Without doing a lot of research, I think that relic cards, that is, cards with pieces of a players jersey or bat, started to appear around 2000. By 2002, the practice was quite common. If you're not too choosy it's easy to pick up relic cards on eBay or at a card show for little money. Here is a large sampling of the 2002 relic cards I own.
Bowman Draft Picks Freshman Fiber$2.50 at a card show.
E-X Behind The Numbers Game Jersey
A two-toned jersey bit with stitching behind a number cutout. $3.49 on eBay.
Fleer Hot Prospects MBL Hot Tandoms
A completely misleading card name but two jersey bits from good players for $6.24 on eBay
Fleer Tradition This Day In History Game Worn
Although I like buying relic cards on the cheap, I like it even better when I pull a card like this from a box.
Stadium Club World Champions Relics
$12.49 for a piece of Mike Schmidt on eBay.
Sweet Spot USA Jersey
Back in the day I was buying up every Roy Oswalt card I could find. $4.10.
Topps Traded Tools of the Trade Dual Relics
Another perhaps misleading card. Is this supposed to have an Astros uniform and a Cubs uniform worn by Alou? I don't remember the Astros wearing that color blue.
Topps 206 Relics
I like the 2002 Topps 206 set and I like the relic cards. The jersey bit is in a mini card which is inset in a larger card and the whole think encased in plastic, except for the opening which allows you to actually touch the relic. Similar to what Topps will do later with Allen & Ginter. $3.50 in eBay.
Topps Pristine In The Gap
One of the smaller relic pieces you will find but I only paid $3.13.
Topps Reserve Uniform Relics
For some reason, I ended up buying two of these cards, both featuring Rolen. And both have a strip. There was also a card featuring bats.
Topps Ten Relics
$6.49 on eBay.
UD Authentics Reverse Negative Jersey Gold
I was never quite sure what the deal was with the reverse negative feature. This is a gold parallel numbered to 275. Only $5.08 on eBay.
UD Piece of History MVP Club Jersey
The relic cards aren't any better looking than the base cards. But a Frank Thomas relic card for only $3.00 at a card show.
Upper Deck Double Game Worn Gems
I actually pulled this from a repack. It features Jermaine Dye and Tim Hudson. Numbered to 450.
Upper Deck Game Base
Another card I got in a repack. It's a piece of a base. Did Andruw step on it once?
Upper Deck Ballpark Idols Uniform Sluggers
$3.50 on eBay. A piece of Jeff Bagwell's pants!
Upper Deck Diamond Collection Bat Around Quads
Bat pieces from Robin Ventura, Scott Rolen, Adrian Beltre and Engardo Alfonzo. $2.50 at a card show.
Upper Deck Rookie Update Star Tributs
Josh Beckett jersey with a stripe for $3.10 on eBay.
That concludes my review of 2002 baseball cards. Thanks for following along!