2014 Topps Archives #4 – comparing the ’87 Future Stars

21 07 2014

Archives 1987 Future Stars – 15 cards (1:8, retail only)

This insert basically replaces the Dual Fan Favorites last year as the more common retail-only inserts.  These 1987 Future Star designs are a little easier to pull than last year’s (1 in 8 instead of 1 in 12).  These cards are based on the 1987 Topps design, so we’ve seen these very recently when Topps did a mini set in the 2012 flagship brand.  This is the wood-grained border set that I love.  I say it every chance I get – I wish in 2012 Topps had made a new wood-based design to keep up with the every-25-year tradition!

Unlike the retail chase cards I featured in my last post, this set does have retired players.  In fact, each of the 4 retired players was around in 1987, and 3 of them had a card.  None of them had the future stars designation, however.  Here are the 4 players with overlap.

Ron Gant

2014 Archives 87 FS Ron Gant

The first is Ron Gant.  Gant didn’t have a card in 1987, so this is of the “card that never was”  variety.  My favorite!  Gant had a cup of coffee at the end of the 1987 season in Atlanta, skipping AAA when he got called up on the 40-man roster to hit .265 in 21 games.  He played a full season in the big leagues in 1988, hitting 19 homers and showing some promise.  But he wasn’t nearly as productive in 1989 and thus went back down to the minors for about half the year.

Gant was a 4th round draft pick in 1983, and he hadn’t torn up the minor leagues by any sense of the word.  It makes sense that he didn’t have any cards in 1987, and it’s certainly reasonable that he wasn’t one of the 5 players on Topps “Future Stars” subset.  Still, it’s cool that he gets this version of the card today.

2014 Archives 87 FS Eric Davis 1987 Topps Eric DavisEric Davis

Davis definitely had a card in 1987 Topps – it was his third Topps card.  He was still pretty young, but was by now an established major league player who had garnered some MVP votes when he stole 80 bases and hit 27 homers in 1986.  So he wouldn’t have been in this subset the way Topps picked its players back then.  But he’s still a pretty good option and it’s neat to see this card, even though this is the third 1987 card design he’s had (after the original and his Archives Fan Favorites last year).

You can tell this picture is from the 1990 World Series – the logo on the sleeve and the USA patch on the shoulder.

1987 Topps HoJo2014 Archives 87 FS HoJoHoward Johnson

HoJo, like Davis, was also an established starter on the rise in 1987.  His first season was 1982, and he had nearly 1,200 at bats through the 1986 campaign.  He was a platoon player for the world champions that year.  Unlike Davis, he hadn’t yet had a breakout season like Davis did in 1986.  That would come in 1987 when he hit 36 homers.  Given his tenure in the league, I think Topps would have been stretching it by any definition to include him in this subset in 1987.

By the way – the HoJo photo is the same as his base card in last year’s Archives set.

Rickey Henderson also has a card in this subset.  Henderson isn’t just a stretch – by 1987 he was a full-blown superstar who had already broken the single season stolen base record, become the first player to steal 100+ bases in 2 and then 3 seasons.  He had been the best leadoff hitter in MLB for 6 years and was on his way to being the best player in baseball.  Oh, and he was on the Yankees – which is why I’m not showing his cards here.  The Archives version shows him with the A’s.

I think it would be cool if Topps did a “what might have been” set with this concept in the future.  Do a future stars subset for players in the year they would have had the card.  Gant is a good one from 1987, but maybe do Eric Davis in 1984 / 1985, HoJo in 1982, Rickey in 1980 or 1979, and guys like Tony Gwynn, Ryne Sandberg and others.  Just a thought!



2 responses

23 07 2014

There was the “Future Stars That Never Were” set in Series Two this year, but it didn’t quite measure up to what I wanted. If it had been normal card thickness with a year-appropriate back, I might have been tempted to seek out those inserts. Maybe some day they’ll do something along those lines; I think it would make a good Archives insert.

24 07 2014

LOL – that’s how behind the times I am. Didn’t buy series 2. I will eventually, but not yet!

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