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).
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