This week's subject was the 2002 American League Rookie of the Year. In his four years with the Toronto Blue Jays, he was sent to different positions when upper management decided to bring in other players via free agency. Regardless of where he was assigned, he was always ready to play. And with the Blue Jays luck (or lack of it in many cases), there was always a place for him in the lineup. He can also lay claim to the fact that he reached the World Series in consecutive years with two different teams. He was part of the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox, and also a member of the 2008 AL Champion Tampa Bay Rays. This week, our subject is Eric Hinske.
Thanks to his stellar rookie season (.279, 24 HR's, 84 RBI's), major league managers had no problem voting him in as the third baseman for the 2002 Topps All-Star Rookie team. That meant that his 2003 Topps cards, the ones with the easily chippable blue borders, would include the prestigious rookie cup. So let's get to it shall we? Here is his 2003 Topps #40 card:
This card looks really good. These solid blue borders make any player from the Blue Jays, or for that matter, any team whose primary color is blue (like the Cubs, Dodgers, Royals) a work of art. And this one is no exception. The picture is nice and clear, and shows Eric on his follow through to first, as if the ball is about to drop in front of the outfielder for a hit. Done looking yet? Here's card #2:
I know what you're thinking. "It's the same card." "What kind of trick is this?" I can assure you that this is no trick. The above card is an actual card. Now before you get the pitchforks and torches out, just take a good look at card number 2. Do you notice anything? Anything at all? Is there something amiss? Can you figure it out? I'll give you a hint. I've mentioned it throughout the post.
Wait...there IS something missing. What in the...Where did it...
Just to let you know, I did not remove anything from card number two. This is a real card. But now it's up to you to figure out what set this card is from. Good luck.
UPDATE: Saturday, December 6, 2008.
I thought that this would be a challenge. But the guy over at Stale Gum got the right answer. Yes, the second Hinske card comes from the 2005 (or is it 2006, I never could figure it out) Topps Rookie Cup set. If you are not familiar with this obscure set, it was Topps' way to cash in on all those collectors who seriously collect the players who make this team, specifically, the ones with the trophy on it. Now for a set devoted to the ASR team, I found it quite ridiculous that Topps failed to include the darn rookie cup in the reprint. And quite frankly, I didn't even know the guy (Chris) actually reads my blog.
On another note, friend of the blog tdlindgren (please check out his blogin effort...it's good reading) said that this card could be it's own What??! topic. Frankly, many cards in the 150-card reprint set could be a What??! topic. Why???
- If Ryne Sandberg made the 1982 team (as stated on his base card), why did Topps reprint his 1984 card???
- It also seems that Topps forgot what year Ozzie Smith was named to the team. He was the shortstop for the 1978 team, he had his rookie card in the 1979 Topps set, but they reprinted his 1980 card for their reprint set.
- All six 1998 reprint cards have the wrong colored borders on it (I actually think they switched the colors from the 2002 set with this one).
- On a couple of the 1994 cards, the borders are extremely thin (if not even existent).
- What happened to Willie McCovey, and why was his card not included with this set?
- How did they get six cards from the 2006 Topps set on here? I can understand including players from the 2005 Topps ASR team (as this was supposed to be a 2005 set), but the 2006 Topps cards had not come out yet? Why didn't they just put all ten guys in the set on here? Better question, what the heck are you supposed to call these cards? I mean, technically, they're reprints, but they came out before the regular cards did? I guess in the grand scheme of things, it won't matter, but...I don't know...
I love the set. I really do, and as of now, of the ten "prospects" they added (possible future ASR rookie team members), they got one right. Troy Tulowitzki was included as a short printed autograph card. And he did wind up winning the award in 2007. It remains to be seen what happens to the nine other guys (although I think Yunel Escobar has now missed his opportunity as he is no longer a rookie). jba