Ya Get Whatcha Get: 3 Vintage, 1 Faux Vintage, 1 Blogger Playing For Time

I’ll admit it;  I’ve got so many irons in the fire right now that I haven’t the time to write a cohesive post….  That’s why ya get whatcha get.

I suppose I may as well admit that I’m trying to collect the 1968 Topps Game Insert set, although it’s more of a casual pursuit than an active one.  I enjoy this oddball insert because it’s fun, small (33 cards) and affordable.  This Frank Howard card is one of my Black Friday additions.
1968 Topps Game Frank Howard
2015 Topps Archives will have an insert set that pays homage to this oddball… I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, Archives has a way of building my hopes and then dashing them on the rocks.  As it is, they’ve already pissed me off with the preview images that feature the 1976 design… They use the city & team name (“COLORADO ROCKIES”) when it should be just the team name, and they used the wrong colors for the Red Sox.  I suppose it wouldn’t be Archives if it didn’t piss off the people who love the originals.

During the end of 2014 I waxed poetic about 1970 Topps Super Football and Baseball.  Here’s another 1970 Super I got from COMC… this one features phenom-of-the-day Andy Messersmith.  I don’t know that you can see it in my scan, but in the original oversized card you can see the weave in Andy’s flannel jersey.  Most excellent!
1970 Topps Super Andy Messersmith
In 1969, the year before this card was issued, Messersmith was a 23-year-old who went 16-11 for a team that lost 91 games.  All too often people mention his role in establishing free agency or the time that Ted Turner tried to advertise his TV station by putting CHANNEL on Messersmith’s back so that it read “CHANNEL 17″… But Andy Messersmith was a fine ballplayer.  Four-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove, lead the NL with 20 wins in 1974, lead in shotouts in 1975.  There was a reason the Braves signed him to a $1M contract.

I started buying Cal Ripken cards as a way to help my wife understand my hobby – she’s a huge fan of Cal’s.  Although she doesn’t enjoy baseball cards the way I do, she likes to look at cards of her favorite players, and she does appreciate what makes one card nicer than another.
2013 Topps Archives Cal Ripken
Even though there’s really no hope of converting her any further, I still buy Ripkens.  Force of habit, I guess.  This card is from the 2013 Archives set  (and nit-pick, nit-pick, nit-pick, the action shot shows a completely different Orioles uniform than is in the portrait)

One made-up subset of 1969 Topps that I’m collecting is high-#ed cards of guys in the brand-spanking-new uniforms of that year’s expansion teams.  Here Moe Drabowsky shows off his new KC Royals uni – which is pretty much like the Royals uni from any point in the last 40+ years, but still…
1969 Topps Moe Drabowsky
Moe was the answer to a number of trivia questions… Who gave up Stan Musial’s 3,000th hit? Who was the losing pitcher for Early Wynn’s 300th victory? Who was the first pitcher to get a win for the Royals? Moe, Moe, Moe. He also was born in Poland and played for both the K.C. Athletics and the K.C. Royals.

I’ve Softened A Bit On 2013 Archives… But I’m Still Bugged By Things Like THIS

A few weeks ago, I bought a rack pack of 2013 Archives and my reaction at the time was “meh”.

Since then, I’ve put the 18 cards I got into my binders of current team rosters, and I have to admit, I like the way they look in those binders.

But little things about this set just bug me. At the top of that list is this card:
2013 Topps Archives Gio Gonzalez

On the surface, there’s nothing objectionable about the card, except when you consider that a 1985 Expos card looks like this:

1985 Topps Dave Palmer

I expect to get a little “Natitude” from Nats fans who insist that the Nationals are NOT the Expos.  Fine, I’m not going to argue that point.

…But why use the color scheme used on the Cardinals’ cards when the Expos scheme would’ve looked much nicer?  …Especially given that there’s red and (navy) blue in the Nats colors, but no yellow.

OK, I’ve said my peace.  You can all get on with your day now.

Where Topps Got The Design For The 2013 Archives Wrapper

1971 Topps Super Baseball WrapperDon’t be deceived by the image; this is not a review of 2013 Archives… well, not entirely.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that one of the the best things about this year’s Archives set is the wrapper. It reminds me of a line from a Beach Boys song:

I threw away my candy bar and I ate the wrapper
And when they told me what I did, I burst into laughter

Obscure pop culture references aside, I got to wondering where Topps got the wrapper design from. I mean, it’s Archives, it’s supposed to be pilfered from somewhere in Topps’ stockpile of designs.

A quick bit of research turned up the above image of a 1971 Topps Super Baseball wrapper. For those who aren’t familiar with the set, they’re oversized cards a little bigger than 3″x5″, and much thicker than a regular baseball card. The corners are rounded and the back is similar to the regular 1971 cards.

I don’t actually have any 1971 Supers – lo siento –  but I do have a couple of 1970 Supers, like this Rusty Staub.

1970 Topps Super Rusty StaubFor me, both years of Topps Super fall into the category of “Why don’t I have more of these?”

I suppose I should say something about 2013 Archives, shouldn’t I?  Well, I appreciate that they made the cheap card stock  more cardboard-like this year, but the set still leaves me a bit cold.  Maybe if they used designs that resonated more with me, emotionally… If 2014 Archives uses designs from 1974, 1976, 1983 and 1991, and if they’re done reasonably well, then we might be on to something… but again, that’s just me.