Featured Cards: 2003 Fleer MLB Hot Prospects Phillies Team Set — #8, Pat Burrell; #51, Jim Thome; #69, Bobby Abreu; 2003 Fleer MLB Hot Prospects Cream of the Crop #14 (CC), Jim Thome
Earlier this week, while I was returning various cards I recently scanned to their locations in my storage boxes, I stumbled across the 2003 Fleer MLB Hot Prospects, and was pleasantly surprised to rediscover something that Fleer did with the Phillies in that set:
Earlier in 2003, the Phillies opened their final season at The Vet wearing replicas of their 1971 uniforms, and Fleer exclusively used photos from that game for the base cards and the sole insert that didn’t bear an autograph or memorabilia swatches. During this time, unfortunately, small sets containing just a few players from each team was far more common than they are now. In fact, a quick scan of my 2003 checklists shows approximately 30 different sets containing five or fewer Phillies cards. It’s a shame that MLB Hot Prospects was one of them — I would’ve loved to see a larger 2003 team set showing nothing but photos of Phils wearing the ’71 unis. While the number of the days of so many ridiculously small sets are thankfully gone, I find disconcerting the relative lack, thus far, of cards issued by Topps picturing Phillies in throwback uniforms from either of the dates in 2011 where they wore them. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just another piece of evidence pointing to the fact that the MLB-sanctioned Topps monopoly is doing more harm than good for the hobby.
(By the way, I don’t think that any of us back in 2003 would have guessed that of the three players here, Thome would be the one playing with the Phils in 2012.)