It was announced in 2002 that Topps was going to include cards of draft picks into the factory sets that NOBODY EVER OPENS. Probably because they knew that many people never open these things, it was more of a public service announcement more than anything.
The announcement was that a ten card set of recently drafted players was going to be included inside 2002 Topps Baseball factory sets. The first five cards were to be inserted within 2002 Topps Factory Sets sold at retailer stores like WalMart and Target:
- Scott Moore, SS, Detroit Tigers (1st Round, Cypress High School)
- Val Majewski, OF, Baltimore Orioles (3rd Round, Rutgers University)
- Brian Slocum, P, Cleveland Indians (2nd Round, Villanova Univeristy)
- Chris Gruler, P, Cincinnati Reds (1st Round, Liberty Union High School)
- Mark Schramek, 3B, Cincinnati Reds (2nd Round, University of Texas-San Antonio)
- Joe Saunders, P, Anaheim Angels (2nd Round, Virginia Tech)
- Jeff Francis, P, Colorado Rockies (1st Round, University of British Columbia)
- Royce Ring, P, Chicago White Sox (1st Round, San Diego State University)
- Greg Miller, P, Los Angeles Dodgers (1st Round Supplemental, Esperanza High School)
- Brandon Weeden, P, New York Yankees (2nd Round, Santa Fe High School)
It's been six years now since these ten were drafted, let's play...
WHERE ARE THEY NOW???
Scott Moore was traded by the Tigers to the Chicago Cubs along with two other players in exchange for Kyle Farnsworth in 2005. He made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 2006. In 2007, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Steve Trachsel. He spent most of 2008 with Norfolk and as a member of the O's 40-man roster, looks to open the season with Baltimore in 2009.
Val Majewski made his MLB debut with the Orioles in 2004, appearing in nine games for the O's in a twenty-day stretch at the end of August/beginning of September. A shoulder injury kept him off the field in 2005, and he's been stuck in the minors since. He signed a minor league deal with the Houston Astros for the 2008 season, shuttling back and forth between the AA and AAA teams. He is currently a free agent.
Brian Slocum made his MLB debut with the Indians in 2006, appearing in eight games at the beginning of the season, and towards the end of it as a September call up. He spent all of 2007 and most of 2008 with the Indians' AAA team and was back with the Tribe in 2008 for two games. He is currently a free agent.
Chris Gruler struggled with shoulder injuries and never made it to the majors. He last played in the minors in 2006.
Mark Schramek also never made it to the majors. He last played in the minors in 2006.
Joe Saunders made his debut with the Angels in 2005, and after two decent years with the Halos, became an All-Star in 2008 with a 17-7 record and 3.41 ERA. He is looking for a repeat, if not better performance, in 2009.
Jeff Francis made his MLB debut in 2004, and earned enough votes in 2005 for sixth place in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. His 17-9 record helped lead the Rockies to their first NL championship in 2007. He is coming off a down year in 2008, and looks to rebound in the upcoming season.
Royce Ring was traded by the White Sox with a couple of players to the New York Mets for Roberto Alomar in 2003. He made his MLB debut with the Mets in 2005, and has since been traded to both the San Diego Padres (end of 2006) and Atlanta Braves (deadline deal in 2007). He is currently a free agent.
Greg Miller has been developing in the Dodgers system since 2002. Only 17 years old when drafted, the Dodgers could afford to take their time with the young left hander. He too suffered the effects of a season killing shoulder surgery in 2004, and has been used as both a starter and a reliever in the minor league system. He is on the Dodgers' 40-man roster and is looking for a spot in the LA bullpen in 2009.
Brandon Weeden was traded by the Yankees to the Dodgers for Kevin Brown. Two years later, he was picked by the Kansas City Royals in the Rule V draft. He never made it to the majors. But his story does not end here. He left baseball in 2006 and is back at school, (Oklahoma State University). He is currently on the OSU Cowboys Football team as a quarterback. He's only played in one game, but he's only a freshman. He may be starting for the Cowboys in the future.
So there you have it. Your 2002 Topps Baseball Draft Picks. There are a couple of big names, there were, sadly, a couple of busts, and we have one guy back at school playing an entirely different sport. But the one thing in common is that many of their cards are sealed forever in 2002 Topps factory sets, and may never see the light of day...EVER!!!