5. Topps Total- There were two mega sets issued during the 2002 summer: Topps Total and Upper Deck 40 man. The boxes of Total were pretty cheap, but with a total of 990 cards collectors needed several boxes and loads of patience to assemble this set. However, even if you are not into putting together this gigantic set, it's still a plus for team collectors and individual player collectors. There are dozens of players in this set that do not appear in other sets and honestly, where else can you find a set with 30 players from your favorite team? Not many Mark Little cards floating around, but he was on the 1998 Cardinals which makes it a keeper.
4. Upper Deck Vintage- If Upper Deck had decided to rehash the wrong Topps set and pass it off as a Vintage set I would have gladly walked the other way. However, a rehash of the 1971 Topps set is always worth your time and effort. These cards were really cool with 1971 players and they are also really cool with 2002 players. The set is not too big and not too difficult to find at low prices. I loved putting this set together and went through and picked up a lot of the insert sets too. There are relic cards and autographs too, but you might actually have to spend time and money to land them. Overall a really good set.
3. Topps Pristine- I got a bunch of these when they first came out and just remember being completely annoyed at the fact that there was a pack of cards inside another pack of cards. It reminded me a little bit of the 2001 Donruss cards with the "retro" packs stuffed inside of the regular packs. Over the years I seem to have ended up with a whole lot of these cards in my collection. A big chunk of the base set, a ton of the transparent autographs, and some of the encased rookie cards. For me, the autographs are the real stars of the show. The signatures are mainly younger players from that era, but that includes nice autographs from Pujols and Jimmy Rollins. If nothing else, these are fun cards to look at and worth a little bit of your time and money to track down a few.
2. Topps Super Teams- This was a fun little set and flies under the radar a little too often. The set focuses on 11 different World Series winning teams and features cards of their key players and manager. There are foil parallels, autographs, and relic cards too. Not the most popular set, but it's one of my favorites from this year. A lot of good names from good teams, cool pictures, and the autographs are aren't too expensive either. I cannot remember the last time I saw a complete set floating around.....
1. Topps Heritage- Based on the 1953 Topps set this is the second rehash set to appear in my list this week. However, Topps rehashing their own card design in a product that is one of the most popular releases annually versus whatever Upper Deck did with the 1971 Topps set (it's beautiful) is a completely different story. I liken the Topps Heritage sets to Godfather Part 2 with the original design of these cards being the original Godfather. I almost liked this set better than the 2001 Topps Heritage set for several reasons. It has the short prints and logo variations and night card variations and everything that goes into a good recreation of the 1953 Topps set, but the extras that come with a modern baseball card set were a little bit more achievable in this set. I am still looking for the Edmonds autograph....one day.