Tuesday, January 21, 2014

2002 Topps Total Cubs

Topps came flying out of the box with the 2002 Total set, all 990 cards of it.  Dividing by 30, each team should have 33 cards.  The Cubs got 33.  Did every team?

Though the concept is that you have a set with all of the team's players, it isn't really possible unless you release the set after the season.  This set came out in June.

The 2002 Cubs had a total of 44 players make an appearance in a game.  Of those, 27 had a card in the Total set.  That means that six in the set never played for the 2002 Cubs.

And then there would be seventeen 2002 Cubs that weren't part of Total.  Many left out were either late trade additions or rookies with a September cup of coffee.  Their exclusion makes sense.  The snubbed are Mark Bellhorn, Bobby Hill, Angel Echevarria, Augie Ojeda, Robert Machado, Chad Hermansen, Kevin Orie, Mike Mahoney, Mario Encarnacion, Steve Smyth, Joe Borowski, Carlos Zambrano, Will Cunnane, Donavon Osborne, Ron Mahay, Francis Beltran, and Courtney Duncan.  Unless you're  a Cubs fan, there are a lot of names on that list that you probably never heard of.  Keep in mind that the 2002 Cubs were 67-95.

Let's look at the cards.

Up first are the 27 that saw action with the 2002 Cubs:


Looking over the cards, do you understand why the Cubs lost 95 games? There was some pitching potential, but not much among the position players.

The cards also include a couple photoshop jobs: Moises Alou went from an Astro to a Cubs, but he was put in a Cubs road uniform at Wrigley Field.  Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca's Marlins uniforms were changed, but you can see the teal wall in the background.  It was pretty easy to change Alex Gonzalez from a Blue Jay to a Cub.

Now on to the six that never suited up for the Cubs in 2002. 

Tapani and Zuleta were let go over the off-season.  The other four were low-level prospects in 2001.  Seems like an odd choice to include them in a set that's supposed to have all the team's players.  Of the other four, they were all busts.  Anderson never rose above A, Coffie played 23 games for the 2000 Orioles, but otherwise went through several farm systems, Gripp maxed out in AA, and Jackson went as high as AAA.

As an aside, the Topps flagship and update sets combined for 993 cards.  Of those, there were 40 Cubs.  From the 40,  27 played in 2002--same number as Total.


  1. I see a lot of love'm, hate'm there. Also see the Cubs new hitting coach Bill Mueller. He's got his work cut out for him.

  2. I was one of the apparent few buying Topps Total during its run. I've got a complete set of 2002, and at least 650 cards from each of the other years. Aside from the simple, non-foil design, I liked the fact that it gave cards to bench guys and relief pitchers who otherwise got ignored.

    I think the questionable prospects was due to the fact that one MUST have rookie cards, mustn't one... even if they're for Ivanon Coffie (who I remember from his stint in Baltimore).