We’re only 14 days (two weeks!) away from opening day! But what does the number 14 have to do with the Detroit Tigers? As it turns out, 14 is the number of Detroit Tiger cards that Topps bothered to release with their 2003 base set of trading cards. That’s only 1.9% of the 721 card set.
2003 wasn’t a happy year for Tiger fans, and our youngsters weren’t even treated to the distraction of finding one of their players included in a freshly opened pack of cards – at least, not very often.
Other pitiful teams had several more cards included in the set. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays (63 wins) were the next worst team that year, but they still managed 21 cards in the set. The San Diego Padres (64 wins) finished one game better than the Devil Rays, and they had 20 cards in the set. The Yankees, on the other hand, had 37 cards. Hardly seems fair.
Here’s the cards that you may (or may not) have been lucky* enough to pull:
#52 Bobby Higginson
#119 Randall Simon
#139 Brandon Inge
#141 Ramon Santiago
#179 Wendell Magee
#212 Robert Fick
#232 Shane Halter
#378 Dean Palmer
#416 Carlos Pena
#432 Damion Easley
#438 Mike Maroth
#582 Dmitri Young
#594 Steve Sparks
#640 Detroit Tigers Team Card
*If you could consider getting a Wendell Magee card lucky.
For as obscure as that season’s roster was, there doesn’t seem to be that many obscure players in the bunch. I mean, I at least remember them all, and that was a pretty forgettable team. Perhaps the obscurity of the players, and not just the suckiness of the team, was the reason for the limited number of cards. They could have at least thrown an Alan Trammell manager card in there.
Topps was gracious enough to add 8 cards to the lot when they released their update series (or Traded and Rookies Series as I believe it was called back then), but looking back, the names leave a lot to be desired.