A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Sunday, June 2, 2013

2013 Archives

Well, Topps finally released their Archives set.  I remember last year when it made it's debut that a lot of people had gripes.  Most of them were about the cardstock being super flimsy.  Others didn't like the checklist, which neglected some teams (or omitted them completely).  Still, others weren't all that crazy about a set with more retired players, or they weren't fans of certain set designs.

Sorry, didn't mean to start off so negatively.  The good things about Archives are getting to see set designs that you happened to enjoy being used again, usually with new players in them.  The inserts last year were pretty cool as well, from the 3-D cards to the 1977 style cloth stickers.  The deckle edged cards were probably my favorite from that set.  So they did have some stuff going for them.

Last night they finally appeared at the Walmart in my town, and I scooped up a sample of them.  I have to say that if you griped last year, the same issues are still there.  If you liked it last year, it's much of the same.

I wasn't too stoked on most of the stuff that I pulled, so I'll just give a few of the "highlights", and follow up with some of the witty commentary that you've all grown accustomed to.  As you probably know, the base set of Archives is 200 cards, with a different "archived" design every fifty cards.

The first fifty are modeled after the 1972 design.  I've heard it dubbed the psychedelic tombstone design, and it's hard to disagree with that.  This design is already being used by the flagship set for the mini cards.  I don't mind it as much as a mini, but for whatever reason, I'm not a huge fan of the regular sized ones.  Chose the Sandberg card to represent the set since it was "best" one I pulled.  Is there a better ballplayer named "Ryne"?  Probably not.

Next up in the set is the 1983 set.  Dubbed as the "hockey stick" set, I like this better than the '72s, but not by much.  I guess it comes down to the colors on the cards matching the color of the teams, and pink and purple have never reminded me of the Dodgers.  Regardless, can't find much wrong with this particular card.  Jackie is well represented in modern day sets like this, almost to a fault, but I'm diggin' this one.  But the Padres from this original set were brown and... green?  Why?

Had a hard time deciding which one of these to choose to represent the '85 set, so I went with both of these.  Both good players, both have great names.  Regardless of how good Carlos ever becomes, will he ever be the most famous "Carlos Santana"?  Probably not.  And just like Sandberg is the best baseball player named "Ryne", Profar is probably the best player named "Jurickson".  Didn't know until looking on the back that he was born in Curaçao.  The '85 set isn't super exciting, but it is bold and matches the team colors, so this one's good in my book.

The last "set" in the base set is 1990.  Much like a fellow blogger, I'm always flopping on the '90 set.  Sometimes I feel like it's awesome, other times I think "what is up with this set?"  Apparently, matching the border colors to the team colors is a lot more important to me than I previously was aware of.  This Ike Davis card looks sharp.  If there was a 50 card "set" that I was going to chase after, it would probably be this one.  Still, I think I'll just hand pick the ones I want based on the player.  I chose Davis from this set because he's a guy I've always kinda rooted for.  I randomly watched his debut when I was in college and saw him get his first hit.  The announcers thought that he was going to be the next big thing, but I think he's probably fallen short of those expectations.

Alright, on to the inserts, where Archives usually gets it right.

First up is the '83 All-Star cards.  Nolan Ryan is a favorite of mine, and though I only knew him as a Ranger, I love his Astro cards.  Good call on this set, though I also got another player who I had never heard of and already forgot his name.

Here was my favorite card that I got.  I'm not a huge Tim Salmon fan, but he was a big deal in the early 90s, when I was first getting into baseball cards.  I love the 1993 Topps set, and I like the idea of using a new picture with a familiar border.  I might see if I can land some of the ones from this end of the checklist, though they're short printed, so that'll probably be hard to do.

Here is another one of the "fan favorite" short prints.  I have never heard of Paul Blair, but I thought this card looked cool enough to post.  

My biggest overall gripe is that the Padres get slighted in the base set.  Hard to complain too much, since last year they were shut out completely, and this year they comprise a whopping 1% of the base set (two cards for those without a watch calculator).  I didn't pull either the Chase Headley or the Tony Gwynn cards, but the Padres need to have more than just two guys in the set.

Everth Cabrera led the National League in stolen bases last year, despite playing in only 115 games.  Yonder Alonso led National League rookies in a few offensive categories last year and is a solid player.  Heck, Huston Street wasn't amazing, but he did make the All-Star team.  So, here are the three players that I think could've been squeezed out of the checklist to make room for at least one more Friar.

Okay, two of them are Mariners, and they are (probably?) underrepresented in other sets as well.  Don't want to pick on them too much.  Maybe I need to be a bigger fan of non-Padres teams to figure out what the big deal about Mike Minor is.  Didn't have a great year last year, but doing well this year, I guess.  Maybe the Topps prognosticators were on to something.

Anyways, there were other cards and inserts that I pulled, I'll be tossing them up on the trade list soon, for those of you who are so inclined.  Last year, I tracked down all of the cards that had the 1971 design, which was cool and fun, but I won't be doing that again.  I got a Sandy Koufax card that some people may want, and some tiny cards with A's on them.

All things considered, I like the idea of Archives, I guess there are just some sets that I like better than others.  Given my choice, I'd go with 1992 or 1993 (personal faves from my first days of card collecting, 1986 (love the black top borders), and 1973 (one of my favorite vintage designs).

For a better write up of this product, go here.


  1. I can't seem to get too excited for this set. I may pick up a couple packs here and there, but, aside from the '72s, none of these designs are amongst my personal favorites.

    You're right, though. The inserts look terrific again in 2013!

  2. Didn't like it last year, so won't like it this year. The mishmash of designs in the base set is irksome. If it was COMPLETE variety (like Fan Favorites), that'd be cool, but four randomly selected designs? I still don't get it. And I'm just beating a dead horse yelling about the card stock.

    It just seems like another set issued for the sake of inserts.

    (Of course, I'm intrigued by this Koufax of which you spoke).

  3. You flatter me, Marcus. I think your review is copious and, furthermore, right on the money. It certainly doesn't pale to mine in any way.

    I agree 100% on the per-team breakdown of cards in the base set. And not just because there are only three Mets (I think). Some of the player choices were a bit bizarre. Of course, we also know that Topps plays favorites in an ESPN-loves-the-Yankees sort of way.

    Anyhow, once I get an extra Gwynn or Chase I'll shoot it your way.

    By the way, that is a great Salmon SP!! Good pull!

    1. You think Archives is bad - check out the prospect checklist for Bowman...so many Yankees, and they're junk prospects. Org guys at best.

      I like the designs this year. That Paul Blair is premium.

  4. I agree with night owl about the use of four randomly selected designs and his reference to ATFFs. I'll probably skip these as I did last year's. Great review though.

  5. I like the design choices for some reason and despite having the time or the money to build the set, I'm sure I'll take a stab at it eventually. And you are correct, Minor didn't do anything great last year, but has been one of the more consistent Braves on the mound this season thus far.