Following the wildly successful 2001 Topps Future Archives series, Topps brought this series back for another run in 2002. Topps picked 10 "current" superstars and reprinted their rookie cards (or first Topps cards), adding the 2002 Topps Archives logo onto each card.
But unlike the previous year, where any five cards could be found in any factory set, the cards were specifically included in certain factory sets. Meaning, depending on the kind of set you bought, and more importantly where you bought it, you would get five specific cards.
In every 2002 Topps Hobby Factory set, you received the following five cards (players, and the year of the card reprinted):
- Alex Rodriguez, 1998
- Jason Giambi, 1994 (previously discussed in a What??! of the Week post)
- Pedro Martinez, 1993
- Ichiro Suzuki, 2001
- Jeff Bagwell, 1991 Traded
So now some questions remained. Who were the other five cards of? Where could you find them? Beckett had the answer, and I'll list them below, but nobody seemed to know what set they were inserted. I asked everyone on two separate message boards (this was actually my first post on the old Beckett Message Boards) if they knew anything. Alas, nobody did. A call to Topps Customer Service line was fruitless too.
As a last resort, I decided to send an e-mail to four people at Topps. Now before anyone begins to think I have connections, rest assured that I do not, and I was just guessing on names and e-mail addresses. An e-mail was sent to Arthur Shorin, Clay Luraschi, Marty Appel, and Sy Berger which read in part:
"Topps inserted five Future Archive cards in with the factory sets, with the only exception of having only 10 players on this set instead of 20. The cards were announced and placed on the checklist that was on the sales flyer that was given to hobby shops across the country. In purchasing a factory set, I opened the box, and found the first five cards mentioned (see above). On the back of each card, each was numbered 1 of 10, 2 of 10, 3 of 10, etc. That meant that there were five other cards to complete this subset. However, in talking to others who purchased factory sets and opened them, they found the same five cards I found in my set. The names of all 10 players somehow found their way on a checklist printed by a hobby magazine. However, in talking to many other collectors, nobody seemed to either know what I was talking about, nor did they open their factory sets to find them. And when they did, only the first five cards were in the factory set...
"I know I am taking a lot of valuable time away from your duties, but I just have one question, and I thought after asking everyone else, it was recommended that I ask you. Do these last five cards really exist? If they do, is there a way to acquire them directly from Topps? And if not, does that mean that they will come out again with the 2003 Topps factory sets?
"Thank you very much for your time."
Believe it or not, I received a response from Clay Luraschi the following day which stated:
"Yes, they do exist. I believe the 5 you have were found in a complete set that was featured in red box. Well, we made that the same set in a green box that was exclusive to JC Penny (sic) and Sears. And this is where those other 5 cards are.
"Clay"You mean that these other five cards could only be found in factory sets sold at these two stores? I didn't even know they sold baseball cards. I spent a day at the mall, visiting these two stores. But neither of them sold baseball cards. After talking to somebody at Sears, the gentleman said that while they don't sell cards at the store, they do offer them online.
A trip to the Sears website proved successful as the factory set that had the five elusive cards was right there. I bought it right away, and when it arrived, I opened the box, grabbed the factory set, opened said set, and included were:
- Ivan Rodriguez 1991 Traded
- Mike Piazza 1993 (previously discussed in a What??! of the Week post)
- Nomar Garciaparra 1995
- Ken Griffey Jr 1989 Traded
- Albert Pujols 2001 Traded
After months of frustration, the five cards that I needed to put this set to bed were in my hands and immediately added to my Topps Archives binder. It was a good hunt, practically a year in the making. It was also an indication of how far I would go to get the cards that I want. I was willing to spend for just those five cards.
Next time, I'll talk about the other set included into 2002 Topps factory sets, 2002 Topps Draft Picks. And we'll take a look at where they are now in their careers (if any of them panned out).
JayBee AnamaP. S.: To my friend the drizz, sorry about not posting scans earlier. It was late at night when I created this post, and I knew I wasn't going to get to scan the cards until this evening. For your viewing pleasure...jba