2016 Topps Archives – the best of the base cards

6 06 2016

I’m posting this a lot later than I usually do, but I had a box to open!  I finished up my 2016 Archives box, and here’s a quick look at some of the base cards.   I’m going to do my favorite 9 cards from each era, starting with cards #1-100 – 1953 Topps.  The only rule here – if it was a card of a retired player shown in the correct era, they won’t be in this post.

Cards #1-100: 1953 Topps

1953 was the best of the bunch to me.  Topps did a good job with these – they went with the standard head shot, and tended to do some kind of de-pixel effect that I think is an attempt to make it more like the paintings of the original set.  It doesn’t work perfectly, but it’s not bad either.

Honorable Mention

2016 Topps Archives 53 O'Neill Rice Wright

It was tough to not include a few cards, most notably Dennis Eckersley and Robinson Cano, but these are all great cards that seem like they fit the look for the 1953 design.  Paul O’Neill in particular is a cool card.

Best 3 current

2016 Topps Archives 53 Scherzer Syndergaard Pedroia

Obviously Topps got it right with each of these 3.  Each has a good feature for a head shot.  Scherzer has the different color eyes, which I’ve always thought is pretty awesome.  Putting Thor’s flowing locks on this design was a right move.  And Pedroia has that wicked awesome beard, plus the chalk? on his hat.

Best 3 retired

2016 Topps Archives 53 Yaz Murray McGwire

I go back and forth between my favorites here.  The Murray is probably in third, which is saying something with those semi-mutton chops!  I love the Yaz, but I think the McGwire is my favorite.  Tough to pick.  All are excellent.

Cards #101-200: 1979 Topps

1979 isn’t one of those designs that jumps out at you as particularly memorable.  In fact, I used to get 1978 and 1979 confused, probably because they came out right before I was born.  But it’s a solid design, and one that goes well into whatever this Archives product is.

What not to do

2016 Topps Archives 79 Ruth

This card just doesn’t work.  Bad juju.  I see this card, and I think how an up close shot of Ruth on the 1953 design would have been a much cooler card.

Honorable Mention

2016 Topps Archives 79 Severino Reyes Boggs

The Severino fits well with what I think of for Topps 1979, and the Reyes is interesting with the knee knocking.  The Boggs isn’t a memorable photo, but it made me think of the fact that while Boggs didn’t have his first card until 1983, he was in the minors when this set came out.  Putting him with a Bristol Red Sox uniform would have been kind of cool.

Best 3 current

2016 Topps Archives 79 Ortiz Bryant Socrates

The first 2 are explanable – cool pictures fitting into the design.  The 3rd card does as well, but I just like the fact that there’s a dude in MLB named Socrates.

Best 3 retired

2016 Topps Archives 79 Griffey Aaron Biggio

All 3 of these cards are phenomenal.  Again, I couldn’t pick a favorite here.  I couldn’t even pick a 3rd best.  Three great players, 3 pictures of them I’ve never seen!

Cards #201-300: 1991 Topps

1991 is another very cool set – but it’s one that wasn’t earning accolades when it first came out.  But unlike some of the newer look 1991 sets, it has stood the test of the past 25 years.  It’s the last cardboard backed set, and sometimes I wish the cat could get back in the bag.  But aside from the back, the front is what stands out.  The 40-year logo is instantly recognizable, and the photos were the best effort Topps had employed since 1983, and maybe ever.

Honorable Mention

2016 Topps Archives 91 Bench Chapman Mays

The Johnny Bench card is excellent, but it just makes me think it would have fit better in the 1979 design.  I don’t know, one side of the coin is that it’s cool to see guys with new photos on designs where they’ve previously appeared.  The other thought is that it’s better to see them on a new design.  When it’s a good picture, I guess either way works.

I like the Mays card – it reminds me of the Willie Mays story cards from the early 80’s.  Funny, I didn’t realize until after I scanned it, but these guys were all part of the All-Star game festivities I attended in Cincy last year.

Best 3 retired

2016 Topps Archives 91 Nomar Wilhelm Clemente

In this design, the current players were the better cards for once.  These are still 3 pretty good cards.  A cool card of Nomar – who had his first card in 1992 Topps Traded, so this was a just miss design year for him.  If Hoyt Wilhelm was born 45 years later and he was a knuckle ball pitcher, I’d want this to be his pose on his 1991 Topps card.  And that’s a photo of Clemente I’d never seen before.

Best 3 current

2016 Topps Archives 91 Arenado Kershaw Bautista

I love all 3 of these cards, but they are a bit easier for me to rank.  The Bautista is a very good card, but it’s a clear 3rd here.  The Kershaw is excellent – another really good matching of photo to design.  But the Arenado steals the prize.  When I pulled this card, it made the pack feel like a 1991 Topps pack.

That’s enough for tonight – tomorrow I’ll go over the couple parallels I got.

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3 responses

6 06 2016
nighttimeowl

All 3 do a good job of capturing the era with the photos used. I still like the ’79s best, probably because that was in my childhood collecting wheelhouse. That Biggio is tremendous, looks just like something that would appear in ’79.

The ’53s are probably the worst for me. There are some that look too tinkered, and I don’t like the photographs with the ’53 design in general.

7 06 2016
JT

Do any of the 1991 cards come out of the border? I was afraid that they would cheat this set.

7 06 2016
chuckneo

None that I’ve seen. I guess that doesn’t bother me as much, but it would have been nice for them to give some love that way.

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