The last section of “base cards” is quite different from the first 200 cards. The previous sections of the set are broken up into 4 groupings of 50 cards each, with each grouping a re-make of an old Topps design. The last 40 cards in the set are short printed, and there’s a super-short printed rookie card of Bryce Harper that is the bane of existence for set collectors who otherwise like this product (like me). The Harper is going for around 200 bucks on eBay right now. I’m actually surprised at how many are popping up on eBay – and the fact that the price has maintained at that level a month after release. As of now, I have no intention of getting the card. I wish Cole Hamels had a way of drilling Topps in the back instead of the player serving as the subject of the card!
The “regular” short prints (201-240), are known as “Fan Favorites”. This means the cards feature designs that the player was previously featured on. The actual years displayed run the gamut from 1966 to 2000, but most of the cards are between 1975 and 1993. ’71, ’80 and ’84 are found in the Fan Favorites, which I wish they hadn’t done since those are already designs included earlier in the set. Same for the 1977 designs – they have the Cloth insert set in that design already. That said, I do think this, and the Fan Favorite Autographs that I’ll cover in the next post, is the coolest part of this product. These cards feature a checklist of guys I haven’t seen in Topps sets since I got back into collecting. I don’t need to see Cobb, Mays, Koufax or Ruth in every product (though those guys are in this one). A little Chili (Davis) to spice things up every now and then is much appreciated!
At some point, I’ll complete this set and repost this with every card shown. For now, I’m going to show the cards I do have, right next to the player’s card from the year depicted. For the older ones, I don’t own the card in question. Out of the 1980’s sets, I brought the completed sets from 80-87 (except 82) home to my parents’ house for the time being. So for a lot of these, I had to employ some photo shopping skills that I didn’t know I had on my Mac. You’d think iPhoto would have some slick way to merge 2 photos, but it doesn’t. I’m not going to do a ton of write-up on these – but here’s the pictures of the cards I have, in chronological order.
In all cases, the original card is on the right, the Archives card is on the left. Enjoy!
1966 Topps – Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax
I don’t remember ever seeing the Mays card before. I kind of like both the original and the Archives card. This was Sandy’s last individual Topps card as he retired after the 1966 season. He had some cards in the Leaders subsets, but no individual 1967 Topps card. I actually like the Archives card better.
1971 Topps – Frank Howard
1975 Topps – Bake McBride
Like the cards that are in other parts of this product, I wish they’d have stayed away from 1975 since there were 1975 minis in Lineage last year. And I really wish they wouldn’t deviate from the team! They just messed up the year here – McBride played for the Cardinals through 1977, joining Philadelphia the next year.
1976 Topps – Vida Blue
Now this is what I’m talking about – these are the kind of cards that make me love this Archives product! Interesting they didn’t put the All-Star designation on the Archives card here.
1977 Topps – Dave Kingman, Ken Griffey
These, too, are nice cards. I wish they’d have done 78 instead of a design elsewhere, but still very nice cards. And cool to get Griffey and his dad in the set.
1981 Topps – Cecil Cooper
1982 Topps – Oscar Gamble, Bill Buckner
For some of these 1980’s Topps cards, the Archives card is a pretty similar picture to the original. The Buckner is the best example of this. The Gamble is a completely different spectrum – though, it doesn’t seem like the same era as he doesn’t have that famous ‘fro.
1984 Topps – Bill Madlock, Lance Parrish
1986 Topps Traded – Will Clark
This card is on the front of the Archives box, and it’s up there with the Griffey Jr. as my favorite card in this whole product. “Will the Thrill” is one of the more underrated players in baseball history, and this is a big upgrade from his Traded RC.
1987 Topps – Von Hayes
1988 Topps – Andy Van Slyke, Jose Oquendo, George Bell
The Van Slyke is in the bucket of “the Archives card looks a lot like the original”. But that’s OK, his card is one of my favorites as well. I’ve written it before, but the 1988 set is a personal favorite. 1988 was when my interest in baseball, and by extension baseball cards. The Bell card is very cool, too – and the Oquendo card is an obvious upgrade in the picture used. The Oquendo has an interesting story behind it – there are 9 different autographed versions that Topps inserted as part of the Fan Favorites autographs. This is one for all 9 positions; he ended up playing each at least once in the 1988 season.
1989 Topps Traded – Ken Griffey Jr.
1990 Topps – Chili Davis
The 1990 set is kind of growing on me. I really like the blue border cards, so I think this is another card where the Archives version is an upgrade over the original Topps card.
1992 Topps – Terry Pendleton, Ron Gant, Mitch Williams, Jim Abbott
I’ve got 4 of these bad boys. Around 1991/1992 was when Topps started really improving the photos included in their sets. I’ve heard people refer to this as the “Stadium Club effect”. Whatever the reason, it’s harder for Archives to improve on some already good pictures than it was for some of the earlier years. The Gant and Pendleton definitely look pretty similar – but both are nice cards!
1993 Topps – John Olerud, John Kruk
Hey look! It’s John Olerud – with a batting helmet at the plate! And John Olerud – with a batting helmet … in the field!?! And Olerud in a batting helmet in the field is always cool. This can get confusing. So confusing – that I actually reversed the photo on the next card – Kruk’s Archives card is on the right (original on the left) unlike every other scan I did. Kruk is another one of my favorite inclusions in this product!
I wonder how many times throughout Olerud’s career Topps had a photo like that – him in the field with a batting helmet. Rickey Henderson would really like to know! 1993 was the first year Topps had a full photo on the back, and I noticed something interesting – they use the same back photo for the Archives version as the original. That probably contributed to my mixing the sides on the Kruk!