothered. This year the odds are down to one per box. And who did I get? A 1987 Topps Traded Chris James. Let's just say I'll trade the James card for the worst SP veteran I need to build my set. I'll even toss in a 1988 Topps Traded Ty Griffin.

As if I wasn't unimpressed to begin with, even the packaging has its problems. First, one pack was five cards short for whatever reason. Looking at the numbers, they must have been made up somewhere as I got the right number of cards overall. Then, I go to grab the last pack from the box and all the cards fall out. No, this wasn't the work of a shady dealer as the box was sealed. It was a matter of the pack not being sealed properly. Yeesh.

Needless to say, I'm not happy with my purchase. Although I'm not adverse to a change in format to freshen things up, I also subscribe to the cliche if it ain't broke don't fix it. Last year's SP-free set was one of my favorites for the simple reason. Now Topps Traded has become a run-of-the-mill set. Sure it has its rookies, but so will 2002 Bowman Prospects and Draft Picks once it's released.

2002 Topps Traded and Rookies Baseball Box Breakdown:

Packs per box: 24
Cards per pack: 10 (8/2)
Total cards: 240

Cards in set: 275
Singles: 172/48
Doubles: 7/0
Triples+: 0/0

Inserts: 11

  • Gold (1:3; #/2002)): 6 (2. Jay Powell, 14. Bartolo Colon, 16. Dan Plesac, 31. Mike Timlin, 52. Tim Raines, 67. Gabe Kapler, 93. Ryan Dempster, 162. Freddie Money)
  • Refractor (1:12): 2 (154. Chris Baker, 226. Joe Rogers)
  • Black Bordered Refractor (1:56; #/100): 1 (142. Colin Young)
  • Farewell Relic (1:590): 0
  • Hall of Fame Relic (1:1,533): 0
  • Repurchased Card (1:24): 1 (1987 Topps Traded 53. Chris James)
  • Signature Moves Autograph (1:91): 0
  • Team Topps Autograph (1:1,097): 0
  • Tools of the Trade Bat Relic (1:34): 1 (TTRR-RS. Reggie Sanders)
  • Tools of the Trade Jersey Relic (1:426): 0
  • Tools of the Trade Dual Relic (1:539): 0

 

2002 Topps Traded Chrome Complete set Jose Bautista Mark Teixeira (1-275) PSA?
2002 Topps Traded Chrome Complete set Jose Bautista Mark Teixeira (1-275) PSA?
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2002 Topps Chrome Traded & Rookies Black Refractor #T79 Carl Everett Card
2002 Topps Chrome Traded & Rookies Black Refractor #T79 Carl Everett Card
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2002 Topps Chrome Traded & Rookies Black Refractor #T79 Carl Everett Card
2002 Topps Chrome Traded & Rookies Black Refractor #T79 Carl Everett Card
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2002 Topps Traded Gold #T274 Ken Griffey Jr Cincinnati Reds Jr. Baseball Card
2002 Topps Traded Gold #T274 Ken Griffey Jr Cincinnati Reds Jr. Baseball Card
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2002 Topps Traded Gold #T274 Ken Griffey Jr Cincinnati Reds Jr. Baseball Card
2002 Topps Traded Gold #T274 Ken Griffey Jr Cincinnati Reds Jr. Baseball Card
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2002 Topps Traded Gold #T274 Ken Griffey Jr Cincinnati Reds Jr. Baseball Card
2002 Topps Traded Gold #T274 Ken Griffey Jr Cincinnati Reds Jr. Baseball Card
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Kenny Lofton 2002 Topps Traded Tools of the Trade Relics Game-Used Bat #TTRR-KL
Kenny Lofton 2002 Topps Traded Tools of the Trade Relics Game-Used Bat #TTRR-KL
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2002 Topps Traded Tools of the Trade Dual Relics Card #DTRRHN Hideo Nomo A
2002 Topps Traded Tools of the Trade Dual Relics Card #DTRRHN Hideo Nomo A
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2002 Topps Chrome Traded Black Refractors Angels Baseball Card #T172 Bobby Jenks
2002 Topps Chrome Traded Black Refractors Angels Baseball Card #T172 Bobby Jenks
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2002 Topps Chrome Traded Black Refractors Baseball Card #T243 Ryan Church /100
2002 Topps Chrome Traded Black Refractors Baseball Card #T243 Ryan Church /100
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2002 (RANGERS) Topps Chrome Traded Refractors #T169 Mark Teixeira
2002 (RANGERS) Topps Chrome Traded Refractors #T169 Mark Teixeira
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2002 (PADRES) Topps Chrome Traded Refractors #T227 Jason Bay
2002 (PADRES) Topps Chrome Traded Refractors #T227 Jason Bay
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