2012 Goodwin Champions – Masterpieces finito!

25 12 2014

I should have done this post in December of last year.  In fact, for some reason, I thought I had done this post in January 2013!  But looking back, the last post I did for the 2012 Goodwin Masterpieces was when I finally got the reproduction of the first football card ever.

I’m a big fan of Goodwin Champions.  They do a lot of cool things, most notably rare cards painted by artists.  In 2011, that was painted portraits of all 44 presidents.  In 2013 and 2014, it’s 1/1 reproductions of famous paintings.  In 2012, the best of these sets was created (in my opinion) – reproductions of the original 1888 Goodwin Champions cards.

If I was richer than rich – I’d have loved to get all 50 of these cards.  They are numbered out of ten – so it’s possible, but just too expensive.  I wanted a certain 7 cards.  First, I wanted to get the painting reproduction of the first football card ever.  This was the last card I got out of these – completing my semi-set.  The card is of Yale football captain Henry Beecher.  I discuss more detail behind this card here.

2012 Goodwin Originals Art Yale Beecher

I also wanted the Buffalo Bill Cody card from this set. Like the Beecher card, Buffalo Bill kind of has his own place in this set.  There are multiple baseball players, multiple tennis, golf and track athletes.  But only one Wild West Showman!

2012 Goodwin Masterpieces Buffalo Bill

Aside from that, I wanted to get all of the 5 boxers from this set.  They were known as pugilists back in 1888 when the original set came out.  I put together a post that shows the linkage between most of the boxers from this set and even some from the 2011 Goodwin set – see that here.  The boxers in this set are Jack (Nonpareil) Dempsey, Jake Kilrain, Charley Mitchell, Jem Smith, and John L. Sullivan.

2012 Goodwin Masterpieces Kilrain Dempsey

2012 Goodwin Masterpieces Mitchell Smith Sullivan

Anyways, I never got all of these put together in one post – but here it is!  I love this set – it’s probably my favorite card set released in the past 5 years that I’ve been collecting.  I wish it was more affordable – I’d love to finish off the whole 50-card set.  But these things cost an average of $200 – and the 8 baseball players would probably be even more.  That’s not something I can go for.  But these 7 cards are pretty sweet!

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Goodwin Champions – baseball players in both the 1888 and 2014 sets

12 08 2014

Four baseball players have cards in both the original Goodwin Champions set and the one that was released by Upper Deck in 2014.

2014 Goodwin mini King KellyKing Kelly was the first baseball player (he’s card #1 in the 2011 set).  I’ve covered him before in my Gypsy Queen 2011 set review.  Kelly was still one of the better players in the game, but his very best years were already behind him by the 1888 season.  He was still one of the most popular players in the game, but had already been sold by Albert Spalding to the Boston Braves in an effort to purge the Chicago ball club of all the drinkers on the team.  Known for his chicanery on the diamond and his “lack of discipline” off it, he also is the subject of what is known as the first pop song, “Slide Kelly Slide”.  Kelly would have 2 more good years in the National League.  In Boston, he did pick up a second career as an actor, but his career and life began going downhill.  He died of pneumonia in 1894 one year after being relegated to the Minor Leagues.  Kelly was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.

2014 Goodwin mini Dan BrouthersThese three baseball players represented 75% of the 4 best players in the game in the 1880’s.  Next up was another Hall of Fame player, Dan Brouthers.  I also featured Brouthers in a Gypsy Queen review I did back in 2011 – he or Roger Connor were really the best argument for top player at the time this set came out.  In 1888, Brouthers played for the defending champion Detroit Wolverines, who had bested St. Louis, the class of the American Association.  Unfortunately, it would be St. Louis that lasted, as they would later move to the National League. Meanwhile, the Detroit club did not fare as well in 1888 and disbanded for financial reasons.  Brouthers actually joined Kelly in Boston in 1889 and solidified his status as the game’s best a year later; like Kelly, he was also elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

2014 Goodwin Cap AnsonCap Anson certainly had the longest career of any player in the 19th century; counting his tenure in the National Association, he played for 27 seasons, from 1871 to 1897.  Even in his final season, at the age of 45, he played in 114 games and hit .285.  This was only his third season out of those 27 where he hit under .300.  He was the first member of the 3,000 hit club, and depending on whether or not you count the National Association statistics, Anson retired with around 2,000 RBI (give or take) and around 1,900 runs scored (give or take).  He was a player-manager for Chicago for 20 of those 27 seasons, winning over 1200 games and 5 NL pennants – the Colts (now the Cubs) were baseball’s first dynasty.  Anson truly was baseball’s first immortal.  That said, he had one of the biggest impacts of any figure in keeping baseball segregated; he famously refused to take the field against Moses “Fleetwood” Walker on multiple occasions.  Walker was the last African-American to play in a major league until Jackie Robinson did so in 1947.  8 years before that, Anson was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Fred Dunlap2014 Goodwin DunlapThe final player was Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap, an excellent second baseman in the 1880’s who will never be confused with a Hall of Famer.  He had one truly great season leading the St. Louis Maroons to the pennant in Union Association’s only year of existence.  He led the league in batting, runs scored and home runs, and would have been the league’s MVP had they had such an award.  St. Louis moved to the National League the next year, and their performance in 1885 is the best evidence that the Union Association shouldn’t be considered a Major League; they finished in last place.  Dunlap never had nearly the year he’d had in 1884, but he was still as solid defender and the best player on a bad team.  Later in his career, he was a grizzled veteran on the World Champion Detroit team.





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”.





2014 Topps Archives #2 – the insert from other Topps products

13 07 2014

Yesterday I posted on Archives inserts paying tribute to old school cards from another (Hockey).  The other thing Topps started last year was copying designs from outside of the Topps flagship brand.  I wasn’t quite as enthused about this idea; I’d like it better to include Bowman cards in Bowman products, etc.  Still, it’s interesting, and this is a pretty cool way to see some Stadium Club cards redone.  Last year Topps did Gallery of Heroes from 1997 Gallery, and Triumvirate from Stadium Club.  This year, there’s a Stadium Club product.

Archives Stadium Club Firebrand – 10 cards (1:24)

This is an insert set from 1997 Stadium Club.  The horizontal cards have the word “Firebrand” die cut across the top of a faux-wood design. The word Stadium club is in an oval below that, with the player picture to the left.  The card back has the bat size and weight along with some batting stats and a photo of the player.  These cards are really cool – they’ve made me re-think the stance last year of not liking this idea!

This 10-card set has 8 retired players and the two best-hitting rookies from last year (Myers, Puig).  There were 12 cards in the Stadium Club original. No players are in both sets – though Juan Gonzalez, Ken Griffey and Mark McGwire are found elsewhere in the 2014 Archives product.  There are quite a few retired guys in this year’s set who COULD have been featured back in 1997!

Ivan Rodriguez was still known overwhelmingly for his defense back in 1997 – which is why he probably wasn’t featured on this set.  He certainly could have been an option, and he’s on the right team and seems to be the right era here.

2014 Archives Firebrand Ivan Rodriguez

Rondell White is also shown with the team he was on back then.  It’s good to see an Expos cap in this Topps product!

2014 Archives Firebrand Rondell White

Jose Canseco was back for his 2nd stint with the A’s in 1997 after a few years with Texas and Boston.  He probably would have been featured with his 1996 team (the Red Sox) for this set – but you never know!  I’m pretty sure this is a picture from his earlier days with Oakland, though.

2014 Archives box 2 SC Firebrand Canseco

Eric Davis was the opposite.  He came back to the Reds for an impressive 1996 campaign but moved to Baltimore the next season.  Again, this would have been an option for Topps, though I think this is from his 1980’s Cincinnati days.

2014 Archives Firebrand Eric Davis

Carlos Baerga (Cleveland) and Ron Gant (Atlanta) played in the era where they could have had a card in this set – however they aren’t shown with the right team in the Archives set.  Gant had moved on to the Braves after his 1994 injury season, and Baerga was traded to the Mets halfway through 1996.