by Rich Klein
When I saw last week’s article about Topps advertising its Archives products on blogs dedicated to 1980’s baseball everything I had ever thought about this product came into a much clearer picture. A few years ago I used to write about Topps using their base set to combine cards of today’s players with enough baseball history in an attempt to make the product work for both old and newer collectors. The Topps Archives product takes that concept a step further.
The product uses many of the most popular designs of years past. This year, they utilized card designs we first saw in 1972, 1982, 1985 and 1990. And some of the cards could even qualify for a “card that never was” outlook such as the Mike Schmidt card with the 1972 design. A photo of a very young Mike Schmidt would have worked better there. In addition, many of the inserts also bring up memories of card sets gone by with the wrapper and box reminding me of the 1971 Topps set.
Archives won’t blow you away with its autograph roster but it’s more about fun rather than big hits and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The hobby box,has 24 packs to the box with eight cards per pack. I did not ask how my local card store was doing with this product but when I checked on the Internet leading online retailers were between $80-85 per box.
Unlike the football box we opened, we were not lucky enough to hit a box topper this time but here’s what we did pull:
Base Set: 164 of 200, no duplicates, more than 80 percent of the set.
Gold Parallels (#d to 199): David Murphy. Ben Zobrist
Short Prints: Don Baylor, Delino DeShields, Howard Johnson, Fred Lynn, Kevin McReynolds, Keith Miller. The first three SP’s I pulled were all Mets so I wondered if I would go six for six. The team thread will resurface in a bit.
1965 Tall Boys Minis: Eric Davis, Al Kaline, Fred Lynn, Dave Parker, Frank White.
1969 Four-in-Ones: Vince Coleman/Rickey Henderson/Otis Nixon/Kenny Lofton; Tony Gwynn/Wade Boggs/Cal Ripken Jr./Ryne Sandberg; Willie McCovey/Will Clark/Matt Williams/Buster Posey
1972 Basketball Design: Giancarlo Stanton
1983 All-Stars: Johnny Bench; Gary Cater; Darrell Evans (In the AOL Sports Trivia Room we have a standing joke that you could create an entire trivia game about Darrell Evans); Carl Ripken Jr.; Nolan Ryan; Dave Winfield
Gallery of Heroes: Miguel Cabrera
Stadium Club Triumvirate: Mike Trout #1A. I’ve got to say here I HATED these inserts when they were first in Stadium Club but loved the good old basic cards. I wish as an insert there would just be a return to the Stadium Club design which would be real cool.
Fan Favorite Autographs: Dan Gladden and Kent Hrbek. Yes both as Twins. From what I heard from a couple of customers at Triple Cards this level of player seemed to be the norm for most of boxes. I don’t know if this is financially feasible for Topps, but if this is the standard level of autographs, perhaps a third autograph per box would encourage even more collectors to purchase one.
Other than slightly better or more autographs, I really did enjoy opening Archives Baseball and there is little doubt this product does what it is intended to do which is appeal to the collectors from the hobby glory years and give all of a chance to honoring the past while living in the present. We do know a lot of this product has been purchased and opened. You can see over 8,800 listings for Archives on eBay here.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]