The regular cards from 2012 Archives are broken up into 4 different designs in 50 card allotments based on earlier Topps sets. Moving on nearly two decades from 1954, the second grouping of 50 cards comes from the 1971 Topps design.
To say 1971 Topps is recognizable is quite the understatement. The border on the front is completely black, with the Team name and the top in all capital letters, the player name just below that (with no Caps), and the position written out to the right of that. The player’s facsimile signature is placed over the picture on the front. The card back is horizontally placed with a green background. There is a box to the right which lists the player’s first year in the majors and first year in pro ball, along with player info and a write-up. The left side has a black and white photo, and the bottom has the previous season’s and career statistics. I’m not sure, but my guess is this is the first time Topps put an actual player photo on the back. One thing I don’t like about the Archives reproduction of this design – they always use a crop of the photo on front, while in 1971 it was a different photo.
There is only one player in the Archives set who played from that era – and it’s a good one in Mr. October, Reggie Jackson. Topps has him in the right uniform, though I think the picture might be about 2 seasons later than 1971 (it’s at least pretty close). I don’t even recognize his original card, which is to the left. Regardless, these are two nice looking cards of the Oakland slugger!
I think Topps kind of missed the boat on who they could have included here. Reggie was the right call, and I kind of like Mike Schmidt in there (see below). But Schmidt just misses – he was drafted in 1971 out of OU, and was in the Minors until 1973. They could have put a number of guys in here:
- Bert Blyleven, has a single player rookie card in 1971, so it would have been cool to see a different photo for him. He’s included elsewhere in the product, so they could contractually have given him a card.
- Dusty Baker is also a guy they could have used – he’s the Reds manager, so they have a contract with him. His RC is in the ’71 set, on a multi-player card with Don Baylor, so seeing him in a different photo would have again been pretty cool.
- Steve Garvey has a 1971 RC. He’s in some other 2012 Topps products, so another look at his RC would have been cool.
- Dave Concepcion. His RC is 1971, and they have guys like Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, George Foster and Johnny Bench in the product, so getting him in would have been really cool.
- Thurman Munson. It would be tough to top his classic 1971 card, but why not try!
- Carlton Fisk – his first card was in 1972, so seeing him on a 1971 design would have been neat.
- Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Joe Morgan and Roberto Clemente are all elsewhere in the set on cards that aren’t from their playing days. Wouldn’t you much rather see Clemente on the 1971 design instead of a weird-looking 1984 card?
Here’s some of the better cards from this part of the set, including that Schmidt card: