2014 Card of the Year runner-up

29 12 2014

2014 Topps Archives Major League 5x7 Ricky Vaughn

I feel a little blasphemous picking a card that’s not even a Major League player.  OK – I said that wrong.  I feel a little blasphemous picking a card that’s not a real player.  That may be what kept me from calling this card of the year, and just giving it the runner-up spot.

The Major League movie cards inserted into 2014 Topps Archives were pretty sweet.  The autographs went through the roof in popularity – particularly that of Sheen for his role as “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn.  I’m showing the regular card here, which was a pretty common insert in Topps Archives.  But I guess I’d say the autograph is probably the biggest card.


A few other cards I considered:

  • Topps Opening Day – Royals Mascot card, in honor of their captivating run to the World Series
  • Topps – Mariano Rivera, because it’s his final card
  • Topps – Derek Jeter, which could be his final card
  • Finest – Mike Trout, because I think Finest has a really cool design this year and Trout is the game’s best player
  • Allen & Ginter Fields of Yore – Wrigley Field, because it’s sweet and I live in Chicago
  • Topps Supreme Styling Die-Cut Autograph – Madison Bumgarner, because you had to pick some kind of card of him after that historic run in the World Series

Check out my next post for the winner…


2014 Topps Archives – 1990 Reds

30 07 2014

Unlike the Big Red Machine, which had 3 base cards, the 1990 Reds World Series team is featured in quite a few inserts in 2014 Topps Archives.  There are 4 players from that team in the product, though Barry Larkin (the team’s only HOF-er) still isn’t in this set.  Eric Davis, Paul O’Neill and Rob Dibble are back from last year, along with Chris Sabo aka Spuds!  Davis, in particular, is all over this product.

Base Set

Davis has a base card in the 1980 portion of the set.  Obviously this doesn’t have “provenance” in a regular Davis card – he had just been drafted at that point!

2014 Archives Eric Davis

Paul O’Neill is also in the set – in the 1989 section.  O’Neill does have a 1989 card, but they show him with the wrong team here!  He wasn’t with the Yankees for a few more years.

2014 Archives Paul O'Neill

Since both guys are in the regular part of the set – they have Gold Rainbow Foil parallels (#/199) and the Silver Rainbow Foil parallels (#/99), plus 4 printing plates.

1971 Hockey

Davis and Sabo can both be found in the insert set based on the 1971-72 Hockey set.  Both players would have been very young when the original set came out!

2014 Archives Hockey Chris Sabo 2014 Archives Hockey Eric Davis

Davis autographed 25 of these cards (Sabo did not have an autographed version).  These have printing plate 1/1 versions as well.

1987 Future Stars

Davis is featured in this retail-only set.  This makes a bit more sense – he was definitely in the 1987 Topps set, and even could have been considered a Future Star at that point:

2014 Archives 87 FS Eric Davis

There are printing plates of these, so he’s got 4 of those here as well.  There’s also an autographed version numbered to 25.

1997 Stadium Club Firebrand

Davis also has a card in this subset.  He is again shown with the Reds.  By 1997 he had moved on to Baltimore, but 1996 was his 2nd stint in Cincinnati – so he definitely could have been on this insert set as a Red.

2014 Archives Firebrand Eric Davis

Davis also autographed a version of this card, again numbered to 25.  It’s a silver sticker auto – and honestly doesn’t go that well with this card.

1981 Mini Autographs

Davis had another card where he signed it 25 times.  You can only find this card as an autograph, however.  It’s a miniature version of the 1981 design.

2014 Archives 81 Mini Auto Eric Davis

Fan Favorite Autographs

There are 3 guys with Fan Favorite autographs.  Davis interestingly has a different design than his base card (he and Mark McGwire are the only two players where Topps did that).  His card is in the 1989 design, which is actually a year he had another Topps card.

2014 Archives FF Auto Eric Davis

Sabo also has a card in the Fan Favorite autographs.  It’s in the 1990 design, and it’s a beautiful card – in my humble opinion!

2014 Archives FF Auto Chris Sabo

Finally, fireballer Rob Dibble also has an autograph, also in the 1990 design. There are 6 parallels of the Fan Favorites.  I was able to find examples of Dibble’s card for all of the parallels.

Fan Favorite

Fan Favorite

Gold #/50

Gold #/50

Silver #/50

Silver #/25

Purple #/10

Purple #/10

Blue #/5

Blue #/5

Ruby #/1

Ruby #/1

Printing Plate

Printing Plate

Triple Autograph

This card has Davis, O’Neill and current Red Jay Bruce.  I’d love to get my hands on this card – but the one shown below went for $152 on eBay!  These cards actually aren’t numbered, but they are pretty rare nonetheless.

2014 Archives Triple Auto Davis O'Neill Bruce


So, all told – if you wanted to collect every single card I mentioned above, you’d have 64 cards to find.  If you didn’t want the 1/1’s – that number would be 29.

Davis (16/33) – Base, Gold Rainbow, Silver Rainbow, 71 Hockey, 87 Future Stars, Firebrand, 1981 mini Auto, 71 Hockey Auto, 87 Future Stars Auto, Firebrand Auto, Fan Favorite Auto (“FFA”), Triple Auto, FFA Gold, FFA Silver, FFA Purple, FFA Blue, FFA Ruby, 16 total printing plates

O’Neill (2/6) – Base, Triple Auto, 4 printing plates

Sabo (6/15) – 71 Hockey, Fan Favorite Auto, FFA Gold, FFA Silver, FFA Purple, FFA Blue, FFA Ruby, 8 total printing plates

Dibble (5/10) – Fan Favorite Auto, FFA Gold, FFA Silver, FFA Purple, FFA Blue, FFA Ruby, 4 FFA printing plates

2014 Topps Archives – Big Red Machine

28 07 2014

Topps Archives has had quite a few Big Red Machine members in the cards in previous years, and 2014 does as well.  Today I’ll show off the Big Red Machine members who found their way into the product.

Only the The “Big 3” made their way into the product this year.  That’s Morgan, Bench and Perez.  In the past, Ken Griffey, George Foster, Dave Concepcion and even manager Sparky Anderson have all been represented in this product.  Only Pete Rose (for obvious reasons) and Cesar Geronimo have been absent.

Base Set

Bench, Morgan and Perez all have cards in the base set.  Morgan and Perez are both featured in the 1980 portion of the base set, which makes them of the “fan favorite” ilk.  Morgan is shown with the Reds, which is the same team he was on for his real 1980 Topps card.  He moved from Cincinnati back to Houston after 1979 – so their actually is a Houston version of his 1980 card as part of a Burger King promotion.  Not a bad card – though the photo looks a little more like early/mid 1970’s.

2014 Archives 80 Topps Joe Morgan

Perez, however, is shown with the Reds team even though his last Topps card for his first Reds was stint was in 1977.  For 1980 Topps, he was still shown with the Expos.

2014 Archives 80 Topps Tony Perez

Johnny Bench is shown in the 1989 portion of the set.  This is a good 6 years after he retired – but it isn’t Bench’s first rodeo with the 1989 design.  He made his way onto the 1989 mini insert set in this year’s Topps set, and he’s also in the 1989 Topps Talk set which threw his rookie card onto something of a 1989-based design.

2014 Archives Johnny Bench

Here are the set designs featured in Archives and what Big Red Machine members are actually included in the original Topps sets.  Normally, I’d show pictures of what cards are in the original sets, but there are so many options for the 1973 set that I won’t.

1973 Topps – 8 of the 9 (missing Griffey) and 6 subset cards:

Anderson MG, Bench (one of the best cards of the 70’s), Perez, Morgan (first card with the Reds), Concepcion, Rose, Geronimo, Foster

Bench HR Leaders, Bench RBI Leaders, Bench WS, Perez WS, Foster Playoff

1980 Topps – all 9 and 1 subset card:

Detroit Tigers CL (Sparky MG), Bench, Perez, Morgan, Concepcion, Rose, Griffey, Geronimo, Foster

Rose HL (10th season 200+ Hits)

1986 Topps6 of the 9 (missing Geronimo, Bench, Morgan) and 10 subset cards:

Anderson MG, Perez, Concepcion, Rose, Griffey, Foster

Rose MG, Rose RB, Perez RB, Concepcion TL, Rose Special (6 cards)

Griffey Sr is also featured on 1986 Topps Traded (traded to the Braves)

1989 Topps – 2 of the 9, both as managers:

Anderson MG, Rose MG

Griffey Sr is also featured on 1989 Topps Traded – this time back with the Reds!


Since Morgan, Bench and Perez are all featured in the base set (and not the SP version), all 3 have the standard parallels you can find. There are gold parallels (numbered to 199):

2014 Archives Gold Johnny Bench

and the Silver Parallel (#/99):

2014 Archives Silver Bench

And of course, they all have 4 printing plates as well.

Screen shot 2014-07-20 at 12.39.16 PM

Autographed Originals

The only Big Red Machine non base card listed on the checklist is an exchange for a buyback autograph of a Johnny Bench (“Archives originals”) card.  I haven’t seen a redemption on eBay yet though.


So, all told – if you wanted to collect every single Big Red Machine card I mentioned above, you’d have 22 cards to find. If you didn’t want the 1/1’s – that number would be only 10.

Bench (8/4) – Base, 1 Gold Rainbow, 1 Silver Rainbow, Buyback Auto, 4 printing plates

Perez (7/3) – Base, 1 Gold Rainbow, 1 Silver Rainbow, 4 printing plates

Perez (7/3) – Base, 1 Gold Rainbow, 1 Silver Rainbow, 4 printing plates

2014 Topps Archives #6 – comparing 1969 Deckle Edge

26 07 2014

Archives 1969 Deckle Minis – 40 cards (1:5)

My last comparison for 2014 Topps Archives inserts goes back to in the 1960’s – 1969, to be exact.  This is a re-reboot, if you will.  Topps featured an insert based on the 1969 Topps Deckle Edge 2 years ago in the 2012 Archives product.  I guess they’re running a little short on ideas.  The photo is sepia toned and there is a blue facsimile signature.

Topps made the set a miniature version for the 2014 Archives version.  There are 40 players in the 2014 set, and they are a pretty common pull. 25 current players are featured along with 15  retired players.  Out of those 15 retired players, however, most of them played well after the original set came out.  There are two players in this year’s Archives set who were active back then – Graig Nettles and Mel Stottlemyre.  Nettles had his rookie card as a dual-player spot in the 1969 Topps set, so he was definitely left out of the 33-card Deckle set that year.  But Stottlemyre is a match – he was in the midst of the best stretch of his career. This means I can do my favorite thing, comparing the old to the new!

The card on the right is the older card, the one on the left is the 2014 Archives version.

Mel Stottlemyre

2014 Archives Deckle comparison Stottlemyre

2014 Topps Archives #5 – comparing ’87 All Star inserts

23 07 2014

Archives 1987 All-Stars – 30 cards (1:4)

This insert set basically replaces the 1983 All-Star subset from last year.  This year, Topps paid homage to the inserts from the mid-late 1980’s.  These tended to be available as 1-per-pack inserts in rack packs back then.  They always featured 22 cards – the 9 starters from the previous year’s Midsummer classic, the manager and the honorary captain.  The honorary captain was pretty cool way to get a Hall of Famer in the set, though in 1987 they showcased a second pitcher instead of the captain (thus Rusty Staub and Charlie Gehringer got excluded).

The Archives versions of these cards come 6 per box, with 30 cards in the set.  I wish they held true to the old set and made it 22, but what can you do.  It has old and new players.  Again, I think it would be cool to do only current players, with last year’s starters included.  MLB discontinued the honorary captain practice after 2007, but this is easily replaced – David Ortiz and Michael Cuddyer started as Designated Hitters.  Or you could put Mariano Rivera in as the game’s MVP for Cuddyer (since the DH in the NL wasn’t fan-elected).

There are 20 current players in the Archives set.  7 of them were starters from last year’s game (Rivera was also included):

  • Chris Davis
  • Miguel Cabrera
  • Mike Trout
  • Jose Bautista
  • Ortiz
  • Matt Harvey
  • Bryce Harper

Not included: Max Scherzer, Joe Mauer, Robbie Cano, JJ Hardy, Adam Jones, Yadier Molina, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, David Wright, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Carlos Beltran, Cuddyer

There are 10 retired players in the Archives set.  Six of them were featured in one of the old versions of the insert set.  The one on the right is the original card, whereas the one on the left is the Archives version.  You can also tell because the Archives version has the Topps logo and a smaller league logo in the bottom left corner.

Gary Carter

2014 Archives 87AS comparison Gary Carter

Carter was something of a poster boy for these insert sets, though he doesn’t have the most.  He was featured on 5 sets – 1984-85 and 1987-89.  Archives re-used this photo for about the umpteenth time and attributed it to his appearance in the 1988 All-Star game for this set.

Wade Boggs

2014 Archives 87AS comparison Wade Boggs

Boggs was also featured 5 times – consecutively from 1987 through 1991 (the ’86 through ’90 All-Star games).  Archives matches up with his second season in the old version of the set.

Dwight Gooden

2014 Archives 87AS comparison Dwight Gooden

Dwight Gooden was featured in the 1987 and 1989 sets – he was the starting pitcher in the ’86 and ’88 All-Star games.  The 1988 All-Star game he’s credited with here was in Cincinnati (though his photo is clearly from Wrigley Field).  I attended that game.  I taped the broadcast, and I remember Al Michaels saying that Gooden’s first pitch to Rickey Henderson could have been a preview of a subway series in October.

Those are the only 3 comparisons where the year matches up perfectly – here’s a few more that were featured in Archives for All-Star years they didn’t have a card in the actual Topps set.

2014 Archives 87AS comparison Ozzie Smith

Ozzie Smith is the true “poster boy” for this set.  In fact, he was the only player featured in all 8 sets from 1984 to 1991.  (Ripken – 7 – and Sandberg -6 – were the closest).  Interestingly, Topps chose to include his 1995 All-Star year on the Archives version of the card. He definitely looks older in the Archives version – 1995 may be the right year.

2014 Archives 87AS comparison HoJo

Howard Johnson was featured on the 1990 set (1989 All-Star game).  1989 was his second best season in the Majors.  1991 was his best season, so it’s somewhat appropriate Topps included that here. He led the NL in homers and RBI that year – but he wasn’t the starter.  Chris Sabo beat him out in the All-Star voting that year.  HoJo did make it as a reserve.

2014 Archives 87AS comparison Graig Nettles

Graig Nettles was featured on the 1986 Glossy insert set – he made the All-Star team with the Padres.  This one features his appearance in the 1980 All-Star game with the Yankees.

2014 Archives AS Goose Gossage

Additionally, Goose Gossage made the 1984 and 1985 All-Start team – but since he was a reliever he’d have never been in the original set.  He’s shown for his 1981 appearance in the Archives set.

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!

2014 Topps Archives #3 – comparing the ’88 All-Stars

16 07 2014

There are two retail-only inserts in Archives this year.  One is the “chase” concept that is a pretty tough pull in retail packs.

Archives Retail Chase – 10 cards (1:40, retail jumbos)

This was around last year in the design of the 1989 All-Star subset.  This year, Topps went with the 1988 All-Star design, which is one of my favorites!  The odds don’t seem quite as long this year – 1:40 jumbo packs is a bit less than the 1:136 regular packs last year.  I couldn’t find any regular packs, so I’m not sure what the exact comparison is to last year.  They are still a difficult pull, though.  The set is 10 cards, 5 less than last year – which also contributes to make it a bit more collectible this year.  This insert set features all new players, so there’s no overlap going on.

Here’s a look at an original:

1988 Topps AS Wade Boggs

And here’s an Archives version:

2014 Archives 88 AS Miguel Cabrera

Looking at these two is indicative of the differences between this year’s version and the originals.  The original cards have head shots only, whereas this year’s Archives versions have more of an upper body shot.  Additionally, there’s a difference in how Topps described the position – Cabrera is a “first baseman” whereas Boggs “plays third base”.