Saturday, September 5, 2015

Nostalgic Box Break: 2004 Topps Total (Part One)

It was loved. It was lost. It's been mourned ever since.

Topps Total managed to cram the majority of every team's 40-man roster into their entire base set, including guys that were a few years away. So it managed to be a cool little set with nice inserts. It made collectors happy, it made it retroactively popular, and it didn't last long enough, only going from 2002 to 2005.

Today, we'll be cracking open a box of 2004 Topps Total, with a ton of nice rookies and inserts in here, as well as a pretty cool base design.

36 packs, 10 cards per. A lot quicker to get through than Collector's Choice, but also a lot of fun. Let's dive in.

Pack One- Yeah, the design is grey, but it doesn't need to be an especially showy design. The picture does most of the talking.

Two guys who were on their last legs in 2004. Sele would play parts of 3 more seasons though. Somehow.

Best part of Topps Total: Fringe Players. These are two guys who were never huge stars, and bopped around rosters for a while. They weren't too relevant in 2004, either, but in Topps Total, they get a true home. I love that.

Our two pack highlights include a Frank Catalanotto and one of Ivan Rodriguez' first cards as a Tiger.

Pack 2. One thing about this product is that there are a ton of stationary shots, and the action shots they do have are a bit limited.

One of the many first-year cards in this set. Also, one of the co-founders of Monty Python.

Two semi-relevant players that have really long names. One even got the nickname 'Eye Chart'.

Two great middle infielders. One ended up replacing the other in Detroit, while the other just ended up playing DH.

Good news is this pack ends with one of our cover boys. Bad news is it's the only one that actually managed to have a decent career after being a cover boy.
No problem pulling a Zito, though. Great pitcher.

Pack 3. Such an odd array of players. It's very odd how a lot of these guys were really relevant back in 2004.

Two very interesting fringe players. One bopped around for a few years before becoming DH/fixture with the A's. The other is the only six-fingered pitcher in major league history. Count Rugen would be proud.

Two momentary stars. Crosby was still coming off his ROY season. George Sherrill, for a couple years, was one of the best closers in the majors.

Three 2004-era mega-hitters. Great Vidro shot, but proves that the Montreal stadium was kind of a shithole. Green and Jones were coming off some huge home run seasons.

Pack 4- You forget that this set could really pack some star power at some points.

Romero was a middle-reliever on all those great Phillies teams. I had no idea Kelly Stinnett was still playing in 2004. 

How often can you say you pulled three Hall of Famers in the same pack? I know Pujols is still playing, but the man is a Hall of Famer now, and his career isn't even over yet.

This set saves the shiny for the inserts. This one, a Total Topps one of Hank Blalock, has all the dufex and foil that was missing from the base set. I feel like that's a nice choice, too; the base set doesn't really need foil.


Jared Sandberg, nephew of Ryne, pictured in one of his last cards before...falling off the face off the earth.
Roberto Hernandez, the closer, in one of his 1,000,000 uniforms.

Two seasoned veterans. Radke, a guy who played ten decent seasons with a team and still is on their wall of fame, and Raul Mondesi, in the 'roundabout of teams' portion of his career. 

We've hit something resembling a big rookie card in this set. This is a card of Alberto Callaspo, who's been a journeyman through the last few seasons. Don't worry, we'll get some actual big rookies up here in a little bit.

Pack 6- Now the break starts to get good.

A friendly reminder that David "I Catch for Jon Lester...and That's About It" Ross was once a Dodger. Because I had no idea of this.

Two really great 2004-era pitchers. Sheets was the Brewers' mainstay until an injury curtailed his career around 2009. Peavy was the ace for San Diego until he got traded to 2009. Thankfully Peavy's still a part of the Giants' rotation.

Now...I'm not 100% sure that this is Joe Mauer's absolute rookie card...but either way, this is pretty freaking awesome.

Pack 7- Hendrickson and Buck have similar expressions.

The closest things to highlights in this pack. Kendall was pretty nice.

Pack 8- Well if half the pack's posed, you know you're doing something wrong.

Nono, Topps. TWO G'S. TWO OF THEM.
Forgot Ellis Burks was still around in 2004. Obviously didn't make it to the end of the season, or I would have known.

Two Yankee Legends in the same pack. That is pretty amazing.

And cap it off with one of the hardest throwing pitchers of the last 25 years.

Pack 9- Fun fact. This pack has two New York Mets catchers. Both in catcher's gear, too. Except Jason Phillips' card says he's a first baseman.

Jose Mesa, who was, until 2015, the Phillies saves leader, which says a hell of a lot about the Phillies, on the Pirates.
Bill Mueller, who, as a lot of people forget, was the starting third baseman in Boston when they won that World Series.

Another shiny insert, of Alex Rodriguez on the Rangers. And a base card of Mike Piazza. People seem to think both of these guys took steroids. Only A-Rod actually did.

Pack 10. 

Just to prove to you all that we can be human, two Yankees prospects that did not make it.

Pack highlights. Inge was a catcher when he came up. Chavez, back when he was NOT consistently on the DL.

Pack 11- This one holds the card I was ripping this box for.

Back in 2004 Marcus Giles was one of the most reliable second basemen in the league. I have no idea what happened. 
Randy Winn's last season, in 2010, was for the Yankees, back when Cashman thought it'd be easier to sign RANDY WINN, than to just resign Johnny Damon for another year like a normal human being.

Yup. This, folks, would be Felix Hernandez' rookie card. In the flesh. And I am never letting it out of my sight.
Next to him is an early card of Jhonny Peralta. 

 Pack 12-

This had to have been done on purpose.

Closest things to highlights. Finley was at least pretty good for a while.

I'll get part two of this box up sometime soon, but suffice to say it was a fun rip.


  1. I fell in love with Total from the first pack I bought in 2002, and bought many, many packs over the four years. I loved the lack of foil, the big checklist, the general lack of "lottery" inserts and the "less is more" designs. I mourned its loss for a number of years but have since come to accept it.

    There are a lot of posed shots in this set, but the action shots are actually pretty decent and fairly diverse... Overall, I'd say 2004 Total has better photography than some of the current "We had a bot select our photos out of the Getty Images archives" sets.

  2. I'm super jealous of this box break right now. Long live Total!

  3. Great break!The Yadi RC would have been a nice pull,although I think King Felix Is more of a HOF shoe In than he Is.