...part of an occasional look at the Topps Traded sets.
After a three year break, Topps brought back the Traded set in 1999. Some things were familiar.
They used a box similar to what they used in 1992 and 1993.
Some things were different. There were only 121 cards in the set, which is the smallest traded set Topps had ever released. Also, the design of the traded cards was identical to the base cards, and has remained identical ever since. The only way to tell the difference in the T in the traded card number. As an incentive to buyers, Topps included an autographed card of a rookie in each box. My box's hit was Adam Dunn. That seems like an ok deal, an autograph in every box.
In 2000, Topps didn't change much. Here is what the box looks like:
There were a few more cards in the set, 135, but otherwise, it's pretty much the same, complete with another signed rookie card. My "hit" from this box was Chad Durbin (who??). Maybe those autographs weren't such a big deal, after all.
The 2001 set saw an increase in size and value. There are 265 cards in the set, almost double the previous year. And to buy a 2001 set, it's going to take alot more than double the 2000 price for two reasons: Pujols and Ichiro. To bad Topps ditched the complete box set with rookie autograph. Can you imagine the frenzy for a box if collectors knew they could pull a Pujols or Ichiro autograph? Would have been nuts.
Again in 2002 there was no factory box. You had to put the 275 card set together by hand. And for the first time, Topps threw in 110 short-prints. I hate short-prints! The set doesn't have any big name rookies, but the SPs keep the price of a set pretty high.
The SPs disappeared in 2003 and the price for a set dropped while the number of cards remained the same. Still no factory boxes, so that meant hand collating again.
About the only change for 2004 was the number of cards, which fell to 220. No factory box, no autographs, no big name rookies. Just 220 basic cards that forced you to hand build a set.
Now its on to the Cubs:
1999 - 5 Cubs....KKKKKorey Patterson, we had such hope!
2000 - 6 Cubs....Zambrano.....again we had such hope!
2001 - 8 Cubs....Luis Montanez, who finally made his debut with the Cubs ten years after this card was issued.
2002 - 8 Cubs....Mark Prior...and in keeping with our theme....we had such hope!!
2003 - 16 Cubs...Yes you read that right, a whopping 16 cards....Kenny Lofton was picked up from the Pirates when Corey Patterson got hurt. In my opinion, it was his offensive spark that led the Cubs to the division title.
2004 - 8 Cubs....Nomar Garciaparra was picked up in a three way trade that cost the Cubs practically nothing. We all felt that with Nomar, the Cubs were going all the way. I was at Nomar's third game with the Cubs, vs the Rockies in Denver. At least half the crowd was Cubs fans and Nomar got a standing ovation his first time up.