Topps Archives #2 – comparing 1977 Cloth Stickers

8 06 2012

Archives 1977 Cloth Stickers – 25 cards (1:6)

My next comparison for Topps Archives is from the 1970’s.  Specifically, the Cloth Sticker insert set is designed after the set that was released nationally in 1977.  There were a few different test years of Cloth Stickers – 1970, 1972, and 1976.  But 1977 was its own product.  The 2012 Archives insert set has a 25 cards featuring both retired and current players.  11 of the 25 players are retired – and all played in 1976 and 1977 seasons.  Two of them – Gary Carter and Jim Rice – don’t have 1977 Cloth Stickers, but the other 9 are in both sets.  It’s pretty cool – the guys represented here are not only all Hall of Famers, but they could put together one heck of an trophy case.

Johnny Bench

The first one is the 1968 NL Rookie of the Year and the 1970 and 1972 NL MVP.  Bench was actually on the front of the box that the sticker inserts were released in, though the picture on that box isn’t the actual picture used on the cloth sticker (which, like all others, is the same as his 1977 Topps card).

I’ve got to be honest; I tend to like the “vintage” versions better when I do these comparisons.  Here, that’s not the case – I think the newer version is the better of the two here.  I like the action shot with Bench’s follow through better than the close up that seems like he’s posing.

George Brett

The 1980 AL MVP and the only player with batting titles in 3 different decades is up next.

For Brett, I again like the picture better in the newer version, but there’s a problem I have with the Archives card.  This looks like a cleaner-cut George Brett.  Which I think means it’s a later year picture.  In fact, I think it’s a much later picture.  Not cool!

Steve Carlton

Carlton was a 4-time Cy Young award winner, including the 1972 season when he was the winning pitcher for 27 of his team’s 59 victories.  In fact, Philadelphia won 29 of the games he started – which was incredibly just under 50% of his team’s wins on the year!  That year he completed 30 of his league-leading 41 starts, struck out 310 batters in 346 innings.  All while posting a 1.97 ERA and a 0.993 WHIP.  He also won the Cy Young during the 1977 season this card depicts.

This one I’d also give to the older set.  I’d never seen this Carlton card before, and I like it!  First off, Carlton’s cards that I know of tend to be very similar – a shot of him about to deliver the ball.  But this one has him in some rain gear during warmups in front of the backstop.  Kind of a neat photo.  Whereas this year’s photo isn’t anything to write home about (though it looks like it could be the right era).

Rod Carew

Some more hardware coming from the next guy.  3,000 hit club?  Check.  MVP?  Check – and even the year for this set (he hit .388 in 1977).  ROY?  Check (1967).

I don’t really love either of these photos.  The 1977 sticker is very out of focus, but it is a clear moment in a game – he’s holding a guy on at first.  It’s kind of cool that you can see the center fielder in the background – except he’s also very out of focus.  I like the uniform and idea for the photo in the 2012 card.  But it looks kind of awkward.  As Carew is posing, this reminds me of the annoying group photos that happen at weddings.  Like when my wife and her 10 college friends all get a picture and none of them know which camera to look at.  Hopefully Carew wasn’t forced to listen to the Golden Girls theme song for this pose like am forced to do at every one of those weddings!

Reggie Jackson

Mr. October also had some hardware.  He won the 1973 AL MVP award for the Oakland A’s – the same year he won the first of his World Series MVP’s.  He won a second World Series MVP in 1977 for the Yankees – the year of this card set.  This is a pretty notable card – I don’t know too much about the 1977 Topps set, but I think this would be up there for “card of the year”.  Not because I particularly care for Reggie, but because it is so notable.  He actually played for Baltimore in the 1976 season, and there is a proof card of him in an Orioles uniform.  Instead, Topps airbrushed an A’s photo of him into a Yankee helmet.  Well – what looks like a Yankee logo, anyways.  I don’t really like the photo they took of Reggie in 2012, so I’d again have to give the edge to the “notable” (but not really iconic) Reggie card.

Joe Morgan

This card is taken of Morgan when he was the 2-time defending NL MVP.  Unfortunately, the Big Red Machine was slowly on its way to being broken up at this point, and Reggie would be stirring the drink in the Fall Classic in the place of Morgan and my beloved Reds.

I like both of these pictures, but I must say I always liked the white “pullover” Reds unis better than the gray ones.  And the 1977 Morgan card is a pretty notable one itself.  I like how his eyes are closed – it makes me believe he really is taking a warm up practice swing, not posing for a camera!

Willie Stargell

Stargell was in the 1967 Sticker set (but not the Archives one for that).  Regardless of that, it makes sense to put him in this set – he was about to be part of the only co-MVP situation ever in a couple of years.

In fairness, that was one of the worst MVP wins ever.  The other co-winner, Keith Hernandez deserved consideration, but Dave Winfield probably should have won it.  But “Pops” certainly was a great player in his prime – and he’s a good choice here.  I actually like the new card better this time!

Robin Yount

Another 3,000 hit club member – Yount always seems kind of tied to George Brett in my mind.  Yount also has a couple of MVP’s himself – at different positions, no less (’82 as a short stop and ’89 center fielder)!

Yount was the third player to do this – after Hank Greenberg and Stan Musial, who had both won it at first base and in the outfield.  Alex Rodriguez has accomplished this since then, becoming the first player to win the award at 2 different infield positions (and the first to win at different positions for different teams).  No player has won the award at different positions in both leagues.

I’ve got to go with the older one here – it’s an interesting shot, though it seems very out of focus.  The newer Archives version was much more “in-focus” – but clearly is the wrong era here.

Jim Hunter

“Catfish” was the 1974 AL MVP for Oakland, and he had an amazing 5- year stretch through his first season in New York.  I never noticed it, but after that, he dropped off a cliff production wise.

I’ve got to go with the newer photo here.  I’m not a big fan of the sweaty up close and personal look.  I also like calling him Catfish on the card.  It’s interesting how the ’77 card calls him Jim but only shows the “Catfish” signature, while the Archives version calls him “Catfish” but shows the signature with both his first name and his nickname.

Lastly, to show off some others, here’s some of today’s players from the Archives set.




5 responses

8 06 2012

Some of the photos on the 2012 releases are better, but why mess with the design elements? Do current Topps employees really think they’re better than the geniuses behind the classics??? 🙂

9 06 2012

That’s a good point – the fonts are different, for sure. I wonder if some of it has to do with their need to put a “TM” or “R” after every team name – which I have no idea why they feel the need to do that.

11 06 2012
30-Year Old Cardboard

Very nice side-by-side comparisons. I may have to go after this subset. I wish that it only contained former players though… Same with the Deckle Edge set too.

11 06 2012

Yeah, sometimes I wish they would just pick one or the other.

27 09 2013
Completed insert set – 2012 Topps Archives ’77 Cloth Stickers | Lifetime Topps project

[…] which were issued as its own product – not as a test or an insert to 1977 Topps packs.  Here’s my previous post comparing the current set with the old set.  The set uses the exact same design as the 1977 Topps […]

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