2014 Topps Archives – cards #51-100 (1980 design)

30 06 2014

Moving forward a few years from 1973, the next year for Archives is 1980 Topps.  This was the first Topps set I featured on my blog – because it’s the Topps set from the year I was born!  As I’ve said before, the regular cards from the Topps Archives set is broken up into 4 different designs in 50 card allotments based on earlier Topps sets.  The second “allotment”, cards #51-100, is from this classic Topps set.  Topps is repeating itself here – this was a design they used in the 2012 installment of Archives.

The card front features a white border, a small flag featuring the player’s un-abbreviated position in the top left corner, player name across the top, another flag with the team name on the bottom right, and a facsimile autograph somewhere on top of the player picture. The blue card back features season stats and career totals and a highlighted moment from the player’s career along with a comic-type depiction of the moment.

Topps had 7 cards from the set.  4 of them have the correct team, while 3 of them are incorrect.

George Brett

2014 Archives 80 Topps George BrettBrett was featured in the 2012 set on this design, so I had this post just about 2 years ago.

Just like the old one, Topps got the team right – though considering that George Brett played his whole career, it would be hard not to. The year is off again – this looks like it’s from the late 80’s or even early 90’s based on the Royals’ uniform.  And Brett’s hair is cropped a little closer like it’s later in his career.  Still, this is a pretty nice card, and not one I’ll complain about.

2014 Archives 80 Topps Robin Yount1980 Topps Robin YountRobin Yount

Yount is the player I most associate with Brett.  They have a rookie card from the same year, they retired the same year, they both got 3,000 hits the same season and were in the same Hall of Fame induction class.  And both played their entire career for one team.

Like Brett’s Archives photo – this isn’t the correct timeframe.  Unlike Brett – this is from a much earlier time period.   Probably Yount’s rookie year or 2nd year – 1975 or so.  The autograph is much different, too on this card.  The Archives version is in line with his signature today.

2014 Archives 80 Topps Joe Morgan1980 Topps Joe MorganJoe Morgan

Morgan has the right team as well, though it’s worth noting that this was a change-over year for the Reds’ Hall of Famer.  Morgan left for the Astros before the 1980 season.

There’s actually an Astros Burger King set made by Topps in the 1980 design.  Most of the cards are the same picture as the Topps set, but Morgan and Nolan Ryan had to have updated photos to show them with the Astros after the offseason move.

1980 Topps Dusty Baker2014 Archives 80 Dusty BakerDusty Baker

Baker isn’t a Hall of Fame player like the other 3 guys, but who knows – he may get in on his managerial merits some day.  He’s one of the better managers in recent years, underrated in my opinion.  He’s shown here with the Dodgers – and I think it’s got to be around the right year looking at his other Topps cards.

Baker’s card is an SP – I had to grab a photo off eBay to compare these two.  One interesting thing I noticed – they just list the actual position in 1980, but Topps calls Baker “an outfielder”.  His autograph has changed a bit over the years as well.

There were 3 other cards of players who have 1980 Topps cards, but Topps has the team wrong.  Ozzie Smith was still with the Padres in 1980.  Interestingly, Topps did the same thing with Smith two years ago.

2014 Archives 80 Topps Ozzie Smith

Tony Perez was next – he was with the Red Sox by 1980, after a couple of years with the Expos.  His 1980 Topps card is with the Expos.  Of course, he’s known best for his time with the Reds, much like Ozzie is known for his years with St. Louis.

2014 Archives 80 Topps Tony Perez

Reggie Jackson is the final card – like Baker, he’s in the SP section.  Reggie is shown with the A’s, but his 1980 Topps card is with the Yankees.

2014 Archives 80 Topps Reggie Jackson





2014 Topps Archives – cards #1-50 (1973 design)

28 06 2014

The regular cards from the Topps Archives set was again broken up into 4 different designs in 50 card allotments based on earlier Topps sets.  The first 50 cards are based on the 1973 Topps set.

1973 Topps is a pretty cool design.  The set has a white border, with the player and team name down in the left hand corner.  The right hand corner has the player’s position and a silhouette that differs based on what the position is.  How they do the position is the coolest thing about the design in my mind.

There are 8 players in the 1973 section of Archives who also had 1973 Topps cards.   The original card is on the left – the Archives card is to the right.

2014 Archives 73 Topps Steve Carlton1973 Topps Steve Carlton

Steve Carlton

Carlton was coming off a historic season when he won the pitching triple crown for an atrocious Phillies team.  He went 27-10 with 310 strikeouts and a 1.97 ERA.  The 27 wins were 46% of his team’s 59 victories that season – which is the most since World War II.

I think the photo is about the right timeframe for 1973 Topps, just a few years off.  From his old Topps baseball cards, it looks like he sported the mustache in the 1974 and 1975 seasons.

I do kind of like this one better than his original 1973 Topps card, which is cool in that it features Carlton’s battery mate John Bateman – but has clear shadowing issues.

2014 Archives 73 Topps Tom Seaver1973 Topps Tom SeaverTom Seaver

Carlton’s biggest rival for best pitcher in baseball during this era was Tom Seaver.  Seaver’s card looks like it could be spot on as far as getting the year right.  Definitely the right era.

I kind of like the original better, though both are good.  I also just noticed – Topps gets the pitching side correct with the position silhouette.  Seaver’s silhouette is shown as a right-hander, while “Lefty” is shown as a … lefty.

1973 Topps Catfish Hunter2014 Archives 73 Topps Catfish HunterCatfish Hunter

Another very good pitcher from this era was Jim “Catfish” Hunter.  Hunter was a feature of a Bob Dylan song – but this was before his trade from Oakland to the Yankees.

It’s crazy how similar this card is – though it’s clearly not the same photo.  He doesn’t have the ball in the Archives version, and you can tell he’s posing from a different spot on the field.  But everything else is so similar – you can tell it’s the same stadium and probably the same photo shoot.  Which means Topps probably got the year exactly right.

Topps didn’t start using the name Catfish until much later in his career.

2014 Archives 73 Topps Jim Palmer1973 Topps Jim PalmerJim Palmer

The theme here seems to be great pitchers.  Palmer’s didn’t have quite the longevity as that of Carlton and Seaver, but at his peak he was just as good as them, seemingly winning 20 games every year in the 1970’s.

The picture from the Archives set is a little earlier than his 1973 card.  It looks like it’s from either 1969 and 1970, based on the fact that he hadn’t grown the hair out too much, but did have the sideburns going.  I kind of like the windup from the actual 1973 Topps card – but this is another good effort from Archives.

1973 Topps Juan Marichal2014 Archives 73 Topps Juan MarichalJuan Marichal

Continuing with great pitchers of the era – though Marichal was nearing the end of his career.  He was traded from the Giants after the 1973 season, and didn’t have much impact with the Red Sox or the Dodgers in his next stops.

This photo looks about right as well.  It may be a little earlier than 1972/1973, but I don’t think by much.  It’s definitely from the 1970’s.

2014 Archives 73 Topps Lou Brock1973 Topps Lou BrockLou Brock

The last player I can do a comparison from is the former all-time base thief.

Brock’s photo is clearly from when he’s a bit younger – this may be the furthest from the “proper” era of any of the cards I’ve showcased.  The card to the left definitely has more of a 1960’s feel to me – it seems like the era of the Cardinals’ championship teams, or maybe their 1968 World Series loss.  I really like the photo though!

2014 Archives Graig Nettles1973 Topps Graig NettlesGraig Nettles

Nettles is in the SP portion of the set, and I was surprised his original card featured him with the Yankees.  He was traded to the Yankees from the Indians in the offseason between the 1972 and 1973 seasons.  Back then that usually meant you were shown with your old team, but I think he was in a later series (card #498).

I like the Archives photo better – but I think it’s about 4-5 years later than the 1973 era based on the uniform and how Nettles looks.  This is the only 1973 card from the SP section of the set that has a guy who played in 1972 or 1973.

The 8th player did have a 1973 card, but isn’t with the right team. Frank Robinson was far removed from the Reds in 1973.  In fact, he wasn’t even with the Orioles any more.  His 1973 Topps card says he’s with the California Angels, but the card was an airbrushed photo of him in a Dodgers uniform from a 1972 at bat.  Here’s his Archives card.

2014 Archives 73 Topps Frank Robinson 





2014 Topps Archives box break #2

25 06 2014

On to the second box of Topps Archives that I bought.  I did finish the regular part of the set, so I don’t have any cards left from the first 200 cards.  I also didn’t get any duplicates from the SP cards in the set.  The SP’s aren’t any different from the base cards, so this doesn’t look like a super-special scan from that aspect.

2014 Archives box 2 SPs

I was glad to get Billy Hamilton – I’ve pulled Abreu and Hamilton, two of the more sought-after rookies in the SP side of the set.  And, of course, getting Puig is always good.

These are the 3 gold foil parallels I pulled.  Tiger players almost always seem to have cards with Palm Trees in the back.  The Banks is kind of neat – he retired in 1971, so he hasn’t had a 1973 design.

2014 Archives box 2 Gold Foil

And here are the two silver foil parallels.

2014 Archives box 2 Silver Foil

Here are the 1987 All-Star inserts.  Does that Gary Carter look familiar?  That picture has only been used on about 10 different cards in the last 2 years.

2014 Archives box 2 All Stars

The Deckle Minis.  Glad to get Trout and Harper!

2014 Archives box 2 Deckle

And the Major League inserts.  This is good – I finished off all 4 of these.  I’m also going to buy an autograph of the Margaret Whitton to complete the 5 cards you could pull from this product.

2014 Archives box 2 Major League

The 1 per box inserts are next.  I pulled Jose Canseco for Stadium Club Firebrand.  Canseco is a very interesting inclusion.  Both he and Mark McGwire are in this product.

2014 Archives box 2 SC Firebrand Canseco

And, the last insert was Roberto Clemente from 1971 Hockey.  This is cool.  Unlike Tanaka, who I pulled in the first box, Clemente was around playing when the 1971-72 Hockey set was issued.  So this is a cool “what might have been” card.

2014 Archives box 2 71 Hockey Clemente

And, finally, here are the hits.  I got a fan favorite auto of Lenny Harris.  Again, this isn’t exactly in line with what Topps had established previously for the Fan Favorite autograph concept.  Lenny Harris was around in 1990, but he was playing with the Dodgers, not the Mets, at this point.  The card has his entire career statistics on the back.

2014 Archives box 2 Fan Favorite Auto Lenny Harris

This Niekro card has his entire statistical line as well – though it’s got the right team and timeframe with the picture.  Pretty cool to pull a Hall of Famer.

2014 Archives box 2 Fan Favorite Auto Niekro

Lastly, I also got a relic card, which is a tough pull from a hobby box.  The odds on this is 1:215 – basically every 9 boxes or so.  These are easier to pull in retail packs.  These are based on the 1968 Sporting News All-Star subsets.  The relics are all current players, so there isn’t one you could pull and compare to the same guy’s 1968 Topps card.

2014 Archives box 2 68 Relic Miley

Below are the “stats” for the box.

24 packs per box * 8 cards per pack – 2 cards for the relic = 190 cards

161 of the 200 card base set (80% set completion)

6 SPs

167 of the 250 card base set (67% set completion)

3 Gold Foilboard Parallels

2 Silver Foilboard Parallels

6 ’87 All-Stars

5 ’69 Deckle Minis

2 Major League

1 ’71 Hockey

1 ’97 Stadium Club Firebrand

2 Fan Favorite Autographs (P. Niekro, L. Harris)

1 ’68 Relic (Miley)

Including both boxes

200 of the 200 card base set (100% set completion)

212 of the 250 card base set (85% set completion)





2014 Topps Archives box break #1

23 06 2014

Given the lack of consistent posting recently, I should probably be focusing on moving forward in my Lifetime Topps project, but Archives is one of my favorite sets of the year.  I love the focus on stars from when I was really young – guys like Eric Davis, Andy Van Slyke, etc. I ordered two boxes of Archives.

Each year Archives has come out – I’ve liked what I’ve seen.  Are there things they could do better?  Certainly.  I think there are a few other inserts they could have done, and they way they do short prints has never felt perfect to me.  This year they changed it up.  In the past, the first 200 cards in the set were broken up into 4 different past Topps designs – subsets of 50 cards each.  Current players were all in the first 200 cards, with a few retired stars mixed in.  The short prints were “Fan Favorites” – all retired players on many different past Topps designs.  All the Fan Favorites were of cards from that player’s career.  For example, Eric Davis appeared on a 1987 Topps design, with his stats through 1986.  I liked this – but it actually made set collecting a bit more challenging.  If you are collecting 2012 and 2013 Archives, and you come across a John Kruk card with a 1993 design – was that from the 2012 or 2013 set?  You can’t tell by the numbering, since all the cards are numbered 201 to 240-something.

This year they did it differently.  The retired players are split throughout the set evenly.  The SP’s are just an extension of the 4 other designs.  This makes it less confusing – you are less likely to mix up the years.  However, it means they haven’t put guys like Bob Horner in the base set – only in the Fan Favorite Autographs, which is now just an autograph insert.

I would have picked a few different years. Topps picked 1973, 1980, 1986, and 1989 as the 4 parts of the base set.  They did 1980 Topps 2 years ago, and they have 1989 as an insert in the base Topps set this year.  1973 and 1986 are good options.  Still, this is a fun product with a lot of player autographs that I think of as collectible.  The star players from the 80’s are great options for me!

Moving on to scans of what I got in the first box.  Here are the 6 SP cards – which come 1 in 4 packs.  There are 50 of these, 5 more than last year.  Interesting that Topps has included Manny, who is about to start a stint with the Cubs Triple-A affiliate.  Also glad that I pulled Abreu’s rookie card – that might be an expensive one to find to complete the set.

2014 Archives box 1 SPs

These are the 2 types of foil parallels this year.  Gold Foil parallels are back, just like last year – these are again numbered to 199.

2014 Archives box 1 Gold Foil

There are also Silver Foil cards, numbered to 99.

2014 Archives box 1 Silver Foil

I’ve said this each year of Archives, but I think these seem like “hey let’s just throw a parallel or two in there.  The foil is well done at least.

Next up are the inserts.  The easiest to find are based on the 1987 All-Star inserts.  You’ll get 6 of these per box – the same rate as the SP’s.  Topps has done a version of the Rookies that look like this, back in 2011 Lineage – but this is the first time with the All-Star version of these cards from the 1980’s.  Obviously there is a mix of retired and active players.  I like that they included a year the player was actually an All-Star.

2014 Archives box 1 All Stars

The second-easiest pulls are mini cards.  This year, Topps inserted mini version of the Deckle Edge cards.  Not too sure about this – they already did this set back in 2012.  Though it is a cool design.  This is a whopping 40 cards to complete.

2014 Archives box 1 Deckle Minis

The big news for Archives this year was the inclusion of inserts from the Major League movie in the 1989 Topps design.  A very cool idea.  There are 4 cards in the set – and each is available in a version signed by the actor.  I’m not sure why, but Margaret Whitton (Rachel Phelps) only has an autographed version.  I posted a few days ago about the 6-card jumbo set of these, which I purchased directly from Topps.  Jobu is the missing 6th card for that one.

2014 Archives box 1 Major League Taylor Vaughn

A design from the 1971-72 Topps Hockey set comes at the rate of one-per-box.  Topps started doing this last year with 1 insert each of old football and basketball designs – this year they went to the other major sport.  I got Tanaka – so both foreign AL rookie studs were featured in this box.

2014 Archives box 1 71 Hockey Tanaka

Topps also started inserting popular Stadium Club inserts from the 90’s last year.  Following up the Triumvirate set from last year is the Firebrand insert set, which has a fake wood finish.  This is from 1997 Stadium Club. I got Carlos Baerga.

2014 Archives box 1 Stadium Club Firebrand Baerga

And, finally, here’s the hits.  I got 3 different types here.  First – a regular Fan Favorite autograph.  Now, I don’t like the change here.  The point of “Fan Favorite” has always been a card design from the player’s playing career, but with a different photo from his actual Topps card.  Rondell White was not around in 1990.

2014 Archives box 1 Rondell White auto

I did pull a parallel version of my other autograph card.  This is the silver version of Paul Goldschmidt’s card.  Again, not true to the original concept of “Fan Favorite” – but I can’t complain about a hit that qualifies as some MAJOR MOJO…

2014 Archives box 1 Goldschmidt auto silver

Last, I pulled a printing plate of Evan Longoria.  Also some “MAJOR MOJO”.  I may try to sell these guys to recoup some of the box.

2014 Archives box 1 Longoria Printing Plate

Below are the “stats” for the box.

24 packs per box * 8 cards per pack = 192 cards

163 of the 200 card base set (81% set completion)

6 SPs

169 of the 250 card base set (68% set completion)

3 Gold Foilboard Parallels

2 Silver Foilboard Parallels

6 ’87 All-Stars

5 ’69 Deckle Minis

2 Major League

1 ’71 Hockey

1 ’97 Stadium Club Firebrand

1 Fan Favorite Autograph (R. White)

1 Fan Favorite Autograph Silver (Goldschmidt)

1 Black Printing Plate (Longoria)





Saturdays Suds: Pubs near the Park #3 – Harry Caray’s tavern

21 06 2014

A couple of things – this is only the third “Saturday Suds” that I’ve done which is based on a venue (i.e. – a drinking establishment).  I’ve done about 50 posts about specific beers.  Second, this isn’t really a bar that’s close to a Major League park.  It used to be!  There was a Harry Caray’s Tavern on the Southeast corner of Sheffield and Addison, in a spot now occupied by O’Malley’s Liquor Kitchen.  It closed in late 2010.  The one I went to recently is at Navy Pier.

Regardless of being close to the park or not – I’m really looking for the baseball connection.  As a tavern bearing the name of the famous Cubs/White Sox and Cardinals broadcaster – this one sure has it.

Establishment:  Harry Caray’s Tavern

Ballpark:  Wrigley Field in Chicago

Location: 700 E. Grand Ave. (about 5 miles from Wrigley)

Harry Carays Tavern front

Beers served:  A good, but not great selection.  About a dozen beers on draft, with an emphasis on local Goose Island beers.  They also have about 25 bottles.  Caray was a simple beer drinker – a “Bud Man” as the commercial goes.  You can most certainly find Anheuser Busch products.  If you’re looking for anything different, I’d suggest their cocktails over the beer selection.  If you’re looking for a few of the American big 3 – you’re in luck here.

I did see the Big Hurt beer on the menu when we went; Caray’s tavern was the first place I had ever heard of the beer with Frank Thomas’s backing.

Menu (if applicable): Basic, standard bar food.  Burgers, appetizers, sandwiches, and pizza.  I had their wings when I went there a year ago, and wasn’t impressed.  When we went last month, my wife’s parents both got a chicken sandwich, she got a pulled pork sandwich, and they had similar impressions as me.  I got a burger this time around, and I thought it was actually pretty good.  Look – you should know what you’re getting when you come here.  It’s a fairly simple menu in a huge tourist area of Chicago.

Is it baseball-themed?  Or is it just close to the ballpark?   YES to the baseball theme – it bears the name of Harry Caray, of course!  And it’s got a ton of Chicago memorabilia with a focus on baseball items. No to the 2nd question, however!  Like I said – there used to be a Harry Caray’s near Wrigley, but it closed in 2010.

Description:  Like I said – take this place for what it’s worth.  A decent place on Navy Pier to take a load off and grab a bite.  But if you want the best tavern food in Chicago – well, that’s somewhere else. The memorabilia is the coolest thing about the place.  It actually has an overall sports theme, and there are a number of famous folks who have invested in the Harry Caray restaurants who have contributed.  You can see pictures of Caray and other famous folk all throughout, but the coolest thing is the mini-museum in the middle.  There are numerous autographed baseballs, some jerseys, gloves and even some memorabilia from the movie Ghostbusters!  The shining centerpiece is the famed “Bartman ball” from the 2003 NLCS game 6 loss.  The ball was actually purchased by the ownership group.  It was then blown to smithereens by a fire started by Caray’s old glasses, mixed in with a pasta sauce and served to anyone who wanted to help “break the curse”.

Bartman Ball

The remnants, or the parts that weren’t devoured by anxious Cub fans, sit in the middle of the restaurant.  Hopefully the Billy Goat curse will be broken some day!

harry-caray





Completed insert set – 2012 Gypsy Queen Hallmark Heroes

19 06 2014

It took me quite a while, but I finished up this retail only set – Hallmark Heroes from 2012 Gypsy Queen.

Info about the set:

Set description: 15 all-time greats and the a description of the notable way they left their mark on the game.  Hence, their “hallmark”.  This set features a blue border around a barrel-shaped photo frame, with the Gypsy Queen logo at the bottom and a write-up on the back.

Set composition: 15 cards, 1:4 odds (2012 Gypsy Queen retail only)

Hall of Famers: 15.  Bob Gibson, Cal Ripken, Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, Johnny Bench, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Nolan Ryan, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Stan Musial, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays

How I put the set together:

  • 1 card from a jumbo pack
  • 7 cards from trades
  • 1 card from the 2013 National
  • 6 cards from COMC

Thoughts on the set:  I like the set overall, but it doesn’t stand out much after a number of similar Gypsy Queen inserts since then.

Card that completed my set: #HH-JD – Joe DiMaggio

This is one of 4 cards I got back in the COMC Black Friday sale.  (yeah, I’m behind on the old baseball card blog)

Highest book value: #HH-MM – Mickey Mantle

Whenever there’s a Mantle in this set, he will be the answer here.

Best card (my opinion): #HH-RC – Roberto Clemente

The picture here goes really well with the design and the frame, and the back of the card talks about dignity.

My Favorite Reds card: #HH-JB – Johnny Bench

He’s the only one.

2012 Gypsy Queen Hallmark Heroes

2012 Gypsy Queen Hallmark Heroes_0001





RIP Tony Gwynn, 1960-2014

16 06 2014

Of all the amazing things about Tony Gwynn, I thought the most interesting was the basketball career he might have had.

2013 Goodwin Champions box 2 Tony Gwynn auto

I also found it interesting how Topps would re-use photos of him from 20 years ago.

Tony Gwynn 1988 Topps 2012 Gypsy

85T ASG send-ins Gwynn2012 A&G Gwynn

I was sad to learn of Gwynn’s passing today.  He was too young.  I can’t add much to anything that has been said and will be said about him, other than to say – with some guys, you can just tell.  Gwynn was one of the good guys.  Some guys you think and hope that they are that way – because they seem like it on interviews and in public.  You hope, but you don’t know for sure.  But for Tony Gwynn, I had no doubt.

Gwynn is the 9th HOF-er to pass away since I started this blog.  I hope he’s the last one for quite a while.  I also hope he’s in a better place now – maybe smacking the ball through the 5.5 hole.

  • Tony Gwynn
  • Stan Musial
  • Earl Weaver
  • Gary Carter
  • Harmon Killebrew
  • Duke Snider
  • Bob Feller
  • Ron Santo
  • Sparky Anderson