Archives 1969 Deckle Edge – 15 cards (1:12)
My last comparison for Topps Archives inserts is still in the 1960’s – 1969, to be exact. The Topps Deckle Edge set from 1969 was an insert into packs of 1969 Topps with perforated edges and a card size slightly smaller than standard. The photo is sepia toned and there is a blue facsimile signature.
Topps stayed true to this set with the reboot in 2012 Archives. There are 15 players in the 2012 set, over half (8 to be exact) are retired players. A whopping five of those retired players had a card in the 1969 Deckle Edge set. I’ll look at each of those 5 players side-by-side at the end of the post, but first I’ve got a couple of interesting comparisons of 2 current players to the older set.
The card on the right is the older card, the one on the left is the 2012 Archives version.
Ichiro & Charlie Hustle
You could say that these are the two hit kings – and you’d be right. In 2004, Ichiro broke George Sisler’s single season record for hits, notching an astonishing 262. I say astonishing, because this really was one of those records I didn’t think would be broken. It’s an era where the best and most durable players still usually take 5-10 days off – last year only Prince Fielder and Matt Kemp played all of their team’s games.
But what I find most interesting with Rose and Ichiro is more the career hits record. Rose’s MLB career record for hits is fairly safe – Derek Jeter is the last person we’ll see with any chance for quite a while, and he’s a little over 1,000 hits away. But there’s another way to look at this. Ichiro is just under 2,500 hits for his MLB career – amazing considering he played 9 seasons in Japan before coming to America. Ichiro had 1,278 hits in Japan, so if he does manage to get to 3,000 hits in America (it certainly seems like he could), he will pass Rose’s record for career hits professionally. Certainly not the same thing – but it’s at least an amazing accomplishment. Either way, I’ve got to think that Ichiro’s Deckle Edge is the better of the two here.
The Human Vacuum Cleaner & Mr. Freese
This was a pretty cool comparison I thought of as well. Nothing magical here – two 3rd baseman, two guys who won a World Series MVP. Robinson was already an established superstar in 1970 – he had already played in 2 World Series, for one World Champion, had won an AL MVP and was in the midst of his 11th straight Gold Glove. But the most memorable run of his career came in the 1970 World Series when he won the Series MVP award. After batting over .500 in the ALCS, he was a human highlight reel in the Series. Against the earliest version of the Big Red Machine, he robbed Cincinnati of countless hits, all while hitting .429 at the plate.
Freese won the Series MVP in quite different fashion last season. The hometown hero had his coming out party in last year’s postseason. He drove in 4 runs in game 4 of the opening round, to force a 5th game against the heavily favored Phillies. He drove in 9 runs against the Division champion Brewers to take the NLCS MVP. In game 6 of the World Series, Freese was literally down to his team’s last strike when he laced a game-tying triple. In extra innings, he hit a walk-off home run to deep center to force a deciding game, and started the Cardinals off toward their game 7 victory with a 2-run double in the first.
I kind of like the Robinson card better between these two.
On to the comparisons of the players in both sets. Yastrzemski is the first one. It’s hard for me to think of Yastrzemski without immediately going to the fact that he’s the last player to win the triple crown. I really thought that Matt Kemp had a good chance this year after his first month seemed to really build momentum off of what should have been the MVP award winner.
It’s interesting how different the signatures Topps used between the two cards. I was first wondering if they had mixed up Carlton Fisk’s signature with that of Yaz, but a quick google search showed that his autograph has changed over the years. Again, this card is a testament to how well Topps did with this set for Archives; I think the Archives version is the better of the two.
Speaking of Cardinals World Series MVPs, “Hoot” won 2 of them. Gibson was Yastrzemski’s nemesis in the 1967 World Series, which is one of 2 series that Yaz played in – both of which ended up as 7 game losses for the “cursed” Red Sox. Gibson tossed 3 complete game victories in the 1967 series, posting an incredible .70 WHIP and a 1.00 ERA. Yaz was the only player to have even a little success against Gibson – he went 3 for 11. Gibson also won the MVP in the 1964 series, when he went 2-1 and led the Cardinals to a 7-game series win over the Yankees. Buster Olney wrote a book about the 2001 World Series, entitled “Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”. That was somewhat accurate for this era, though the Yankees made the playoffs the next 6 seasons after that. But Gibson’s win in game 7 of the 1964 was really the last night of that Yankee dynasty. From 1921 through 1964, the Yankees never went 4 straight seasons without making the World Series. But after 1964, they wouldn’t be back in the Fall Classic until 1976. Both the Archives version of Deckle and the 1969 set are great photos, though I’d give it to the 2012 version if pressed!
Another dominant hurler from the 1960’s was Juan Marichal. Other than Sandy Koufax, the “Dominican Dandy” is the only post-war pitcher with multiple 25-win seasons (both have 3). Maybe Justin Verlander can match this someday. Marichal was overshadowed by Gibson and Koufax, but he was one of the great pitchers of that era.
He never won the Cy Young award, but did win more games than any other pitcher in the 1960’s. 1969 was his last 20-win season he had, when he went 21-11, and he really only had one more good season after that. I’d again go for the Archives version.
The YES network just had a great trivia question this weekend – who are the 4 HOF players who played for the Mets and one other New York team. Mays is the most obvious one in my mind – but out of the 4 players, all 3 “other” New York teams are represented.
Luckily, Mays was shown in his Giants uniform for both of these Deckle cards. I like the old Deckle Edge card better in this instance. His signature has changed over the years – though I knew this. The “4” symbol he makes at the start now is what he did for the autograph of his I have on a baseball from when I was in Cooperstown.