Monday, October 17, 2011

Completed sets: 2003 Topps Total baseball, part 1

I might have mentioned recently that I completed some sets.  Yeah, I think I did a couple posts on those.  You might recall that one was the 990-card behemoth, 2003 Topps Total.  As promised, beginning today I'm scanning every single one of those cards for you, one nine-pocket page at a time.  You'll see 11 pages per post because that's the way I feel like doing it, meaning you'll see 99 cards each in 10 total posts.  I thought about doing a sort of "Where are they now?" for each player, but with 990 that gets kind of daunting, so instead I'll offer up a few comments for each group.

Today's feature:  cards #1-99, or:  I got 99 cards but McGriff ain't one (sorry, Tim)
There's a nice tic-tac-toe of current and former Tigers starting with V-Mart all the way down through Pena.  Also, did Topps' randomizer screw up or did they just feel like putting a bunch of "A's" at the beginning of the set?  Anderson blew out his arm after going #1 overall in 1997, which admittedly wasn't a very good first round.  Pena's still kicking after bouncing around a few teams.

Rodriguez and Beltre highlight an otherwise meh group, although a couple of these guys did enjoy or have enjoyed a good few seasons in the majors.  Piatt was a Mitchell Report steroid user, which explains his ridiculous minor league stats.  

Myers and Beckett are the best of the bunch here, though again, a few of these guys spent some years in the majors.  Beckett's Marlins would win the Series against the Yanks this year, a couple years before he was flipped to the Sawx in the blockbuster that brought Hanley Ramirez to the Fish.  Chen never amounted to what his potential promised.  Everett is one of my least-favorite former Tigers due to his pathetic bat.

Bordick took over for Cal at SS so I never liked him much.  Alfonseca has extra fingers and toes.  Drew's an overpaid douche.  Bradley is an insane, wife-threatening douche.  Wells is a fat douche and I'm not ever calling him "Boomer."  Alomar enjoyed a nice career as a catcher and has some managerial chops which he'll hopefully be able to test in the Majors soon. (catchers make the best managers)

A nice start with Clemens and Gonzo, a pair of roiders, one on trial and the other who pretty much fell off the face of the earth after 2003. (a few years after the ill-advised trade to the Tigers)  Hermanson was the #3 overall pick in '94 but settled for a mediocre career.  Broussard was a Reds 2nd-round pick whom Cleveland sent to Seattle in exchange for Shin-Soo Choo, a steal of a deal.  Klesko will likely be remembered fondly by the Braves by virtue of playing on some of those 1990s squads, after which he played quite a few years with the Padres as well.

Here's one of the more interesting groups.  Smith threw the Cards' most recent no-no as a rookie in 2001, then was shipped to Philly with Placido Polanco in the the deal that brought Scott Rolen to St. Louis; the Phillies then foolishly dealt Polanco to the Tigers for Ugueth "I KEEL YOU" Urbina.  Aaron "Fucking" Boone was traded to the Yankees in July of this season and it proved to be a crucial move for New York when he finished off the Red Sox in the ALCS with an 11th inning HR in game 7. (well, at least they lost to the Marlins.  HA.)  Cliff Floyd had a solid 17-year career.  Schilling got some blood on his sock the year after this set was made, then won a ring.  Cuddyer's been a key part of some successful (and not-so-successful) Twins teams and I hope they can keep him.  Guillen was traded to the Tigers the year after this set for Juan Gonzalez (not that Juan Gonzalez) and Ramon Santiago, who found his way back to Detroit.

Wow, here's a cavalcade of mediocre pitching!  Burnett is a head case with the Yankees, though his stuff has never been in doubt.  Perez has had his ups and downs, and since he was with the Mets most recently, you'll be shocked to learn it's been mostly downs.  Morris was a 1st-rounder in '95 and won 22 games in 2001, then had a few more so-so seasons before retiring in 2008.  Kearns, the only non-pitcher here worth mentioning, went #7 overall in 1998 but after a pretty good rookie season never lived up to that billing.  Dreifort, whom I've mentioned before, somehow parlayed 48 career wins into $60 something million, and again, people wonder why the Dodgers still suck.

Here's a few good ones to work with.  Alou was just an excellent player over his long career; not a HOFer but a guy any team would love to have. (and seven did)  Branyan was the prototypical 1990s Indians prospect--50% power, 50% strikeouts, 0% glove.  Ryan cashed in on a good 2005 season with the O's, had two good seasons as Toronto's closer and pretty much spent the rest of the time injured.  Burks had a Moises Alou-like career, which is cool because I wrote that before I even checked his similarity scores.  Glaus only played 13 seasons but had a monster 2000 then played a huge role in helping the Rally Monkey Angels win a ring in 2002.  Kelly Wunsch has a funny name.

Giles, after being given away by the Indians to the Pirates, would be on his way to his final team, the Padres, later in this season; the Pirates would get Oliver Perez and some Canadian OF named Jason Bay.  Billy the Kid was an all-star with 44 saves this season.  Neifi Perez was a complete waste of a roster spot.  Jose Valverde was pretty good for Detroit this year and has done wonders for the potato industry.  Ramos won a ton of games in the minors, then was traded by Oakland to the Rangers in the deal that brought Carlos Pena to Oakland, from whom he was sent to the Tigers in the deal with included Jeremy Bonderman.

Everybody loved Sean Casey, who was one of the most popular players among MLBers ever, and he was outstanding for the 2006 Tigers, especially in the World Series.  Baez was a closer for a few teams but really only good from 2003-2005 in that role.  Utley had a meh rookie season that year but has since played like the first-rounder he was.  Sandberg, nephew of Ryne, somehow hit 16 HR in 2002, but 2003 would see his final game.  Long was a prototypical 2000s steroid-era double-digit HR hitter who played for eight seasons.  Clayton was a pretty good SS for 17 seasons after being picked #15 by the Giants in 1988.

Lidge went from lethal setup man to lethal closer to crucial homer giver-upper to World Series champ.  Kenny Rogers threw a perfect game and then punched a guy, but his 20-year career after being drafted in the 39th round is the definition of overachiever.  Vizquel is a Gold Glove stalwart who's STILL playing despite 2011 being his 23rd season.  Borchard was a White Sox 1st-round bust who apparently should've chosen football.  Mondesi was the 3rd of FIVE consecutive Dodgers Rookies of the Year (and they STILL didn't win shit!) but after putting up nice numbers for about 10 years, he fell off a cliff. (and missed out on the 2003 World Series appearance with the Yanks, by the way)

Tune in soon for the next 99, plus the (mostly vintage) haul from Sunday's show!


  1. God, you've got to love a set with Kelly Wunsch AND Valerio de los Santos AND Boomer Wells (is that only time he was referred to as Boomer on a card?)

    Love Total.