Monday, July 7, 2014

Mark Prior Monday - 2003 Topps Hobby Masters

When I was a kid, I bought packs and packs of cards. It wasn't the most cost efficient way to build sets and I don't know if I even consciously was thinking about completing them. I just remember the excitement of pulling a Cubs player or maybe one that was listed in Beckett. Fast forward to now and while I do think about completing base sets now, I hardly ever look to complete any inserts sets.

I have a run of Topps Cubs team sets back until the year I was born, 1978 and a smattering of cards from before then. But when I came across today's Mark Prior card, I knew I wasn't done. Yes, the base cards, I believe are complete. But somewhere along the way, Topps started including inserts that weren't part of the base set, so they don't show up on most team set checklists. Since re-entering the hobby a couple of years ago, I usually don't mind trying to put together a "master" team set as long as they aren't serial numbered, relics or autographs.

In 2003, one of these insert sets went by the name of Hobby Masters. I couldn't tell you the player criteria for being a part of this 20-card checklist, but it seems to just be an excuse to get 20 of the more popular players together in a set. Not every team had a representative while the Cubs got two (Sammy Sosa was the other). The cards came 1:18 hobby packs or 1:6 jumbo packs of Topps Series One.

I don't mind that kind of insert since its not ridiculously shortprinted or anything like that, but the design isn't real great. The background color is fine but the floating MLB logos seems kind of random. The Hobby Masters font size seems huge on the front but oddly, I don't have a problem with it on the back.

Hobby Masters was produced for a few years starting in 2002. After finding this card in the Mark Prior lot, I'm almost done tracking down the Cubs cards from the run and will post them all together when I do.


  1. There were few things I dreaded more than pulling an insert from Flagship in 2002/03. The designs were terrible, player selection was even worse, and most inserts were nearly worthless. But maybe I'm just bitter because the Pirates were almost entirely excluded from the insert checklists.

    1. Exclusion stinks but so does oversaturation. The Cubs had 11 cards in this insert set from 2002-2007. Sosa and Prior were each represented 4 times.

      I'm glad I waited to pick these up 10 years down the line for bargain prices.