2002 Topps Gold Label Baseball Review

The first time I ever mentioned this product, I referred to it as an “ugly mess of a product.” I know those seem like harsh and shocking words (in fact, I take them back), especially coming from a fan of the Gold Label series, but in my opinion, this product just never quite measured up to its predecessors. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a nice set. In fact, if I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t have included it in Old School Group Break 2. However, it still is what I consider the “weak link” in the series, which happened to end with this very set. See if you agree.

Box Details: 18 packs per box, 4 cards per pack, $32
From:
Baseball Card Exchange


Base set: The base set is comprised of 200 cards and if you’re into hugely nameplated surnames, this set’s for you! That was actually a small pet peeve I’ve always had with this product (but the biggest one will be revealed later). Anyway, you might notice that these cards don’t shine the way the older GL cards do. Compare. Here you’ll notice a holofoil effect as opposed to a heavily glossed refractor effect, a different look from the “super premium” cards from previous sets. My box yielded 64 of 200 basic cards (32%) and 1 duplicate.


Gold (1:7 packs, numbered to 500): There are 3 parallels that mirror the base set: Gold, Platinum, and Titanium. The Gold cards, the most easily attainable, are seeded 1 in every 7 packs (1 in 11 retail) and are numbered to 500. I pulled 3: Garret Anderson (312/500, there he is again!), Derek Bell (002/500), and Tim Hudson (346/500).


Platinum (1:13 packs, numbered to 250): Slightly harder to find than the Golds, the Platinum parallels are seeded 1 in every 13 packs (1 in 28 retail) and are numbered to 250. I beat the odds and pulled 2 in my box: Tom Glavine (181/250) and Matt Morris (174/250).

MLB Award Ceremony Relics (seeding below): Just as they did in 2001, Topps decided to insert game-used relics into Gold Label with the MLB Award Ceremony set. Like the base cards, these also come in variations of Gold, Platinum, and Titanium, with Gold being the most common. The insertion ratios are as follows:

Gold Bat (1:32 Hobby, 1:84 Retail)
Gold Jersey (1:38 Hobby, 1:106 Retail)
Platinum Bat (1:79 Hobby, 1:217 Retail)
Platinum Jersey (1:57 Hobby, 1:159 Retail)
Titanium Bat (1:158 Hobby, 1:435 Retail)
Titanium Jersey (1:115 Hobby, 1:317 Retail)

My box yielded a Tim Raines Gold Bat and a Steve Garvey Titanium Jersey. I like how the Topps card corresponding with the award-winning year hangs in the background. Overall, the design is decent enough (though not as good as the previous year’s), but it just seems so weird to have cards this dark in the Gold Label brand. The same can be said for the parallels.

Also, new to 2002 were Major League Moments relics, which were considerably tough pulls. There were only 12 different cards, each with the 3 previously mentioned variations. I can’t link to a pictue of one of these right now, but you can Google for them if you’re curious. 🙂

Oh yeah, and these have to be the thinnest game-used cards ever. They comfortably fit in your standard toploader.

Final Thoughts/Grades:

Collation: A
No complaints here. 1 duplicate sure beats out the 15 duplicates from that last box I broke, both of which were made of 4-card packs.

Condition: B
There were a couple minor blemishes, but they were few and far between. I have pulled creased cards from this product before though.

Pulls: B
Overall, I was satisfied with my pulls. The parallel cards (minus Glavine) left a lot to be desired, but I was happy to pull relics of some new players for a change. This product has multiple game-used cards of superstars like Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Tony Gwynn, but how many game-used cards does Tim Raines have? Considerably less. That makes it cool.

Value: B
Somewhere in the $30-40 range is pretty decent for this box when most want $50+. Retail boxes sell for a little bit cheaper, have slightly longer odds as noted above, and contain only one game-used card as opposed to the two for Hobby.

Oh, and remember that little peeve I mentioned earlier about this product? Well, here it is. Most of you know that I’ll try all sorts of boxes at least once and in some cases, will try to complete base sets for some of my favorites (such as Fleer Showcase, Topps Gallery, and of course, Gold Label).

Prior to 2002, GL’s configuration was standard:
Hobby: 24 packs/5 cards/100-card base set*
Retail: 24 packs/3 cards/100-card base set*

In 2002:
Hobby: 18 packs/4 cards/200-card base set
Retail: 18 packs/3 cards/200-card base set

So, just to mess with us who like to actually hand collate sets of GL, Topps increased the size of the set while drastically decreasing how many total cards you got per box. Add in the fact that the designs weren’t quite as strong as in years past, it’s not surprising, at least to me, why this brand didn’t last another year.

* In 2001, the set had 115 cards, 100 base and 15 numbered SP rookies

Overall Grade: B

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Posted on February 27, 2010, in Box Breaks and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Fun break! I had to do a double take with the Mussina card….never seen him with a batting stance card before. At first glance I actually thought it was O’Neill.

  2. Thanks Ravi. I thought the same thing when I saw the Mussina. That’s why I chose to highlight it.

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