Like many collectors, I've been on the lookout for Topps Archives at my nearest retailers (nope, no hobby stores in my neck of the woods). While it still hasn't shown up at the Walmart in my town, I stopped by the Walmart nearest my work, and it turned up!
While I have never loved Archives, there's always been enough there that I've liked enough to look forward to it every year.
In it's first year (2012), it showed four different Topps designs through the ages. I'm not sure when the switch happened, but now there are only three designs. Let's take a look at them one at a time.
This is an original card, and is my all time favorite 1991 Topps card. While I'm not a big fan of the design (and this is one that I was around for a little bit as a kid, though I guess I kinda really got into cards in '92), the photography was a big step up at the time. This
Benny Benito Santiago card is incredible.
While my favorite photo with the '91 design is the one at the top of the post, I still liked these two cards best. I'm still weirded out seeing Ichiro in anything besides a Mariners uniform. I like the inclusion of Chipper Jones in the '91 set since that's the year of his rookie card. Kinda interesting to see a different picture with the same design.
Here's a not-quite-side-by-side look at the original and the Archives set. I gotta say, I love the change of the Topps anniversary watermark logo in the background. I didn't see any of the cards I pulled with the "1990 Monthly Scoreboard" like on Benito's card, but if the players had space beneath their career stats, there was a little blurb like with Kevin Kiermaier's. It's a cool bonus (maybe planned) that the front of Kiermaier's card also shows him making a leaping catch at the wall.
Once again, here's my favorite original '79 Topps card, Ozzie Smith's rookie card. Not sure why my scanner cropped it like this, but it is more than a little off center, and definitely beat up. None of the cards in this design were this worn, but the Padre I would get also wouldn't be rocking the sweet brown and yellow.
Here's the Padre I got, the currently injured sort-of-ace of the current San Diego Padres. While these uniforms aren't nearly as great as Smith's duds above, I like seeing the Tony Gwynn patch over the heart of the uniform. It was used in 2014, so this picture was taken awhile ago. This Carlton Fisk photo was snapped even longer ago. I loved those Sox hats as a kid, and I guess I'm a fan of Fisk as well, sort of. I'm guessing this photo was taken during spring training, because the dude looks pretty sweaty.
There are a few more differences with the '79 backs than with the '91 backs. For one, the full team name is on the Archives cards, as opposed to just the nickname on the originals. The positions are abbreviated on the Archives as well, instead of being written out completely. The Archives seem to be a noticeably lighter shade of green. The "What Happened" baseball dates are on both, and seem to be things that I can't imagine anybody actually knowing off the top of their head.
No, I don't own this autographed Satchell Paige card. It'd be cool though! No, I just wanted to have something to compare the Archives cards to, and since I collect almost exclusively Padres, I don't happen to own any 1953 Topps cards, so I had to borrow this image from the internet.
Something about these just seemed off to me when I first saw these, and even though I kinda like these two cards, when you compare them to the original, they look so different. Obviously, these are photographs, where the originals are artist renderings. I don't really know why you'd do this set if you weren't going to do the portraits, so I'd say that I dislike these the most of the three designs. To be honest, it'd probably be difficult to capture the flowing mane of Noah Syndergaard with brushes or pencils.
Here's Miguel Almonte's card back, next to Mickey Mantle's. Guess which one I'd rather have? All in all, I think they did a pretty good job keeping these one as authentic as they could. Maybe I should've scanned a position player to see if they included their fielding record. No beef with the backs.
Onto the inserts! I snagged two rack packs, since they didn't have any blasters.
The blue bordered parallels are serial numbered on the back to 99, and the Bull Durham cards aren't super common, so I guess those are pretty good scores. I know I'm in the minority, but I don't watch rated R movies, so I've only seen Bull Durham in bits and pieces in it's edited form on TV. I liked it enough, I guess, but I don't remember who Bobby was.
I got a pair of these Father * Son cards, and while I can't remember who the other one was off the top of my head, I know that it wasn't as cool as this one.
Anyways, I'm not sure I can make a definitive choice about which card set is my favorite every year, but Archives is probably the funnest. I'll gladly take any spare Padres you've got (there's not too many), just need the Travis Jankowski, Colin Rea, Matt Kemp, and an Andy Benes Draft Pick insert. There are actually three (three!) Padres autographs in this set, which is crazy awesome, and I've already secured the two that I want, both for under $5.00. I'll post those when they get here.
What to y'all think? Fans of Archives? What changes would you make (besides the card stock, which is still thinner than I'm sure most collectors would like)? All of these are up for grabs, but wait to claim them til tomorrow, I'm doing a trade/giveaway, trying to clear out my trade box and make some new trading partners, since I've been a less active blogger lately.
Have a great Monday!