Thursday, March 23, 2023

Cheap Wax Wednesday Box Breaks: 2003 Fleer Tradition Baseball

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2003 Fleer Tradition Baseball celebrates the 40th anniversary of the company’s last vintage Fleer baseball release, 1963 Fleer. The base set features 485 cards with the majority of them mimicking the ’63 design. 

If Rookie Cards are your thing, this set is definitely not for you. The checklist has just one, Dave Pember. Having said that, there is a Prospects subset that does feature some notable names including Victor Martinez, Jake Peavy, and Francisco Rodriguez.

You should expect to find two relic cards in each hobby box.

2003 Fleer Tradition Baseball Box Break

Cards per pack: 10
Packs per box: 40
Price paid: $50

Shop for 2003 Fleer Tradition Baseball boxes on eBay.

Pack 1 highlights:

Troy Glaus, Mark Buehrle & Mike Schmidt Milestones (1:5 packs)

Pack 2:

Ellis Burks, Kerry Wood, Mark Teixeira, Ken Griffey, Jr. & Barry Bonds Checklist (1:4 packs)

The checklist cards come with puzzle fronts. There are two player photos to complete with the checklists; Barry Bonds and Derek Jeter.

Pack 3:

Mike Sweeney, Miguel Tejada, Mariano Rivera, Blue Jays Team Leaders & Ken Griffey, Jr. Lumber Company (1:10 packs)

Pack 4:

Rafael Palmeiro, Randy Johnson, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Expos Team Leaders & Derek Jeter Checklist (1:4 packs)

Pack 5:

Bobby Abreu, Mike Piazza, Freddy Garcia & Junior Spivey BS

Spivey made the only All-Star appearance of his career in 2002, and finished the season batting .301 with 16 HR, 78 RBI and 103 runs scored. 

Pack 6:

Fred McGriff, Victor Martinez, Edgar Renteria, Trot Nixon & Alex Rodriguez BS

Pack 7:

John Lackey, John Olerud, Barry Bonds & Giants Team Leaders

Pack 8:

Mark Mulder, Jeff Kent, Vinny Castilla & Adam Kennedy BS

Pack 9:

Mike Hampton, Torii Hunter BS, Orioles Team Leaders & Derek Jeter Checklist (1:4 packs)

Hunter won his second straight Gold Glove in 2002, while also finishing sixth in the AL MVP balloting. 

Pack 10:

Albert Pujols, Magglio Ordonez, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Alfonso Soriano BS & Fred McGriff Milestones (1:5 packs)

Pack 11:

Carlos Lee, Barry Zito, Tom Glavine & Pedro Martinez 1936 Black & White Goudey (0866/1936)

Pack 12:

Eric Chavez, Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt BS & Bernie Williams Lumber Company (1:10 packs)

Pack 13:

Rafael Furcal, Derek Lowe BS, Braves Team Leaders & Barry Bonds Checklist (1:4 packs)

Derek Lowe led the Red Sox in wins (21) in 2002, and finished third in the AL Cy Young voting behind Barry Zito and his Sox teammate Pedro Martinez. 

Pack 14:

Bernie Williams, Larry Walker & Todd Helton

Pack 15:

Roger Cedeno, Wily Mo Pena, Vladimir Guerrero BS & Pat Burrell Standouts (1:40 packs)

Pack 16:

Orlando Cabrera, Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez, Mariners Team Leaders, Garret Anderson BS & Derek Jeter Checklist (1:4 packs)

Pack 17:

A couple of Hall of Fame righties; Mike Mussina & Pedro Martinez

Some would say Pedro got robbed of yet another Cy Young in 2002. He led the American League with a 2.26 ERA (to Zito’s 2.75), 239 strikeouts (Zito – 182), and 0.923 WHIP (Zito – 1.134), but was still edged out in the voting by Zito (who won 23 games to Pedro’s 20).

Pack 18:

Vernon Wells, Trevor Hoffman, Johnny Damon, Jim Edmonds BS, Frank Malzone ML & Luis Gonzalez Milestones (1:5 packs)

The ML after Frank Malzone stands for Missing Link. There are 19 Missing Link cards in the base set featuring players who were active in 1963 but were not featured in the year’s Fleer set.

Pack 19:

Rickey Henderson, Greg Vaughn & Curt Schilling BS

Pack 20:

Kenny Lofton, Juan Gonzalez, Whitey Ford ML, Adam Dunn BS, Al Kaline Milestones (1:5 packs) & Ivan Rodriguez Game Used (1:35 packs)

Pack 21:

Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Craig Biggio & Barry Bonds Milestones (1:5 packs)

Pack 22:

Shea Hillenbrand, Roberto Alomar, Jake Peavy, Sammy Sosa BS & Derek Jeter Checklist (1:4 packs)

Hillenbrand once sponsored a couple of tigers at a zoo about 10 minutes from where I grew up. He used to make appearances there as well. 

Pack 23:

Gary Sheffield, John Valentin, Ben Sheets, Tim Hudson, Royals Team Leaders, Eric Hinske BS & Chipper Jones Lumber Company (1:10 packs)

Pack 24:

Keith Foulke, Travis Hafner, Mo Vaughn & Miguel Tejada BS

Pack 25:

Mike Lowell, Jeff Bagwell, Jimmy Rollins, Paul Konerko BS & Willie McCovey ML

Pack 26:

Jose Vidro, Edgar Martinez, C.C. Sabathia, Yankees Team Leaders, Eric Gagne BS & Barry Bonds Checklist (1:4 packs)

How good was Gagne’s 2002 banner season? Just a 1.97 ERA and 52 saves. He finished fourth in the Cy Young voting and 12th in the MVP race. 

Pack 27:

Lance Berkman & Kevin Millwood

Pack 28:

Nomar Garciaparra & Derrek Lee

Pack 29:

A.J. Burnett, Moises Alou, Billy Williams ML & Frank Thomas 1936 Black & White Goudey (0039/1936)

Pack 30:

Carlos Delgado, Brad Lidge & Eddie Mathews Milestones (1:5 packs)

Eddie Mathews is probably the most underrated player in the 500 Home Run Club. 

Pack 31:

Roy Halladay, Adrian Beltre & Harmon Killebrew Milestones (1:5 packs)

Pack 32:

Carlos Beltran, Randy Johnson, Dodgers Team Leaders & Barry Bonds BS

Pack 33:

Carl Crawford, Billy Wagner, John Smoltz BS & Miguel Tejada Lumber Company (1:10 packs)

Pack 34:

Manny Ramirez, Bret Boone & Willie Stargell ML

Stargell played just 10 games in 1962, and while he would get a 1963 Topps RC, he did not appear in the 1963 Fleer set. 

Pack 35:

Raul Mondesi & Mets Team Leaders

Pack 36:

Troy Glaus, Jason Varitek & Mark Prior 1936 Black & White Goudey (0082/1936)

Pack 37:

Brandon Phillips & Barry Bonds Checklist (1:4 packs)

Pack 38:

Lou Brock ML, Todd Helton, Tim Salmon & Derek Jeter Checklist (1:4 packs)

Brock’s Topps RC released in 1962, but he also didn’t make the 1963 Fleer checklist. 

Pack 39:

Barry Zito & Jorge Posada

Pack 40:

Ken Griffey, Jr. Milestones (1:5 packs), Red Sox Team Leaders & Craig Biggio Game Used Gold Parallel (055/100)

Lastly, the Lou Brock card back. 

If you’re wondering how I fared on the Checklist puzzles, I pulled nine of them: four Bonds and five Jeters. 

The 1963 Fleer design really brings you back and I did appreciate the inclusion of the Missing Link subset cards. There were some big names included that didn’t get a card in the original set.

I certainly can’t complain about my two relic pulls, with both being Hall of Fame inductees. It also helped that the Biggio was a Gold parallel limited to just 100 copies.

An entertaining product filled with modern and vintage Hall of Famers makes for a fun rip.

I purchased this box quite a few years ago now. The only one currently available on eBay carries an astronomical $200 price tag.

Shop for 2003 Fleer Tradition Baseball cards on:

Want more installments of Shane Salmonson’s Cheap Wax Wednesday? Check out his other breaks in the archives.

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