Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2003 Topps Total

The second release of Topps Total in 2003 was just as big as the first one, 990 cards. There was a significant change with the set, though, as Topps went from the glossy paper to cardboard.  The cards have the feel of cards from twenty years earlier.  I wonder if this was done as a cost-savings move?

Topps stayed with the cardboard for the final two years of Total, too.  I wonder if that was their last modern set on cardboard?  And by modern set, I mean a set that isn't trying to duplicate a set from earlier years, like Heritage.

Though the set size remained the same, the number of Cubs got a slight boost, going from 33 to 35.  The bad news is that ten of the 35 are prospects, and only one of the ten saw any time (only 10 games) with the 2003 Cubs.  Why was Total trying to become Bowman?  Seems likes Topps was already clouding their vision for the brand.

Here are the ten "prospects".

The one that played in ten games was David Kelton...10 games...12 at bats...2 hits...not good.  Kelton would play in eight games for the Cubs the next season, and that was it.  The only other of the ten with any MLB experience was Francis Beltran.  Most of these guys were Total busts.

Three others in the set didn't play at all for the 2003 Cubs...

...Will Ohman was recovering from Tommy John surgery, Kevin Orie was released in spring training, and Steve Smyth, after spliting 2002 between the Cubs and AAA, spent all of 2003 in AAA.

The 2003 Cubs won the NL Central and the first round of the playoffs before choking to the Marlins in the NLCS.  Most of the players on that team are in the set.  But a couple key contributors were picked up during the season and aren't shown as Cubs, Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez.

Here are the 22 in the set that did log time with the Cubs in 2003.

Three of the cards (Bako, Karros, and Remlinger) are photoshop jobs.  The worst of the bunch would be...

...Eric Karros.  The uniform doesn't look too bad, but look at the number Topps gave him...his old Dodger number, 23.  The problem with that?   Though not officially retired yet, there is no way that #23 was ever going to be worn by another player--it belongs to Ryne Sandberg.

And how did Total do compared to the flagship brand?  Including Update, the flaship had 995 cards.  The Cubs got 40 cards...and 32 of them played for the 2003 Cubs, which blows away Total's Cub tally of 22.

1 comment:

  1. Now I'm not an expert by any means, but do the Cubs even have a uniform with a big red number on the front?