when the 2001 season ended, it took with it the careers of many players. not all of those players, such as jose canseco, knew at the time that they had played their final big league game, but some did. there were at least three players that i recall had announced their impending retirement during the season. harold baines may have done so as well, but i don't think he made it into any 2002 card releases. the three i am referring to, of course, are tony gwynn, mark mcgwire, and cal ripken jr.
all three of them were included in a number of card sets in 2002, which made me pretty happy. lots of final tributes to collect. unfortunately, some of the cards were short prints or some other sort of shenanigans, so i don't have them all. here are the ones that i do have
2002 donruss - gwynn
thanks to donruss for putting the complete stats on the back
i'm not sure if donruss took a page out of topps' book or vice versa, but numbering the card to match gwynn's jersey number was a nice touch
cal had more hits than tony, but played in a lot more games too.
no big mac in 2002 donruss, which is weird because he was in this next set
2002 donruss fan club - gwynn
again with the complete career stats, and again card number 19
here's big mac
and his full career stats.
donruss didn't give him the card number/jersey number tribute, though.
one of my favorite cal ripken jr. final tribute is from 2002 fleer maximum
but they didn't bother with the full year-by-year career stats.
both gwynn and ripken had cards in the 2002 fleer tradition set, but i believe they were both short prints. i don't own them anyway, but i do have mcgwire's card from the set
all three are also in 2002 fleer ultra. here's gwynn (i only have the gold medallion edition parallel)
no mcgwire in 2002 leaf certified, but there were cards for gwynn
there's a lot of red on the back, too.
here's mcgwire's card from the set
for some reason, topps did not make a card for ripken in 2002 which boggles the mind.
they didn't include him in their fantastic 206 release, either. gywnn's card from that set is one of the best, however.
there are three mcgwire cards in the set - two feature him as a cardinal
with a variation of the second card showing him as an athletic
as a side note, i decided to collect the 206 set when it first came out. i don't know what happened to my want list, but i will be posting it soon, just in case anyone has any of these to spare.
2002 topps heritage again left ripken off the checklist. gwynn's card is a short print, so i only have big mac's card
upper deck gave cards to all three, however, in their 2002 flagship set, although they are mostly checklists; pulling a strategy from topps (1975 al kaline and 1978 brooks robinson for example). here's gwynn's
don't worry about mcgwire, though. upper deck put out a mcgwire-centric subset as part of their 2002 ud prospect premieres set. here's one of the four cards in the subset
mcgwire was also included in the 2002 upper deck sp legendary cuts set, but i don't have that card. i do have tony gwynn's card from the set
but there was not a ripken card made for this set.
finally, we have 2002 upper deck vintage. the final tribute lineup is identical to the upper deck flagship - gwynn only got a checklist
mcgwire got a regular card
with a back that matches the late series 1971 o-pee-chee cards