I really like one thing in particular that Topps did with Archives this year – that’s using retro designs from other sports. Personally, I’d take it a bit further from what they did – I’d go with the idea of “what might have been”, and include guys from that era who could have been on those designs if Topps had used them on other sets.
Archives Mini Tall Boys – 36 cards (1:8)
My first look / comparison for Topps Archives is the Mini Tall Boys, which is based on the Topps football set from 1965. The 1965 set of oversize (2-1/2″ x 4-11/16″) cards is Topps second set consisting completely of AFL players. It’s the more notable from that run of 4 years because it contains the rookie card of the most famous AFL player out there – Joe Namath.
The card fronts have the player photo over a solid color background. The city name is at the top in block letters, with the player’s name and position in a block at the bottom. The backs are horizontal with statistics on the left side and a cartoon on the right.
Topps made the Archives version a 36-card insert set with both current and retired players. As the name suggests, they also made them smaller than the originals so they’d fit into a pack of standard cards. The cards are basically as tall as a standard card but a skinnier width.
I thought it would be interesting to see how many players in the insert set could have been on this design if Topps used this design for baseball players back in 1965. There are 2 – and both are Detroit Tigers. The first is Al Kaline. The other is the last 30-game winner in MLB history, Denny McLain.
Archives 1972 Basketball – 20 cards (1:24)
The other card set that’s borrowed from another set comes from the 1972-73 Basketball set. This set was standard size – so Topps didn’t have to get creative with the Archives version. The set has 264 cards with both NBA (#1-176) and ABA players (#177-264). The card fronts also have a solid color background with a close shot of the player. The team name is at the bottom in block letters getting bigger diagonally from right to left. The player’s name and position are at the bottom. Like the football set above, a big reason this set is considered iconic is a rookie card from the upstart league. In this case, it’s the first card of a young “Dr. J” – Julius Erving.
Topps made the Archives version a one-per-box insert of 20 cards. This set also has current and retired players.
For this set, there are quite a few players who fall into the “what might have been” or “cards that never were” categories. I have two of them, the first being “Pops”.
The second is Tom Terrific.
Interestingly, these all look like they could be the right era. The other players (photos snagged from eBay) include Lou Brock, Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Willie McCovey, Reggie Jackson, and Rod Carew.